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BBEdit Sucks Less

Originally written on: September 16, 2004 at 8:14 pm

Last Updated: September 16, 2004 at 8:14 pm

[wdgpo_plusone]

BBEdit is now in its eighth major revision. At first I didn’t want to rush the upgrade as v7 was “good enough”. I downloaded the demo this morning, and with the exception of one small thing, I have found that BBEdit sucks much less than it did. It’s faster, has serious UI improvements, and for all the XHTML and CSS hackers out there, the palettes have been updated for CSS 2.1. Now you don’t have to remember all the obscure incantations for advanced CSS—it’s all there for you.

The UI improvements are many. Now you have a visual indicator of your current line, as well as a shaded region that marks the page/soft wrap boundary. That is very nice, but a bigger UI change is in the use of MacOS X drawers to allow for a multiple-document, single window interface, much like OmniWeb 5’s answer to tabbed browsing. Personally, I tend to work in what I call “contexts”. I like to have all the documents relating to one topic to be in a single window. I do this often when I surf the web. I’ll open Slashdot, and load all new links I click off that page into tabs. This way, I can go back and forth from the original article to the supplemental material without being drowned in a sea of windows. I do the same thing with Ars Technica. It is typical for me to have three or four browser windows open (one for each context), with five to ten tabs open in each. It’s the best of both worlds.

XHTML and CSS authoring are now vastly improved with CSS 2.1 additions. For some reason I always get hung up on the proper syntax of the “list marker” property in CSS. To find it, I would usually consult my copy of Eric Meyer’s “Cascading Style Sheets The Definitive Guide (2nd ed.)”. Now the answer is always a click away. BBedit 8 also supports the “@import” rule, allowing XHTML and CSS documents to reference external files. If you look at the source of this site, or any other that I’ve done, you will see that at least one style sheet is called using this rule. Now I don’t need to type the syntax by hand on every page. Huzzah!

Most impressive is the ability to check the syntax for code snippets. Previously, you had to make sure the document contained the proper XHTML headers, otherwise it wouldn’t even begin to parse the document for errors. Now checking your Include files is a snap.

So far, it seems well worth the upgrade for current (ab)users of BBEdit. I also recommend new users download the demo to see why BBEdit doesn’t suck. The only bug I’ve found so far is a crasher that occurs when I try to edit a document through Transmit’s “edit in BBEdit” link. I’ll file a bug report and I am sure it will be fixed promptly.

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