Its glossaries are a powerful but easy to use tool that can be used (for example) to work with Latex and can substitute in many case autocompletion (in fact they are better).
In fact it is far more powerfull than dedicated WebDevelopement tools like DreamWeaver and GoLive, it produces cleaner code and if you are not specifically a web developer you can use it for almost everything.
You can also let it sugest you which tags/attributes you can insert, depending on where is your cursor; BBEdit can also be used to write CSS and has facilities for templating and for authomatically update websites.
Of course BBEdit is enterely AppleScriptable.
This is something I wrote some time ago. If you want to have a more
complete view upon editors in the Mac world, you should read my post
about TextMate (it’s should appear soon)
About Editor wars
Notorious are browser wars. Vim vs. Emacs, Emacs vs. vim. Of
course everybody has her editor of choice. Both Editors are
powerful and extensible. What both editors miss is ease of
Well, if you are just a bit into *nix world, you should have
heard of this. On the MacOS there was just one widespread pure
You need training to use them properly, you need to remember
shortcuts that are peculiar to that editor, but not to
the rest of your environment (well, this is not enterely
I used them both. Each of them missed something and had something
the other had not, or at least did something easier than its
counterpart. They can be used with no mouse, on a remote shell,
BBEdit is not as powerfull as Emacs. However it is extensible
in many ways. It is probably more powerfull than vim, just
because vim aims at being just a text editor, using shell and
other programs together with it (and thus becomes nearly as
powerfull as Emacs).
In this sense BBEdit is more similar to Emacs. It is one
application that containg everything.
The point is that BBEdit is powerfull enough to fullfill my
needs and is not hard to use. The manual is complete and
easily readable, but for most things you just won’t need it.
It has “diff” capabilities, multilanguage and multidocument
support (and working with multiple documents is really
easy, since it is not forced to work in a pure textual shell). It
has SCM integration (with subversion and cvs).
It is a wonderfull developement tool if you work with Python or
Perl, you can access easily their library reference. You can run
scripts inside BBEdit or debug them.
What BBEdit really excels in is WebDevelopement.
It can manage entire websites, live preview documents with
WebKit, edit remote documents through FTP or SFTP.
Its glossaries are a powerful but easy to use tool that can be
used (for example) to work with Latex and can substitute in many
case autocompletion (in fact they are better).
In fact it is far more powerfull than dedicated
WebDevelopement tools like DreamWeaver and GoLive, it produces
cleaner code and if you are not specifically a web developer you
can use it for almost everything.
You can also let it sugest you which tags/attributes you can
insert, depending on where is your cursor; BBEdit can also be
used to write CSS and has facilities for templating and for
authomatically update websites.
Of course BBEdit is enterely AppleScriptable.
If you think it costs too much, you can try TextWrangler. It
is free (as free beer). Unfortunately it is not comparable to
BBEdit, it is really less powerfull (although easy and
Me and BBEdit
Right now I use it to:
- Write Latex documents. I do this pretty often, and since
they are source managed with SVN, it helps a lot. Latex
Glossary is great (this is something you don’t have with
- Write almost each C/C++ file that is not part of
an XCode project. Of course if it’s XCode stuff, I use it (it’s
great, thanks Apple!). I wrote also occasionally Java, Lisp,
Haskell, Perl, Bash stuff, though for Java stuff I prefer
using one of the “notorious” Java’s IDEs out there, Eclipse or NetBeans.
In fact without full auto-completion and refactoring Java is quite
unusable (and this is a hint something went wrong with Java… )
- Write every (almost) Python source file.
- Work with system files. It has kind of builtin sudo.
- Work with generic text files.
Manage this website (ok, this is easy). Still you have to
think that this website is enterely static (no server side
scripting at the moment, and in the future their use will be
kept minimal), but this site is not statical.
Each source file is dynamically linked (except for
AppleScript stuff, which is by default binary), not just
copied. If I modify the source code and I can just
authomatically update the Site.
(nb: this is taken from my original website, of course does not apply if you read it in my blog)
- Manage other websites. Ok this is also easy, my job is
another and I just do it occasionally.
About free software
BBEdit is not free software, and it never will be, probably.
It it bad? Of course it is bad. However, it is not
First of all BBEdit works with standard file formats. In fact it
works only with text files.
If you don’t use it’s advanced HTML and site managing
capabilities, you can switch to another text editor in every
moment you like. And people do not need to have BBEdit to receive
your files. This is the main problem with things like MS Word,
This is the most important thing. File formats have to be
open, you should not force people to buy or to obtain in illegal
ways a piece of software to read what you’ve written.
It is in fact ridicolous that with all the text editors the open
source community wrote, I ended using BBEdit. I do write
OpenSource software with a closed source program.
I already told why I used BBEdit. Other text editors are too
complicated, too poor or not well integrated with the MacOS. And
BBEdit is really good. Or at least, it does not suck(c).