One of my all time favorite Mac applications is Bare Bones’ BBEdit; the text editor. I’ve owned it for years and update regularly.
BBEdit’s now $199, so a year or so ago I looked at TextWrangler. It’s free.
BBEdit first released TextWrangler a few years ago for about $50 and positioned it as an entry-level product, similar to BBEdit minus a number of features that fall into the ‘professional’ category.
Since I was already using BBEdit I didn’t pay much attention to the less-featured baby brother until we started adding servers to our operation, particularly a number of new Mac mini machines which make excellent mail servers, web servers for small sites, and development machines.
Servers need a good GUI text editor (I’m at home in the terminal but find Pico too limiting and can never remember the keyboard commands vor ‘vi.’) and $199 a pop seemed like overkill for basic server set up needs.
So, on one Mac mini I installed TextWrangler. It’s free. It has built-in terminal tools. It’s an absolutely excellent tool for Mac users. It’s free.
Why? I have no idea other than Bare Bones’ benevolent nature to do what is right. Or write.
I still use BBEdit when I’m working on my day-to-day Mac. Nothing is better or handier for text editing.
But for those other machines where we use Apple Remote Desktop and prefer to visually work on files, TextWrangler seems perfect. More so because, did I mention this? It’s free.
What does TextWrangler do? It handles text in more ways than most of us realize you can handle text.
For examle, you have a list of names. It’s a big list and it’s the standard Last Name, First Name order.
You want to change them around but can’t figure out how. TextWrangler does it with ease and removes that pesky comman.
Have you ever had a corrupt Microsoft Word document? You know; the file that has important information but can’t be opened up in Word; Mac or Windows.
TextWrangler can read the file (almost any file) and remove the garbage characters caused by the corruption.
How about search and replace? Word does it OK. So does AppleWorks. How about doing in 500 documents? That would take all day.
With TextWrangler it can take a few minutes to search many documents, find a string of text, and replace it with something else.
That’s valuable power. Did I mention that it’s free?
For those of us who edit text regularly, we have our favorite applications. TextWrangler is not a word processor in the traditional sense. You’re not going to do tables and charts and graphs and footnotes here.
Cleaning, zapping, searching, replacing, handling odd file formats, or creating a document that requires a specific file format is where TextWrangler excels.
TextWrangler handles plain text and Unicode files and there’s an integrated spell checker (just to be sure you did everything write).
What I can’t figure out is the ‘why’ of the price tag? It’s free.
TextWrangler is far better than OS X’s handy TextEdit. It’s perfect for programmers, Unix and Mac server administrators. It manipulates text better than anything except BBEdit.
It’s friendly, fast, easy-to-use, and a worthy tool if you collect such things (I do).
It’s free. Why? Other than the generosity of the Bare Bones people, I don’t know, but I’m glad. I dink around with a handful of Mac servers from time to time and I wouldn’t pay $199 for BBEdit for each.
But I will pay nothing for TextWrangler.
Click Here for the TextWrangler page and download link.
I told you so, Tera. I don’t know why it’s free but I’m not going to argue the point.
While I don’t ‘dink around’ on servers, I do have need for search and replace and Alexis’ earlier reviews turned me on to TextWrangler. It’s worth it for that alone.
Jack D. Miller
There’s nothing quite like BBEdit on the Windows side of the world; certainly nothing as intuitive. I don’t know of a Windows text editor as good as TextWrangler at that price.
Carol Mary Miller
We still haven’t addressed the reason why it’s free. It was a bargain even at $50.