For the last year or so I’ve been in text editor purgatory. I flipped back and forth between Espresso and Coda and was reasonably happy with each of them. They both look great – albeit different, they both extend with themes and plugins and they each excel in different ways but I still felt as if I could do better.
The next obvious move was to TextMate which is well known for both its community and its lack of major updates. The community around it however, is so vibrant that it manages to stay in the conversation. After kicking the tires a bit I decided that TextMate wasn’t for me. To my designer-y eyes it looks and feels clunky and, even though the next version has been promised this year, a track record of inactive development is disconcerting.
As I began looking around again, the aforementioned kept popping up along with BBEdit but then a new trend emerged: editors that supported TextMate bundles and themes. Apps like Chocolat looked interesting but are too early in development to rely on. Vico does some pretty nifty split screen editing but uses Vi key bindings which I found confusing.
Then I took a look at Sublime Text 2. The feature list is pretty incredible: TextMate bundle and theme support, crazy multi select and more hot keys than you can shake a stick at. The development is very active and it’s cross-platform (if you’re into that). The only thing it’s missing is an HTML preview a la Espresso, but with so much going right, it’s easy to to rationalize developing in a browser.
When you first crack open Sublime Text 2, you may – like me – find that it looks a little rough around the edges. I’d highly recommend installing the Soda Theme immediately. I also found this article from Zander Martineau extremely helpful in getting up and running and you’re going to want to install Package Control right away. This video also has some nice tips and tricks but beware the startling audio pops.
My license is purchased and I’m looking forward to making Sublime Text 2 feel like home for the forseeable future.