In my last post, I went on a small tirade towards the end about Dreamweaver and what not to use in Web Development. This time, I want to tell you what you should be using (or at least, what I prefer to use).

First, let me get this out there: I stay away from full-blown IDEs. While I do see their value, the bloat and unneeded features that come along with an integrated development environment like Dreamweaver or the Eclipse-based web dev IDE’s (like Aptana Studio) is just too much for me. I prefer to use a few lightweight applications that are extendable so that I can add only the features I want.

To that end, we’ll get the most important item out of the way first: the text editor. Sublime Text 2 has been getting some very good publicity recently from different parts of the Internet and web dev community. I picked up on it a few months ago and have used it for all of my projects, both at work and home, since. While it isn’t free, it does have an unending trial period (if you can get used to a pop-up every 20 times you save a file or so). I used it for about 6 weeks before shelling out the money to buy myself a personal license. I use it as my every-day text editor for everything I do (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, some C++, and even some Java when I get the chance).

One of the biggest strengths of Sublime Text 2 is its plugin system (which they call “packages”). Packages can be written by anyone and are easily installed through a built-in Package Manager. While there are a ton of packages available (with more constantly being developed and introduced to the community) a few of my favorites are:

1) Prefixr – Do you use CSS3 at all? Do you have all your vendor prefixes memorized? This awesome plugin will auto-magically add the ones you need with simply a keypress.

2) SFTP – Having to bounce back and forth between a text editor and a FTP program can be irritating. The SFTP plugin for Sublime Text 2 is an easy-to-use solution. My only complaint about it is there is no way to view the remote file system, only the local. That’s what a regular FTP program like Filezilla is for though.

3) Side Bar Enhancements – I’m a big fan of the folder view in the sidebar, but its default functionality is a bit lacking. This plugin extends that functionality with a number of new functions and additions to the right-click context menu.

The text editor is the most important part of any Web Developers development stack. It’s what they spend the most time staring at and using. I believe it’s important enough I spent my whole word limit on it! Next time I’ll get into some more of the applications necessary to be a good developer.

Check out these articles for some more Sublime Text 2 tips and tricks as well:

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