Modal Code Editors for Developer

5 min readJun 6, 2021

A list of less commonly known modern code editors which support modal editing.

Photo by Matthew Kwong on Unsplash


In an earlier article, I talked about embedding Neovim in browsers and Visual Studio Code using Firenvim and VSCode Neovim. For developers, there are simply too many code editors for us to choose from. From Vim, Emacs till more modern code editors like Atom, Sublime, Neovim, VSCode just to name a few.

Personally, I would encourage developers to learn and use modal editing. Vim/Neovim supports this natively. For Emacs we have evil-mode, and for VSCode we can use plugins like VSCodeVim or VSCode Neovim. Almost all modern code editors support modal editing in one way or another.

In this article let’s go through a few less commonly know modal code editors.


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Kakoune is a text editor inspired by Vim. It implements Vi’s “keystrokes as a text editing language” model. It can operate in two modes, normal and insertion. In insertion mode, keys are directly inserted into the current buffer. In normal mode, keys are used to manipulate the current selection and to enter insertion mode.

Kakoune has built-in contextual help, as-you-type completion, syntax highlighting for several programming languages. You can also install plugins to further customize Kakoune.

Kakoune Contextual Help
  • Multiple selections as a central way of interacting
  • Powerful selection manipulation primitives
  • Select all regex matches in current selections
  • Keep selections containing/not containing a match for a given regex

Software engineer, Data Science and ML practitioner.