I’ve been hunting for an IDE for a while now. I’m using IntelliJ IDEA for work and I love it, but it’s definitely more complex (and more expensive) than my personal projects will allow. I’ve used lightweight editors for a long time (Notepad++, Crimson) and they’re great for some things, but I’ve found myself more and more impressed by the power of an IDE with really good navigation tools.
Recently I’ve been learning vim commands using vim-adventures.com (which is worth the money just for being a good puzzle adventure game if nothing else) and I’ve been trying out vim itself as well as popular IDEs that have vim plugins – Emacs, Eclipse, Netbeans. Unfortunately, nothing has been an easy fit. I’m sure I could get accustomed to any of them over time, but I kept looking in case there was something better out there.
That’s how I stumbled across Sublime Text last night. How has nobody told me about this before?
- It’s fast, like the lightweight editors I used to love.
- It’s pretty, especially in fullscreen or distraction-free mode.
- It has an integrated VIM mode.
- It’s got excellent navigation tools built in (the “Go to anything” command is awesome).
- It’s got a great plugin community and plugin management tools.
My total time for setup was probably an hour – that’s download, install, finding and installing three or four helpful plugins, configuring vintage mode, and importing my current project. I’m going to give it another couple days of trial first, but I think I’ll end up dropping $70 on this editor.
In the process of looking for IDEs I also stumbled across WriteRoom, a little $10 text editor that’s equally pretty. I used its distraction-free mode to write a blog post on the train this morning.
I’m usually pretty gung-ho about free software, but I have to admit a significant leap in the aesthetic quality of these paid (but affordable) editors. I might be a convert.