Brackets

Brackets 1.8

Free
An open-source text editor intended for web design
3.9  (40 votes)
3.5
1.11 (See all)

Brackets is an open-source text editor specially intended for web design. This tool can be most useful to front-end developers. The program has features that make it compatible with other products by Adobe as well as Google. Its interface is quite similar to those of other similar editors, so there is practically nothing new to learn before experienced users can work with it fluently. It has a nice Spartan design; and fortunately, there are many themes to choose from.

As most modern code editors, Brackets supports automatic code completion and identification of reserved words. In this regard, it is compatible with various widely used JavaScript frameworks, such as AngularJS. The editor also allows folding selected text to help you focus on the part of the code you are working on. I am glad the tool can support CSS preprocessors like LESS and SCSS. However, it is not compatible with Stylus, probably one of the most widely used. Fortunately, the program supports CSS code hints from within PHP files. Last but not least, Brackets can also provide almost instant search results by indexing the contents of thousands of files.

Although Brackets is not actually a WYSIWYG editor, it has a very cool feature called Live Preview. This lets you open both the editor and Google Chrome and see how the changes you make in the code are immediately reflected in the browser. Likewise, it supports dev tools like those you find in Chrome. Another feature that I find particularly interesting is that the program can preview the images that are referred to in the IMG tags. This allows a simple mouse hovering over the code to display the corresponding picture within the editor itself.

A separate mention deserved the extensions supported by this tool. They can be installed both directly from the Internet and local ZIP files. Many other functionalities can be added this way. For instance, there is HTML Designer for Brackets, which turns the program into a WYSIWYG editor. Likewise, another extension can interpret the information in PSD files, such as colors, gradients, and fonts, and save it in a CSS file. Also, it can extract every layer as a separate image. Another feature that can be enhanced is code completion, which adds support of other programming languages and frameworks. Fortunately, if you download the open API of the program, you can write your own new extensions.

All in all, Brackets is not an IDE. It is a very powerful text editor with multiple features, which can easily be extended via plugins. Yet, as any other software product, it does have limitations. For instance, it does not seem to support any version control software, which is essential for team development.

Pedro Castro
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • It supports automatic code completion, reserved word highlighting and text folding
  • It is compatible with various JavaScript frameworks
  • Other functionalities can be added by installing extensions
  • It allows previewing code changes on your browser in real time
  • It lets you preview images

Cons

  • It does not seem to support any version control software
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