As a designer and developer, I’m always trying to find the best possible tools to do my job and to have fun with it. I’m both a PC and Mac user, Notepad, Coda, Textmate, Dreamweaver, Komodo and Aptana are some of the many editors I’ve tried but none of those made an impact as big as Sublime Text.
Although it is still in beta, Sublime Text is in my opinion the best text/code editor in the market which is available for Windows, OS X and Linux. There is nothing like trying and seeing for yourself but its features, aesthetic, usability and price (although it has an unlimited trial at the moment) made me want to write about it.
“Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, html and prose. You’ll love the slick user interface and extraordinary features.”
The first impression that will pop into your mind is how amazingly beautiful the Sublime interface is. I was especially impressed while using Windows because usually editors are only visually appealing under Mac OS, however, I would say Sublime Text is unique in this matter. Changing themes takes two clicks (for real) and by default you get 22 to choose from but you can download more themes if you like.
Although the interface itself is extremely beautiful, usability and functionalities are even more impressive. Imagine something you would like to see in an editor and you will probably find it in Sublime Text. Let’s start from the basics and that would point us to the default layout. Sublime Text comes with a minimap which is available at the top right corner showing you every line of code you may have. However with the minimap my favourite part is that it made me stop using the scroll bar to scroll down the page because you will be able to do it much easier using the minimap. If you don’t like you can simply hide it.
Talking about the good stuff, one of my favourite features is that Sublime offers you the possibility to display as many files as you want through one-to-four panels so basically you can see four files at the same time. If you have more than one file open, Sublime will automatically create groups and you can send a file to a group or select a group using the option focus. In the other hand, if you have a peaceful and calm personality and you like to keep things quiet you can use the Full Screen Mode (F11) or Distraction Free Mode (Shift+F11) which will hide all tabs forcing you to focus on your code/text.
Finishing the important aspects of Sublime interface, one last and also common feature is the sidebar. Sublime has it all and you if you don’t like tabs you can use the sidebar or vice-versa. You can also change everything from its original position.
Although it’s a simple functionality, one thing that surprised me was the multiple selection option which does precisely that. Offers you the possibility of selecting multiple lines simultaneously and honestly I’ve never seen an editor with such possibility. This is something that helped me choose Sublime as my number one editor because I believe the small details design the big picture.
While expecting nothing less, Sublime brings you the auto-complete feature. However if you’re expecting the fantastic Dreamweaver-like auto-complete you can stop right there. Yes, it support snippets so write html and press TAB and the entire HTML head element appears. However, the auto-complete option itself is achieved by pressing ctrl+space which gives you a list of possible words based on the ones you have already written and this is where I feel it needs a bit more work because it does not give you a list of hints. This means you need to know how to code, so if you’re expecting a big help while writing your HTML you will find a hard time doing it.
Not satisfied because that option you really wanted is not there or isn’t great as you imagined? Don’t worry because you may have a way to make it look good. With Python plugins you can add as many features as you want to Sublime and if you’re not comfortable with Python you have a great and big community in their forum to help you out.
Every toolbar, mouse scroll speed, keyboard shortcut, etc can be customized at will so feel free to make yourself comfortable!
Complete Features List
- Side by side multi-pane editing
- Minimap: see your code from 10,000 feet
- Full screen mode: use all your pixels, all the time
- Nothing but text mode: the text, the whole text, and nothing but the text
- Multiple color schemes, with several included, and many more available for download
- Bracket highlighting
- Auto save: never lose your changes, not even if the dog thinks power cords are tasty
- Fully customizable key bindings, menus and toolbar
- Rich key binding language including sequenced key bindings, regular expression key matches, contextual bindings and parameterized bindings
- Python plugins with a rich API
- Rich selection of editing commands, including indenting / unindenting, paragraph reformatting, line joining and much more
- Multiple selections: Simplify many tasks that used to require macros or regular expression
- Column select
- Regular expression search and replace
- Incremental find as you type
- Preserve case on replace
- Bookmarks: Makes navigating through long files a breeze
- Spell check as you type
- Bracket matching
- Commenting and uncommenting blocks of text
- Asynchronous file loading, so you’re never blocked when loading files off slow network drives
- Auto complete
- Repeat last action
- Build tool integration
- Automatic build on save
- WinSCP integration for editing remote files via SCP and FTP
DevHQLessons made a good video analysis about Sublime Text which I recommend. Check the video below.
I’ve made a very quick and rough review of Sublime but it should be enough to make your eyes shine. So if you’re looking for a powerful solution Sublime Text is for you. You can try Sublime through the unlimited trial or buy it for only $59.
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