TextMate Gone Open Source

By Xah Lee. Date:

The popular editor TextMate, is now open source. Here's the author's blog announcing it: [TextMate 2 at GitHub By Allan Odgaard. At http://blog.macromates.com/2012/textmate-2-at-github/ , accessed on 2012-08-11 ]

TextMate is a editor for Mac OS X. It started in 2004 by Allan Odgaard. Reportedly, written under 5 months. Then it became hugely popular, seems to over take BBEdit (the editor of choice by geeks on the Mac).

TextMate version 2 is long in the coming. It's supposed to be a rewrite from the ground up. Started before 2009. Public alpha released on 2011, but still lots bugs. Final version still not out, but now the source code is released with GPL3 license. According to author, the motive is to benefit the open source community.

There are many comments online about the move. Most are shocked. Some happy, also sad. For the fans, the question is: will it die into oblivion or actually become better?

Today, another text editor that's popularly talked about is Sublime Text, home page at http://www.sublimetext.com/.

BBEdit is the most popular geek's editor on the Mac in the 1990s. I used it from 1992 to 2002. I started to use emacs in 1997, and lives in emacs starting 1998. (i use emacs at the time as my editor when on unix) Though, from 1998 to 2002, i still use BBEdit. At the time, i haven't studied emacs lisp, and have avoided customizing my emacs. Everything i do in emacs is its default, by its standard ways, and i have read quite a lot emacs manual. So, from 1998 to about 2006, everything i do in emacs is pure GNU way, and i run emacs in text terminal only (not even X11).

i remember that at the time i think BBEdit is actually more efficient than emacs. For editing, emacs will need lots more keystrokes. (there's a free BBEdit version called BBEdit Lite, and is now replaced by TextWrangler, free.)

Sometimes one might wonder if these are better than emacs. Here's my experience: if you are average developer and never learned any elisp, then many editors will probably do what you need and is smooth.

However, if you started to tinker with emacs lisp, after a couple of years, there's really no editor that can compare to emacs. Old news, but i can say it loud myself now. I started learning elisp casually in 2006. By now, i have perhaps a hundred personal commands, elisp text processing scripts, also a few modes of my own. Sure, some editor might be better out of the box for something. But for them to replace emacs is out of the question for me. Emacs with elisp is beyond what these other editors can do, even vim. [see Elisp: Quick Start]