teaching machines

What’s the Best Text Editor?

Students ask, “What’s the best text editor?”

When talking about superlatives like best and worst, we really have to narrow down our scope to have meaningful discussion. You simply can’t say, “They’re the best band ever!” You’ve not gone through all of time and figured that out. Even if we could travel through time, there’s no universal aesthetic by which we can measure a text editor and find one to call the best.

We must narrow the scope to something like, “What’s the best text editor for me?” But with this question things are different. We are not evaluating a text editor. We are evaluating our relationship to it.

The best text editor, therefore, is the one with which we have the strongest relationship. The best text editor is the configured one. My .vimrc file is 2287 lines long, so Vim is the best one for me.

I heard a man say once that it was enough to call his wife beautiful. He didn’t also have to call every other woman ugly. Beauty is a property of our beloved; others’ beauty or ugliness has no bearing. I love Vim, but it’s not because Emacs sucks.

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