The following post is for Mac OS X users.

I’ve long been surprised by the passion evoked in BBEdit users. BBEdit is a tolerbale editor, I suppose, but it’s not exactly great, or even good. It’s expensive, rather limited in features, ugly, and clunky.

But now there is a text editor worth getting excited about (at least if one considers a text editor a worthy object of excitement): TextMate. TextMate is cheap ($39 for the month, $49 regularly), featureful (tabs, foldings, clipboard history, projects, etc.), innovative (recordable macros, snippets, bookmarks, column typing), and relatively elegant.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry — it’s all carefully explained (with clear animations) on the front page.

This is all in version 1.0. The developers seem to be active and responsive, so we may reasonably look forward to rapid improvement and innovation.

posted October 10, 2004 07:18 PM (Technology) (13 comments) #


Stanford: Day 12
Stanford: Day 14
Stanford: Day 15
Stanford: Day 16
Of Conspiracies and Filing Cabinets
Got Money?
Misstated Union: An Interview with David Brock
Stewart on Crossfire
Stanford: Day 27
P2P Politics


This looks nice, but won’t replace BBEdit in a long shot. With all of the encoding handling, HTML editing, Template inclusion system, speed of handling 100mb files etc of BBedit, I’ll be using BBEdit for some time to come.

posted by Steve at October 10, 2004 07:31 PM #

If BBEdit is limited in features you know what you’re talking about. Wait, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

I don’t see anything new in TextMate that makes it better than BBEdit. It’s cheaper, that’s about it.

posted by James at October 10, 2004 11:27 PM #

BBEdit is ugly, true. But to say it lacks features or that they are limited is simply not true. The multi-file search and replace, the great markup tools and integration with CVS/Shell Scripts/FTP are all good starting points which other editors don’t come close to.

I cannot deny that it isn’t lickable like other OS X apps, but who cares?

posted by Jason Kitcat at October 11, 2004 03:46 AM #

The UI on TextMate is nicer than BB Edit, but they both suck as editors. I like vim, not because of its nice interface (it also sucks) but because I’ve been using it for ten years. No other reason.

posted by Eli Sarver at October 11, 2004 06:04 AM #

I’ve been using BBEdit for years and I’m still finding new features.

Some of my favorte BBEdit features are: file compare, shell command window, HTML preview in BBedit, user-definable language hilighting, open from & save to FTP server, file browser, and regular expressions.

posted by Mike Cohen at October 11, 2004 09:06 AM #

So, uh, it sounds rather like jEdit, except $40 more expensive, not open source, and only able to run on OS X.

jEdit has plugins, too, and since it’s a Java app, you can use one editor on Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, and Windows.

The only thing that TextMate looks to have that jEdit doesn’t is column typing, and even that would be pretty easy to code up as a plugin or macro for jEdit (assuming it would really be that useful).

Honestly, haven’t text editors become commoditized by now?

posted by Ben Karel at October 11, 2004 02:13 PM #

Have you see 43 Folders? It’s a site about applying Getting Things Done to the tech world. He uses (loves) TextMate, and a few other cool Mac programs.

posted by Taylor at October 12, 2004 12:12 AM #

Nice to see that emacs-versus-vi generalises so well.

posted by Sean Neakums at October 12, 2004 05:03 AM # :)

posted by Aristotle at October 12, 2004 09:43 AM #

I’m a relatively new Mac user, only been on the platform for about 4 years, switched from OS/2, Windows and Linux… and I have to say, while I use vim for simple editing, I find BBEdit to be my favorite editor. I always upgrade, it keeps getting better. It has QWAN.

posted by Stu Charlton at October 16, 2004 08:29 PM #

I use TextEdit. :-P

posted by Ryan Hayes at October 17, 2004 02:15 AM #

bbedit is so much crappy that I can’t think people really like it. Maybe because there are no other good editors on a mac. And, I mean, it costs lots of bucks.

Haven’t tried textmate. Some people seem to like it, most of the others seem to prefer Vim. I guess I’ll stay with the latter.

posted by at October 17, 2004 09:38 AM #

Man BBEdit has been a poor editor now for a while. They really need to drop OS 9 suport and write a Cocoa app if they want to charge enormous upgrade prices.

Xcode can still not be beat BTW.

posted by Will at October 21, 2004 01:33 AM #

Subscribe to comments on this post.

Add Your Comment

If you don't want to post a comment, you can always send me your thoughts by email.

(used only to send you my reply, never published or spammed)

Remember personal info?

Note: I may edit or delete your comment. (More...)

Aaron Swartz (