About Text Editors

July 26, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I've been asked several times if I have switched from BBEdit to Sublime Text 2. I have not.

I use ST2 during the day on Windows. There is no better text editor on Windows.

At home, I use a Mac exclusively. BBEdit is still my editor of choice. It's more Mac like. I like the scripting support and the ability to plugin to the menus with AppleScript. The BBEdit jump marks are very powerful. Even with all of that, I really enjoy working with ST2. It's a great editor with some unique features. I'm working on making plugins and I've tweaked the configurations to make it suit my needs.

Competition is Good

If I want to sit down and write in MultiMarkdown I can choose between NVAlt, Byword, MultiMarkdown Composer, Folding Text, BBEdit or Sublime Text 2. I feel like Jay Leno when he wakes up and wants to go for a drive. I have a garage filled with amazing but different options. NVAlt is the Austin Mini Cooper. It's fun and easy drive, but I don't want to go on a long trip with it. Sublime Text 2 is the Tesla Roadster. It's breathtaking and fast but tweak it too hard and you just screwed up your ride beyond all repair. BBEdit is the VW Westfalia. It has more amenities than I can comprehend, and it's not the best looking ride out there but I could probably live in it if I wanted to.1

Here's the thing, every new editor makes the others get better in some way.2 Right now Sublime Text is king of the hill. BareBones isn't shutting down development of BBEdit. I'd be willing to bet someone over at BareBones HQ has a copy of Sublime Text and is looking to see what features might make BBEdit better.

Context Counts

When I sit down to write code, I have different considerations. There are only a couple options. I generally use CodeRunner (review) for short Python. For anything substantial, I use Sublime Text 2.

For HTML and CSS, I use Coda 2.

I'm fickle. I'm not committed to a single application if it's not the best. It's easy to configure a new editor to use the same shortcuts and color schemes. I enjoy learning about new ways to do old things better. Better is better.

That said, BBEdit is still one of the best. I will continue to use it until it is not. I will also continue to learn how to use it better.

On BBEdit

Some things I've written while learning about BBEdit:

Moving to BBEdit BBEdit Footnotes BBEdit Reference Links Insert End References BBEdit Markers Quick Notes with BBEdit Change Language Script BBEdit Color Picker My BBEdit Settings Marked Preview for BBEdit Custom Grammar Checker Select next word script

On Sublime Text

I've recently started a series of posts about using Sublime Text for writing. This exploration has been fun and informative for me. I've learned things about the editor but I've also figured out better ways to do things in BBEdit. Some of the things I've written about Sublime Text:

Recommendation Sublime Text for Writing A Couple Tips Marked Bonus Pack Bookmarks Macro to Open a Folder Dictionary Macro Section Navigation

Conclusion

If your livelihood depends on an IDE or text editor, I recommend picking one and mastering it. It's probably not worth messing around with six different editors. If I made a living off of writing plain text, I'd probably book some Vim tutorial time with Dr. Bunsen.


  1. Sorry I suck at cars and analogies. This is the worst possible combination. 

  2. That assumes the developer actually wants to get a full functioning non-alpha version out the door. I didn't leave TextMate 2 off the list by accident. 

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