I have added a webpart with a content editor on the create and edit forms of a list. When I extract the list as a list template and then apply it to a new site, it seems the list does not include the content editor that I added in the other list. Is there any way to have these included or must I build a list definition in VS? It also seems to disreguard the default view I modified.
List templates do not contain modifications you make to the new, edit, or display pages. Those pages are just entries in the database as to what changes were done to them (like adding a CEWP) so they don't physically exist (there's a NewForm.aspx for example but it's used as a template then any modifications are read from the database and applied to it). List templates don't save these modifications, the only save the list definition and any content you give it.
As to why you think the default view isn't being saved I can't say. Any new views you create (public views, not personal) are saved with the list template along with changes you make to the default view (you don't have to include content to have these changes saved). It all depends on what you modified in the view. For example if you added some content to the view page (like you did the edit page) then that won't be included (for the same reason above) but if you've just moved columns around and added filters or sorting (anything you can do in the WebUI) then those settings are saved with the template.