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August 31, 11:34

BBEdit 8 released, bloggers long for TextMate

UPDATE: TextMate has been released!

Bare Bones have released the 8th edition of BBEdit, but the reception has certainly not been the all fuzzy, warm, and welcome that the company might have wished for. Chris Carline writes:

BBEdit's popularity continues to remain a mystery to me. Apparently, a "new version" has been released, but the "new features" seem so... weak...

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?

And of course, it doesn't get easier to continue to charge 4-6 times the prize of a regular shareware package, when strong competition is mounting in the horizon. idoChron writes:

I like it, but Iím not sure if I $50 upgrade like it. Especially with TextMate around the corner.

...and Carline has even less flattery to spare:

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.

...and Justin French chimes in with his disappointment that the 8th release wasn't an overhaul:

Itís a predictable and welcome evolution. On the other hand, I was looking for a revolution.... If ever there was an application that was begging for a complete overhaul, BBEdit is it. It feels bloated and cluttered.

With TextMate still aiming for a beta release in September, it certainly looks like the beginning of a new era for Mac editors. BBEdit unchallenged reign of high prices and debatable feature set is coming to an end. I can't wait until MacroMates decides its time for release, so everyone can partake in the goodness that is TextMate.

Have you signed up for the one-time notification yet? You should. It's likely that a smaller crop of testers will be picked from this pool before the official beta unveiling, so there's a bone for you.

Challenge by Morten Wittrock on August 31, 12:20

BBEdit sucks and the price tag is ludicrous, period. TextMate is the programmer's editor that I've been waiting for; I love it!

Challenge by Jan on August 31, 13:20

Yeah, bbedit is disappointing. I'm running the demo now, and I don't think I'll pay up after 30 days. I'll think I'll use it till TextMate comes out. BBEdit main disappointment for me, is the really bad way of editing a bunch of files. The new document drawer can't even display a directory tree, just a list of files.

Challenge by Umfufu Kapharne on August 31, 15:39

How come there's such awareness on TextMate? Have these bloggers seen it, tried it, smelled it? Is this only due to David's video and claims or is a pre-beta program running?

2 things that suck about OS X: TextEdit and the FTP capabilities of Finder. Looking forward to seeing a usable editor and hope that 10.4 ups the effort on Finder.

Challenge by David Heinemeier Hansson on August 31, 15:45

A pre-beta program is running. The bloggers mentioned in the posts are not in it, though. I am. Morten Wittrock is. And soon a select group from the signups are.

So this attention is mostly running on the capabilities demonstrated in the 10 minute video. My praises for it. And the prospect of having an editor with all the claimed features.

Challenge by Jerome on August 31, 19:28

Ah ah !
Access denied!

Challenge by Caleb Jaffa on August 31, 19:31

I am a web developer. I have made web pages since 1994, I started professionally in 1998. I understand the complexities of what it takes for the web developer to have the ideal environment. With windows I couldn't have my ideal server (*nix based) on my desktop. Classic Mac had the same problem. With Linux I lost Photoshop. Back in 2000 I briefly played with Mac OS X. I fell in love. I didn't make the switch then, it wasn't ready for prime time, but I recognized that soon I would have something that just worked, but I could still tinker under the hood. Later about when Jaguar came out I switched for good. Mac OS X isn't perfect, but it is heaven. The only major piece lacking is an editor that works like I work.

My friend quickly got me running with BBEdit. It was good, the best there was. I however kept lamenting if only I had Homesite. I had my files easily viewable in a tree, so I don't lose being able to organize by folder. I had what I was working on with my open documents in tabs easy to see what they are and to switch to them. The syntax highlighting did a good job of recognizing that this isn't straight code like C/C++ etc. There is logic, structure, and presentation. (I have used Dreamweaver and it was tolerable on windows, but just a nightmare on Mac for me)

I first came across TextMate like many others. Watching the 10 minute this is how easy Rails is. I think a lot of the reactions including my own were, "This looks sweet sign me up, and while you are at it sign me up for that text editor you were using." Having seen more videos of TextMate in action I saw what I have been craving for the last two years. I was actually to the point I was going to dive head in on Cocoa/Objective C so I could get what I was looking for. However I am a web developer, and so thankfully it looks like someone who definitely has more skill in that area is doing it for me. Maybe TextMate won't live up to all my hopes, but it certainly looks like it can beat BBEdit for what I do.

Challenge by MM on September 01, 20:30

MacOS X needs a software like TopStyle (from HomeSite creator), but the main and only coder says he could not develop it for mac as the software is written with Delphi.

So we have: vim, emacs (...), Zend Studio (not cheap) and skEdit (sh##, another shareware...). I don't ruby (yet) and start learning. I hope Textmate will do a lot for all my webdeveloper needs.

Challenge by Amir on September 01, 23:14

BBEdit is really bad - no doubt about that. The program has "ok" features, but the UI in the program is horribly designed. And the price - - omg!.. that's really lot's of money for an editor.

TextMate? It looks "ok" (very, very simple - which is good), but I really doubt it has the power of Vim or Emacs. It will probably be a hit for people that don't want to use 2 months to get Vim or Emacs running (actually, I have used Vim for about 3 months and I keep adding new stuff to my vimrc file...)

Vim is like thee editor - for me at least - everything is configurable! It has syntax supports for shit-loads of languages. It has a very large script-base and very large tips-base ( It has a very powerful script language - and it can be scripted from Perl, Python or Ruby! Oh and the editing in Vim is lighting fast. The control of the application - that's what I most like about vim. Oh, and I really like the interaction with other programs (i.e. in vim you can compile in lots of languages - you can use tools from unix (grep, sort etc.))

Anyway, I really doubt that the target group of TextMate is Vim or Emacs users - - so this post was rather useless ;-) But if you really want to have a GREAT editor - then consider Vim or Emacs.

([, Emacs... sux - vim... rox ā])

Challenge by Mats Persson on September 02, 16:36

I echo most of the comments above. Been working with BBEdit since 1997/8/9. Can't remember.

Throughout that time I have sent a number of emails to BareBones with comments, requests and ideas on how to improve BBEdit. I have never even gotten a reply from them. IF someone took the time and made the effort to try to help me, I would at least send them a Thank you note, no matter how bad their ideas was.

So what is missing in BBEdit and what features did I ask for ?? Well, to make a long list short have a look at (Windows only) and compare the features of that app with those of BBEdit. Sure, there are some features in BBEdit that does not exist in other apps, but the main thing that I work with 98% of the time I use BBEdit is the GUI. And that's the thing that really, really sucks.

Have a look at EditPlus's Syntax and AutoComplete files. They are easy to understand, use, change or create, AND you can even update them in the app and then refresh the settings to reflect the new changes. Compare those with BBEdit's Glossary - which IS STUPID - and "auto-complete" features. We're talking a fundamental distance between them.

IF I had the money I would buy EditPlus - company or code - and port it to OS X/Linux. It would beat the competition hands down with some improvements here and there.

IF TextMate even gets close to EditPlus, I will buy one copy for my use and make a substantial donation to ensure the future of the app.

IF I can get on the beta-test list somehow, please help me and I will help you back.

Caleb Jaffa::
If TextMate is not good enough maybe we should put our heads together and do something. I too is a web developer, but I have been playing around with xCode and Cocoa in the past year. Seems fairly easy to get into if you really want to put your mind into it.
Just an idea.

Challenge by Watts Martin on October 08, 2:25

Obviously, it's past time for a contrary view. :)

I won't say that BBEdit doesn't have its warts, but its UI is hardly any better or worse than TextMate's (am I supposed to be mortally offended by BBEdit's pedestrian buttons?). TextMate has very poor scriptability compared to BBEdit's extensive support for both AppleScript and shell scripts/filters. It has nothing like BBEdit's HTML and CSS awareness--I frequently use BBEdit's dialogue boxes to tweak both of them in a similar fashion to TopStyle.

TextMate has projects, yes; BBEdit has both File Groups and awareness of website projects. And why is an integrated file browser superior to the Finder? I can create anchor and image tags in BBEdit by drag-and-drop. Drop a JPEG file on your TextMate window, and it doesn't create an IMG tag, it loads the binary data. Argh!

And this isn't counting, well, silly choices in TextMate's design. Having no preferences is a good idea why, again? I have to manually tell it how to highlight a new file because saving it with a ".html" extension isn't a clue? I can set my own text colors as long as I'm NOT using syntax highlighting, at which point it uses the colors the developers like?

The folding is cool. And beyond folding, there just isn't much that TextMate offers me that TextWrangler doesn't, let alone BBEdit. (Yeah, the mnemonic-TAB approach of entering snippets is arguably better than assigning a keystroke to a glossary entry, but glossary entries can insert everything from clipboard selections to the results of AppleScripts.)

Okay -- BBEdit *is* overpriced, and I don't have a clue why BareBones reacted to the advent of OS X by *raising* their price rather than lowering it. (When I bought it, the list price was $120, although I paid $80 for the upgrade version -- which anyone can do if they're paying sufficient attention: one of the eligible products for the upgrade is BBEdit Lite, which is a free download!)

But BBEdit is the best web development system that I've found, and I say that as a Dreamweaver MX owner and a longtime HomeSite user -- and as someone who came back to the Mac platform using an editor called "Pepper" that had been written by someone else who didn't like BBEdit, and convinced by Pepper's author and a few cursory looks at BBEdit that Pepper blew it out of the water. Frustration with bugs in Pepper, though, made me look at BBEdit more closely and realize that even though Pepper did a few things BBEdit didn't, it didn't do half of what BBEdit *did* do. TextMate strikes me as very similar to Pepper in both philosophy and current feature limitations -- the primary difference being that the TextMate folks are clearly a lot better at word-of-mouth advertising.

Challenge by Braxton Beyer on October 08, 21:56

SMultron and skEdit are both very promising editors as well. Smultron is open-source and skEdit is only $20.

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