I also don't consider myself a coder, but a lifelong coder wannabe. I don't really have a clue what the answer would be, but I noticed a few things.
up until now i've used whatever editor/IDE came with the package i was using. but now that it looks like i'm going to be doing more of this than i want to i'm in the market for a more general purpose tool.
First of all, by "in the market" do you mean you or your company is willing to pay money? (can't help you there, I haven't even looked at payware)
what i'd like is something that can handle c++, php, python, and probably java with equal aplomb.
So you have ruled out getting the best IDE for each individual language -- so noted. And you have ruled out having the most common language-specific application frameworks, libraries, templates, function calltips, and external tools already set up for you so you can get coding right away -- so noted.
I think C++ in particular benefits from the IDE developer's awareness of needs specific to that language. I wonder if you would consider shooting for one IDE for C++ and one for everything else.
folding is important to me because i often work on a small screen laptop
Fortunately, thanks to the Scintilla
component, there's no shortage of code folding freeware editors these days.
. and multiplatform would be a major plus since i work on BSD and Windows workstations. having the same tool on both environments would simplify my life greatly.
Notepad++, which was mentioned twice (and I use it myself), is Windows only, although I've seen screenshots of it running under WINE
. Consider SciTE
, the editor by the author of the Scintilla component; it is multiplatform, one downside (to me) is that to configure the tiniest thing, you have to dig into the properties files and search the help to find out what each setting means. However SciTE is the only freeware editor I know that supports function calltips, and the only reason I know this is that SciTE4AutoIT3 set this up for me in the realm of AutoIT3 scripting.
It's even able to suggest variables I created whenever I type "$" (AutoIt variables start with a dollar sign.) So my only suggestion is to give SciTE a spin and see if it is to your liking.