Wednesday October 06, 2004
In the middle of night, TextMate 1.0 was released. It’s a brand new texteditor for Mac OSX written with Cocoa. Among the cool features is code-folding, a file outline, column typing, auto-completion in the form of snippets with triggers and macros.
Priced at $39 until the end of the month ($49 after that) it certainly is a bargain! Especially compared to BBEdit 8 ($139 upgrade), which is was quite disappointed with.
TextMate being at 1.0, it is still a little rough around the edges, but I got a feeling that the author(s) are deeply committed to bringing us the best editor on Mac OSX.
There are however a few things I don’t really understand about it, first of all there aren’t any preferences, the few preferences (like tab width, which for some reason beyond me defaults at 3) is menu items, not sure if that exactly follows the Apple Human Interface Guidelines.
And then there’s the syntax highlighting, which among other things sports the ability to mix HTML and Ruby (and more, like PHP). The syntax definitions, among with any snippets or commands associated with the language, are stored in Bundles inside the application bundle. You then override those in your ~/Library/Application Support/TextMate folder (not necessarily, but seems to be the preferred way of doing it judging from the (sparse) documentation). And here’s my issue with it; it boggles me why you define the colours inside of these instead of using keywords like string, variable and so on which you then define globally in a preference. The result is that currently Ruby and PHP for example has two entirely different way of doing syntax coloring because it probably was written by two different persons.
While it’s not very hard to edit the bundles, it would have been ten times easier to change the colors (and I like my syntax colours to be almost the same regardless of language) in a global preference somewhere. The only reason why it was done this way that I can think of is because of the flexibility it gives you…
Either way, with a great value and a 30 day trial, you should certainly check out TextMate. I feel pretty sure that this will be my primary editor and it feels like the sort of program you should mould into how you’d like it to be which is, to a fairly great extend, possible.