I’m in love. After three years of searching, I have found my dream editor for the Mac. I’m sure that I’ve mentioned the quest for a text editor on several occasions. In my last post about it, I even mentioned that one in particular could be it. Could be the alpha editor if you will. Well it really and truly is. TextMate.
I really can’t go into all the benefits that this editor brings to the table. For starters I am currently writing this post in TextMate because it comes with an Input Manager which allows me to edit any native Cocoa text field with it. This means any text fields in Safari and Mail which may or may not appeal to everyone, but it means a lot to me. If you have ever felt that a web site’s text boxes were too claustrophobic feeling then this might help. The ability to have context specific tab triggers and keyboard commands is incredible. I’m still just learning the ropes and I have already created a couple of different language definitions and many commands and snippets. Even while still learning the keyboard shortcuts I feel that I am at least 50% more productive now. Just imagine hitting Cmd-Shift-Return while editing source code and have it insert a semi-colon at the end of the line and go down to the next one.
The things that it can do with LaTeX are incredible and you should check out the screencasts that demonstrate some of the things it is capable of. Obviously this isn’t an editor for everyone. It was designed for programmers and power users. It comes with a blocking version of its command line launcher and one of the things I’ve done is to use this for my EDITOR and LESSEDIT environment variables. Now I can edit my crontab file and my Subversion comments from the comfort of this sexy editor. Highly scriptable using bash, this is perfect for those people who want to automate their text related work-flows. So for those of you who fall within the intersection of Mac users and programmers/power users might want to take a look.
Did I mention that the background of the editor can be made transparent/translucent? It is very convenient being able to read the documentation on a certain function or class through the editor. The only catch is that is costs 39€ – around $55 CDN. However I think once you try it, you will find out that it is extremely worth it. I bought it just the other day. No regrets. It has a 30 day trail period so give it a shot.