Being in love with Sublime Text 2

For years I was a heavy user of Coda, the web development IDE by Panic. I did all my HTML, CSS and JavaScript work with it and was very happy.

Then I suffered from performance issues with big CSS files and some other minor things bugged me. I knew that Panic was working on Coda 2, but there was no public release schedule. So I tried Espresso – again. But it couldn’t win me over – again. Then Sublime Text 2 entered my field of view. I tried it for a few weeks I guess and then Coda 2 came out. I liked ST2 but I jumped ship to the new version of my beloved Coda. Until a week or so I used it and liked it – but didn’t love it like I loved Coda years ago. So I once again turned to Sublime Text 2. And here I am – in love with this text editor. So let me tell you why.

After using Coda for so long I noticed that I don’t use most of the features if offers. Especially the new Coda 2. It can be great, but it’s not the right approach for me anymore.

I like simple apps. I like it if they do what they’re supposed to do very well, even if it’s not much. Sublime Text 2 has very basic functionality when you install it. It’s just a text editor, not a complete IDE like Coda or Espresso or Dreamweaver. This is new to me, but it seems to suit me very well.

Like I said, ST2 is very simple. You can create projects which basically are a bunch of folders that you can open at once and it saves the currently open files. That’s basically it. No FTP client, no MySQL client, no git, no SVN, and so on.

What is great about ST2 is, that you can expand it in almost every direction you want to. There are a ton of addons that you can install and somehow build the text editor that suits you best.

At the moment I only installed the package manager, LESS and SCSS Syntax Highlighting and the Soda Theme.
With ST2 you are not only able to choose your favorite Syntax Highlighting, you can also install your own UI theme. That’s really great. I have a combo for a light ST2 and one for a dark ST2, between which I switch regularly.

There are basically three things that I love and use the hell out of them every day:

First

You can create tab groups. So you can view several files at once. I mostly use two tab groups besides each other. In the left one I almost always have my main CSS file open and on the right I can edit the corresponding HTML. You can also open one file in both groups, this comes in handy from time to time.
If you need more than two tab groups, go ahead, create more. It’s completely up to you.

Second

I love Alfred, the application launcher that can also do so much more. I’m kind of a heavy keyboard user, so I love it to just hit CMD + SPACE and start typing – a name of an app I want to open or switch to, start a goole search or whatever. It’s a workflow I’m used to and which I really love.
Sublime Text 2 offers exactly that. Just hit CMD + P and open up a little input field. Just start typing a file name, hit enter and open it. It’s so simple and fast. I just love it. It made me hide the sidebar which normally shows all of your project files. I simply don’t need it anymore and thus gain much more space for my actual coding.

You can also hit CMD + SHIFT + P to open up the command palette which offers you a bunch of commands. (Thanks Captain Obvious!)

Third

The search is very fast and very powerful. It took me a day to getting used to it’s behavior because it’s different from what I knew, but it’s really really great.

I’m sure there are a lot more great features of which I don’t know at the moment and I’m looking forward to discover them in the future.

What was a little bit odd for me at first was that there is no real preference pane. You can adjust some things through the menu bar, but if you really want to set something as a standard, you’ve to do it in a simple JSON file. Now I’m used to it and think it’s great. There are a lot of possible options and a lot of people who share there preferences. It’s fun to look at how others have customized their editor and to get inspired. You can find my current preferences here as a gist. I always update it when I change something.

I’m a little sad that I’ve to turn my back on Coda and Panic, but I think I’ll use their FTP client Transmit a lot more in the future. So that should be fine.

For now I’ve found the perfect text editor for me and it’s Sublime Text 2.

Veröffentlicht am Samstag, 25. August 2012 | Kommentieren

Kommentare

  1. I’m also working with Coda for a few years and i miss two features: duplicate the curent line with a shortcut and highlighting the vertical lines to check if the closing is in the correct position. Did you already discovered if this is possible with Sublime Text 2? I knew these features from Notepad++ and i really miss that.

  2. @Patrick: Duplicate a line in ST2 with CMD+Shift+D. I’m not sure if I understand what exactly you mean with the other action though.

    Martin, as you know I love Sublime Text a lot. One of my favourite plugins you haven’t mentioned yet is zen coding. Makes me so much faster when working in HTML and I’m only just using the very basic features.

  3. @Flo I heard of it before but never took a closer look. Seems to be great, thanks! I’m sure that I will be slower at first but in the longer term it’ll speed things up a lot.

  4. @Flo & @Martin: Yeah thats what i mean. And now i can see the vertical lines in the screenshot. Unfortunately i can’t purchase the application 6 months after the purchase of Coda just for the reason its better for me. But thanks for the article!

  5. You can use the unregistered version as long as you want to and just have to deal with a popup every now and then. So you can use it and just purchase it when you’ve got the money. :)

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