Sublime Text

The meaning of sublime according to the dictionary on my Macbook Pro is:

of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe

And Sublime Text 2 is just that. I kept hearing about its legendary speed, and flexibility but I never quite bothered to check it out until my love for NetBeans started to fade. Netbeans had been my programming companion for a long time now. I had been using it since 2009 when I made the switch from Eclipse. That is a long time! More and more Netbeans was starting to prove that it was bloated, slow – especially during loading, the updates didn’t always retain the features that I liked and it kept hogging my CPU and memory. I decided to give Aptana – a flavour of Eclipse another chance after almost a 5 year gap. It has been a long time since I abandoned working with Eclipse. I liked what I saw. It brought back some old memories, and overall it felt as if Apatana was a ted faster than Netbeans. But things were about to change when stumbled upon Sublime Text 2. At first I thought it is just a Text Editor, but it’s not, it’s way more than a text editor. This thing is so flexible you can turn it into an IDE. Here are the reasons why every programmer should at least give Sublime Text a chance:

Its beauty is sublime:

alpha_goto_anything2_large This piece of software is simply beautifully designed. There are many themes to choose from but the default theme with black background and highlighted special words is just stunningly gorgeous and is a pleasure to work with. Another very interesting feature is the small preview bar on the right which  gives you a zoomed-out view of the file that you are currently editing – I never thought I wanted it until I saw it!

Super Fast

Aptana Studio 2 Netbeans 7.3.1 Sublime Text 2
aptana-3-logo netbeans sublime-text-2-logo-full
Took around 30 seconds to load  and background project scan lasted for 1 minute 15 seconds and the program ran slow until the scan was complete. Took around 33 seconds to load and the background scans went on for 2 and half minutes before I decided to close the program. By the way, you cannot stop the background scans in Net Beans, which really is a bummer. Just took 5 to 7 seconds to load and closed as quickly as it could load too. This thing is clearly fast… VERY FAST!

Powerful Search AKA “Go To Anything” (⌘ + P)

Command + P is the shortcut key for search (the feature is known is “Go To Anything” and rightly so) on Mac and I’m pretty sure the P stands for POWER! Which really means the search just commands power. The search is super fast and it start displaying the possible results the moment you start typing AND it displays the contents for the file that most likely is the one you are looking and changes it if it does not fall under the correct results. Go to anything

It Knows!!

It knows what you are searching for even if you are telling it to search for the wrong thing. For e.g. if you make a typo, it still gives you the correct results; also knows as fuzzy search.

fuzzy search
The user types in “hutil” instead of “util” but Sublime, still displays what the user most likely meant. – It’s smart

With Netbeans and Aptana (A flavour of Eclipse), almost always I would open up the terminal or Finder on Mac to search for text within a file or to search for a filename. Now, I don’t need to do that!

Multiple Selection

This just blew my mind away. You can select multiple lines of your code and modify them simultaneously! That is super amazing! You can even select a word which could be a variable or some command throughout your file and change its name. Another scenario where this can come in handy is when you have a list of things which you need to put into an array. I used search and replace the “new line” characters. Now I do multiple selection and edit away. Multiple Selection is awesome!

Tonnes of Cool and Useful Plugins

I must warn you! If you are coming from a feature rich IDE like Netbeans or Eclipse you might be surprised at the bare minimum approach of Sublime Text, but don’t be fooled by what you see the first time you use Sublime Text. There are tonnes of plugins available out there there that can transform this magical text editor into a full IDE and that’s the beauty, you only install the features that you actually want and no more thereby keeping this editor as ‘slim’ as possible. I will write up another article on my favourite and must have plugins for Sublime Text 2. If you like this article, share it! Got a comment? Post it! 🙂

Migrating from Eclipse to Netbeans

continued from “I love Open Source and Freeware”

I have never actually made a move this big this quickly. I guess it all comes with the idea of change. Netbeans is clearly a developers IDE where as eclipse is a bit of an overall IDE. For large scale projects I still think Eclipse is better.

The question is what are the benefits I’m getting with Netbeans? and What am I compromising on?

Well as for the benefits – This will be biased because my requirements at the moment orbit around PHP and web development and I must say I am amazed by the wealth of tools available. I really didnt even have to search alot for this. Netbeans has a PHP IDE that you can download. It has amazing code completion for html and javascript AND css with a little preview window at the bottom – its really a full fledged web development IDE.

Eclipse really lacked this. Even eclipses PDT project didnt provide what netbeans has. The UI seems much pleasant to work with, but eclipse seems to have a much more efficient default layout in its PHP perspective.

I also liked the netbeans update manager – its much more gracious, but limited in comparison to eclipse’s.

But I really feel the pinch in netbeans issue/task management. NOTHING comes close to Eclipse’s Mylyn. Luckily Netbeans does have a connector for bugzilla, but its not that great and you’re just better off opening up your browser to manage all your code issues. But I have to make a choice and I had to choose netbeans because of the tools provided for actual development. Plus at the moment all my projects are small and managed mostly by me, but as my projects grow and more people join I might again have to switch to Eclipse, unless netbeans gets something that can run head to head with Mylyn.

It will take some time for me to get used to Netbeans. I found JMaki and it seems to be a bold step to bring in all the javascript libraries under one roof – seems a bit confusing at first glance, but I will look into that and maybe even give it a chance to show its head up in one of my projects. One thing sucks is that it doesnt support mootools(yet, or maybe there’s a way to get it to work).

@Deepesh Kapadia

Also, just want to say thanks to Deepesh for suggesting Netbeans – it’s improved quite a lot since the last time I used it.