August 18, 2007

Text editor comparison

I was on a project recently where I found that I needed to be able to open and save extremely large (>500 MB) files, and easily preserve the formatting and line endings. After much research and testing here's what I found:
(This was on a Dell desktop w/2GB RAM)

The standard Windows editors, NotePad and WordPad were way too slow once the files were > ~200MB. Plus WordPad reformatted the document to replace individual [CR]s or [LF]s with [CR][LF]s - no matter what format type was selected.

The Visual Studio 2005 editor was very good about not reformatting the line endings... it gives an initial alert asking if you want to reformat them, then preserves them correctly when you click No. Unfortunately, this editor is also very sluggish opening large files.

You can preserve formatting also with NotePad++, and UltraEdit fairly easily, but again, when it comes to very large files they just don't cut it. My perennial favorite, PFE (Programmer's File Editor), also starts to choke once the files get large.

Finally, there's across TextPad5... It is amazing how fast it not only opens but saves gigantic text files in a matter of seconds. The only issue I have with it is that the format type reverts to the first type in the list every time, rather than the most recent choice, but IMO if you need to read/save really large text files, TextPad5 is so much faster than anything else, that it is easily the way to go. Special thanks to Matt Casto for recommending it.

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