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  • Perfectly Plain Text Editors to Consider
Technology Articles > Software > Communications > Perfectly Plain Text Editors to Consider

Developers love their plain text editors. In fact, they can get quite attached to the idiosyncrasies latent in each of the major text editors. Three very popular plain text editors are BBEdit, Coda, and TextMate. For users and developers who want to code in programming languages, HTML, CSS, or even simply write plain text documents, these three programs will provide just about all of the necessary features.


BBEdit is very expensive, racking in at $99.99. While this may seem like a lot for a plain text editor, it is a very powerful piece of software. BBEdit's primary benefits include FTP uploading, years of stable development, and a community of avid BBEdit users who are willing to help you with just about any issue that comes your way.

However, users who want a clean user interface will not be satisfied with BBEdit's clunky, bloated user interface. Especially when compared to other learner text editors, BBEdit can be difficult to navigate.

Advanced users and users who don't mind learning their way around a very powerful piece of software would be well-served to consider BBEdit. However, the clunky and (some may say) ugly user interface may be a deal breaker for others.


Coda is an advanced software development environment released by Panic. In stark contrast to the schizoid user-interface of BBEdit, Coda's user interface is easy to use, clean, and simple. This makes the completion of tasks and switching to different contexts while coding very simple and intuitive.

Coda comes bundled with Transmit, one of the most popular FTP uploading programs. As a result, at any time, you can upload your work to your server via FTP. In fact, you almost never have to leave Coda to accomplish anything that you can't accomplish in the app itself; the app is incredibly well-designed in this regard.

The app has an excellent preview engine, so you can preview the code you're working on. Want to see how a PHP application runs in Safari? You can do it in Coda.

Everything about Coda was clearly designed to make writing and deploying code easier. This is especially evident in the code-completion and code snippet features that were built into the app. The app will

As an all-in-one application, Coda shines above the others.


If you don't need an all-in-one software development environment, then consider TextMate. TextMate is a simple text editing application, and does not come with the vast feature set that Coda does. However, what it does, it does _very_ well.

When typing code in TextMate, you first select the language in which you will be typing. If you want to write code in Ruby on Rails, you'll select that. Or, if you want to code in PHP, select that. Once you select a language, a "bundle" will be associated with what you type. These bundles are essentially keyboard shortcuts that can help you type code even faster.

Compared to BBEdit, the user interface is *incredibly* clean and easy to figure out. It's just a plain text field with a few options.

So, if you want a full-featured software development environment, try Coda. If you already have an FTP client that you like and don't need all the features of Coda, then try TextMate. If neither of these apps feel right, then perhaps your go-to plain text editing application will be BBEdit. Whichever you choose, you will likely become an acolyte for years.