It’s 2023: are we still fighting the editor war?

Tom Deneire
6 min readJan 13, 2023
Screenshot of my editor setup, using Neovim with gopls LSP, inside Tilix. See my configuration dotfiles.

The editor war

When Unix culture became popularized, the community quickly found itself entertaining fierce discussions. Put a bunch of programmers in a room and they’re bound to disagree about the merits of operating systems, programming languages, version control systems and even indent style. One of these “holy wars” was the rivalry between users of Emacs and vi(m), also known as the editor war, which — according to sources — has been going on at least since 1986!

Today, this so-called “editor war”, seems far from over. Channels like Reddit, HackerNews or Medium are ripe with people proclaiming (sometimes shouting) which tool is “best” (usually, their editor or IDE of course!), and I used to be very reluctant to get involved. When I first started working in software development I briefly used Komodo and Spyder, before joining a company that used SublimeText and, later on, VSCode. I was happy with all of these tools, and didn’t care for foul-mouthed fanboys of this or that editor du jour.

Recently, however, I have come to appreciate these discussions (if civil, of course) and especially the critical reflection of which tool is best for you. Because, let me be clear from the start, there is no such thing as “the best” editor.

The right tool for the job