Best Mac Text Editors

Sublime Text or TextMate or BBEdit graphics

What are the best Mac text editors?

My current top three Mac OS X text editors:

  1. Sublime Text
  2. TextMate
  3. BBEdit

Even the recently released BBEdit 10 somehow feels old, but, frankly, I have no idea why. Is it still a carbon app? It’s still 32 bit, but do either of those things actually matter? I was a BBEdit guy for years, right up until TextMate was released and then again after TextMate stopped receiving regular updates. I should love BBEdit because it’s updated regularly by a team of very clever fellows who clearly have a road-map. It’s Mac only, so the engineers are focused, but for some reason I’m not in love, BBEdit doesn’t suck, but…

TextMate works remarkably well considering how long it’s been since it was last updated significantly. It’s still 32 bit, but again, does that matter? I just have the feeling, rightly or wrongly, that TextMate has been abandoned. Update: TextMate 2 alpha just announced.

Sublime Text recently captured my, almost full, attention, it feels fresh and modern. I’ll confess when I first visited the Sublime Text website, I was a little put off by the Windows screen shots. I also thought, “What a crappy icon.&#8221 The preferences thing was next on my list of off-putting stuff; I’m a Mac guy, so I’m accustomed to a nice GUI, instead I was greeted by customizable preference files. On my second download and install cycle, I added my favourite TextMate theme and played with the combination of Sublime Text, the Marked App and TextSoap; ends up they worked very well together. The first positive thing I noticed was that Sublime Text was fast. Then that it’s also receiving very frequent updates. Hey, since then I’ve even gotten to like the preference files, there’s significant power hidden in there.

Chocolat has potential, but it’s clearly very early days. It was slow to launch and slow to quit compared to Sublime Text. That plus I’m a ducks in a row kind of guy and Chocolat didn’t remember my chosen window size and position, so that was it for my evaluation, at least for now.

Looking for a markdown theme (.tmTheme) for Chocolat, Sublime Text or TextMate?

MacVim also beckons from time to time, but I suspect I’d end up spending more time learning Vim than actually getting stuff done.

*Disclosure: I’m certainly not the best guy to review text editors, I don’t write code. I use my text editor for general writing, updating my blogs, content manipulation and a little, very little, HTML and CSS. That said this really isn’t a review, it’s just a few thoughts about why I’m currently using Sublime Text.

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Thanks for the collection of text editors 🙂