Text Editing Dilemma
Posted by Jamis on April 10, 2005 @ 01:39 PM
So, I’m facing something of a dilemma. Almost a crisis. I’m on a Mac, and I need a text editor.
Well, I’ve been using vim, almost forever. It’s definitely my editor of choice. But I like to use gvim because I can have multiple editor windows open without having to have multiple terminals open. (Yah, I know about screen, but it’s not as nice as having multiple independent windows.) Vim on Mac works very well from a terminal-
but gvim is not quite as well polished. It is definitely a second or third-class citizen of the OSX desktop, with very minimal integration with the UI. I’ve been able to work around or overlook most of the issues for a while, but things are coming to a head, and I’m aching for something that fits in more naturally.
So, I downloaded TextMate, which is free to play with for 30 days. I’ve been using it for about 4 days now, and it is definitely a step upward in the OS-integration department. A nice UI, and all that. But I am really missing:
- split windows, so you can view multiple parts of a document simultaneously
- vim’s ”.” operator, so you can easily perform the last action repeatedly, without having to go through creating a macro for it
- the “J” command, to join the next line with the current line
- the syntax highlighting definition language seems somewhat weaker than vim’s. I’ll admit I’m not proficient in it, but I wasn’t able to find a way to highlight heredocs, for instance.
- the black-background for (at least) Ruby files is not very appealing to me. Personal preference, I’ll admit, but I couldn’t see any way to change the colors…
- other issues, too, but they’re probably too nitpicky to mention
Much of what I’m feeling is just “switching pains”, I know. I’d feel some of the same no matter what editor I switched to, no matter how powerful. But at this point, I would gladly pay the $50 for TextMate-
gladly!-if it was simply Vim with the TextMate UI.
I’m going to continue evaluating TextMate—4 days is hardly a fair evaluation of any text editor worth its salt, especially one that has come as far as TextMate in so short a time. I know that the author of TextMate is still working hard on it, and there are lots of improvements in the works. I just had to take a moment from editing text to whine about the unfair state of my sad existence. ;)