Sublime Text 2

April 21, 2012 at 10:04 am
filed under Coding, Technology
Tagged , ,

Today I took a relatively big step in terms of my coding workflow. I purchased a license for Sublime Text 2 and immediately began using it as my full-time code editor.

Advantages

It’s not that Vim can’t do most of this stuff (modulo the sensible configuration language). It’s that all of the above works out of the box. There’s a litany of things that I’ve just never quite gotten to work right. For instance, CommandT worked for a while and then broke. I don’t mean to pick on anybody. But this was not uncommon.

That was perhaps the single biggest reason that I switched.

At another point, I was trying to fix bugs in a dozen or so Python scripts, themselves scattered across three or more different subdirectories at various depths. In ST2, I added all three dirs to my project, and I bounced between them with Cmd-P quickly and easily. It just worked. And it’s fast. It breaks my heart to say it but Vim felt positively medieval in comparison.

I also look forward to learning how to write plugins. I’ve never been able to convince myself to learn Vim’s scripting language.

There are some disadvantages worth mentioning.

Disadvantages

  1. Split-pane isn’t as good as Vim
  2. Inaccessible via the Terminal
  3. Not libre or gratis
  4. I may run into cognitive dissonance wrt Vim bindings

With ST2, you have to switch between a canned set of layouts rather than being able to ad-hoc split pane. With Vim, I have anywhere from 3 – 5 panes open, and with ^W and some handy \ew aliases (edit file in same working dir as this file), it’s mostly muscle memory.

I can’t use ST2 in the Terminal, which means I’ll have to fallback to Vim. That’s not the end of the world, but it is inconvenient.

I hesitated for weeks, having taken it for a test drive for some of the toying around I’ve done with Go. But it wasn’t about FOSS. It was about the price. Why pay for a text editor when there are N free ones available?

That said, I am willing to pay a little bit of money to get the job done. (Shit, if time is money, it’s already saved me a ton of time.) And I know that I’m supporting a small and independent developer. I want to live in a world where people can make money off of developing kick-ass software.

Vintage (the plugin for ST2 which adds Vim keybindings) does have some limitations. “, double grave, doesn’t work right. g; and g, don’t work. I’m sure I’ll run across more.

Conclusion

It’s been some weeks since I switched, and I haven’t really looked back. If you’ve got the dough and you’re looking for an editor that’ll help you step your game up, I recommend you check out Sublime Text 2. As I said, it’s a free trial.

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