A painting of me

BBEdit 10

   2 August 2011, late evening

“These overnight text editors don’t reflect well on the genre or the platform. We are raising the bar, elevating the standard.” — Bare Bones Software President Rich Siegel in 2005

A lot of Mac users you meet today switched as Mac OS X matured, over the last 7-8 years or so. I switched when Windows 95 came out. I sincerely enjoyed using various flavours of DOS on my trusty 486. Windows 95 launched with a series of shitty betas (you had to pay for) followed by a snazzy ad campaign. Though I was a young man, I could tell that Windows 95 was a piece of junk. I did the sensible thing and switched to a Powerbook 5300cs running System 7.5.3. Believe me when I say, “it was dope.”

I used my Powerbook during my first term of University. By this point Macs were running OS 9. I would write Java programs in BBEdit and build them using the OS 9 Java toolchain. Programming in Java on a Mac in 1999 was pretty horrible. BBEdit on the otherhand was pretty great. I used it as my text editor of choice throughout university. (At least when I was working on my Mac. On the school’s Unix machines I used Vim.) The last big project I worked on using BBEdit was my compiler.

This blog has been around long enough that I can look and see when I first linked to the then new TextMate. Upon its launch it was greeted with a lot of confusion and mixed interest. Between 2004 and 2006 TextMate went from this fringe application used by a few people to basically the defacto text editor for the Mac. BBEdit’s core userbase always struck me as people who had used it prior to the launch of MacOS X. By 2006 lots of people were coding up the next hot Rails app on their brand new Mac using TextMate. 2006 was when I switched from BBEdit to TextMate.

The latest version of BBEdit launched with the release of Lion. It brings with it a slew of new features and updates. TextMate on the other hand hasn’t had any real updates of note since 2007. Any advancement in the application really came from its bundles. With the launch of Lion came a wiki page for TextMate outlining what was broken and possible work arounds. TextMate 2 has been in development for something like 5-6 years. I stopped using TextMate a little while ago because it started to feel sluggish on my iMac. I now exclusively use Vim. (MacVim to be precise.) I remember reading the Rich Siegel comment in 2005 and thinking he was being a bit of a dick. It took 6 years, but it turns out maybe he was right about TextMate.

BBedit 10 is now priced at a pretty aggressive $40. I’m curious to see if it can win back its place as the number one text editor on the Mac.



  1. While writing on this I stumbled upon this great blog post about BBEdit 10 in a similar vein to my own. There was also an episode of Back to Work that discusses TextMate and BBEdit 10 that aired a week or two ago.

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