For writing any program or communication through computer, the most important feature is writing down or recording the data required. This type of computer data is mostly written in simple plain text format. The programs which are used to write such computer data and information and also to amend those respective data or information are called text editors.
Each and every character of this plain text format contains one byte data which is equivalent to eight bits. For any type of communication between computers, be it instant messages or email messages, the plain text format is used. Therefore a text editor can be used to write different types texts such as email message, computer program, web page code, etc.
Now before going into details about different types of text editors available, let us analyze the difference between plain text files and word processor files as most of us often mix the two.
• Plain text files are created with the help of text editors, whereas word processor files are created with help of word processors such as Microsoft word, word perfect, etc.
• A plain text file uses simple format text such as ASCII (American Standard Code for Interface Interchange) to represent characters numbers and symbols, where as a word processor document contains text which can be formatted to make the text big in size, bold, italics, underlined, etc.
• A plain text file is used to write programs which can be used to run different types of commands whereas word processor files are used to create some interesting which can be printed on paper.
Text editor is considered to be one of the very first steps in learning to write a specific computer program. For example to write a HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) program, only a plain text file is used, as the text written in word processors are often amended automatically and hence can interfere with the running of the program. There are various text editors available some of the text editors are simple and easy to use such as Microsoft Windows' built-in Notepad whereas some are more complex usually used by professionals.