In a small poll on the Sigasi website, 220 people responded to the question: Which editor do/did you use before you heard about Sigasi? We know that there is no reason to think that this test was representative of the entire VHDL development community, but the results are nevertheless interesting.
Unlike we had expected, the two ever present Unix editors, VI / VIm and Emacs / XEmacs (and their respective families) did not contest for the first place. In fact, the winner outran both VI and Emacs by far: Notepad++ got 30% of the votes. VI and Emacs almost tied for the second and third place: 22% and 20% respectively. All three of the top most popular VHDL editors are Free/Open Source software.
Next in line were UltraEdit, with a mere 6%, the Xilinx ISE editor (4%) and Crimson (4%). In the two-percent-or-less list we find the editors that come with the commercial EDA tools Quartus, ActiveHDL and HDL Designer. Some free editors at the bottom of the list include Jedit, Nedit and Kwrite. Some of the correspondents filled in nano, which we hope was a joke.
In conclusion, before they knew Sigasi, three quarters of our respondents uses free software for their VHDL editor. The 4-decade old editors VI and Emacs might have the most vocal following among VHDL designers, but Notepad++ is by far the most popular VHDL editor around.
If anybody knows of other surveys, that might be more accurate, we’d love to hear about them!