BBEdit

Posted at 9:26 PM on 30 August 2004

BBEdit's popularity continues to remain a mystery to me. Apparently, a "new version" has been released, but the "new features" seem so... weak. I just can't imagine why scads of mac-heads wet themselves whenever an update is dangled in front of their noses. And the price they're asking for it... well, the most polite thing I could say is, "that must take balls".

It's utterly outrageous. For a (comparatively) weak editor, why'd you part with £100 ($180!) when utterly, unremittingly superior programs (Vim, Emacs) can be downloaded for free? Even more hilariously, both of these editors actually ship with MacOS X by default!.

So, I have a theory.

Traditionally, Mac users have been extremely poorly supported text editor-wise - particularly during the pre-MacOS X days. And so BBEdit appeals to old-school mac users who don't know any better. Hell, even the upgrade price of BBEdit is substantially more than the FULL PRICE of shareware editors available for the Windows platform (Textpad, I'm looking at you!) which are better in every regard (IMO).

I was going to say "almost" then - but I'm not aware of a single feature BBEdit does better than Textpad.

So why do people continue to pay through the nose for BBEdit? It makes no sense! Sure, it's quite a nice editor, but it's worth ~$30 tops! How can the $180 price tag possibly be justified?

For me, I'm sticking with Vim for now. But on the horizon is TextMate, which actually looks like it might be a bit good. Actually, really, really good. If its word-wrap works like Textpad, I'll be a happy bunny indeed and will be more than happy in parting with some $$$ for it (a movie that shows it in action is available here.

Regardless, we certainly live in interesting times.

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Comments on "BBEdit"

me, i like jedit, although it took me ages to get over not having textpad....

I've never managed to get on with jedit. I mean, it's OK, but it just feels clunky. Admittedly, last I looked was about 3 years ago now, so it's probably really slick and peachy, but since I started using vim seriously, it's not something I've bothered to look back at.

Unfortunately, whilst still an (excellent) editor, Vim's integration with OS X sucks somewhat. Simply put, it doesn't play well with others. But TextMate looks really good. And if it can deliver at a reasonable price, I'll be first in the queue :-)

Incidentally, it's just struck me how incredibly geeky this post is. I mean, getting all het up about a fricking text editor.

Sometimes, I embarrass even myself!

at least it isn't an emacs v vim thread yet...

but then when you work in an environment all day you need tools that work with you, not fight you, i've started to use vim more, jedit will do for now (and it's still a bit clunky, but i can have it on all OS's i currently use)

Have you tried Vim with cream? ;-)

http://cream.sourceforge.net

i have and although it is quite nice i made the decision that if i was going to use vim at all, it would be with only my config changes as i learnt it, making it easier for me to do server script hacking when needed....

i've found that my vim knowledge has plateaued ... now i've got my syntax higlighting sorted, and can move around the file easily and got my search and replace and markers sorted, I haven't really gone on to explore much more ... in particular I've really struggled with multiple files in one session, split windows and the like. I can envision the benefits, but I can achieve much the same effect with multiple terminal sessions and by putting vim sessions into the background.

Mike, when you need is to install the vim "minibufexpl" plugin - this adds a teeny window thing at the top of your screen whenever you have multiple files open. This is useful because it:
  • Tells you what you have open
  • Allows you to instantly see the buffer number to make an instant switch
I regularly have 30 files(+) open when I'm working, and this tiny little plugin (that works on the console too) prevents me from going completely insane. ":b" is your friend.

By this, I mean any more insane than I already am, obviously :-)

Before I get a barrage of mac-users-are-clueless agro, I just wanted to point out that I was very happy using emacs on Tops20 (DEC20) and happilly control-charactered away for four long years at the beginning of the eighties...

BBEdit is great because of the spirit it is written with. The philosophy is "it doesn't suck" and the developers have pretty well kept to that.

Mac users have only had one altenative (simpletext) which was both basic and not a true 'raw' text editor, but...

  • If you're a Mac user who needs top-class text editing but don't want to spend the money, BBEdit lite does most things you need from a text editor and is free
  • In an effort to keep the feature-list to a minimum, BBEdit typically installed an environment suited to your use, ie a c programmer wouldn't get the CSS stuff and so on.
  • There was (theoretically) no limit to the size of file that could be opened and usefully hacked on OS 9.

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