Once upon a time, I was a fresh website developer. Like most beginners, I started with the ubiquitous Dreamweaver (Version 4!), and surprisingly it wasn’t a pirated version – my dad had bought a copy long ago. I learned HTML both by reading books and using the WYSIWYG editor then switching to code view to see what Dreamweaver thought the code should be. I eventually learned, however, that not only are table-based layouts out of date, so is Dreamweaver.
When I grew out of Dreamweaver into fully code mode, I first switched to Notepad++. It was free, and it was simple. I stuck with it as long as I was working on Windows. This came to a screeching halt, however, when I started working at Quicken Loans – welcome to the world of development on a Mac.
I needed to find a cross-platform (so I could use it handily both at home with Windows and Linux and at work with a Mac), heavy-duty, coder-ready text editor. Enter Sublime Text. It’s fully cross-platform, including 64-bit and portable versions, and another of my favorite features is the fact that the settings and preferences are plain text (Well, technically JSON) and therefore I can copy them to whatever computer I’m working on and start up exactly how I left off.
Sublime also has a robust package repository you can use to rapidly install dozens of plugins and snippet libraries.
I commonly develop using WordPress, jQuery, and LESS CSS, and Sublime has plugins to meet both those needs. It also has a robust FTP plugin that removes middlemen like FileZilla.
In order to install the package installer, you have to follow the instructions below (taken from here):
Open the Sublime Text console, by hitting Ctrl + ` (or View > Show Console) and paste the following command:
import urllib2,os; pf='Package Control.sublime-package'; ipp=sublime.installed_packages_path(); os.makedirs(ipp) if not os.path.exists(ipp) else None; urllib2.install_opener(urllib2.build_opener(urllib2.ProxyHandler())); open(os.path.join(ipp,pf),'wb').write(urllib2.urlopen('http://sublime.wbond.net/'+pf.replace(' ','%20')).read()); print 'Please restart Sublime Text to finish installation'
After you have installed and restarted Sublime Text, hit Cmd + Shift + P to open up the Command Pallette. You’ll see a bunch of options; right now we’ll focus on Discover Package and Install Package.
If you already know what packages you want to install then skip right to Install Package, and either highlight the package you want to install and hit Enter, or click on it. If you’re not sure yet, then browse the Sublime Text Packages page.
The only disadvantage of Sublime Text is that it’s $59 for a license (and the FTP plugin isn’t free either), but it has an unlimited trial period with only an occasional nag screen. I worked with Sublime for over a year on the trial version and today broke down and paid for it. Why? Because it’s worth it. Maybe you’ll find it is too.