I spend far too much time each day sitting in front of my Mac editing and slinging code and text back and forth between a number of Mac apps.
Often it’s a laborious process of search, find, copy, paste, edit, repeat. So, I’m always on the lookout for Mac utilities to make those manual processes faster, easier, less mistake prone. My latest find is a clever tool called Snippets, which does what you think it does.
Bouncing Snippets For Fun & Profit
Snippets of code save time.
Managing, finding, and retrieving those snippets of code take time.
What’s really needed is a universal, Mac-wide, easy-to-use snippet library to manage all the code and text and expressions and queries for all the apps that make up a Mac user’s toolbox.
Through the years I’ve tried every Mac utility that claims to manage snippets, and decried the anemic efforts of Mac editors to provide an effective snippet feature. With a dozen editing tools as my fingertips, there’s an equal dozen ways to gather, save, and manage snippets. Is there an easier way?
Stop Reinventing The Code
My three favorite Mac editors these days are Coda, CSSEdit, and BBEdit. The former because multiple window panes are good for the soul and save time. The latter because I’ve used it forever and can’t make it go away (and CSSEdit because no Mac utility does CSS better, despite the lack of any snippet capability).
The problem is that each such editor handles snippets of code in a different way (except CSSEdit which doesn’t do snippets at all). So, I’ve looked for a single snippet utility that I can use with ease and with all the tools available.
Enter Snippets, a new Mac utility that aims to help you stop reinventing code every time you code. Copy and paste is your friend.
The interface is familiar, friendly, inviting, and customizable. Like iTunes or iPhoto, the entire snippet Library reigns at the top of the left hand column. Highlights is really preset groups of specific code. Groups can be customized to your specific snippet requirements.
The Snippets toolbar can be customized to include one-click to create a new snippet, edit in various editors, email code, copy or delete. Click on a specific library item in a Group, and the contents are displayed in the middle column.
Syntax color schemes are customizable, too (another problem with using snippet features in multiple apps—no one does highlighting the same way). Building the snippets library is straightforward. Copy, paste, label, and assign the snippet.
Snippets has two valuable functions. It stores all snippets of code for every editor, and the snippets are available to all applications on your Mac two ways—direct from the Snippets app, or from the handy pull down menu in your Mac’s Menubar.
Snippet’s Help menu isn’t much help but it doesn’t need much more than the link to the FAQs. Bundles which link directly to popular Mac editors are available (Coda, TextMate, etc.). All that’s required to move code from the Library to the editor is a click, otherwise, drag and drop rules.
For those of us who bounce between CMS platforms such as WordPress or ExpressionEngine, Snippets makes it a simple process—there’s no need to remember all the tags since that’s what Snippet’s Library does.
Snippets’ sits in the Mac’s Menubar as a pair of scissors.
Either click the scissors to bring up the search bar and menu hierarchy, or use the keystroke combination.
If you bounce between multiple Macs, Snippets can sync easily and automatically using MobileMe. There’s not even the negative to having to consolidate half a dozen snippets libraries from other apps into a single Snippet library. Snippets imports and exports code with ease.
Normally I don’t get too excited over a version 1.0 release, but Snippets is worthy. One feature I’d like to see is a pop out shelf (as opposed to the Menubar tool) similar to that found in Yojimbo or Together. Mouse to the side of your Mac’s screen, the shelf would pop out, select the code, drag and drop. Otherwise, well done.