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What is a Text Editor?

How to Do Serious Systems Admin Work

The Word Processor is an amazing piece of technology that has enhanced the creation of documents and formatted text the world over. If you are seeking a desktop publishing tool, you will typically not find a better method for the average user than the Word Processor. However, you cannot use a Word Processor for the creation of code or the editing of configuration files. To do serious systems administration work, you need the text editor.

A text editor is a simple tool that can be used to change the contents of a file or document without writing additional characters or storing formatting cruft within the document itself. You use the text editor when dealing with plain text like configuration files, programming or scripting languages, or troff/groff/latex formats to name a few.

Some text editors, like VIM or (NeoVIM) NVIM can even be used like an IDE. You can enhance your text editor by integrating syntax highlighting, spell checking, and even code completion or code sniffing. The ever-useful text editor is valuable to anyone who works in systems administration, software development, or other delicate tasks.

The number one item to remember is that a text editor will not inject any cruft into your file, but a Word Processor will do so. Therefore, if you plan to do serious work, you will need to take the time to familiarize yourself with a text editor and build your knowledge of how to use that tool.

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