I like free. I like what works. Even better if I can get free what works well. It’s in my blood.
Avoiding the discussion of text editor as religion, here’s what makes Smultron a good editor for OS X despite the fact that it’s free.
A text editor is not a word processor. There. I said it. It’s true.
Normally, a text editor is used in creating code, such as HTML or CSS or PHP or any number of programming languages that require precise and specific characters which perform certain functions.
Mac OS X comes with TextEdit. It’s free. It reads Word documents. It creates plain text. It’s boring and doesn’t do much for anyone who wants to code, or create a program, or build a web page.
If you’ve ever tried to use Microsoft Word to create an HTML web page, then you know how painful it can be. Smultron makes it easy.
Split the window to see one document on top of another; great for CSS and XHTML. Distraction free editing is done in full screen mode. Everything on your Mac disappears from the screen except the editor. Focus, focus, focus.
If you like the Tabs in Safari then you’ll like the tabs in Smultron. My favorite feature is Snippets, those little pieces of text that you create and copy and paste here and there, or drag and drop. Snippets are my life.
Smultron is at version 3.x which means more features, including a super duper Preview function which lets you view your web page, even via FTP, in another window.
All the standard tools are available, including a command line utility (I don’t go there, but Ron and Jeffrey tell me it’s a good thing), the ability to show invisible characters (I prefer out of sight, out of mind), as well as commenting/uncommenting and auto-completion.
Why is Smultron free? Because software is art. And Smultron’s creator, Peter Borg, wants it to be free—although he takes donations.