Notepad 2 is a very lightweight Notepad alternative. I am always a fan of free tools and programs. More often than not they run better and have all the functions you need minus the bloat and useless tools you don’t. I come from a Linux background and I love under dog products.
I’d rather support the little guy by using his lessor known product and donating if asked. I sincerely do ask anyone who uses one of my recommendations to please donate to the author. They spend so much time perfecting and supporting the program that the minute donation they ask for (often called “beggarware”) is worth it vs the high prices of similar commercial software programs. Of course, it is often the case that the commercial product is the superior product.
Anyone that uses Notepad on a regular basis knows that it leaves much to be desired. However in web design and programming notepad is a necessary evil unless you purchase a program like UltraEdit. I really recommend using UltraEdit if you do ton’s of editing in various programming languages.
One of the things that I like about Notepad 2 is how it highlights the code syntax. For non-techie’s, look at the screen shot I provided – I have yet to find an awesome freeware screen capture program, if you know of one… let me know – in the fuzziness you can see that different parts of the CSS script I opened are colored differently. This really makes editing code easier.
Notepad 2 also has an incredible find and replace feature. I edited a file that had over 1,000 lines. For me to use Notepads find, delete and paste my new code would take forever. In Notepad 2 all I had to do was input the information I wanted found and replaced. 1,000 lines done in less than 30 seconds, afterword’s Notepad 2 gave me a report that said it found 19 instances. 19 needles in 1,000, I have a feeling the client would love the fact it took me 30 seconds rather than billable hours. 🙂
Notepad 2 is a stand alone program that runs only when you ask it to. I like to pin programs like this to my Start Menu (Select program > right click > select “Pin to Start Menu”). This is because they do not install upon your system. Process Explorer another one of my favorite free programs is like this.
I came across instructions for replacing Window’s Notepad with Notepad 2, but I generally don’t recommend doing this if you aren’t super confident in your computer skills. Even if you are, do a backup first in System Restore! Even uber geeks like myself have OOOP’s moments. Good luck! Google search for: Replace Notepad with Notepad 2.
I came across Notepad 2 awhile ago because I was looking for a program that would support different encoding schemes. Occasionally I will run across a web server / code scheme that just needs everything perfect which includes the proper encoding. For instance encoding matters in the following situations:
- If you are modifying an Apache document you might run into trouble if it is not edited within a UTF-8 compatible program.
- UTF-8 is ASCII compatible and light weight to be efficiently processed by most web servers.
- FTP uses both ASCII and Binary. Plain text files (txt), HTTP files containing HTML or CSS mark-up (htm, html, css) and files containing scripting delivered through HTTP (asp, vbs, js etc). These files if not sent via ASCII encoding can be corrupted.
- On the flip side if you don’t use Binary mode in FTP when sending PDF files embedded images can be lost. Microsoft Word documents (doc) and most audio, video, and image file formats are binary. Often the file can become corrupted and unusable if sent in the wrong encoding format.
These are just a few instances where using a text editor that supports encoding is very helpful vs using Windows provided notepad.
Warning About Similar Fake Program:
There is a Program called Notepad 3. The product is a blatant ripoff of Notepad 2. The author of Notepad 2 released Notepad 2 as (GPLed) open source code. Unfortunately a person with zero ethic’s took the code, changed it a bit and purported it to be a improved version. You can read more about the theft here: The spirit of open source.
Please don’t support such theft by using the stolen software. Also chances are good that since the person who is not above plagiarism as a short cut, didn’t bother to learn coding and cannot properly support the software in a proper and responsible manner.