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noleli2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2017-03-09, 16:28

We seem to be in a bit of a dark ages when it comes to native macOS, code-oriented editors for Mac. Here’s my take; I’d love to year your thoughts.

The Big Two right now aren’t Mac-native, but are Sublime and Atom.

Sublime Text

Pros
  • Compiled binary (as opposed to web)
  • Fast (see ^)
  • Small (see ^^)
  • Reasonable hackable
  • Decent community/ecosystem

Cons
  • Proprietary
  • Poor package management
  • Infrequent updates
  • Native, but not Cocoa

Atom

Pros
  • Libre
  • Good package management
  • Very hackable
  • Very active community/ecosystem

Cons
  • Absurd use of web tech (only to be outdone by Hyper)
  • Huge (see ^)
  • Slow (see ^^)
  • Very obviously non–Mac-like

There are also a bunch of Mac-specific editors, many of which have been around for a while.

SubEthaEdit used to be my go-to until I started using Sublime four years ago or so. It’s very Mac-like, but infrequently updated and isn’t extensible in the way Sublime is.

I was never really that into BBEdit. I tried it probably close to 10 years ago and found it very obviously Carbon. The same was true of BB’s recently-EOLed TextWrangler.

TextMate was the editor for Mac for much of the time I was using SubEthaEdit. I got on that train very briefly, just in time for it to fizzle out. Now it seems to be in limbo between proprietary and open-source, and dead and alive.

I’ve heard Smultron is a thing, though I’ve never used it.

Since the heyday of Adium, Colloquy, and Cyberduck, I feel like native, Mac-specific open source projects haven’t really existed. I was hoping Swift would change that situation, but it doesn’t seem to have.

Anyway, those are my ramblings on text editors. What do you use and why?
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2017-03-10, 17:37

I still use TextMate, but if you're gonna go the Atom road, pick VS Code instead.

As for BBEdit, I never cared for it and don't get the hype. It didn't feel Mac-like in the Classic days, and it certainly never felt OS X-like.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2017-03-11, 12:17

I use Coda for the (very) little bit of coding I do. If not that then it's TextEdit. I only use TextEdit when it is a really basic change and I don't need the coloring or such. Coda is overkill for some things, but it works well for my usage. Notepad++ for my PC based work.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
  quote
noleli2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2020-09-09, 19:53

Nova will be coming out next Wednesday! Been looking forward to trying it for months.

https://panic.com/nova/
https://twitter.com/panic/status/1303800397786619904
  quote
turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2020-09-09, 20:51

I'm looking forward to getting it too. I still don't code much, but it is nice for when I do.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2020-09-09, 21:20

I've been "participating" in the beta program for Nova, but I can only say "participating" in the loosest sense because I haven't really been using it. VS Code (or Codium) and PyCharm are my daily drivers for almost all of my coding and text editing both at work and at home. Maybe they just never intended to support Python the way they made it look like they would, but every time I tried to do anything interesting in Nova, it felt like the thing was only half-finished, even into the late builds. It couldn't do smart code/object navigation like PyCharm; it didn't even have convenient in-project filename-based quick search/browsing like VS Code.

To be fair, I haven't tried the most recent beta, but my earlier experiences were so lackluster that I just kind of stopped caring. It looked pretty, but the shine was skin deep.

Maybe I'll go fish out that email and try the latest beta this weekend and share some fresh experiences.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
noleli2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2020-09-09, 22:19

Well that’s a bummer to hear, Brad. Guess it’s not too surprising that it’s front-end focused given that it’s a Coda successor. My guess is they’re hoping 3rd-party extensions will fill the gap. I hope it works. (I’d also like to see decent Python support, and even a bit of C++ for work.)
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2020-09-09, 23:22

I just grabbed beta 20 before it disappears since I just got another email saying the full release will still be $$$ for beta testers as soon as it releases and/or the beta install auto-updates.

After just a few minutes of kicking the tires, it does feel a bit better than just a month or two ago, but I'm not yet sure it's worth the price next to the competition. I'm sure they have some talented folks who will be working around the clock for a while to try to make this as attractive as possible, but the landscape for text editors and IDEs is already pretty fast and feature-rich, and it's also saturated with free (as in beer and in freedom) options. Nova will be $99, and that's already $10 over the price of the paid version of PyCharm, assuming you actually need what it offers over the free edition (I use the free one at home). VS Code/Codium is totally open source, and I could tweak it or extend it to my heart's content, plus it has an army of Microsoft devs working to make it the de facto editor for everyone.

Here are a few quick observations. I'm happy to try things out if you have any specific questions.

"Open Quickly" has greatly improved since I last looked. This is their take on VS Code's cmd-p "Go to File". Nova's version is definitely big and full of wasteful whitespace like many stylish "modern" apps.

Nova's gigantic "Open Quickly" is always centered in the window and only ever shows up to six and a half items, cutting the seventh in half. Yes, it was in stark white despite everything else in my system being in dark mode.


VS Code/Codium's "Go to File" is pinned to the top of the window and only grows as needed.


Nova has added some kind of code inspection/scanning for Python that was definitely absent the last time I tried it. This manifests in a few ways. Like PyCharm, I can now command-click on some (but not very many) tokens in the code, and it'll jump to its definition. For example, if somewhere I define a `class Foo` and somewhere else I instantiate a new `foo = Foo()`, clicking on that latter `Foo` takes me to the `class Foo` line. Clicking on most things that I would expect to be clickable, though, just give me the system error beep. In this example, clicking the `foo` just gives me a sad beep.

That token discovery has been fed into the "Open Quickly" dialog too. So, I can type a class name and it'll jump to its definition.

Source control integration appears to be a thing, but it's limited and sometimes a little weird. There's no "blame" or "annotate" for a whole file, nor could I find any "diff" functionality. You can right-click on a line number in the gutter, and you can "Show Last Change for Line" for which it'll animate a little speech bubble popup with the committer name, ref, date, message, and… the gravatar for the committer's email? I was surprised when Little Snitch warned me at startup that Nova was attempting to talk with Gravatar.com, but there it is. I guess it makes sense that they wouldn't try to integrate or scrape from GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, or who knows where else your repo remote might live.

I guess I need to start uploading gravatars for my work email addresses now. Also, what's with that weird split coloring on "exception"?


I only tried projects that use git. I don't have any mercurial, svn, or cvs projects handy on this machine.

There isn't very good "smart" indentation. Pressing return inside something like quotes or brackets or parentheses just puts you on a new line with the same starting indent level as the last. It does wrap selected text with a pair if you hit the quote, etc. key. while it's selected.

The multiple Python projects that I opened in Nova have... a PHP environment? There's also literally zero results for Python in the extensions library. There are no Python-relevant project settings (or really any interesting settings at all) such as the interpreter, environment, etc. There is no way to run, test, or debug any code, as far as I can tell.

Code folding in the left gutter works and both looks prettier and behaves better (for basic nested structures) than in most other editors for the few Python, JS, and JSON files I threw at it. Until I opened a bash script. Or a YAML file or an RST or Dockerfile or... Well, at least the foundation is there; hopefully someone will expand it for more common file types.

Oh, and the UI thing I hate the most is that they're aping Safari's horrible tab design. One tab takes the entire width of the window, two tabs split 50/50, and so on proportionally. Moving targets galore. I guess now it's not just Safari but also Finder and Terminal. So, this is "standard" UI look and feel. I hate Apple for introducing this quirk to the world.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
  quote
chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
Send a message via ICQ to chucker Send a message via AIM to chucker Send a message via MSN to chucker Send a message via Yahoo to chucker Send a message via Skype™ to chucker 
2020-09-10, 03:51

They'd fight quite an uphill battle against JetBrains, Microsoft, etc.…

It's a bummer tools like VS Code are free. Hard to compete with.
  quote
turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2020-09-10, 12:31

See, my boss is pushing me to use VS Code though he hates paying for software when "free is just as good". While that might be true for this case, it makes going to Nova really difficult for a very casual coder like me.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
  quote
drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2020-09-10, 14:13

I'm such a piker. I'm running v1 of Coda because I'm only writing HTML and PHP. I liked the way I could upload individual updates in v1 so I stayed there. I will have to let go when I move to the latest OS.


...
  quote
Fahrenheit
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Send a message via ICQ to Fahrenheit  
2020-09-13, 05:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
I just grabbed beta 20 before it disappears since I just got another email saying the full release will still be $$$ for beta testers as soon as it releases and/or the beta install auto-updates.

After just a few minutes of kicking the tires, it does feel a bit better than just a month or two ago, but I'm not yet sure it's worth the price next to the competition. I'm sure they have some talented folks who will be working around the clock for a while to try to make this as attractive as possible, but the landscape for text editors and IDEs is already pretty fast and feature-rich, and it's also saturated with free (as in beer and in freedom) options. Nova will be $99, and that's already $10 over the price of the paid version of PyCharm, assuming you actually need what it offers over the free edition (I use the free one at home). VS Code/Codium is totally open source, and I could tweak it or extend it to my heart's content, plus it has an army of Microsoft devs working to make it the de facto editor for everyone.

Here are a few quick observations. I'm happy to try things out if you have any specific questions.

"Open Quickly" has greatly improved since I last looked. This is their take on VS Code's cmd-p "Go to File". Nova's version is definitely big and full of wasteful whitespace like many stylish "modern" apps.

Nova's gigantic "Open Quickly" is always centered in the window and only ever shows up to six and a half items, cutting the seventh in half. Yes, it was in stark white despite everything else in my system being in dark mode.


VS Code/Codium's "Go to File" is pinned to the top of the window and only grows as needed.


Nova has added some kind of code inspection/scanning for Python that was definitely absent the last time I tried it. This manifests in a few ways. Like PyCharm, I can now command-click on some (but not very many) tokens in the code, and it'll jump to its definition. For example, if somewhere I define a `class Foo` and somewhere else I instantiate a new `foo = Foo()`, clicking on that latter `Foo` takes me to the `class Foo` line. Clicking on most things that I would expect to be clickable, though, just give me the system error beep. In this example, clicking the `foo` just gives me a sad beep.

That token discovery has been fed into the "Open Quickly" dialog too. So, I can type a class name and it'll jump to its definition.

Source control integration appears to be a thing, but it's limited and sometimes a little weird. There's no "blame" or "annotate" for a whole file, nor could I find any "diff" functionality. You can right-click on a line number in the gutter, and you can "Show Last Change for Line" for which it'll animate a little speech bubble popup with the committer name, ref, date, message, and… the gravatar for the committer's email? I was surprised when Little Snitch warned me at startup that Nova was attempting to talk with Gravatar.com, but there it is. I guess it makes sense that they wouldn't try to integrate or scrape from GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, or who knows where else your repo remote might live.

I guess I need to start uploading gravatars for my work email addresses now. Also, what's with that weird split coloring on "exception"?


I only tried projects that use git. I don't have any mercurial, svn, or cvs projects handy on this machine.

There isn't very good "smart" indentation. Pressing return inside something like quotes or brackets or parentheses just puts you on a new line with the same starting indent level as the last. It does wrap selected text with a pair if you hit the quote, etc. key. while it's selected.

The multiple Python projects that I opened in Nova have... a PHP environment? There's also literally zero results for Python in the extensions library. There are no Python-relevant project settings (or really any interesting settings at all) such as the interpreter, environment, etc. There is no way to run, test, or debug any code, as far as I can tell.

Code folding in the left gutter works and both looks prettier and behaves better (for basic nested structures) than in most other editors for the few Python, JS, and JSON files I threw at it. Until I opened a bash script. Or a YAML file or an RST or Dockerfile or... Well, at least the foundation is there; hopefully someone will expand it for more common file types.

Oh, and the UI thing I hate the most is that they're aping Safari's horrible tab design. One tab takes the entire width of the window, two tabs split 50/50, and so on proportionally. Moving targets galore. I guess now it's not just Safari but also Finder and Terminal. So, this is "standard" UI look and feel. I hate Apple for introducing this quirk to the world.
All this aside Brad, doesn't Nova just seem kind of a stupid name though?
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2020-09-13, 09:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fahrenheit View Post
All this aside Brad, doesn't Nova just seem kind of a stupid name though?
Couldn't agree more.
  quote
turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2020-09-13, 10:16

Yeah, the name doesn't really seem like a good choice. I generally like Panic software but they need better marketing people.
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