Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon


development, general & tech 1 min read

It finally happened: I dragged Xcode and BBEdit from my Dock. In their place: TextMate.

This is but a very small list of why I’ve switched:

  • Awesome tab-completion
  • svn integration
  • TODO/FIXME etc support
  • Build with Xcode from within the app, with in-app clickable error display etc
  • Coloured diff or compare
  • Integration with Transmit for (S)FTP
  • Column selection and Edit Each Line
  • Usable from the shell (via the mate command)
  • Only about €39 (£25 or thereabouts)
  • Excellent Go To File and Go To Symbol search
  • Loads of useful built-in macros for all the languages I work with
  • Converts var_names_like_this to varNamesLikeThis with a keystroke
  • Integrates with language and API documentation (including local Cocoa docs)
  • Projects support, including scratch projects
  • Support for running unit tests without leaving the editor
  • Everything is configurable - I can readily add support for, say, highlighting django template tags within HTML documents, or alter existing syntax highlighting rules, commands and so on. And I can do it in a way that means I actually will do it: via changing regular expressions, editing CSS-like scoping rules, setting environment variables and such. Stuff that I can do immediately and easily, instead of trying to write a creaky and unintuitive AppleScript, or (worse) a whole compiled plugin using an arbitrary API
  • I can create syntax-highlighting themes which are ultra-specific or quite general in their highlighted entities; I'm not forced to just choose colours for a fixed, predetermined number of entity types
  • It seems to handle long syntax-highlighted files (say a few thousand lines) faster than the current version of BBEdit (surprisingly) or Xcode (not so surprisingly)
  • And tons more

I can’t see myself going back to BBEdit, though of course I’ll be trying the Leopard version of Xcode. TextMate just feels totally right, and I’m already much more productive than in BBEdit. Never thought I’d see the day, but there you have it.