Brackets: a Revolutionary Code Editor for the Web

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When it comes to coding tools, web developers are spoiled for choice. Take your pick from dozens of commercial, free and open source editors including Sublime, Eclipse, Netbeans, Aptana, Visual Studio, Komodo, PSPad, Coda, Bluefish, gEdit, Emacs, Vim, Notepad++ and even Windows Notepad for all you coding masochists.

Do we need another option? Adobe thinks so and they’ve founded Brackets — an open-source MIT-licensed editor available at

While most code editors do a reasonable job, the majority have their roots in desktop development. They may offer reasonable tools but web development projects consist of multiple related files. You’ll often have HTML, CSS and JavaScript files open as separate tabs — if you want to change styles on an HTML element, you’ll need to switch to one or more CSS files, locate the properties, edit, save and return back to the HTML.

What makes Brackets different is the Quick Edit option. Highlight an HTML tag and press Ctrl/Cmd + E; the HTML file splits in two and associated styles can be edited below the element:


It seems so natural — why didn’t anyone think of it before?!

Need more? Brackets offers a Live File Preview option which automatically refreshes your browser in real-time as you make changes to the HTML and CSS.

Perhaps of more interest to web developers is that Brackets is built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It’s run in a lightweight shell which provides access to the OS file systems but can also be launched in a browser. If you can write web code, you have the skills to customize, extend and contribute to the project.

Brackets appears to be impressive, exciting and could revolutionize the way we write code. That’s not something you can say about many text editors. However, before you rush off to install Brackets, be aware that it’s a new project, not ready for general use and missing many features. For more information, refer to:

If you’d like to contribute to the development tasks, see:

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

BracketseditorHTML5 Dev CenterIDEweb
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