Regular readers will know that we Mincey folk are inveterate collectors. Poker apps, cameras, IoT gadgets, and, of course applications, specifically calculators and text editors. Today is about the latter.
Text editors are not word processors, though they can be. Instead, though, text editors are what programmers and coders use to, well, create applications; whether they be for Mac or iPhone or whatever; whether it be a particular programming language, a scripting language, or anything else that requires specific text functions you won’t find in Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages.
What prompted my missive about text editors was a recent update to Cuda Text, a cross platform text editor that does a little of everything; from basic HTML and CSS, to C++ and Java, to PHP and Python. Cuda Text is free and very good and has more than 180 syntax versions already, plus plugins, split view, and almost any feature you’re likely to find in any one of many Mac text editors.
I have Cuda Text on each of the family machines– Mac, Windows notebook, Linux desktop– but it’s not the text editor I use most of the time. I cut my programming teeth on BBEdit back in the last century and still use it today, though my collection of text editors has grown considerably. Another one that I like and use is Atom. It’s open source and free, cross platform for Windows and Linux, but friendlier than most.
What’s really handy in Atom is the option for multiple or split panes to compare files and code, a simple find and replace option, autocompletion, a built-in package manager, and, the must have file system browser in the left sidebar.
If you’re a seasoned programmer it’s likely you have a list of favorite text editors already, but if you’re new to programming or scripting, then alternatives reign supreme. I like CotEditor as a get-started recommendation because it’s free and resides on the Mac App Store.
Not bad for free.
One of my absolute favorite Mac text editors of the past isn’t a text editor at all. It was MacRabbit’s famous CSSEdit. All it did was CSS. A few years ago the developer rolled CSSEdit features into Espresso which hasn’t had the same level of acclaim or success despite being a decent product that is well differentiated from competitors.
Espresso is one of those newer text editors that I truly, madly, deeply want to like– because of the CSSEdit heritage– but struggle with because it remains more of a text editor and less of a CSS editor.
What is interesting about collecting text editors is the standard fallback to BBEdit when I do serious work, but the desire to see what else is out there. Nothing improves without change, right? Hence, the growing collection at a time when I use a text editor less than ever.