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In our 50th issue, we reviewed some of the greatest classics in the field of programming and computing humor. Before that, we had reviewed the work of Kathy Sierra, a pioneer in the art of making computer programming books accessible and fun. Today, we will review a YouTube channel that combines the best of both.

The Fireship YouTube channel published its first video in April 2017. Comparing it to more recent ones from the same channel gives a few hints of what stayed and what changed since those beginnings. The author has found a voice (in both a figurative and literal sense) and a winning format. Considering the constant progression of the number of views, their current formula is decidedly a very successful one: from low tens of thousands of views to almost three million (and counting) for the video we will be talking about today.

Precisely, this week’s Vidéothèque movie is “I tried 10 code editors”. Fitting the subject of this month’s edition, this video also fits the style of their more recent productions: fast-paced, featuring relevant content, and with plenty of memes, all set on a black background. The final result is interesting, precise, and most importantly, very, very funny.

Many of their recent videos feature a recurrent “newsreel” theme, including a title card labeled “The Code Report” and the date of publication. These videos provide a quick update or discuss some major news at any particular moment.

(Computer historians: bookmark this channel, you are going to refer to these videos in the future for sure.)

This month’s Vidéothèque video starts with the quintessential founding myth of our craft: Grace Hopper finding the legendary moth (“bug”) stuck in her computer. According to the narrator, and quite truthfully so, developers these days can create their own bugs thanks to, you guessed it, code editors.

(We should probably rename the whole product category to “bug editors”, frankly.)

The meaty part of the movie comes next. It describes the major characteristics of ten different code editors and IDEs, mostly related to the field of web (or, as the kids call it these days, “full-stack”) as well as mobile app development. In order:

  1. vi (frankly, an excellent introduction, if you ask me)
  2. Emacs (with special mention of the resulting editor wars)
  3. Vim (and how it “improved” vi)
  4. Neovim (and how it “improves” Vim, in particular thanks to its choice of Lua over Vimscript)
  5. nano (part of the “g-nu” project, listen carefully to the pronunciation of the name)
  6. Notepad (seriously?) and NotePad++ (which, according to the author, “feels like using Microsoft Excel to write code”)
  7. Adobe Dreamweaver (my HTML editor of choice in 1998, when it was still called Macromedia Dreamweaver)
  8. Visual Studio Code (arguably one of the most popular code editors nowadays, even if somewhat bloated thanks to its Electron underpinnings)
  9. Visual Studio (with an interesting observation about how complex IDEs are great if you are committed to a particular platform, .NET in this case)
  10. and JetBrains WebStorm (with the required disclaimer that this is not a sponsored video)

“I tried 10 code editors” is available on the highly recommended Fireship YouTube channel. The author has since 2019 expanded their work with a dedicated learning website featuring courses and projects to get into programming in a fun way, definitely worth a try.

Cover snapshot chosen by the author from the video.

Continue reading Charles Petzold or go back to Issue 067: Text Editors. Did you like this article? Consider subscribing to our newsletter or contributing to the sustainability of this magazine. Thanks!
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