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TextMate’s Undo

Every so often, I read yet another comment on yet another blog about how TextMate is so great. So I download it again and launch it again. I configure some of the settings (hey, it has Preferences now!). I've done this a few times now (and a search for "TextMate" on this site will confirm this).

Recently I conducted another of these experiments. I got so far as trying to modify one of the files in the theme I use on this site. I typed a line or two, uploaded the changes, and realized I'd edited the wrong file. I hit cmd-Z to undo and… yeah. TextMate users know what I found. Undo only "undoes" one character at a time.

Into the trash TextMate went again.

For those TextMate users in the audience, why do you use TextMate? For those BBEdit users, why have you stuck with BBEdit?

127 Responses to "TextMate’s Undo"

  1. I don't use either application. TextEdit and SubEthaEdit are for me. I only used BBEdit in the Mac OS 9 days when there wasn't anything good to use. I have no reason to use TextMate or BBEdit.

  2. Erik, do you remember the day I released TextMate, you wrote me to say that: "my initial reaction is poor" and then asked for some sort of license exchange deal, which I found odd, given how you clearly did not like the product.

    Your response was: "It should make a great deal of sense, but perhaps you'll learn that as you spend time in the Mac software arena". I was never sure how to interpret the last part of the sentence, and I am reminded of it, each time someone tells me you blogged how TextMate is the shit for letting you down.

    And this is not to indicate I am offended by your posts — many users do indeed share your hate of the non-chunked undo, and it will change sometime in the future.

    I'll let others comment on why they would use it or stay with BBEdit, but you may have a look at some of the screencasts (or even the manual) to learn what the editor has to offer. I'd recommend you at least watch the two Objective-C screencasts (given how you have worked with this) and the customization screencast (to get a feel for just how powerful the language grammar / scope selector system is).

    No matter what, you probably won't find what's cool about TextMate just by editing two lines of text.

  3. Allan Odgaard said on November 9, 2006:

    Your response was: "It should make a great deal of sense, but perhaps you'll learn that as you spend time in the Mac software arena". I was never sure how to interpret the last part of the sentence, and I am reminded of it, each time someone tells me you blogged how TextMate is the shit for letting you down.

    I remember writing that, yes. And let me be clear in saying that I don't appreciate a private conversation being made public. At any rate…

    At the time, Freshly Squeezed Software was doing well, and we had an application - an FTP app - that worked with a number of text editors.

    The "Mac software arena" (I remember typing "software" because "Mac arena" is a bad song and dance) remains small, and though I've removed myself from it to a great extent, I remember saying that to you (though I don't care for the lack of context) and I remember how I felt. Licenses among the indie Mac software developers were freely shared. FSS handed out MailDrop, PulpFiction, and FTPeel licenses like candy to other indie Mac developers. Why? Because we took care of each other, had a sense of brotherhood, and - most importantly - because it made sense to. You never knew when someone might, through experimentation, come up with a nifty way to use your app or to integrate it with their own in ways that benefitted you both. Or when they might share an idea with you. We were all working on the same problems, after all. Having users who both knew the Mac, how to develop for it, and various other associated things using your app is a "win." Only good could come of sharing and treating other indie Mac developers well.

    It's in that same vein that I found the fact that you'd tell your customers to bug us about ODB support unusual and something unlike what "the Mac software arena" was used to. For me, your request of your users came between efforts between me and Brent Simmons to work together on something that mutually benefitted NNW and PulpFiction and right after we'd talked with just about every other text editor we could think of to add the ODB support to FTPeel. It didn't seem "Mac-like," if I may extend that phrase to include a standard of behavior beyond an OS itself and onto indie Mac developers.

    Allan Odgaard said on November 9, 2006:

    And this is not to indicate I am offended by your posts — many users do indeed share your hate of the non-chunked undo, and it will change sometime in the future.

    I am glad to hear that. Repeating menu keys (hold down cmd-Z) strike me as silly.

    Allan Odgaard said on November 9, 2006:

    I'll let others comment on why they would use it or stay with BBEdit

    That's awfully gracious of you, considering it's my blog and I asked the question. ;-) Perhaps you could answer a different question: why did you create TextMate?

    I'll watch some of the screencasts if I get the chance.

    Allan Odgaard said on November 9, 2006:

    No matter what, you probably won't find what's cool about TextMate just by editing two lines of text.

    I likely won't, but I seem to have found what's uncool about it by editing two lines of text.

  4. My name is Ben and I'm a TextMate user...

    Basically, while I've been using macs since OS9, I've not done any codery stuff until somewhere during 10.3. I mostly do PHP, webby languages and the odd bit of shell scripting. Also some dabbling in Objective-C.

    I downloaded and tried BBEdit some time ago, but the interface and clunkyness at the time made my eyes bleed and brain hurt. For this reason I went to Zend Studio for my PHP coding. Then I heard of TextMate. I downloaded it and used it for a bit, with the reaction "Oh, TextEdit with syntax highlighting. Back to my IDE then."

    Later I tried it again with some PHP code, and still wasn't too keen on the app. I forced myself to use it for a short while, and suddenly realised that this was actually a viable and lightweight alternative to my IDE, it has syntax highlighting for multiple languages, snippets, basic code completion and project management. The only thing I need Zend Studio for now is remote debugging and benchmarking. The fact that TextMate launches just as fast as TextEdit is also great.

    The one-char undo thing is sometimes useful, sometimes not. I'm neutral on that one.

    So yeah, TextMate because:
    - Lightweight
    - All the features I need for day-to-day use
    - Tidy interface
    - Snippets, templates, macros and all that
    - Nicer than BBEdit

  5. I'm a Textmate user for the mostpart. I haven't used BBEdit since System 7 or maybe OS 8, I don't remember. Anyhow, that left a bad taste in my mouth. Once I got more into dev work, I kind of flip flopped between editors, using vim a lot, as well as SubEthaEdit for non-commercial work (until I was kindly gifted a license). Then I found TextMate. The power and extensability astounded me, and then I was gifted a license for that, so I've stuck with that since.

    Between the highlighting, macros, snippets and commands, the whole thing is pretty sweet. To be honest, the issue with undo hasn't phased me. I've been heavily relying on TextMate since I started my new job, and I have never considered changing.

  6. BBEdit "undoes" forward deletes one character at a time too, it drives me crazy. I don't remember the exact answer I received from Bare Bones when I reported this some two years ago, but it didn't impress me much.

    Still, I'm not switching from BBEdit any time soon. I'd try TextMate but the screenshots don't really appeal to me, probably because of the drawer and the tabs.

  7. Why have we stuck with BBEdit? Because nothing else compares. It is an invaluable part of our work flow.

    I've had numerous plays with TextMate to see what all the fuss is about. It has really impressed me. Sure, I can understand why some people like it but I just don't understand the amount of attention it gets.

    Something that really turns me off TextMate is the way Allan Odgaard is constantly attacks BBEdit, Barebones, and Rich Siegel. There is no need for it. Especially the attacks on Rich. Try standing on the merits of your own program rather than belittling another.

  8. I've been using BBEdit since version 4 or so, an barring a large rock falling on Bare Bones, I'm going to use it until they decide on their own to stop making it.

    It does everything I ask of it and then some, it has the featureset I like, and each release gets better. 8.5 added stuff that I didn't know I wanted, but now I'm unsure as to how I got along without it. The funny thing is, I really don't use it for programming. I use it for writing, and it's just a fantastic tool for that.

  9. I'm a long time BBEdit user. I use it for a couple of reasons.

    One, it's a terrific text editor and it doesn't get in my way.

    Two, it's 'diff" function is excellent. I especially like how it shows me the deltas within a changed line.

    Two, I use its networking features fairly often. It's so easy to edit files on a remote host over sftp almost like it's a local file. Way nicer than using emacs in the terminal to modify those files.

    That said, for daily coding I spend 99% of my time in the Xcode editor.

  10. MJD said on November 9, 2006:

    Something that really turns me off TextMate is the way Allan Odgaard is constantly attacks BBEdit, Barebones, and Rich Siegel.

    What the hell are you talking about?

    Other than quote Rich Siegel on a t-shirt, with a statement he made about OS X text editors, I am not aware of anything I should have said or done that relates to BareBones, their staff, or their products.

  11. [...] Sometimes you find people that have just enough in common with you that you figure, this guy is on the ball. I keep trying TextMate - and because I want to be one of the cool kids I really, really try to like it each time. It sometimes makes me hurt how much I can't like it, as if somehow I am flawed at my core and just can't “grok the hype.” [...]

  12. With respect to all text editors, every time I take a look at TextMate, it has a few things that I wish my preferred text editors did. I take one look at the long list of bundles and feel a bit overwhelmed. I also feel like there's a lot of power in TextMate that I *could* be utilizing. It feels like a Mac guy did emacs (which, I believe, is part of its purpose).

    I continue with Xcode for one simple reason: intelligent code completion. I know TextMate got it recently, but Xcode really shines here. CodeSense makes my life so much easier. Of course, Xcode also has a lot of other power-user shortcuts that I happen to be more familiar with that helps me be more productive.

    I also tend to use TextWrangler for any other type of text editing. I probably start every bit of text that I write there and I do most of my scripting there. I love TextMate's support for scripting languages (and the snippets feature) so I'm inclined to make the jump. I'm held back, however, by a vast range of applescripts that I use to make TextWrangler do so much more than it was intended to do. TextWrangler is mad scriptable and my scripts are a vital part of my workflow. If my scripts could be converted to TextMate, I could probably wean myself off TextWrangler. I should say, though, that at least a few of those scripts were written to approximate features in TextMate.

    Sorry for the long comment but that's my opinion on TextMate and why I stick with Xcode and TextWrangler.

  13. I realize that this debate is about as serious as "vi vs. emacs" and other classic debates, but please, let's keep things civil. Trash either app all you want, but don't trash people. And do try to answer the question, which remains "For those TextMate users in the audience, why do you use TextMate? For those BBEdit users, why have you stuck with BBEdit?"

  14. Erik: In response to your question about why use TextMate, I think the best answer was given by a recent blog post entitled Bright, Patient Design. I think if you give TextMate a fair shot for a week or two, you'll be really happy with it for web stuff, for C programming, and for just writing blog entries, etc.

    For more about TextMate's features, written very simply, I think you could do worse than the wikipedia article. Someday, I plan on writing an extensive comparative review of TextMate versus a bunch of other editors, such as vim, emacs, bbedit, subethaedit, xcode, and possibly eclipse or others. But today is not that someday.

    MJD said on November 9, 2006:

    Something that really turns me off TextMate is the way Allan Odgaard is constantly attacks BBEdit, Barebones, and Rich Siegel. There is no need for it. Especially the attacks on Rich. Try standing on the merits of your own program rather than belittling another.

    Do you have any examples of this, other than the TM shirt, which was made by a fan, and has a rather unprofessional quotation from Rich Siegel attacking the "overnight editors" on the back of it (and is used on the shirt tongue-in-cheek)? Other than that, I think it's only happy TM fans that have attacked BBEdit, but never Allan himself (except maybe by implications with statements that he didn't really like any of the Mac text editors he tried, but I hardly think that counts as a specific attack on Rich Siegel or Bare Bones).

    John C. Welch: While TextMate isn't quite a large rock falling on Rich Siegel, I think you'd be very happily surprised if you tried it for writing. Especially if you are writing in a structured format like Markdown or LaTeX, TextMate has much finer-grained contextual control than any other app I've ever heard of. While I'll agree with you though that BBEdit 8.5 was quite a significant update, and does a lot to polish and modernize BBEdit, and while I'll further agree that BBEdit is a great editor, I think personally that TextMate is a better tool for writing. And should get better once I've made my writing bundle.

    Michael: Interesting that you use BBEdit for the sftp and the integrated diff tool. TextMate isn't really set up to do either of those things the way you want, and I don't personally have any need for those two things, so it doesn't bother me :D. But if you use Xcode (presumably for Objective-C or similar), I think you'll find TextMate more than a match for it.

  15. [Ed: removed rant about how big a jerk I am.]

    Why I use TextMate over BBEdit:
    - Significantly better syntax highlighting
    - Tons of great built-in bundles
    - Macros and bundles are extremely powerful and easy to create and modify
    - BBEdit looks like OS 9 to me, it's time to move into the future of the UI
    - BBEdit is significantly more expensive when it doesn't offer me much more functionality-wise (this is obviously dependent on what you do with your text editor on a regular basis)
    - TextMate is under constant development and releasing
    - Allan seems more down-to-earth and approachable
    - I want to support indie developers
    - TextMate is a joyful experience to use and I use it all day, every day

  16. Incidentally, I'm asking the question - and I keep trying TextMate - because I keep wondering what I'm missing.

    I want to like TextMate. I really do. But it seems like every time I try to give TextMate a shot, I stumble over something really early on. This last time, it was the single-character undo.

    I hear 2.0 for Leopard will be great and that it uses the updated (and very much improved) NSTextView. I'm looking forward to trying that. For now, it's BBEdit.

  17. I have both BBEdit and TextMate, but I prefer TextMate for the time beeing. Mostly because it's vast better handling of projects with numerous files that I want access to directly (in the drawer) and it's much better syntax highlighting and expandability (bundles). It is however a bit encumbered by its expandability as well, since that makes it a bit hard to get aquianted to, and the documentation for TM is nowhere near as good as BBEdit's.

    I am comfortable owning both though, so that I can switch freely between them - it happens from time to time even now, but with a clear preference for TM.

    And please stop the person attacking stuff - it's so low. It's only text we are manipulating in these editors anyway! :)

  18. BBEdit never really did anything for me. It just dind't feel intuitive, and I could never justify pluking down over a hundered dollars for it.

    When I started with TextMate it never felt right either. But I watched its development, and gave it another shot. It helped that I watched one of the screencasts demoing it. It's really grown on me. I'm very fond of triggers (type a keyword, then hit tab to generate a bunch of code), but what won me over was its completely natural scripting capabilities. It takes almost no effort at all to script new triggers and shortcuts. I've created all sorts of custom scripts and have barely scratched the capabilities of the scripting interface.

    I've grown very fond on TextMate, and use it as my primary text editor (with Vi as my backup).

  19. [...] Erik J. Barzeski asks For those TextMate users in the audience, why do you use TextMate? For those BBEdit users, why have you stuck with BBEdit? [...]

  20. I have written a much longer, slightly tangential, response here:

    http://www.friday.com/bbum/2006/11/09/bbedit-vs-textmate-the-editor-wars-revisited/

    With a bit of history here:

    http://www.friday.com/bbum/2006/03/17/text-editing/

    BBEdit has perpetuated an internal mental model of text editing that is incompatible with TextMate. As a result, you are going to find TM to be a very uncomfortable work environment for quite a while and some of the bugs are gonna drive you bonkers because you won't have awesome increases in productivity to offset the annoyance.

    Kinda like how I feel when I try to use BBEdit. It drives me bonkers. Alien environment.

    So, if you really want to get a feel for TM, you'll have to give it at least of week of intense usage to rewire your mental model enough to not have it give you a headache when doing so.

  21. Jacob...I have a tool that works really well for me. It works really well in the way I like it to work.

    You haven't given me any reason that TextMate is better enough to switch, just that you like it a lot and it's different. Sorry, but i don't change for "different". I change for "better", and it has to be better in a huge way to get me to go through the trouble of seriously looking at it.

    I'm glad you like TextMate, but "It's really, really cool" isn't a reason for me to switch. I'm glad you like Textmate, but I don't need to be evangelized to.

    Oh, before you start, the price is not a problem for me. I get my money's worth.

  22. Personally I've never liked BBEdit. Ever. I tried back in the OS9 days, and even then thought "why?".

    TextMate feels right. It has just the right level of project support. It has SVN integration. It's bundles surprise me every day when I think "I wish it did...", and it does. It's HTML bundle gives me all the shortcuts that I want.

    I had TextMate lying around for a few months before registering it (it kept resetting it's 30 day trial - I didn't hack it or do anything, I just kept forgetting to delete it, and then I'd open a file that was associated with it and go "oh, it's working again?"), and didn't fall in love with it until I actually used for a real project. After a week I realised that I didn't want to do any more work without it, so registered it. Never regretted it.

    Now I go against the grain at work (where Eclipse is the #1 tool of choice) and use it there to.

  23. Editor wars? Seriously? Oh awesome. I've been missing this ever since the glory days of vi vs. emacs.

    It just makes me so happy to see that the nerd crowd still can't calm down and let folks use what they like. Text editor drama. I love it.

    Carry on, lads, carry on.

  24. I suppose I should elaborate...

    The syntax highlighting, the bundles, the active development, the collapsable blocks are all really nice things (though BBedit does have the blocks, I prefer the way they appear/collapse in TM).

    The way that the HTML stuff just kind of happens inline without throwing up dialogue boxes left right and centre. The bundles (BBEdit feels like only really has an HTML bundle). The auto formatting. The way you can drop a file into an editor window (e.g. html) and have it create the appropriate tag (e.g. img, link, a, script) with a relative path, and not throwing up a dialog first.

    Ok, so I just found Clippings in BBedit. While that does give you the ability to dump bits of text in, they don't seem as smart as the bundles in TextMate. Not quite as keyboard accessible (though you can hit something to bring up the insert dialog/thing, that's not as simple as, say, php?tab to get a php block, or cmd+shift+w to wrap something in matching HTML tags, then letting you edit the tag name of the opening tag, and mirroring that to the closing tag, there's others like it for wrap each line, wrap with link that auto pastes the current clipboard contents as the href).

  25. I'm using TextMate for some time now. I like integrated Subversion, the Bundles and the "look and feel" of the app.

    I haven't had a look at BBEdit for a long time too, I have to say.

    I wanted to share a book that is being written on TextMate that helped me a lot to understand and get the real power out of TextMate: "TextMate: Power Editing for the Mac" from The Pragmatic Programmers.

    http://www.pragmaticprogrammer.com/titles/textmate/index.html

  26. I've been using TextMate since around the beginning of the year. I had previously tried BBEdit, TextWrangler, and SubEthaEdit. While BBEdit appeared to contain the feature set I wanted, I considered the price to be ridiculous for my purposes. TextWrangler and SubEthaEdit either lacked features (open from FTP among them) or just didn't feel right.

    Then two things happened: I purchased Transmit and found it had a very nice "Edit in ____" feature, and I also found that TextMate works with Transmit, had excellent syntax highlighting, very cool bundles, the price was low, and perhaps most importantly: it just felt right. Even the icon, of all things.

    I haven't regretted going with TM one bit. Its LaTeX bundle made it excellent for editing LaTeX, and the various command output options (text, HTML, etc.) really make for a lot of interesting possibilities. These days I mostly use it for editing blog entries due to the excellent Blogging bundle. I think the user-contributed bundles (and informative screencasts) are its strongest points.

    And I didn't even realize TM did one-char-at-a-time Undo. Do you make a lot of mistakes? (Hah! I kid.)

  27. I started using Macs because of OS X. I'd used, and liked, OS 9 but everything about it (compared to, a then very modern, Windows 98) felt old and low-res.

    BBEdit, despite whatever value it may hold, hasn't adapted to OS X very well, if at all. It feels out of place. Heck, X11 apps from Linux feel more at home in my workflow than BBEdit does. Every time some new release comes by, I'll download it and become just as appalled every time. This isn't about striped menubars. It's about rethinking your approach.

    As for TextMate, I've done the same thing there. TextMate feels like overkill. I'm a web-developer. TextMate feels more like an "Xcode Lite" than what I need. It tries to get out of my way by minimizing widgets to their bare minimum. And for some reason, it offers me menu choices to start coding in any completely different language I want at the drop of a hat. TextMate feels like an army of well-meaning assistants trying to push their way through the cat-flap of my kitchen door. Each with his own kitchen sink in hand.

    That's why I chose SkEdit (yes, it has less functionality than BBEdit, but what it lacks in feature-list pissing contests, it makes up for by not looking like a complete alien next to every other app I use) and CSSEdit (There are no words for 2.0.... Should've sent a poet...!) over both of them.

  28. Probably the biggest reason I use TextMate is because of the Screen Casts. Both TextMate and BBEdit have powerful scripting features, but I know how to use TextMate's because of the helpful screencasts. Yes, BBEdit has a really good manual that explains it's features, but I guess I learn better with movies.

    As far as the individual character undo (and other "little issues"), I empathize Erik. I use Windows and Linux professionally and I have gone back and forth between editors (before finally settling on emacs) and if there is one thing I've learned it's this:

    When you're coding all day, there are no "little issues". There are either issues you can adapt to or there are issues you cannot. This varies from person to person and is why some people can love a text editor and other people hate it.

  29. I use TextMate because it nearly always works the way I want, and normally if it doesn't then I can fix it easily myself. My favorite feature is that you can have it behave differently in different contexts. A good example (found in the Objective C bundle) is the difference in behavior of the m shortcut, which inserts different text in the @implementation context than it does inside @interface. (Do watch the Obj-C screencasts.)

    I do have one open bug report for TextMate relating to text selection, which doesn't match NSTextView's behavior. (Oddly enough, the problem TextMate has is identical to a problem that NSTextView had in the early seeds of Tiger.. my TextMate bug report is basically identical to the one I filed in Radar. I guess Allan must think the same way as Apple's Cocoa team.)

    I hadn't noticed the Undo thing, and I admit that it's annoying, but I'm sure Allan will fix it. I suggest you ignore that one annoying bug, and spend enough time with it to discover the features which outweigh the few annoying bugs. (Unless you use Undo an awful lot more than I do, in which case you might have to wait.)

  30. I don't understand how anyone takes Textmate seriously when it lacks integrated FTP.

  31. Before I answer Erik's question, here's a little context: I've been a web developer for nearly ten years. My work day is spent doing PHP, Javascript, XML, CSS, and Bash scripting. On the weekends I dabble in Objective-C. I used BBEdit for three years prior to switching to TextMate a year ago. Despite the insanely high price-tag (IMHO) I was always quick to recommend BBEdit to anyone willing to listen. Even with the ugly UI and clunky feel, it was the only editor for Mac that did everything I needed. It won by default.

    When TextMate arrived I gave it a try and didn't like it. In fact, I gave it three tries across a number of months. Each time I thought "this is it?" It seemed like nothing more than TextEdit with project management and syntax highlighting.

    Attempt number four hooked me.

    I saw a screencast showing column selection using the mouse and then with the keyboard. That was my eureka moment - when I realized there was more to it under the hood. (I now know that other apps have column selection, but I had never seen it before.)

    Why have I made the switch permanent? TextMate is infinitely extensible (and so much more easily than BBEdit).

    By default, TextMate ships with built-in support for Panic's Transmit FTP client. I can FTP a file or folder to the correct website with one keystroke. It even launches Transmit for me if it's not already open. (Yes, BBEdit has built-in FTP support, but TextMate in conjunction with Transmit is a much more elegant solution.)

    TextMate works with SVN. I can commit, revert, diff my current document without taking my hands off the keyboard.

    These are just two of the many bundles that TextMate ships with, so there's no reason for me to go on describing each one when you can explore for yourself. Instead, I'd like to give two examples of how I've extended TextMate myself.

    First, each website we build at work is kept in SVN and can then be deployed live via a web interface on our own website. I was tired of opening a web browser and logging in each time I needed to make an update. With TextMate, I was able to write a bundle very quickly which scrapes our admin area and pops up a CocoaDialog menu of every site available for deployment. I just arrow down to the correct item, hit return and bam! Problem solved.

    I run Snipplr.com which lets people share code snippets online. (Think del.icio.us for programmers.) I put together a TextMate bundle which lets me query Snipplr's API to insert snippets directly into the document I'm editing. I can also highlight code and have it saved into Snipplr. Without opening a browser, I'm connected to hundreds of other programmers sharing code.

    Allan's recently revamped plugin system makes the whole process even more powerful. Now, instead of relying on CocoaDialog, I can build a NIB file and script TextMate around that. No objective-c needed!

    There are so many more small reasons for switching (scratch macros are a tremendous time saver!), but they're all personal to my own taste. TextMate is simply a joy to use and sold at a fair price.

  32. Like Erik, the first time I tried TextMate, I was unimpressed. It wasn't very Mac-like and lacked BBEdit's raw power. I was a huge BBEdit fan, starting from version 4.

    The "holy god this is great" moment came when I tried Snippets, and assigned a simple PHP/MySQL query clause to auto-complete when I typed "mysql_" and then tab.

    Now, yes, BBEdit has a "Glossary" function and it also has auto-complete. The UI for it is terrible nonsense. Most of the interfaces within BBEdit are terrible nonsense. Strangely, the main gripe once I'd figured it out was that BBEdit didn't let me use the Tab key. I tried using the function keys, and weird Apple-foo combinations, but nothing felt as natural as tab.

    So that reeled me in and probably saved me hours upon hours of work over the next year.

    Why do I stay with TextMate, and recommend it?

    First, it is just, as if not more powerful than BBEdit. Yes, a great deal of that power is hidden within context-sensitive plug-ins, but to me, that's a great deal more sensical than over-cluttered menus with dozens of greyed out options.

    Second, it's lightweight. BBEdit feels "huge" compared to TextMate. Startup times are roughly the same, but TextMate just feels smaller, faster (even though at times, it's honestly not).

    Third, Macros and Snippets. TextMate's implementation of these two time saving devices is simply better than BBEdits.

    Fourth, money. Bare Bones charges $200.00 dollars for their editor. And yes, there is a market for that price (obviously) and yes, they offer tons of crossgrades to make it affordable. But I have a hard time telling new users to shell out 200.00 dollars for an editor.

  33. I'm a web app developer who started out on BBEdit and loved it. Still do, acutally. However...

    Things I got addicted to very quickly in TextMate:

    • Cmd-E to copy text directly into the Find buffer.
    • Cmd-Return / Cmd-Shift-Return to open a new line (or append a semicolon to the current line and open a new line).
    • Cmd-Opt-. to close the current XHTML tag.
    • Automatically typing of closing quotes, braces, etc (sometimes annoying, usually helpful).
    • Opening a folder instead of a single file.
    • Cmd-T (Go to File) and Cmd-Shift-T (Go to Symbol). Nicely intelligent live searching. Go to File looks for files in the current project (or current folder, if that's what you opened), and preselects the previous file you jumped to - it works like a Cmd-Tab, so to quickly flip between two files in the project, just invoke Cmd-T & hit enter.
    • Esc for symbol completion.
    • Cmd-H to pull up API documentation.
    • Cmd-/ to comment out lines or blocks of lines.

    I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of this functionality was available in BBEdit, but I found it in TextMate first and haven't really looked back.

  34. I prefer to stay above this fray by using skEdit. I wrote a blog post about why it's The (Mostly) Perfect Text Editor:

    http://www.clearwired.com/loop/archives/23-skEdit,-The-Mostly-Perfect-Text-Editor.html

    -Andrew

  35. [Warning, I always take a while to get to the point and when I get there I start to circle. Skip to the final paragraphs for the direct answer to Erik's question. :)]

    I used BBEdit for a short while when I was younger (circa 1994) when I changed over to CodeWarrior for all my editing needs, as I only wrote C(++) stuff. I like IDEs and integration so I didn't use BBEdit as an external editor. Also, at the time I found it far too expensive for something as basic as an editor. I didn't do HTML (which was the new kid on the block back then) and I didn't see the need for its advanced text processing functions.

    A few years later along came OS X and, well, everything went to shit. I switched pretty early as I enjoyed the more stable nature of X. However, 10.1 and even 10.2 were simply slow as molasses compared to OS 9 on my G4/500x2 "Sawtooth". CW's editor was so slow as to become completely unusable for normal work. I tried BBEdit again, and although a bit faster, was still slow. Other text editors either didn't cut it or were also unusable on my Mac. Disappointed and without funds to buy a new Mac, I quit all Mac coding for a while.

    Recently, I tried TextMate and I found it was extremely flexible and powerful. Bundles and bazillions of settings and super fine-grained control over syntax coloring, etc. The thing is, like someone else said, it's sort of like the emacs for Mac. _Everything_ is programmable and/or configurable. And for me it goes too far. I don't want to program my preferences.

    Also, in it's standard form, it simply does not accept that there is such a thing as ASP or ASPX. Quite a few of my clients use IIS and (classic) ASP. I started to create my own ASP Bundle but I simply couldn't get myself to learning TextMate's language definition format and at the time there was no acceptable ASP plugin available on the internet.

    I then tried TextWrangler (I'm a cheap bastard). It was simple, it did a decent job with ASP files and I could create a simple "Codeless Language Module" (plist-xml) to learn it C-sharp's keywords. It only has 5 fixed syntax colors or so, but it's FINE. I spent 10 minutes starting up and I could edit, I had syntax coloring and I was happy.

    Now, I have to say this, before BBEdit 8.5, I (and clearly, many others) found that BareBones was still stuck in the 20th century. The term "Codeless Language Module" is almost quaint and I shook my head every time I saw the preference to keep my windows within the bounds of a 13'' monitor. I mean, come on!

    Still, 8.0 was the first sign of BB getting a makeover and Yojimbo showed that they were serious about this whole OS X thing and I bought BBEdit (and Yojimbo). I got the free upgrade to 8.5 and it does all I want and more, and it keeps it simple and Mac-like.

    And about the whole "supporting indie developers" comment, what do you think BareBones is? Last time I checked, Rich Siegel was not swimming around in a pool of hundred dollar bills (though he probably could do so undetected in his remote developers lair... Hmm.)

  36. I'm a TextMate user, but the once-character-at-a-time undo thing is annoying. Allan has a weird philosophical stance on this, and won't even give us a PREFERENCE to use standard undos.

    And yes, users have been clamoring for it for ages now.*sigh*.

  37. I own and use both, and there are significant pros and cons to each, but I currently use TextMate exclusively. As a web developer with only intermediate "scripting/programming" skills (and those limited to JavaScript and PHP), I was always scared to dabble in BBEdit's extensive scriptability. It seemed too difficult to understand for someone with no programming background.

    TextMate, however, has opened the world of extensibility up to me. I've quickly been able to create my own indispensable snippets. It comes pre-packaged with a huge collection of built-in snippets and bundles that are astonishingly useful and easy to understand, and have sped up my development significantly.

    TextMate's text handling does feels sluggish compared to BBEdit -- and launching BBEdit gives me a tinge of fond nostalgia -- but TextMate has become my default code editor thanks to its intangibly more approachable extensibility.

    Now, a nigh-useless list of completely subjective advantages one has over the other.

    TextMate Advantages:
    - Tab triggers. Oh my sweet heavens, tab triggers
    - Ease of extensibility
    - Excellent collection of pre-packaged snippets and shortcuts
    - Intelligent and indispensable "auto-completion"-type features (auto-enclosures, etc.)
    - More intuitive inline find/replace abilities
    - Easier keyboard-based navigation between documents (tabbed project window + intelligent "Go to File" command)
    - Always-current syntax validator (submits code to online validator)

    BBEdit Advantages:
    - Interface speed (moving between documents/windows, switching to BBEdit from other applications,* etc.)
    - Excellent large file handling (TextMate chokes hard on really large text files)
    - More intuitive granular control over character encodings, line endings, etc.
    - More intuitive find/replace dialog tool
    - Always-active syntax validator (checks internally, so can be used offline)

    * Yes, I know this is because TextMate reads the project off the hard drive every time you come back, to make sure it has the most current version... and while I appreciate this feature, the speed hit is still significant and worthy of mentioning.

  38. I'm probably in the minority here in that I'm primarily an ActionScript coder, but I just found that valur for money wise, choosing TextMate over BBEdit was a no-brainer.

    I switched to TextMate about a year ago from BBEdit and there are a few things that I miss - noteably the undo and BBEdit's excellent find and replace.

    It took me the full 30 day trial period to get used to it - I knew I had been sold when I decided to switch the default application for all text, html and actionscript files over to TextMate...

    I still use a code-coloring scheme that looks like BBEdit though...

  39. I'll chime in here if only because I'm a registered owner of both BBEdit and TextMate.

    John Welch strikes me as fundamentally correct in the observation that once something works -- you know, *really* works -- for you, you need a pretty compelling reason to change. A lot of the "I like TM because it does X and BBEdit doesn't" posts that came out when TM first hit the scene were, well, wrong -- BBEdit does an awful lot that most people never scratch the surface of. I used it from 6.5 through 8.0 and I'm sure I never scratched the surface of it, either.

    However, in some ways I think that's BBEdit's biggest flaw: most people never do more than scratch the surface of it because doing more than that turns out to be a non-trivial operation. TextMate's snippets are easier to set up and use than BBEdit's glossary entries, and they're more powerful; TextMate's syntax highlighting system isn't much more complex than BBEdit's CLMs, and again, it's more powerful (TM can switch highlighting, folding, snippets, the whole shebang from, say, HTML to Ruby in the same document based on context, which -- unless it's changed in 8.5 -- can't be done in BBE); and very importantly, the snippets, syntax, shell scripts attached to triggers and keys and drag-and-drop commands, et. al. can be stuffed into "bundles" very easily.

    Why is that ease of extensibility so important in my estimation? Just look at the available bundles for TextMate compared to the available extensions (including plugins and CLMs) for BBEdit: TextMate has gotten more user-added functionality in its, what, two years of existence than BBEdit has in its fifteen. There are over a hundred bundles available for TM. We're not just talking about terrific support for new languages far above just syntax highlighting, but whole new kinds of functionality. Outlining. GTD scheduling. Blog editing. (Why not -- all these things are, after all, text-based tasks, right?) I've been a text editor junkie across several platforms for twenty years now, and I honestly don't think anything but Emacs comes close to TextMate for user extensibility -- and with TextMate, I don't have to learn Lisp.

    I don't think any of these things would be impossible to implement in BBEdit, but many of them might be a lot harder. They may not be things you'd personally use, granted -- but on my current work project, I've found some of the "oddities" like the TODO bundle very helpful, along with weirdo commands like "Edit all lines in selection" and the ability to type-to-replace a rectangular selection. Some of these things you don't really appreciate until you have call to use them; it was months before I really started appreciating the "use current word for open and close tags" keystroke in the HTML bundle. (When I did, I promptly remapped it from Ctrl-Shift-Comma to Ctrl-Comma; it's way too useful to be encumbered with needing two modifier keys, Allan!)

    I don't think TM is perfect and there are still some things BBEdit does that I miss. TM's wacko undo implementation is a drawback, and its inability to split a window into panes can be grating on longer files. But its developer seems to be very responsive to user input, it's under constant development, and it's getting better faster. When I first got it, a year or so ago, it was only for tootling around with Rails, then with "smaller" HTML documents I didn't think I needed BBEdit's full power for.

    But by the time I got my MacBook, I just never got around to putting BBEdit on it.

  40. Started with BBEdit (OS 9 days), switched to TM (OS X), now use GVim on SuSE.
    Right off-topic, I know, but Vim is the berries.

  41. Hi, I got here via Daring Fireball and thought I'd throw my two cents in. I'm not really a programmer but a designer. I'm an expert at writing HTML, CSS, some JavaScript and I've dabbled in working with Rails. I used BBEdit for about a month after I decided to quit using Dreamweaver for coding (oh, also you should know I'm a more recent Mac switcher, about a year and a half ago) and BBEdit performed fine. It was all that I wanted in an editor at the time. But then I discovered TextMate and in particular watched the screencast on writing HTML and I instantly was hooked. I was amazed.

    Now, I must confess that perhaps BBEdit compares in features to TextMate. Maybe I just didn't take the time to discover all that BBEdit had to offer, but the fact of the matter is that for me, a busy person, I don't have time to learn the nooks and crannies of BBEdit. I do, however, have time to sit down and watch a screen cast. I think this was the major factor for me, besides all the great features that TextMate has, it was their display of them that has really got me going.

    Now, that said, a screencast of a product is worthless unless the features are good enough for me to yell out, "freaking awesome!" in my chair and throw down the cash for a license. Writing in TextMate also feels natural to me, as opposed to BBEdit where it honestly felt too much like Dreamweaver. Clunky and awkward.

    If TextMate dropped off the planet I'd probably go back to using BBEdit. But for my money, it's TextMate all the way.

  42. Many of the reasons I use Textmate have been stated already, so my additions are:

    I can adapt it to my needs very easily, and if I can't figure something out I can query the mailing list, the manual, the wiki or #textmate on irc (where often Allan has given me help). I have always found an elegant solution through these needs. In sum, Textmate encouraged me to work in a more efficient manner by extending Textmate to meet my needs. And to have a whole community of people doing the same thing is very powerful.

    Text editing has nothing to do with FTP. Therefore why include it in a FTP, where it is unlikely that the implementation will be as usable as it would be in a standalone FTP? I tried BBEdit's FTP and it was poor, IMO. There are wiser solutions, such as using rsync or Transmit to mirror local and remote files, that way you get a backup at the same time.

  43. Jack Shedd said on November 9, 2006:

    Fourth, money. Bare Bones charges $200.00 dollars for their editor. And yes, there is a market for that price (obviously) and yes, they offer tons of crossgrades to make it affordable. But I have a hard time telling new users to shell out 200.00 dollars for an editor.

    Let's get our facts straight, at least. BBEdit costs $125, or less with generous upgrades.

  44. Erik J. Barzeski said on November 9, 2006:

    Let's get our facts straight, at least. BBEdit costs $125, or less with generous upgrades.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but these generous discounts only apply if you have a previous version of BBEdit. I can't locate any cross-grade pricing (I'm pretty sure I saw someone mention this), so unless you already own a copy of BBEdit you're not likely to be getting it for much less.

  45. Erik J. Barzeski said on November 9, 2006:

    Jack Shedd said on November 9, 2006:

    Fourth, money. Bare Bones charges $200.00 dollars for their editor. And yes, there is a market for that price (obviously) and yes, they offer tons of crossgrades to make it affordable. But I have a hard time telling new users to shell out 200.00 dollars for an editor.

    Let's get our facts straight, at least. BBEdit costs $125, or less with generous upgrades.

    BBedit is currently $125. It was previously $200. I tried to find their old pricing using Archive.org, but it doesn't have their store cached. This article will have to do instead :)

    http://mactheweb.com/software-review/is-bbedit-worth-the-price/

  46. I too am a registered user of both editors. The diff tool in BBEdit comes in handy at times but most of our development has moved to Rails and this is where TextMate really shines. It's like the friggin' emacs of OS X. The lack of "integrated FTP" is not a good reason to ignore this application. It can't read e-mail either...although I'm sure there is a bundle out there that could help you with that. It works fine with the free and commercial S/FTP apps.

    The bundle and snippet system is just amazing, and at times overwhelming.

    One might also read through Rands thoughts on TextMate which are quite good.

    After two steady months of TextMate, I'm happy to declare it my editor of choice because it demonstrates a design philosophy I love. Bright, Patient Design.

    He does, of course, go on to explain what he means by that.

  47. A fascinating thread. For me comparing BBEdit and Textmate is a bit like comparing battleships and frigates.

    I have used BBEdit forever. When TextMate was announced (and we got a glimpse through the Ruby on Rails video), I was excited as hell: I love new things.

    I am still using BBEdit, and probably will forever. Habit is harder to change than one remembers - and one doesn't climb steep learning curves for fun alone. TextMate is lovely in many ways but in not enough to matter to me. I wish it luck (but I do think it would gain in stature if it's proprietor engaged brain before opening mouth).

  48. [...] Erik points out correctly that the non-chunked undo is annoying. I agree, but it's the least of my worries most of the time. The ease of setting up project files, the plugins and the ability to automate commands that you use constantly with the Bundles interface is so much more valuable that it's really no contest. [...]

  49. Great discussion.

    I'm surprised how many people have complained about TextMate's lack of built-in FTP support. At this point don't most developers use a scripted deployment instead of FTP'ing to the server anyway?

    One reason I love TextMate that I haven't seen covered above: tight integration with the shell. I use this all the time.

    Nothing wrong with BBEdit; it's great to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to writing code on the Mac.

  50. "I wish [TextMate] luck (but I do think it would gain in stature if it's proprietor engaged brain before opening mouth)."

    Just as Erik correctly noted it's not fair to ding BBEdit for a $200 price when it doesn't have that anymore, it's also not fair to ding TextMate's initial, unnecessarily confrontational marketing to the way it's being marketed now. Its author did indeed come out of the starting gate like he was rearing for a fight, he caught a lot of fairly well-deserved flak for it, and that attitude got dropped fairly quickly. As for stature, TextMate did, as I recall, win an Apple Design Award this year, and it has a third-party book about it from Pragmatic Programmers being prepared for publication -- it's fairly safe to say that while it's young, it's not being taken lightly.

    And, as a side note, an iconoclastic streak in Apple developers is neither new to nor unique with TextMate's author. That can certainly create friction, but overall I prefer Allan Odgaard's frequent communication with users -- not to mention his highly-visible development process -- to the "don't ask us what will happen in the future, just trust that we will eventually bless you with a new release that may or may not be a paid upgrade" approach.

  51. Eric J said on November 9, 2006:

    I don't understand how anyone takes Textmate seriously when it lacks integrated FTP.

    Three letters - svn.

    Seriously, do people still use FTP any more?

  52. Okay, sorry about my SVN/FTP dig :-)

    So I've been using BBEdit since the Lite days, and have licenses for v6, v7 and v8. Since around a year ago, though, it's been TextMate all the way.

    It's becoming cliché, but I too fall into the "tried it when it had the little robot icon, didn't like it, went back to using BBEdit, then tried it again and suddenly something *clicked*".

    The main things for me are:

    • Ruby on Rails - come on, this editor was BUILT for it
    • project directory drawer - I love that I can call `mate .` in a terminal window to have it open up a project. Yes, I know BBEdit does similar things now, but BBEdit still strikes me as a 'one doc at a time' editor. I just can't get my head around its multi-doc interface
    • command-T - I missed BBEdit's "open this file" command for highlighted text, but then found the "new tab" command in TextMate. Awesome
    • code folding - I wanted this in BBEdit forever, and was what really made me want to use TextMate. If BBEdit had introduced it sooner (and with a better implementation) then this conversation would maybe be different.
    • cost - BBEdit's cost has, for me, been a real nail in the coffin. I'm not complaining that it's too expensive, but the price reflects the market. I need my text editor to edit text, not do all the insanely clever stuff that BBEdit does.

    Someone made the warships comparison earlier and I have to agree - BBEdit is a JCB, TextMate is a scalpel. Perhaps historically most people used BBEdit in "scalpel mode", which explains the complaints about cost, and also why TextMate is getting severely hyped by users - it's "good enough", and doesn't feel as lumbering as BBEdit can when you're not using its full power.

    It also probably explains why long-time BBEdit users don't *get* TextMate, in the same way that long-time Photoshop pilots don't get things like Pixel. The two apps are intended for different markets, but because BBEdit was the only player in the block for so long, it absorbed both markets.

    Of course, whatever works. I know people who used to develop Java apps in Notepad.

    And the single-character undo pissed me off for sooo long. I didn't even notice I'd got over it until I went back to BBEdit (major point - BBEdit is *much* better at handling multi-megabyte files. Oh, and the search and replace is miles ahead of TM - though in Rails apps that's less of an issue ;) ) briefly and the chunk undo started pissing me off.

    It's all about what you're used to.

  53. Allan Odgaard said on November 9, 2006:

    What the hell are you talking about?

    Other than quote Rich Siegel on a t-shirt, with a statement he made about OS X text editors, I am not aware of anything I should have said or done that relates to BareBones, their staff, or their products.

    This type of behaviour comes across really nasty and underhanded. Above is one example, and if it is the only one it is still too many.

    You really need to think about what you say, the way you behave, and the ramifications it will have. You are not just talking to your friends. You are talking to the entire Mac market.

    Perhaps you should examine Rich's statement a little more closely. It is not a shot at you. Rather it concerns you. Supose an overnight free editor runs Macromates out of business. What then? What if it also runs Barebones out of business? What then? Where would we all be?

  54. I'm a registered user of both.

    Things I like about TextMate:

    1) snippets
    2) projects
    3) ability to easily write my own snippets

    Things I like about BBEdit:

    1) it's find interface is second to none (especially grep find/replace)
    2) ability to integrate well with RBrowser
    3) diff

    All that said, all of my newer projects are started in TextMate. When I hit a snag and don't have time to figure it out, I switch back to BBEdit to move beyond it and then back to TextMate to continue going. Clippings in BBEdit are not as powerful as snippets so starting a new project in TextMate is very much the easier path. Once the project is established, I find myself switching back to BBEdit for editing.

  55. MJD said on November 9, 2006:

    Supose an overnight free editor runs Macromates out of business. What then? What if it also runs Barebones out of business? What then? Where would we all be?

    I suppose text editor users would have a pretty kick-butt application if it drove both of those companies under. That line of thinking is practically a fallacy with few, if any, real examples. Businesses are here for us, were not here for the businesses. Competition is a good thing. Companies of all shapes and sizes can't forget that.

  56. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the sheer unixy brilliance of how TextMate lets you drop down into the shell by using the TM_* environment variables and clever use of standard input/output. This seems to have really helped the explosion of creative user-contributed bundles, and makes TM great in a Mac-Unix peanut butter-chocolate kind of way. Small pieces loosely joined and all that...

  57. I'm on the same page as Charley Tiggs here. TextMate I like immensely, because it appears to understand what I'm writing and works with me on it. It integrates well with compilers and beautifully with TeX. When I hit its limitations however, I move over to TextWrangler.

    Right now, Bare Bones is very much ahead in: Find/Replace -- particularly multi-file; large files; split windows; diff. Somehow, though, I don't think any of these things will be too long in coming to TextMate. Someone up-thread compared it to emacs, and I agree with that. It's a Mac emacs, without the games.

  58. MJD said on November 9, 2006:

    This type of behaviour comes across really nasty and underhanded. Above is one example, and if it is the only one it is still too many.

    Nasty and underhanded? How about making sleazy, libelous accusations? Allan has never, in my experience, been less than completely professional. To my knowledge, he gets along just fine with Rich Siegel. I think that Rich made a comment in Macworld that was either taken out of context, or stated more broadly than he intended, because the implication seemed to be, when I first heard it, that editors like SubEthaEdit, Smultron, and TextMate, among others, being relatively new, and not as featureful as TextWrangler or BBEdit in BB's eyes, were somehow dragging down the Mac. It's obvious to me now that this isn't what he meant. Sure, to put that quotation on a TextMate shirt is snarky, but I can't think of anyone other than you who was deeply offended on Bare Bones' behalf.

    If you have some evidence of Allan bashing BBEdit, I'd like to hear it. Otherwise, I'll have to conclude you're trolling here.

    MJD said on November 9, 2006:

    Perhaps you should examine Rich's statement a little more closely. It is not a shot at you. Rather it concerns you. Supose an overnight free editor runs Macromates out of business. What then? What if it also runs Barebones out of business? What then? Where would we all be?

    This is a laughable attempt at rationalization. If a free editor is good enough to put BBEdit or TextMate out of business, that implies that it's damn good, and probably also that Allan isn't innovating fast enough. More specifically though, Allan has plenty of cash, so he'd hardly be cast out on the street. And as for where that leaves the rest of us, it sounds to me like we'd be left with an editor better than (or as-good-as maybe?) TextMate, for free! I'd say that's a good outcome if ever I heard one.

  59. I use BBEdit. I've looked at TextMate and while some of the features seem pretty cool, I've never found any of them to be compelling enough to warrant switching. In other words, my text editing solution is not broken so I've no need to fix it.

    Oh, and I use it mostly for writing, not coding.

  60. I'm a registered user of both. Been using BBEdit since OS 7. It is a great MacOS Classic editor. It has wonderful AppleScript support.

    I'm a Unix person who likes the Mac UI. BBEdit didn't move to a Unix base when MacOS did. I spent a while searching for a better OSX editor. Things like JEdit and emacs are nice Unix editors, but lack the Mac feel (sort of the opposite problem to BBEdit).

    TextMate finds a really nice balance between Unix style scripting and Mac style feel. I've basically switched from BBEdit to TextMate now.

    There were a few things in TextMate that took some getting used to:
    Lack of sftp support. So I wrote odbedit and some remote editing scripts.
    There were too many bundle items. It wasn't initially clear that "select bundle item" allowed you to search all the bundles for a command.
    The time delay that decides between drag-n-drop of text within textmate and starting a new selection was something I didn't expect. For a while I thought you couldn't drag text from TextMate. It took a read of the manual to discover you have to click-pause-drag. Fine with that now (although I changed the pref to reduce the pause).
    The letter-by-letter undo should at least be an option. Because of auto-repeat, I don't actually find this to be much of an issue. I'm generally either doing small amounts of undo, or I'm using subversion to jump back to a previous revision.
    I wish there was a "find in all open files" option. I shouldn't have to make a 'project' to search multiple files. This is my one real gripe at the moment. And I believe someone is making a bundle to add this :).

  61. Textmate.

    I never got BBEdit. People used to say how great it was, how much it could do, it was the best thing since sliced bread. So I would open it, and nothing hit me. So I'd RTFM, and nothing hit me. I never grokked it. I never understood how to make it the editor of my dreams. I tried. Honest.

    Textmate is like home to me. It works just how I want. It auto-types just when I want it to, and no other time. I love it so much, I wish it were a system service. I wish every text area I type in were a textmate text area. It's like using a non-mac and instinctively flipping ones mouse to the corner, only to curse the gods when expose does not activate.

    If I had to enunciate what I like, it would be the discoverability, and the thoroughness. By discoverability, I mean that I was never able to become more than a basic BBEdit user, and I tried, oh did I try, for *years*. I reacted, I suppose, in the way the host of this blog has, to BBEdit. It just never made it obvious to me how to do the things I wanted to do the way I wanted to do them. So I spent a long time working with SubEthaEdit and then skEdit, both of which I liked a lot, but Textmate is the king. It's so much clearer to me how to do things. The bundle system is great, and the context structure is insane.

    By thoroughness, I mean that there truly is a bundle for every text-related activity under the sun. I have a strong taste for exploring new (to me) and exotic languages. I've fiddled with erlang, ocaml, and haskell lately. I didn't even have to wonder if there was a bundle. This leads right back to discoverability. As I dove into erlang, I just knew there had to be snippets for the handful of common erlang tasks, and it was as difficult as checking the menu. Ah, yes, there's the snippet for a function call. And there, right in the menu, is the tab sequence to trigger it. Excellent. Voila, I'm a master, in three minutes.

    Perhaps BBEdit has these features, but the fact that I didn't know about them speaks volumes. Textmate made it easier for me to become a master, with no tradeoffs. Power is nothing without control, and BBEdit did not give me, at least, a sense of control of its power, or even of that power's existence. Textmate makes me feel like the Wizard of Text.

    Also: There seems to be this little meme that Alan is a prick. I've been on the Textmate mailing list for ages, and I've had the exact opposite experience. He's very responsive to user inquiries, friendly, and will help you solve your problems. I consider him in the Brent Simmons league of helpful developers, and that is high praise.

  62. Count me as one of the people who have tried TextMate and just can't get in to it. I'm currently using skEdit, and find it to be the best combination of features, style and convenience for a text editor for what I do (XHTML, CSS, Perl, PHP). Now, if I were coding for some other lanugage like ObjC, Ruby, etc., I would probably be more inclined to use TextMate. It's best feature, as far as I can tell, is its enourmous library of different language syntax support. That's a pretty important feature if you are coding in a language that TextMate supports.

    I'm also put off by the price of TextMate. For about $60USD, I find it a bit much. Sure, it's cheaper than BBEdit (sorry, I am not a BBEdit fan, and I'll just leave it at that), but BBEdit is way overpriced, in my opinion.

  63. I'm a long-time BBEdit user, almost from the beginning. I've looked at TextMate a few times and will probably look at it again, but I've not yet found it compelling. The biggest drawbacks for me are its sluggishness, its total inability to handle large text files, and, yes, the character-at-a-time undo.

    Most of my text editor use is document writing, although I still write a fair bit of code. I write a great deal of LaTeX, and will have to look at TextMate for that, based on some of the comments above. Right now I use Alpha X almost exclusively for LaTeX editing; BBEdit or ViM for other (vi was the first editor I ever learned and my fingers are almost automatic in that editor and in ViM).

  64. Aloha, got here from Daring Fireball. I use TextMate more than any other app and recently deleted both BBedit and TextWrangler from my machine entirely, having tried them out for tiny little coding and (less tiny) writing jags but not dipped seriously into their featuresets.

    Why'd they go?

    They were ugly. Or else they felt ugly, which amounts to the same thing. And no, this isn't 'merely' an aesthetic preference.

    See look:

    At day's end, the experience of using TextMate provides an encounter with a sort of semiformal elegance, akin to what you find in Ruby or Scheme, or emacs, or Bret Easton Ellis's prose, or the Arden Shakespeare series - or (for that matter) the Macintosh itself. I never got that experience with the BareBones software, its power notwithstanding, and since I don't have any technical demands to make of my text editor, the choice was easy. The daily discovery of TM's powers is thrilling? have you seen the new Interface Builder integration? Anothing thing I'll never have use for but which bespeaks a commitment to elegance, extensibility, integration, and the evocation of an excited 'Holy shit!' from the user. That's no small thing. For many of us it's why we're sitting at the computers we're sitting at.

    I'm writing a novel in TextMate right now; it's easiest for me to have all the (plentiful) text in one window, though I find TM's large-file slowdown irritating. (Long paragraphs become nightmares.) But the look and organization of projects is a boon. The welcoming and relatively straightforward snippets system makes my writing easier - and it has done so since the day I installed the software. It's not just those bloody screencasts (Allan's English, or in any case his speaking style, has gotten more assured over the last several months). It's the air of possibility surrounding the software. It does the work I need, makes the work joyful - and that makes me a better writer. Indeed it is close to the definition of making me a better writer...

    I really, really want glob undo, though I understand Allan's rationale for doing things as he does; it irritates me that it's not yet even an option. But at day's end, I'd rather be very mildly irritated by software that seeks to attain (and to my mind reaches quite handily) the status of beauty than merely satisfied with the power of something for which I feel no enthusiasm at all.

    I should say as well: there's a certain childishness to the name-calling upthread, and to the post itself, that's disappointing. 'There's this feature I don't like so the software must be unworthy!' That's not analysis (this is a blog and we're not owed analysis, I know, I know), it's irritable gesturing. 'This computer is so stupid its mouse only has one button...' (Next thing you know someone will be insisting that information 'wants' to be 'free.' Oy gevalt.)

    On the plus side, you got a bunch of new eyes on your weblog. Nice!

  65. My name is Keith and I'm a TextMate user...

    Actually, I used to be a BBEdit user for a couple of years. I liked it a lot as it was the best thing around at the time.

    I tried TextMate fairly soon after it was out, back before it had the preferences page. After getting into the snippets thing I really started to dig TextMate.

    At that point I would use either editor based on what I though was the best tool for the job at hand (I code - ruby, php, html - and I write - blogs, text, documentation). With each new version of TextMate, I found myself using BBEdit less and less.

    Currently, I will use BBEdit if I need to do some diffs on directories and that's about it. Otherwise I spend almost all of my time in TextMate. Writing in TextMate right now, of course.

    The things I like about TextMate:

    - Snippets, Macros, Commands etc.

    Being able to write complex snippets relatively easily (for a programmer) and being able to augment or write complete snippets in any scripting language I like is totally awesome.

    - Extensibility

    This comes about via the snippet/command features. An example here would be the lack of remote editing feature. I need to do this from time to time so I wrote my own stuff to do it and baked it right on into the COMMAND-S (save) keystroke. So I can edit a project remotely but I still work exactly the same way as if it were local. That's the awesomeness of TextMate. Not what it can do out of the box, but what you can make it do with a little tinkering.

    - Language Grammars and scope selectors

    Using the same keystrokes to do slightly different things based on what language your cursor finds itself in is kickass.

    - clean interface

    When writing a blog entry or something like that i just want a bare window, no toolbar shite to distract me. just what i am writing.

    - projects / temporary projects
    - lightweight
    - Lots of bundles available, but I can write my own

    There are loads of bundles, and if I don't want them all I can remove them or hide them so I only see the bundles I use regularly.

    And I can write my own. Need to edit a lot of unison (or something else obscure that no one else has yet written a bundle for) config files, write a language grammar for it and your got your own highlighting and whatever snippets you need. awesome.

    ---

    As for convincing someone to switch from BBEdit to TextMate. I don't think I would necessarily try. If you use BBEdit and it does what you need, then great. Some people like different things. I mean look at all the people who prefer php over ruby (purely as a language).

  66. Like several other posters, it also took me several "tries" with TextMate before I grokked it. The "click" moment for me was probably... creating my first tab-triggered snippet with mirrored tab stops. Sound complicated? It really isn't, and it will make you wet yourself with happiness.

    Andre Behrens said on November 9, 2006:

    It auto-types just when I want it to, and no other time. I love it so much, I wish it were a system service. I wish every text area I type in were a textmate text area. It's like using a non-mac and instinctively flipping ones mouse to the corner, only to curse the gods when expose does not activate.

    I can't echo this enough. Countless times I've tried to select text in other applications and instinctively tried to auto-enclose selected text in parentheses or quotes, failed, and wished horribly it were a standard service.

    Normally, MS Word-like auto-completion/correction features grate on my every last nerve, but TextMate just gets it right. It has that subtle touch that separates tasteful reserve from feature bloat.

  67. Wax Banks said on November 10, 2006:

    I should say as well: there's a certain childishness to the name-calling upthread, and to the post itself, that's disappointing. 'There's this feature I don't like so the software must be unworthy!' That's not analysis (this is a blog and we're not owed analysis, I know, I know), it's irritable gesturing. 'This computer is so stupid its mouse only has one button...'

    To be clear, I never said any such thing. Within a minute or so of beginning - again - to give TextMate a try I hit a stumbling block. One-character undo is a stumbling block so severe in my opinion and so well ingrained in my muscle memory that the time necessary to overcome it simply cannot be allocated right now.

    If you want some other reasons why I have not gotten into TextMate, they are:

    • Limited AppleScript support
    • Lack of a "find" command that can be run on a folder or multiple files like BBEdit
    • Sluggish performance with large files
    • Dialog boxes that say "Ok" and actions that trigger on mouse down (code folding for one)
    • As I write this in "Plain Text" mode and try the column command (option-arrow), I skip from this current paragraph (the unordered list) to the first paragraph for some reason. I skip the middle two paragraphs entirely.
    • A good portion of the keyboard shortcuts seem to use the control key. It's difficult to reach the control key. I realize there are a lot of keyboard shortcuts, necessitating the frequent use of every modifier key, but the control key "seems" over-used to me.
    • TextMate doesn't seem to believe that actions should self-correct themselves by inverse. If I select som etext and use ctrl-cmd-arrow to move it up, ctrl-cmd-arrow down should put the text back in the same location. That doesn't happen.

    There are others, of course, but those are some of my reasons for (for the time being) sticking with BBEdit.

    I'm going to bed now, and WordPress seems to like to force moderation, so if you post overnight and the comment doesn't appear, no doubt I'll see and approve it in the morning.

  68. I too got here from daringfireball. I don't know why no one seems to have said this yet: these text editors represent the difference between the "Old" and "New" Mac users.

    TextWrangler/BBEdit's Carbon look and feel proudly displays its Classic roots. This is why many people loved it and still love it. This is also why many people now hate it and describe it as "clunky." I do prefer the older "BBEdit look," having used it since someone put it on my 4MB Classic II running System 7.0.1•. (Free ice cream to people who recognize the bullet's significance without looking up wikipedia!)

    Conversely, TextMate is literally the poster child of Mac OS X, as demonstrated by its design award(s?). Its look and feel is commensurate with that of the iApps, and of Aqua. TextMate often makes perfect sense to people who like the iApps, and Aqua.

    I'm old and grumpy. I hate Aqua, and only since 10.4 have I not applied SmoothStripes after every system install. And dammit, you won't take my TextWrangler/BBEdit unless you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    Seriously, whether it really is my age that makes me say this, I tend to err on the side of Classic when picking two equally qualified apps. (UI-wise, I do prefer good Aqua to bad Classic/Carbon, though. See Safari vs Firefox.)

    * Disclaimer: I sound like I'm making sweeping assumptions, but I'm not making these assumptions about everybody. It's just faster to type without putting disclaimers on every rhetorical device. Oh wait...

  69. I used the demo of BBEdit but never liked it because it didn't hat the "Mac-feeling" I found in a lot of other apps I used. Therefore I stayed with vi and SubEthaEdit. One day a friend showed me TextMate and some of the stuff you could do with it. I downloaded it the same day and tried it for the stuff I'm needing text-editors for (HTML, CSS, LaTeX, notes-taking and similar stuff). Only a few days later I decided to buy the license because it feels like a Mac-app and it integrates well with the rest of the OS - thanks to stuff like "mate" (toss a file/folder from the terminal directly to TextMate) and "Edit in TextMate" (toss a NSTextView I think to TextMate - right now I'm writing this post in TextMate). Thanks to the great community (which handles bug/support-requests to their bundles damn fast) and the rapid bundle-development I'm doing far more in a text editor than before (writing my mails, blogging, GTD-related stuff, some table-related stuff and more). And I've never seen screencasts to explain an app which are helping a lot.
    I showed some of those to friends who do a lot of software-development (still in the amateur-arena) and they are thinking of switching to a Mac because of TextMate, just from that what they have seen in the screencasts and what you can do with TextMate…

  70. I do a lot of programming for the web, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Actionscript, XML, Ruby, etc, and TextMate's built-in language bundles make my life a lot easier. Being able to quickly and easily add snippets and commands is the icing on the cake, and I've only added a handful of my own.

    TextMate really comes in handy for XML work, where I spend a lot of time moving nodes around. Being able to select lines with a keyboard shortcut and move them around is excellent. The new "word" selection is another snappy feature that makes grabbing text easier.

    I use Synergy to connect my PC to my Mac (PowerBook) and so I'm constantly switching back and forth between keyboard shortcuts and shortcut methodologies, so I've never had a problem with using the Ctrl key for shortcuts, just makes sense for me.

    Oh, and if I want to search a folder or a bunch of files, I just drag either onto the TextMate dock icon and hit the Project Search command and away it goes. Definitely not a lacking feature.

    I could go on about why I prefer TextMate, but a lot of folks have already said what I would say, just figured I'd add my own weight to the pile. As for BBEdit two things about it scare me, the interface and the price.

  71. I have been using BBEdit since its first public release (I wish I could find my email where I asked Rich to add function folding, it was somewhere around '92-'93).

    My problem with most editors is that they try to be the servant of too many masters. First and foremost I want a good programming editor. Unfortunately I think that most editors fall short in the programming department. I would like a good language sensitive editor to be able to handle more code refactoring functionality (eclipse is a great example).

    I have tried TextMate several different times. I was just about to purchase it (the Tidy feature kept me from going crazy trying to read some XML) when I tried to diff two files. As a text editor TM is fine, but as a programming editor it falls flat. Two of the most important programming features are find and diff. BBEdit beats TM hands down.

    That being said, I generally turn off the HTML editing features of BBEdit (I have always found thier interface clunky). I wish the folding handled all scopes and not just functions.

    For both editors, I would like to see them start up quicker. When I want to edit something it should just appear (the more the apps rely on bundles the slower it is for them to start).

    Personally, I will use whichever tool will get the job done. Unfortunately neither of the two are the best, I find that I like features of both and end up having both on my machine. I really wish I didn't need to (two?).

  72. I know there's a find that works on projects (and you don't need to save a project to use it as one, just drop a folder on TextMate), I've used it... I haven't had hit performance issues on file sizes (none of the files I routinely edit have more than 5,000 lines of code in them) except when doing searches of a whole project (which consists of the 7 or 8 CVS projects that make up my work stuff - I usually only work on one of these projects at once, then it's not anywhere near as painfull).

    AppleScript support - I have to say I've used AppleScript once, maybe twice in the time I've owned a Mac (the last 4 years), but I suppose that might be something you'd want. What are you trying to script? AppleScript seems to be the only real thing in your list I can see in BBEdit that isn't in TextMate...

    Your orginal post seems to have gone along the lines of “I tried this app that isn't the one I'm used to, and it did one thing that I didn't like, so rather than give it a try and see if maybe it did some other things way better, I'll just trash it.” Your last comment at least gives a few reasons, which I think would've made the original post a lot better. Just my opinion of course.

    By the way: editing your own comments? Awesome idea, thanks for providing that.

  73. I have tried TextMate several times, but hesitated to buy it since I was unsure if it would add any benefits to my LaTeX editing compared to using BBEdit extended with Curton Clifton's Applescripts or Slickedit. I have a special requirement, which is that I want to write LaTeX paragraphs as long lines and not as wrapped lines. I have become accustomed to it by now. However, you would be surprised by knowing how badly a lot of the text editors around perform on long lines (I have tried most of available text editor for the mac). And yes, TextMate is one of these text editors. I'm using a fairly modern computer and expect a text editor to put a character on the screen as soon as I press the corresponding key. Any lag from this is noticed and you get annoyed.

    So for me it is still BBEdit and Slickedit. Slickedit is amazingly powerful even for LaTeX editing. Its tagging system makes it easy to have a project of LaTeX files, e.g., a thesis, knowing about all labels. You can complete labels, as can BBEdit and TextMate with various scripts, but in Slickedit you can also jump to the definition of the label by hitting a key combination, even if the label is defined in another file. You can invert the jump by another combination and jump back. Imaging this system for a programming language! And yes, Slickedit never slows down on long lines either.

  74. Dialogs which say “Ok”? I had to use TextMate's find function to search my source for that, no matches. Maybe I have some nib file which says “Ok”, though I don't recall ever having used that as a button title, I always put the action itself there, e.g. “Open”, “Find”, “Go to Line”, etc. instead of “Okay”, “OK”, or “Continue”. If I do have one, let me know, as I will then fix it ASAP!

    I concur with PatrickQG, it sounds like you're just grasping for straws.

    Sluggish performance? Did you actually run into a performance problem in the one minute you spent with TM, or just echoing someone else's complaint? On that note, the guy who did mention sluggish performance for long paragraphs of prose, this sounds like a problem I have with the system spell checker, as I am currently asking it to re-check the full paragraph on each edit, something it can't handle in reasonable time, and I hear TM is not alone with that problem.

    Poor AppleScript support, yes, TM has another scripting philosophy, was there a task you could not automate, or did you just miss the bullet point from TM's feature list? etc.

    Sure, TM is anything but perfect, I am not fooling myself into thinking otherwise. But your list sounds like you just want to find reasons for not liking it, i.e. dialog titles and how mouse clicks are interpreted on a feature you didn't have before. Come on, even I can come up with better reasons than that for why TextMate sucks! ;)

    I wonder why you are this interested in switching in the first place? You seem to use more energy on ranting about TM, than actually learning why it could be an advantage to use. Have you for example looked at some of the screencasts which were recommended to you by both me and in other comments?

  75. i tried textmate and didn't like it. maybe i'm an idiot for not benefiting from its great features, but before i could even get to these, i was too annoyed to consider upgrading from trial to full version. i think the reason for the annoyance is that textmate tries to be more clever than it actually is.

    a small example: when i paste in some code, its indent level is automatically adjusted. that, by itself, is great. it saves me a great deal of trouble, especially since the shortcuts for shifting indentation are awkward on my german keyboard layout. (every time i say something like this i get the urge to point out that i'm not actually german ... there, i did it again.) however, textmate tries to figure out on its own what the correct level of indentation should be, and of course it fails miserably in many circumstances. the default really should be that textmate trust me to have placed the cursor at the correct indentation level, and use that. this would be so much more obvious, so much more practical. i'd rather use a basic feature that works every time, than a more advanced feature that only works sometimes.

    maybe there's a preference setting that allows me to do what i demanded above, but i've encountered several other issues where the default setting clearly isn't what it should be, and i'm not willing to peck around in the preferences dialogs, hoping, but not knowing, that i can make textmate to behave less like a dumbass.

    N.B. my gripes are rather minor; i'm not at all intending to say that textmate is shit or unusable or anything. i'm just saying i won't consider buying it any time soon, because, you see, there are other applications that are multi-platform, open-source, and do almost everything i need right out of the box. such as jEdit (if you allow "out of the box" to include plug-ins added through a very simple wizard). and, you see, those cost nothing.

    P.S.: BUG REPORT to erik: i wrote this comment in textedit, because your comment form was completely unusable for me :-( what i'm typing in the text area appears with an extreme delay, this is even more bothersome than not seeing what you're typing at all. (i could just look away, but i'm not that good a typist.) my guess is that the script that makes the nice preview below updates the preview too often, which causes performance to plummet. (in camino on an iBook G4.) i'm sure your script works perfectly in safari, but please please don't leave the firefox users in the cold, mkay?

  76. nex said on November 10, 2006:

    when i paste in some code, its indent level is automatically adjusted […] maybe there's a preference setting that allows me to do what i demanded above, but […] i'm not willing to peck around in the preferences dialogs, hoping, but not knowing, that i can make textmate to behave less like a dumbass.

    Here are the scary preferences you speak about. The actual way it figures out your indent is more involved (requires adjusting regular expressions for your language), with the exception of Python, I think TextMate does a marvelous job at getting the indent right.

    As for the awkward keys for re-indenting, you can also use ⌥⇥ and ⌥⇤ (the ⌘[ and ⌘] keys though is a de facto Mac standard).

  77. I've been a BBEdit user since it first came out, and I have to say the new upgrade is the first one I haven't paid for on the day of release. There just wasn't anything compelling enough about it to do so.

    Right now I'm giving Textmate another kick-of-the-tyres, having tried it, off-and-on, half-a-dozen or more times and always going back to BBEdit.

    It's hard to use right now, because of muscle-memory, and it not doing things in quite the same way. And yes, the delete thing just feels so wrong. But I'm not going to give up until it's had a chance to really prove itself.

    I've subscribed to the RSS feed of screen-casts, which go along way to showing some of its true power, and keep watching them in the hope that--in time--some of it will stick. But there is a lot of brain-cells to rewire and finger movements to re-train before I'll take full advantage.

    Don't get me wrong, BBEdit is a *great* program, but it feels like it's starting to show its age, and is somewhat stuck as to where to go next. I tend to use it now simply because it's so comfortable and gets the basic job done very, very well. But Textmate feels like it's going into new, interesting and useful places with greater speed; it's got some of the excitement that BBEdit seems to have lost.

    I'd say, for now, it's a pretty consistent 50/50 split, but that as time goes on the default editor to open is becoming Textmate more and more often. And every time I use it, and take a couple of minutes to find and (try to) learn a new feature, the pull gets a little stronger.

  78. I have both but use BBEdit most. It's just got far more polish and I bump up against the edges less in my daily work than in Textmate. I like the project like nature of TM but every feature feels like a kludge.

    For me, the cardinal sin in Textmate is the fact that you can't scroll horizontally without losing the line numbers. That is pure amateur hour.

    And Allan, you do yourself no favours by your public arrogance. Really you come off as snotty as hell and if I hadn't already licensed my copy of TM, you would never get my money. Time to grow up.

  79. Count me in the crowd that always used bbedit, but have since switched to TextMate. In fact, BBEdit is no longer even installed.

    Also count me in the crowd who took 2 or 3 tries before really starting to appreciate it. Registered and don't feel the need to look any further...

    and seriously, single character undo is that big of an issue? wow.

  80. Jackie McGhee said on November 10, 2006:

    And Allan, you do yourself no favours by your public arrogance. Really you come off as snotty as hell and if I hadn't already licensed my copy of TM, you would never get my money. Time to grow up.

    You're probably going to read this as arrogant, but I think I come off as exactly what you want me to come off as.

  81. I use Textmate almost exclusively, with Xcode in there from time to time. Rather than try to make a bullet list of pros and cons, I'll just explain how I got here.

    I started out on OS X with SubEthaEdit (before TextWrangler and TextMate), as at the time it was the only light-weight general purpose code editor with syntax hilighting that I found. The fact that it was free for educational use and had sexy multi-user document sharing was also cool.

    So in the middle of that, this funky, un-mac-like editor called TextMate came out with a weird icon (I really like the new one. the Robot was just funny) and I tried it, liked the code folding (though it would break often) but disliked the lack of a preference pane and general roughness. Back to SubEthaEdit.

    Unfortunately for SEE, I never have anyone to share my document with, and it ceased to be free for me, as I wanted to use it commercially, but the biggest complaint was the lack of language definitions and the seemingly non-existent user community. So a couple years later, I went looking again, and there was a choice between TextWrangler, BBEdit, skEdit, Xcode, and TextMate (Emacs in any form still scares me).

    BBEdit felt clunky and anti-OS X, though it does have some really powerful features, they seemed to me to be disorganized and arbitrarily spread all over the UI. It also was waaay too expensive for me. I mean $200/125? I'm a poor student. I'll just use Xcode.

    TextWrangler had the same drawbacks/benefits as BBEdit, minus the cost. Yet, I hate having that "lite" application air that comes with it. It constantly reminds me of the features that I don't have access to, yet would someday find useful if I did.

    skEdit may be nice, but I felt it was slim on features. I never found it to be flexible or extensible enough for editing, at least, it was just as good as SubEthaEdit. Built-in FTP? don't care. I'll use Transmit or the free Cyberduck (or even Fugu). These are awesome apps and that do a good job at what they do. I don't need excess functionality. Nowadays, I'm getting into using Mercurial for project history and syncronization between different places.

    Xcode is cool, but it offers nothing for HTML editing. 'nuff said.

    So, Textmate came around a second time. I had long since thrown it away, so I went to go download it again. Wow! What a change! The app had cleaned up a lot. The marketing wasn't as arrogant sounding as it had been. I honestly can't remember everything that had changed since the last time, but is was a much more mature app. And had a decent icon. (Hey, I'm too obsessive about what goes in my dock. Sorry!)

    The three things which really sum up Textmate's elegance are its bundles, its contextual parsing system, and its tight integration with the UNIX layer of OS X. Almost everything is done through bundles. There's a handy built-in bundle editor to go explore and tweak settings to be the way you want them. If you don't like it, you can easily set it all back to default. Defaults make sense, so configurability isn't necessary, but is there if you want it. Contextual parsing means overloading triggers where it makes sense. *very* flexible syntax that takes into account that one document can have multiple languages, and bundles don't have to repeat functionality that should only apply to one group.

    The way it interacts with the shell and all those OS X UNIX underpinnings are to me what makes it really cool. It takes all these technologies and applies them to make work easy. I appreciate applescript and all, but I hate its syntax and ideosyncracies. I wish Apple would ditch it and provide its functionality through another language like Python or Ruby. Applescript itself feels like a relic of OS 9.

    I saw a project out there that is attempting to make a TextMate clone for Windows (including cross bundle support). I actually laughed out loud. It's impossible! The developers would have to port an entire POSIX environment over for their clone to be able to approach the usefulness of Textmate (well, cygwin aside...). TextMate is one of the best OS X apps out there because it is one that embodies everything that is good about it: Clean, well-thought-out design that harnesses a lot of existing power that was previously unavailable. In this sense, TextMate makes Mac OS X look good.

    Sorry to make this more of a "let me gush on about TextMate's wonderfulness" post, but there you have it.

    P.S. Cool TM feature: the "Edit in TextMate" InputManager hack lets you pull just about any textview's content and edit it, then spit it back out again when you're done. Great for Markdown/Textile in Comment forms :D

  82. PatrickQG said on November 10, 2006:

    I know there's a find that works on projects (and you don't need to save a project to use it as one, just drop a folder on TextMate), I've used it...

    You can't seriously be comparing this to BBEdit's "find" or "find/replace" across folders and with filters. The two do not compare.

    PatrickQG said on November 10, 2006:

    I haven't had hit performance issues on file sizes (none of the files I routinely edit have more than 5,000 lines of code in them)

    I edit some fairly large .sql dumps. TextMate doesn't handle them very well, and it appears to hit the disk to check for changes every time I switch back to it from another app.

    PatrickQG said on November 10, 2006:

    AppleScript support - I have to say I've used AppleScript once, maybe twice in the time I've owned a Mac (the last 4 years), but I suppose that might be something you'd want.

    I said that it was, so yes, it is something I'd want. BBEdit's AppleScript dictionary is rich. TM's is not.

    PatrickQG said on November 10, 2006:

    By the way: editing your own comments? Awesome idea, thanks for providing that.

    Yeah, you have ten minutes after your post to do so. Just another WordPress plugin.

  83. Allan Odgaard said on November 10, 2006:

    Dialogs which say “Ok”? I had to use TextMate's find function to search my source for that, no matches.

    I emailed one the other day. It's in the blogging bundle.

    Allan Odgaard said on November 10, 2006:

    Sluggish performance? Did you actually run into a performance problem in the one minute you spent with TM, or just echoing someone else's complaint?

    In order to compile the updated list of reasons I dislike TextMate (and, should anyone ask, I have a list of things I dislike about BBEdit, too), I used the app for awhile. One of those tasks was an attempt at editing a 20 MB .sql dump. I switched back to BBEdit pretty quickly. Both apps were configured similarly (soft wrapping off is a biggie).

    People have been commenting all day. As they say something neat, I've dropped into TM to try it out. Allan, I'm trying here. I'd appreciate it if you'd recognize that rather than insult me by asking if I'm just copying what others are saying.

    Allan Odgaard said on November 10, 2006:

    Poor AppleScript support, yes, TM has another scripting philosophy, was there a task you could not automate, or did you just miss the bullet point from TM's feature list? etc.

    I'm talking about scripting the application itself. I realize you can script the contents with a variety of languages in TM, but a lot of my BBEdit AppleScripts script the application itself - the windows and things that aren't "text."

    Allan Odgaard said on November 10, 2006:

    Sure, TM is anything but perfect, I am not fooling myself into thinking otherwise.

    I never said you were.

    Allan Odgaard said on November 10, 2006:

    But your list sounds like you just want to find reasons for not liking it, i.e. dialog titles and how mouse clicks are interpreted on a feature you didn't have before. Come on, even I can come up with better reasons than that for why TextMate sucks! ;)

    BBEdit has code folding, and how mouse clicks are interpreted does matter to me. I've been using a computer that "does the right thing" for ages. TM doesn't always do the right thing and it's frustrating. Years of experience are being contradicted.

    Would you rather I simply stopped using TM, stopped giving it a try, when I found the unusual undo "support" or would you rather I keep trying to like it, noting the things I have to overcome along the way?

    Allan Odgaard said on November 10, 2006:

    I wonder why you are this interested in switching in the first place? You seem to use more energy on ranting about TM, than actually learning why it could be an advantage to use. Have you for example looked at some of the screencasts which were recommended to you by both me and in other comments?

    I've watched four or five of them. I already told you "why" I was interested in switching - it's the first sentence in this post. You don't need to be snarky, Allan - I'm not ranting. I'm simply listing the thoughts that occur to me as I continue to try to use TM. If I can overcome those stumbling blocks (some are rather small, some quite large), then you may have a new customer. I'm not writing my observations to bag on TM or to "rant" on it - I'm writing them so I have a record of my thoughts.

  84. nex said on November 10, 2006:

    P.S.: BUG REPORT to erik: i wrote this comment in textedit, because your comment form was completely unusable for me :-(

    Noted, though I'm not sure I have any plans to change it. It's just a drop-in plugin. It's not a "Firefox" issue, but more likely a speed-of-processor issue. I plainly admit to not even thinking about it, as performance on my Mac Pro is quite good. I'll try it on my 12" PB G4 later today. Perhaps the plugin author can add a checkbox to disable or enable the live preview.

  85. Jackie McGhee said on November 10, 2006:

    And Allan, you do yourself no favours by your public arrogance. Really you come off as snotty as hell and if I hadn't already licensed my copy of TM, you would never get my money. Time to grow up.

    Comments like this come off as far more snotty than anything Allan's said. His comments have always struck me as straight up honesty (from his perspective). I haven't interpreted anything he's said as snotty, and this discussion is not about other people. It's about software. If you can't restrict your comments to software (and how people use it), don't comment.

  86. As of right now, all comments held in moderation (I wish WordPress would tell me why they're held - it seems to be because they're long) have been published. I'm leaving for several hours, so a few comments may back up again.

    Stick to answering the questions I originally posed, please, and not commenting on the comments, findings, or opinions of others.

    And Allan, in case you see it here first, your blog is currently displaying no content and an SQL error. I found this first while trying to read about the 2.0 free upgrade.

  87. For those TextMate users in the audience, why do you use TextMate? For those BBEdit users, why have you stuck with BBEdit?

    I stick with BBEdit because I'm used to the way it works.

    Plus, I have the source code. :-)

  88. [...] NSLog();: TextMate’s Undo TextMates undo sucks, I agree. But the comments turn into a shouting match of sorts. [...]

  89. First, Erik dude, I wish I would have known you were thinking of asking this. I'd have told you to expect this. Sorry you got caught in yet another computer religious war.

    For those questioning (s)ftp, well, if you're a sysadmin, subversion is kind of useless. I can't edit Nagios config files, build new cacti scripts and templates, etc. on remote machines with subversion. Well, I could probably build a system that worked for that, but why? SFTP works really well, securely, and allows for Active Directory auth, which is important on my network. I'm not going to replace a functional system that works without clear reason.

    It's interesting that most of the comments here are from programmers. Tells me a lot about Erik's audience, and where I fit in. (read, not really.) I'm a sysadmin, so most of the programming support is of no matter to me.

    The whole "feature war" thing is silly. Every product in a given genre is going to have a similar feature set. BBEdit has had direct subversion support for some time now. About the only thing I wish it had that it doesn't is direct support for movable type/livejournal, and SEE's Bonjour featureset. But I use Ecto for the former, and I really only use SEE during keynotes to contribute to Adam Engst's "live" reports. So not a big deal.

    The richness of BBEdit's find/replace featureset, the amazing Applescript dictionary, the shell integration, and a dozen other features are all parts of why I use BBEdit, but the real reason is that I just like it. Like Allan, Rich is an independent developer, so that argument is silly. Not as silly as what BBEdit used to cost, (come on. I used to be able to get a hummer and a gram for a hundred bucks, and that has precisely as much to do with this as what BBEdit used to cost. If we want to do that, I can pull out what I used to pay for it a loooooong time ago. It's lame, stop it.), but silly nonetheless.

    But the reason why I use a product is really intangible. It's not a featureset, (if that's all I cared about, emacs ALWAYS wins), it's not price, (emacs wins), or extension - building community, (emacs wins). BBEdit has just always worked the way I like. The features are a part of that, but in the end, features are unimportant if I grit my teeth every time I open the application. BBEdit never makes me wince. So I use it.

    Oh...yeah, this whole convincing people to switch? Lame. Lame, lame, lame. Lame like the Ford/Chevy thing. Some folks hate BBEdit. Some folks hate TM. Some for specific reasons, some not. Stop with the evangelizing stuff, it's annoying.

  90. TextMate was the reason I stopped working on my own editor:
    http://aeditor.rubyforge.org/

  91. I commend anyone who decides to create an editor for programmers. The feature set is huge, the problems are non-trivial and the audience is cranky. Before my Mac days I used Ultraedit. It did a couple of things well that many editors weren't doing at the time: tabbed editing, column editing, flexible language configuration.

    BBEdit does a lot of things right, and for me is closest to the way I work. It has a poor man's version of column editing, and I can switch between open files with the keyboard, but only with 10 files (cmd 0-9). The language preferences are a little limited. You can't jump to a function without the mouse.

    Textmate is poised to take the lead, but its not there yet. I downloaded again today and tried it. Column editing is perfect, but you only get tabs and "open files" list (..and mouse-less switching between files) when you're working in a project. Ouch. Function navigation is awesome (go to symbol..) and can be done without the mouse, but apparently you have to memorize the keyboard shortcuts for your snippets. I only use about 10 snippets and I'd rather have them in a menu, not have to memorize keyboard shortcuts for them. The command line "mate" script is a good addition. One-char undo doesn't bother me. Sometimes I think BBEdit's undo is too aggressive.

    All this is personal preference, of course. I'll check back on Textmate in a few months and see how things are progressing.

  92. I tried out TextMate in Oct, 2004, and although it seemed pretty cool, it didn't seem to support a lot of the features I needed as a Unix sysadmin, so I switched back to BBEdit (and the occasional vim).

    Late 2005, I checked out some of the screencasts of DHH putting together Rails applications with TextMate, and they were hot, hot. The bundle support had grown through the roof, and it had this feeling of being at the same time both extremely powerful and extensible but also completely out of my way until I needed it. As Pat mentioned above, Rands captured the experience elegantly.

    For the past year, I've used nothing but TextMate, even though I still have a license to an older version of BBEdit and got a free license to SubEthaEdit from MacZot.

  93. You really should watch those TextMate screencasts. When you do, you'll discover that there is one thing more annoying than Allan Oodgard's (or however it's spelt) attitude: his voice. Enough to drive me crazy. I nearly smashed the screen each time I heard it.

  94. Jackie McGhee said on November 10, 2006:

    For me, the cardinal sin in Textmate is the fact that you can't scroll horizontally without losing the line numbers.

    This, I agree with completely (except the cardinality of the sin). I should probably check to see if this has been submitted as a feature request, and if not, do so. It bothers me daily.

    Rich Siegel said on November 10, 2006:

    I stick with BBEdit because I'm used to the way it works.

    Plus, I have the source code. :-)

    Classy response FTW.

  95. I've been using BBEdit since version 4. I've tried TextMate for the trial period, but going back to BBEdit was like coming home to a warm bed. Allan is on the right track with TextMate, but it seems clunky to me. BBEdit is a polished app with years of refinement. And version 8.5 is the best version yet.

    Maybe TextMate will get there someday, but for now, it just feels amateurish.

    Sure, Allan does seem to be very accessible to his users. I think that is great. But anyone who has been using BBEdit knows that Rich is just as accessible, not to mention one of the classiest guys in the Mac community.

    I'm happy with BBEdit and have been for 10 years.

  96. [tw]: TextMate's Undo, and the New Editor Wars...

    There's way more to this story, though. Erik's post touched off another battle in the editor wars, which have raged for decades....

  97. Erik J. Barzeski said on November 9, 2006:

    Incidentally, I'm asking the question - and I keep trying TextMate - because I keep wondering what I'm missing.

    I want to like TextMate. I really do. But it seems like every time I try to give TextMate a shot, I stumble over something really early on. This last time, it was the single-character undo.

    I read this and I have two different thought pop into my head:
    I keep trying durian because I keep wondering what I'm missing.

    I want to like Spanish. I really do. But it seems like every time I try to give Spanish a shot, I stumble over something really early on. This last time, it was all the "el"s and "la"s.

    Basically, there are two points here: The first is that sometimes you don't like things that others love. I can't stand martinis and Battlestar Galactica does nothing for me. I've come to accept that. And second is that if you want to see what good about something, you occasionally have to live with the little annoyances you meet early on. They usually vanish into the mist fairly quickly.

    I guess what I'm saying is to either put on your big-boy pants and use TextMate exclusively for a week or two, and then tell us what your issues are, or just say "you know what... it's not for me," and move on. It's really not that hard.

    And to answer your original question, I don't use BBEdit because when I came to OS X, BBedit was beyond pathetic for doing any coding outside of HTML or C. It had essentially no support for the commonly used features of programmers text editors -- simple syntax highlighting being the most obvious. So I settled in with Vim for a long time until TextMate came along, and struck me as the first editor for OS X that was nearly as powerful as Vim, but a lot better looking and a better citizen in the Apple landscape (don't get me wrong, it still has some minor issues, but it's the best alternative I've seen). Since then, I've gotten very familiar with it and it would be hard to unseat. I see that BBEdit has been doing a decent job of catch up since Allan entered the market, but there isn't a single feature that they have that TextMate doesn't that would compel me to switch -- even if they offered the product for free. (Plus I learned to hate Bare Bones product release cycle and public comment policy when I was using MailSmith, so I cast a wary eye in their direction for all things these days)

  98. bob said on November 10, 2006:

    Textmate is poised to take the lead, but its not there yet. I downloaded again today and tried it. Column editing is perfect, but you only get tabs and "open files" list (..and mouse-less switching between files) when you're working in a project.

    While the tabs is true of requiring a project, mouse-less switching between files is quite possible - cmd+`, which is fairly common on the mac for switching between open windows in an app.

  99. William D. Neumann said on November 10, 2006:

    Basically, there are two points here: The first is that sometimes you don't like things that others love. … And second is that if you want to see what good about something, you occasionally have to live with the little annoyances you meet early on.

    I realize that what you say is true, but my current reality is that I have to get work done. I may only have 15 minutes here or there to "play" with TextMate. To re-map my brain, I would probably need to find a single 40-hour week (or more) to begin to be anywhere near as comfortable in TextMate as I am in BBEdit. If I was even 10% slower during that time, that's an extra four hours I wouldn't get to spend doing something I enjoy.

    That's time I don't have in abundance right now. So, right or wrong, I can rarely afford to give certain applications more than a very short trial. If I don't see an immediate value, I return to tools I understand, know, trust, and which allow me to work quickly now.

    William D. Neumann said on November 10, 2006:

    I guess what I'm saying is to either put on your big-boy pants and use TextMate exclusively for a week or two, and then tell us what your issues are, or just say "you know what... it's not for me," and move on. It's really not that hard.

    Yes, that's the plan… when I get the chance to use it. Probably not until January-ish, and I'll probably just have to decide to use it for a project I'm set to start around then. For now, it's these quick observations and solicitations from others, which I'm happy to read because they better prepare me for an eventual trial.

  100. Greg said on November 10, 2006:

    You really should watch those TextMate screencasts. When you do, you'll discover that there is one thing more annoying than Allan Oodgard's (or however it's spelt) attitude: his voice. Enough to drive me crazy. I nearly smashed the screen each time I heard it.

    What an excellent strategy for ensuring all future screencasts are broadcast entirely in Danish.

  101. PatrickQG said on November 10, 2006:

    bob said on November 10, 2006:

    Textmate is poised to take the lead, but its not there yet. I downloaded again today and tried it. Column editing is perfect, but you only get tabs and "open files" list (..and mouse-less switching between files) when you're working in a project.

    While the tabs is true of requiring a project, mouse-less switching between files is quite possible - cmd+`, which is fairly common on the mac for switching between open windows in an app.

    While that is true, you can't jump to a particular file that way. Very frequently I have 10 files open and I need to alternate between the 3rd and 8th one, say. Again, this is just a personal preference, but I'll bet features like this will eventually make their way into Textmate.

  102. BBEdit's been with me for more than 10 years now and no matter what my job description it never fails to save my ass. Web development.. database administration.. rich internet applications.. ActionScript.. and just a little programming to keep me honest.. it's never let me down. I have tried other text editors but I always return to BBEdit fairly quickly. Why? Hmm.. could be the 10 years worth of AppleScripts I've saved up.. the insanely wonderful Find & Replace.. or the fact that I'd be lost trying to build a website without Apple-option-m.

  103. bob said on November 10, 2006:

    While that is true, you can't jump to a particular file that way. Very frequently I have 10 files open and I need to alternate between the 3rd and 8th one, say. Again, this is just a personal preference, but I'll bet features like this will eventually make their way into Textmate.

    If I'm reading you correctly, you sure can do this. cmd-t RET will jump to the prior file in a project; do it again, and you've back in the first buffer again. But it gets better: cmd-t foo RET will jump to the first file that matches foo. Then cmd-t RET again and you'll be back where you started.

  104. I go with Erik's comment above. In a get-things-done world, BBEdit delivers the goods. While I am sure that TextMate is a superb application, finding the time to change one's workflow is something I'm not into right now. I just fired TextMate up to remind myself, but my demo has expired and I feel neither one way or the other about trying it again, because now I have to purchase it to explore it any further.

    On the other hand, when Bare Bones release a major upgrade to BBEdit it feels like Christmas (worryingly I actually think it's better than Christmas - must add 'Life' down on my 'must get' list).

    How do you quantify that? Bare Bones have a particular way of going about the Mac software business that I admire, better still I love their products. TextMate just didn't grab me in the window of opportunity I had to try it.

  105. TextMate user.

    I started looking for a text editor because I knew there must be a better way to code other than GoLive or Dreamweaver (I'm a designer first and foremost).

    I've used BBEdit in the past, but never "got it" or even recognised how powerful it could be. I tried skEdit after Luke Dorny dropped it's name a few times, but it never grabbed me. TextMate's power and potential started to unfold before me from the first few days I used it.

    The cool thing with TM is that reading these comments have made me excited to fire up TM again and look for the snippets and things that apply to me that other users have mentioned. I'm now more motivated to watch a few more screencasts (regardless of Allan's accent, it doesn't bother me) and find out more about how to improve my workflow.

    And as for single character undo... just don't make so many mistakes, mmm'kay? ;)

    (I too typed this in TM because WordPress' text input is painful.)

  106. TextMate for me mate ;-)

    Look at all these comments folks - isn't it funny that the choice of something so (at least on the surface) simple as a text editor drums up all these feelings.

    I'm not an advanced user, but I've been using various text editors on and off since System 6 days. Since TextMate came out, that's my choice. I think the best way I can explain it is simplicity. It gets out of the way of me doing things with it's uncluttered interface. I mostly work with projects and have the files I need available in the drawer. It's also fast - starts up fast and does anything else I do with it fast. BBEdit has always struck me as sluggish for being a text editor and overloaded with menu choices, buttons, etc.

    I do mostly some very humble PHP/MySQL development for private use and also for work. I'm not advanced by any means, and I'm the only Mac user in an organization of Windows. TextMate often produces the same 'ooh' and 'aah' reactions from my colleagues that other high-quality Mac software does, like OminGraffle, and Interarchy.

    And personally I'd like to say it's nice to see Allan here talking to others. Not many developers do that it seems to me.

  107. I have registered both TextMate and BBEdit. These are both sound products. Yet when I have to complete a job quickly, BBEdit is the tool I choose. I suspect this is mostly familiarity, but BBEdit often fits the nature of my work somewhat better.
    The manner in which one performs a task, and even the task itself, is influenced by tool selection more than we care to believe.

  108. I'm with BBEdit (although I have licenses for both of them).

    I use it mainly because of one thing (very broad thing): predictability. Everything is predictable, I always know what results to expect. The same thing is with Python among programming languages. I like Python and I like BBEdit. That is the kind of guy I am. Nothing wrong with being Ruby/TextMate guy either :)

    Also, few other things: Stability (or the feel of). I have the feeling that every single letter I type in BBEdit will safely stuck in that file without issues. I *trust* BBEdit. The whole application gives me the trust feeling. The interface. When I open BBEdit I know it will serve me well every day. It's dandy -- and it's not ugly. Sure, it is different -- but because of that interface I have these feelings. The interface tells you it's there for work and not for fooling around.

    And it's not smart by default. I don't get loads of quotes/letters entered automatically, end tags closed, and various other things. That gets in my way. I want to type exactly what I want. I want to type HTML4.01 without end tags for paragraphs and lists. I don't want tidy to convert my HTML to XHTML (and I don't want to hunt and edit bundle items to tweak it to adhere to my ways). And if I *want* something to appear in some magic moments, *I* will do that by writing script/clipping/plug-in etc.

    That should answer the question. I could write a load of other things for both editors, but it just doesn't have sense.

  109. [...] Une discussion chez Erik J. Barzeski, déçu du “single character undo” de TextMate : http://nslog.com/2006/11/08/textmates_undo/ [...]

  110. alan said on November 10, 2006:

    bob said on November 10, 2006:

    While that is true, you can't jump to a particular file that way. Very frequently I have 10 files open and I need to alternate between the 3rd and 8th one, say. Again, this is just a personal preference, but I'll bet features like this will eventually make their way into Textmate.

    If I'm reading you correctly, you sure can do this. cmd-t RET will jump to the prior file in a project; do it again, and you've back in the first buffer again. But it gets better: cmd-t foo RET will jump to the first file that matches foo. Then cmd-t RET again and you'll be back where you started.

    Only if you're in a project. This would be an awesome feature to enable for the non-project context.

  111. [...] There's some furious debating going on over at NSLog in the comments of Erik's post on trying TextMate but falling back to BBEdit again. Even TextMate's developer, Allan Odgaard, responded. Over 100 comments! Personally, I tried TextMate after all the acclaim it recieved and I was confused sufficiently even after looking at docs, etc., that I went with Smultron. [...]

  112. It's all about Textpad. ;)

    But no, I tend to use different editors for different purposes. There are things I like and don't like about all of the 3 big Mac editors (BB, TM and SEE); each has a place in my editing toolbox.

  113. Been using BBEdit for about 2 years now. I love it. I has some basic html features that I find useless and a few other features that will probably never use simply because I prefer to type some things manually or will never have the time to read the manual or will just never have a need for them.

    I love bbedit because of some of its useful text and markup menu functions and I feel it has the absolute best find/replace window I have ever seen. And I've seen a lot in the past 6 months.

    I've been searching desperately to find a good text editor for windows and everything I've tried has left me very disappointed.

    I'm pretty convinced the majority of the menu items in BBEdit I use the most are accomplised through regular expression. I've discovered a little regex knowledge in BBEdits find/replace window is a very very powerful thing. What once took me 3 trips to a menu I can now do with one trip to cmd+f and a little regex know-how.

    The find/replace/regular expression features of all the windows text editors I've tried this year have all disappointed me.
    For the moment I've settled on JEdit. It's open and extendable and I'm hoping maybe someday I'll have the time to tweak it to be more BBEdit-like.
    Does anyone have any good suggestions for windows text editors?
    Something with find & replace and regular expressions in the same window like BBEdit?
    Easy to find control over character encodings, line endings, etc?

    But the #1 thing I wish I could find for windows is an app that does the same thing as auto-pairs on the mac. Coding without it is such a chore for me.

    Honestly [] {} '' "" () are the ONLY things I EVER desire to be auto-completed!

    As for BBEdits interface it is a little clunky I guess. That's why I don't make much use of it. A few menu items, some keyboard shortcuts and the find/replace window is all I seem to need from it.

    Will watch the screencasts in a minute. I saw one before a while ago but it didnt show TM being used to do what I do in the way I do it.

  114. I've used BBEdit since version 3.5, and have owned every single version since then. I wouldn't be surprised if my total bill for licenses and upgrades over the years is $400 or more, and worth every penny. If I could put in a standing order with Bare Bones to keep my credit card on file, and automatically ship me upgrades, I would do it in a second. I love BBEdit, have used it to earn a living, and think it's one of the best, most important pieces of software ever written for Mac OS. I will surely be buying version 9.0 and beyond. I look forward to it!

    All of that said, I made the switch to using TextMate 99% of the time about a year ago. It took me six months of gradually increasing the number of projects and amount of time I spent using it, but at the end of that six months I felt like I was more productive, with all the automation and shortcut keystrokes and completions, than I had ever been with BBEdit, in spite of my long experience with it. I have written more about my switch on my weblog:

    http://aldoblog.com/blog/528

    I still use BBEdit for certain tasks, including comparing files and opening large files, weaknesses in TextMate which others have commented on here. I actually wrote a TextMate command to duplicate BBEdit's "Compare Two Front Documents" command; it passes the paths of the two front documents to bbdiff via a shell command, which opens the two documents in BBEdit for comparison. It can also use FileMerge (an Apple developer tool) or the standard diff command, but I think BBEdit's comparison tool is the best I've ever seen, further improved in BBEdit 8.5, and I have no problem using the best tool for the job.

    Which I guess is my point. If you're happy with BBEdit, or can't wrap your head around TextMate, by all means stick with the tool you know.

    But from personal experience, I've found that -- for me -- TextMate is substantially more efficient for writing and editing, especially code. I love it. I use it pretty much every day, and some days all day long. I think it's an amazing piece of software, and while it does indeed have a few quirks and weaknesses, I have no problem working with or around them to get the productivity increase that TextMate has given me.

  115. [...] Which one are you a fan of? [...]

  116. [...] As a follow up to the last post about the latest manifestation of the Editor Wars, I want to concur with Erik J. Barzeski's complaint about TextMate's lack of chunk undo. However, having used TextMate's character undo, I can see that, in certain contexts, it has its advantages. Personally, I would like the best of both worlds… with cmd-z as character undo and cmd-opt-z as chunk undo. [...]

  117. This was a real eye opener. I was surprised to learn that anyone that has looked at TextMate for more then a minute would actively choose to use something else. Maybe my estimate of only needing only a minute was a little short. Should I up it to 2mins?

  118. I agree. I'm having the same issue. really, really, really wanna like TextMate, but I've gotten so used to BBEdit's chunked undos and it's built-in CVS support that I just can't use TextMate.

    We're used to chunked undo in the OS and have come to expect it in any text editor (as a matter of fact, it came in handy when writing this comment!)

    The Bundle concept and framework really is amazing, but TextMate CVS Bundle is severely lacking in comparison to BBEdit's CVS support.

    I guess it's the same difference between QuickSilver and LaunchBar. Sure, QuickSilver has great extensibility, but it's the extensibility that makes it over-complicated to do what you got the software for in the first place.

    When you try to be all things to too many people you lose the original focus of your application.

  119. Should resist. Can't resist.

    Own both. Use both but BBEdit is the Star because I can't stand some small things I hate with TextMate:

    Changing the indent of let's say four lines should work like in BBEdit and XCode: you select partially the first line up to partially the last line and press the key combo. Won't work in TextMate because the first line isn't properly indented. I can't say HOW I hate this!!

    Double clicking in multiple spaces or tabs and continuing to drag should only select the following words. Somehow TextMate selects also the word before the multiple spaces. What...?

    Try to open a 250MB xml file and hope that TextMate stays open...

    Clicking below the last line of text will set the cursor vertically above the click location. BBEdit, TextEdit and XCode all set it at the end of the text.

    How can anybody with a decent amount of files work with projects in TextMate? I do recursive searches in BBEdit on 12K+ files on mounted volumes in almost no time. Also, I work with different sets of huge numbers of files and BBEdit remembers the roots for me.

    Tried to create a language def for my own php dialect but failed because I hit TextMates restrictions in recursively embeddeding html/code blocks. It's cool but fails half way.

    BBEdit never crashed on me. Ever. TextMate did this several times - a quick bye-bye for an important tool.

    Don't want to use another app for (s)ftp.

    Dealing with many different encodings / line endings is guesswork with TextMate (or I simply don't get it...)

    Can I set a default window size / features in TextMate?

    It all comes down to the fine details. Either it's supporting you or it's in your way.

  120. I used BBEdit from 1995 to 2005 to do HTML editing. The interface on it just seemed a bit clunky.

    I started Ruby on Rails programming in late 2005 and found textmate in 2006. Textmate just seems like a lean mean and fast editor. Those macros, snippets, and tab completions are an utter godsend for programming. Textmate just fits, beautifully for HTML and rails work... Would I use it for something like C++/Objective C style development? Probably not-- xcode does the trick. Java? Intellij IDEA is the best. But for scripting languages and web, its all textmate..

    Its all about the best tools for the app, and Allan hit a home run out of the park!

  121. I still use both editors daily. However TextMate is really the workhorse. The scoping and snippets system really is the killer app (coupled with a custom text window which makes it possible to do things BBEdit never will be able to). It gives an extremely nice ratio of power/complexity. This is key.

    Emacs is the most powerful editor in existence, and for anyone with sufficient experience and knowledge of it, there will never be a reason to use any other editor. However TextMate gives a ton of power that is easy to understand for the average programmer with a short learning curve. If you're not a programmer (or at least don't have the mentality of regexps/grammers) then TextMate is probably a waste of your time.

    BBEdit on the other hand remains powerful through breadth of features (especially for HTML). I used it efficiently for years thanks to its ability to configure keyboard shortcuts. Since I was doing mostly HTML this was good enough to make it more efficient than, say, Dreamweaver.

    The debate over small details could rage on forever. Atomic undo, minutiae of the built-ins, text window behavior subtleties, etc, etc. However for me the reason BBEdit is still in my Applications folder are very specific tasks. For instance, if your file has encoding issues, TextMate just doesn't have any way to deal with it. Another area is large text files, TextMate's custom window really suffers performance-wise once you go upwards of a few thousand lines. For search and replace BBEdit is much more refined, not only is the regexp dialect better documented (Perl), but the window just works better. For instance, TM can't save search/replace pairs, it just has a history which means as you refine your search regexp, all the broken variants go in, making it very difficult to quickly select the right one later.

    Ultimately what this comes down to is polish. However dated the interface, BBEdit is polished. TextMate seems focused on the cool stuff, which is okay because that's what makes it a great editor. But I'd like to see some time spent on some of the more mundane details. Some time I'll write up a list of TextMate pet peeves, the little things that it needs to truly become the complete solution.

  122. I switched to the Mac about 2 years ago and one of the most disappointing things I discovered on my arrival was that I hated the editors.

    Before giving TextMate a real chance I used BBedit - and I was definitely not happy with it. The most popular (and seemingly best available) editor on my lovely new Mac felt like a big clunky pile of rubbish. It really felt like a big step backwards from what I was used to on windoze.

    Enter TextMate.

    It took a couple of attempts to become an addict. First time round I was convinced that it was too basic for my needs (I think I gave it about 20 minutes to prove itself)... yes, I know how absurd that sounds now.

    I'd advise anyone who hasn't switched to give it a decent try. There are always going to be teething problems when switching editors but once you get through that you'll discover that there's very little that TextMate can't do for you.

  123. [...] TextMate… how are people so obsessed with their text editors to the point where they debate them to death? Most people wanted to hop on the Rails bandwagon, saw the screencast where DHH uses TextMate, and [...]

  124. I have been using a Mac for about a year now and have tried both BB Edit and TextMate. The main thing I find missing in TextMate is built in ftp/sftp/scp for deploying updated code to remote sites. The one thing that stops me from switching to BB Edit is TextMate's project feature. I can't live without it now. I can get around the ftp thing by using transport with its drop to deploy feature.

    As a side not, I never found an editor in the Window's world I liked. In the Linux/Unix world I do prefer vi over emacs, but probably because I learned it first.

  125. "As a side not, I never found an editor in the Window's world I liked."

    You might have a look at UltraEdit.

    It's a very capable editor plus it has FTP support built right in.

    You do not have to buy something extra to handle file transfers like CuteFTP or YummyFTP. It's all right there.

  126. Is there a decent open source editor for Mac, I feel that the undo problem could been long fixed if it is a open source project.

  127. When you look at the amount of typing that has gone into the comments for this post... via a browser, it makes me wonder whether text editors are required at all!

    Have a ganders at Ryan Bate's screencasts for an example of TM being put to work. I'm sure there are others out there for BBEdit too. It's impressive to watch.


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