Jordan Hoff was making fun of me the other day for using Dreamweaver as my text editor. I’ll admit, I may be a little behind on the technologies I use in my development process but I’m starting to get on the bandwagon and use the latest and greatest. Like Terminal and Git. I hate them, but am learning to use them. So I decided to take Jordan’s advice and buy a copy of TextMate to up my coding game. I’ve always had an ideal coding environment in my head, but never really made the time to make it a priority in my development process. I’ve always stuck to using the code editor in Adobe Dreamweaver along with its FTP client. Which is super slow and time consuming. So after playing around with TextMate, I found some really cool features that I now can’t believe I was living without by using Dreamweaver. But it still wasn’t the ideal solution I was looking for. So I then downloaded Coda 2 and Sublime Text 2 to compare and see if they had all the pieces to my coding puzzle.

Here are the pros and cons I’ve encountered with the 4:

Dreamweaver

Pros

  • I’ve used it since the beginning and am extremely familiar with it.
  • Built-in FTP client
  • The CS5 and CS6 versions let you edit all corresponding files from an HTML file without having to open them all
  • Auto closes your tags
  • Code hinting

Cons

  • Very sluggish compared to the rest
  • You can’t just save a file and have it immediately uploaded to your remote server. You have to “put” it, which takes some time
  • No auto completion

TextMate

Pros

  • Auto completion
  • Tons of “bundles” available that add on to the core functionality of TextMate. My favorite one is a CSS3 snippet that allows you to simply type, for instance, “radius + TAB” and it populates all the browser supported border-radius properties and lets you tab between the insertion points
  • Code hinting
  • Runs quick

Cons

  • No built-in FTP client

Coda 2

Pros

  • Auto completion
  • Many “clips” available and can make your own. Clips basically allow you to save snippets of code that you use frequently and just drag and drop them into your document
  • Code hinting
  • Auto completion
  • Auto closing of tags
  • Built-in FTP client
  • Runs quick
  • Can simply save a file if you’re working off a remote server and it saves directly to that server without having to “put” it
  • Very nice user interface that’s easy to use and learn

Cons

  • No “bundles” that display added on properties via a code hinter. For instance if you want to use the CSS3 border-radius property, you can’t just start typing “border-radius” and tab over to get all the browser supported properties. You can drag a pre-made “snippet” onto your document, however, but that has to be pre-made and you can’t tab between the values

Sublime Text 2

Pros

  • Auto completion
  • Multiple plugins available
  • Runs quick
  • Very simple interface with a nice little sidebar view of where exactly you’re located within the document

Cons

  • No built-in FTP client
  • No “bundles” that display added on properties via a code hinter
  • Seems to be suited for an advanced programmer, because even the application’s preferences are configured by writing/changing lines of code

Conclusion

There very well might be, and most likely are features that can be done in all of these programs that I didn’t cover. I’ve only been playing around with these (besides Dreamweaver) for about a day so my overview is skewed a little towards the beginner or impatient. So what’s my final decision on what I’ll use moving forward? I’m going to try and stick it out with Coda 2. It seems to have most everything I want and although currently I don’t see how to get properties “hinted” to me that I can modify or add on to, I think I can figure out a way to make it work. And if not, I think the “clips” will work just fine for me.

I’d love to hear which code editor others use and why you chose it over the others.