I have been a Mac guy for years, since I bought a second hand iBook G3 as a student. However there has been one application that I missed from my time using Windows – Notepad++, a simple text editor with code highlighting. The fact that I use it almost daily on my work PC just rubs salt into the wound.
Searching for “a Mac equivalent to Notepadd++” usually ends up pointing to more fully featured text editors, such as Atom. Atom is great, especially when working on a project with multiple files and using git. Atom is where I do most of my coding, but it is slow to load, especially on my ageing iMac. Often I just want to quickly edit a config file, or grab a snippet of code, so I would either wait for Atom to load, or simply use “TextEdit” or even “Nano” in the terminal. However these do not have basic developer features like code highlighting. Which is why I find often found myself looking for that perfect lightweight code editor for Mac.
Then after reading the same lists of fully featured editors, I saw a mention of CotEditor on Reddit and it seemed to meet all of my requirements – it is a native Mac app, designed for speed and was also free! It seems to still be under development, with a repository on Github, and is distributed through the Mac App Store – giving peace of mind that Apple have checked it over.
I have now been using CotEditor for a few weeks and I even prefer it to Notepad++ on my work PC. The design feels more user friendly, despite being simpler and it always seems to open quickly when needed. It just does the job it is meant to do really well, without any unnecessary bells and whistles. I am really surprised that it is not more widely used, so hopefully this post will be found by anyone looking for a lightweight, fast code editor for the Mac, that works like Notepad++ on the PC, and more people will learn about this great app.