Project of the Month, February 2010

By Community Team


Notepad++ is a free (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several programming languages and natural languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License. Based on the powerful editing component, Scintilla, Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size.

Why and how did you get started?

The company where I worked used JEXT (another open source code editor in Java) as the production tool. Due to its poor performance, I began an investigation to find another solution (in C++ instead of in Java) in September 2003. I found Scintilla and built a prototype. Unfortunately this solution was not accepted. I removed the specific part and continued to develop it in my leisure time. On the 25th November 2003 it was made available on SourceForge, and that was the birth of Notepad++.

Who is the software’s intended audience?

Developers/Programmers, IT teams, administrators and grand moms (indeed, I’ve got a feature request from a grandpa for his daily note).

What are a couple of notable examples of how people are using your software?

I have no notable example. At least, it’s one of the development tools in my current company 🙂

What are the system requirements for your software, and what do people need to know about getting it set up and running?

Windows 98/ME/2K/XP/Vista and Windows 7

What gave you an indication that your project was becoming successful?

The support and feature requests are increasing daily on the forums. Another indication is new third-party plugins are coming out steadily.

What has been your biggest surprise?

In Windows world, different from Linux’s and Macintosh’s one, there is limited community, but a lot of end users. So it doesn’t surprise me there are a lot of Notepad++ users, since it’s a good product. What surprised me is the appearance of Notepad++ community. This community formed in SourceForge then extended to outside SourceForge: the npp-community, by the end users, contributors to daily support, test, documentation, translation, plugin development and Notepad++ development.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Make Notepad++ KISS 🙂 By adding features little by little in Notepad++, Keeping It Simple and Stupid in its user interface is always one of most important guidelines in its development.

Why do you think your project has been so well received?

Surely because of the praise from a lot of users. But also we can take the complaints as a indication that project is well received — if there’s no user for a product there’ll be no complaint.

What advice would you give to a project that’s just starting out?

Love and passion 🙂 No kidding, for me they are two essential elements; to maintain an open source project and make it successful. Each creation of function or of class is a piece of art and they deserve your love. Love your source code and invest your passion to your project. Your reward will be more than you paid.

Where do you see your project going?

Make it more open and more extensible. The creation of the Notepad++ Wiki, called NpWiki++ and npp-community projects make contributing to the project more accessible. Further language templates make development of plugins more accessible. Currently many plugins are written in C/C++ and Delphi, but a template for .NET was just released, and we expect there’ll be many more C# and VB.NET plugins emerging from this. In order to benefit from the rich Java API, implementation of class loader is in progress. All this will make Notepad++ more open therefore more extensible.

What’s on your project wish list?

Perl Compatible Regular Expressions
Built-in HexEditor
Support opening file with huge length
A new icon (16×16 32×32 48×48 64×64).
A new design of web site on

What are you most proud of?

To be part of the FOSS movement.

If you could change something about the project, what would it be?

Cross-platform capacity.

How do you coordinate the project?

The communication between the contributors mainly pass via email or irc.
The regression test is not (yet) integrated in the Notepad++ official release procedure. The npp-community uses Goggle test framework for the regression test on the compile time.

How many hours a month do you and/or your team devote to the project?

About 100 hours per month (for me). I personally spend 3 hours per day during the week, 8-10 hours minimum on the weekend

What is your development environment like?

(Machines), operating system(s), compilers, debuggers, etc.)

Machine : Core duo 1.07 Ghz + 1 Gbyte of RAM
OS : Vista
Compiler : VS 2005


Date Version / Milestone
November, 2003 Version 1.0 released
July, 2004 Version 2.2 – User Language Define System; Translatable
July, 2005 Version 3.1 – Plugins System
November, 2007 Version 4.6 – Auto-Updater
October, 2008 Version 5.1 – Unicode-compliant
November, 2009 Version 5.6 – Codepages encoding and convertion
2010 Version 6.0 – Perl Compatible Regular Expressions

How can others contribute?

Via Sourceforge patch tracker or bug/feature request tracker.

More projects of the month

Project name: Notepad++

Date founded: November, 2003

Project page:

Project Leader

Don Ho

Occupation: Computer software engineer

Location: Paris, France

Education: DESS (Master of Advanced Studies) Logiciels Fondamentaux à l’Université Paris 7

Key Developers

Christian Cuvier

Occupation: Statistics

Education:Math PhD

Location: Vanves, France

Dave Brotherstone

Occupation:Never enough

Education:Leeds Uni, UK

Location: Berlin, Germany

Harold Bruintjes

Occupation: Local DIY store

Education:Master Computer Science at the University of Twente

Location: Enschede, Netherlands



Education: Enough

Location: Canada

Thell Fowler

Occupation:President, Pyrapat Inc., AI R & D

Education:Not enough!
Location:Arkansas, U.S.

Vitaliy Dovgan

Occupation:Programmer (C, C++, Delphi, WinAPI) about 6-7 years

Education:Kiev Polytechnic University, magister of Electronics department

Location: Ukraine, Kiev


Occupation:DSP Engineer


Location: Austrailia

Why did you place the project on

Touched by the GNU philosophy, Notepad++ project was born under Gnu Public License, and Sourceforge was (and it still is) well known as one of the largest platforms to host open sources projects. So Notepad++ was placed on Sourceforge naturally in 2003.

How has helped your project succeed?

Its reputation, its well done infrastructure and its very high quality support (in both irc channel and trackers).

What is the number one benefit of using

There are too many benefits on SourceForge to tell which one is the most important.

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