TextMate 2.0

Will Goring, 13 Dec 2011

There’s been a bit of a fuss today about a TextMate 2 private alpha being seen in the wild. I particularly like Matt Gemmell’s take on it; it nicely captures (and satirises) the extent to which TextMate was adored by the Mac community before… well, disappearing.

I never bought into the TextMate thing myself. I mean, I used it for a few weeks because I use a Mac and for a while it sort of felt rude to use one without the other, but I soon got disillusioned and went back to Vim. I’ll be interested to see how it pans out, but I don’t think this new TextMate, as cool as some of the ideas sound, will get even a couple of weeks of my time. I’m simply past the point in my life where a new text-editor is either desirable or practical. Vim might not be pretty and it had a hell of a learning curve 10 years ago when I first started using it in anger, but for those 10 years it has done everything I need from a text editor and, more importantly, done it completely consistently on every machine I’ve had cause to use. I just don’t think there’s any amount of UI-prettiness or shiny-new-feature-ness that can compare to that (even putting aside the decade of muscle-memory I’ve built up for vi keybindings.)

Obviously, I should never say never; there might be some new feature waiting to be invented that will completely revolutionise my use of text-editors but, several decades into their history, I’m going to assume that those eureka moments are mostly in the past, and that any feature missing from the highly-functional editors (Emacs, vim, etc) is probably missing for good reason, not because no-one thought of it.

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