I ran across this article I thought I’d share: Seven habits of effective text editing. It’s written by the author of VIM (Vi Improved) but the techniques apply to all good text editors. The techiques are:
Move Around Quickly – Use the editor to jump quickly to your destination. This involves not only search but also backet matching, jumping to symbols, etc.
Don’t Type It Twice – Search and Replace, Completion, Macros, etc.
Fix It When It’s Wrong – Syntax highlighting
A File Seldom Comes Alone – An editor should support quickly moving between files and viewing more than one file at a time.
Let’s Work Together – Can you integrate your editor with other programs?
Text Is Structured – Can your editor integrate with your build system? Does it recognize errors?
Make It A Habit – Spend some time learning your editor. If you never read the docs, you’ll never find where the editor can help you save time.
If you are using an editor which doesn’t allow for these techniques, you might consider switching. A friend turned me onto VIM some time back and I’ve started to become proficient with it. The learning curve is a little steep but the payoff is big. It’s also really lightweight which is nice in today’s era of heavy-footprint editors. Right now I have VIM (well, GVIM), MS Word, and Visual Studio.Net 2003 running. Their memory usage in megs is 5, 23, and 18. By comparison, Notepad appears to take about 3 megs.