Homage to old faithful: Microsoft “Notepad”

What would a geek do without Microsoft’s legendary Notepad application that comes built into the Windows operating system? Yes, it is a freebie and true geeks use it every day. I do believe that I use it almost as much as my Outlook e-mail program. I would not be too far off in saying that Microsoft Notepad is a quiet killer application that is on the significance scale with the IE Web browser and MS-Outlook.

I also think that without Microsoft’s Notepad the Internet age would not have grown so quickly, as many consider Notepad the one and only HTML editor. Well, at least the coolest HTML editor. Most serious Web developers will tell you that Notepad is the only coding application they need. The main reason for Notepad’s dominance is because it was and still is the default application used to view the HTML source code in the Web browser. This enabled Web site builders to view the code used by others on the web and copy basic designs and scripts. This sharing of code fueled the explosion of HTML Web pages in the early days of the Web.

If you use a PC and you have not used or have not ever heard of Notepad, then listen up as this little application comes built-in with all versions of Windows since Win 95. Notepad does not ever get a major upgrade, but yet never needs a major upgrade because it just does text so simply and without proprietary text formatting that is so often a problem for Web developers.
I would talk about how Notepad was born, but it is a big mystery. I have not been able to find any information on the history of Notepad. I am hoping to learn the name of the person or persons who actually created the best Web site editor ever made. It is still the leading programming development tool and you would have thought that it would have been replaced by applications like Visual Basic or FrontPage. The reason that Notepad has maintained its dominance is it’s a free cross-platform tool that uses non-proprietary plain text used by all programming languages. You would think that the best text editors like Microsoft Word and FrontPage would be the best programming editor, but Word and FrontPage use proprietary formatting tags and this causes problems and complications for programmers.

When I get a Word file text from a client that needs to be inserted into a Web site, I almost always use Notepad as a filter to get rid of all the proprietary formatting that comes with the text .doc file in Word. Then I cut and paste the text out of Notepad and paste it into the HTML file.

I also use Notepad for note taking in my laptop computer and for storing passwords and other text information that needs to be stored. I even have folders full of Notepad text files. I love Notepad text files for three main reasons: user interface simplicity, transferring text between applications, and small files size.

Windows users: Do yourself a favor and visit a Notepad near you by clicking the Start button, then Programs and then click on Accessories and then look for Notepad in the program list. Keep in mind you are using a world-changing tool. Even if you don’t like Microsoft, you should cheer them for creating this tool as without it the Web would not be what it is today.