At a Glance
- Tabbed files, syntax highlighting, built-in file browser
- Some minor bugs/quirky behavior
This potent free tool is a programmer’s editor with good template and highlighting features.
ConTEXT is a powerful, free, and open-source text editor
squarely aimed at programmers. Its feature set makes it especially
useful for system administrators, toolsmiths, and Web mavens, all
of whom often have to juggle many small files written in a variety
of languages or markups.
The features which aid in this type of work (though ConTEXT is
by no means limited just to this style of development) are the
multitude of syntax highlighters (with the option to add your own),
code templates (which allow you to insert preformatted snippets of
code), the built-in file browser, and the ability to create
projects which group files of different types, stored in different
disk locations, together for easy manipulation and editing.
ConTEXT has the full suite of expected tools for text editing:
fast file navigation, searching (including regular expression
parsing and the ability to search multiple files and show all
matches), word wrap/unwrap, ability to change line feeds between
different formats, and so on. It has several code-aware features,
such as the ability to comment or uncomment text according to the
currently selected language. (It will use “/*” for Java, for
example, and “&&” if you’re editing Foxpro.)
It also has a few quirks. ConTEXT’s built-in file browser, for
example, sometimes does not display the directory tree as expected.
I had a problem with “find next” that I was unable to replicate
after noticing it (so it may have been user error). Both of these
are related to an acknowledged issue with controls gaining focus
properly, that is expected to be fixed in the next release
As a free tool that comes with a boatload of editing features,
ConTEXT is well worth checking out by anyone who regularly works
with text files, especially those who work with code and markup