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Writing

On Text Editors — Part 5

Jesse Atkinson

This is the fifth entry in a six-part series on my history of text editors.

The TextMate Phase

Once the Yosemite beta came out in summer 2014, and I'd heard from trusted friends and co-workers it was actually pretty stable, I did something stupid and installed it on my work machine. I figured I'd be able to identify what parts of our app wouldn't work on Yosemite and potentially contribute to some RubyGems to get them ready for Yosemite.

Sublime Text ran awful for me on Yosemite. Mostly because one of the billion packages I had installed on it kept crashing it. In frustration one day I just switched to TextMate. Fully assuming I'd move back to Sublime Text once the packages for it got updated to run on Yosemite.

And then a funny thing happened. I never switched back. In the two or so years since the 2 alpha was released for free and open-sourced, TextMate got really fast, really good, and, dammit, it was pretty. This is an OS X-only app that was clearly made by someone with taste. Someone who is an OS X user, who knows what those of us who live and work on OS X want in an app, both from utility as well as design standpoints.

I enjoyed having an actual preferences pane. I enjoyed installing bundles with a GUI. Wait ... why didn't I start using this earlier? Oh yeah, because there were little things about it that drove me nuts. But turns out after a quick Google search, I found out how to enable and disable various bundles. The main thing Sublime Text still had that TextMate didn't have (at least not out of the box) was autosuggest when typing in a method name. However, I quickly learned that ⎋(esc) would autocomplete, and it did a pretty damn good job of guessing what I wanted it to autocomplete to.

Another huge benefit of TextMate was how damn good the multi-cursor support is. Sublime Text has it, but not like this. TextMate (as of this writing) feels like one of those apps that was made specifically with nerds like me in mind. It has all the things I care about in spades and the things it doesn't have I don't mind so much. I've been using TextMate 2, which has now gone into "beta" (it's stable, don't fear) for the past six months and haven't once felt the desire to switch back to Sublime Text.