If you are a web designer or a programmer, Mac is the perfect computer to work on. You’ve got wonderful apps to look at for inspiration and incredible tools that enable you to make those apps.
Once you are accustomed to writing a bit of code, the next step is finding a text editor that not only suits your needs but also empowers you. Programming is no easy task. The last thing you need in this modern world is an app that makes you do everything. You need something that you can delegate to. Something which solves small inconveniences for you and helps you focus on actual problems with writing code.
Here are three such apps.
Note: I’m no programmer but I “code” websites from now and then. And this article is not an in-depth look at these apps. It’s just an overview to get you started. Books have been written about these apps. To know more, check out the linked articles.
Sublime is free to evaluate and costs $70 to get a license. You can use it for free for as long as you like. Here’s a quick rundown on why Sublime is so awesome.
Sublime is blazing fast and offers a lot of customization options in an editable text file and the community has come up with beautiful themes.
Not to mention the amazing plugin support. The plugins allow you to do crazy things like turning the app into a Markdown editor or adding support for extra languages.
There’s a unique feature in Sublime that seems a bit over the top at first but once you use it, you can’t go back to any other code editor. It has multiple cursors. Meaning you can select same words across the entire file and edit them. Or add a function to 10 lines of code all at once, without any copy paste.
You can add a command palette to Sublime which lets you perform powerful system commands and you’ll never have to touch the mouse ever again.
When GitHub tells the world it’s working on a code editor, the world listens with utmost attention. After all, it’s GitHub we are talking about.
Atom was recently made available for the general public and is still Mac only. Atom is different from other native code editors because it is based on web technologies.
The internet has still not decided whether this is a good thing or bad and your personal opinion may vary.
Atom is written in Node.js, Coffeescript and LESS and packaged in a Webkit wrapper. Atom shares many features (keyboard shortcuts) and foundation (UI) with Sublime Text (it even comes with a command palette preinstalled) and it’s a good thing because that way Atom has more freedom to explore other areas and break down distant barriers.
The great thing about Atom being based on web technologies is that development, updates and integration with the app will occur in blazing fast pace. It also means a lower barrier for entry for users and developers alike. Also, there’s no native Git support in Atom. Considering GitHub made the app, it’s a bit funny.
TextMate is just as fast as Sublime Text, is also native and offers all the basic features like syntax highlighting, custom code snippets, and supports virtually every major programming language out there.
Plus, TextMate has legacy on its side. It has been around for almost a decade now and that’s 10 years of improvements and updates you can count on.
TextMate doesn’t have eye popping features of Sublime Text or the talking points of Atom but it is one thing – established. And to someone who values his work, that matters more than fancy features.
The list of capable code editors for Mac can’t be limited to three. There’s Vim, which was Sublime Text before there was Sublime Text. There’s Emacs, the code editor with its own separate coding language that has existed for decades and the community is so widespread that you can still do almost everything on it that you can do on other editors.