Best Code Editors for Web Design (Mac)

Sublime Text 2

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Looks plain jane, but with a mean Python under the hood.
Warning: Sublime Text 2 seems like you are writing your code in VIM at first – however, give it some faith and see what it can do.

 This is the new favorite around here.  Although taken aback when I first opened it, I quickly looked up some keyboard shortcuts for it to see what it could do. My test drive blew me away and I will tell you why. Coming from a bulky Java IDE, such as Netbeans, this thing is snappy! A quick search for a file using the Command+P shortcut found what I was looking for and it did so instantly.

So, it’s fast. What else?

Over 200 plugins already written. I checked out the source and it appears that it is written in Python and they have left things very open for development. In fact, the configuration file is not your typical options pane – instead, it is a configuration file that you actually edit and tweak to your liking. With this much support, it already has libraries for many PHP MVC frameworks, XDebug for live debugging (a must), and nifty code highlighting. For the near future I will be sticking with this one.


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Minimal & Extendable

TextMate is infamous for it’s support and and numerous bundles that have been created for it. A bundle can be language grammars, snippets, macros, or shortcut commands. What started out as a very minimalistic editor has turned into something extendable and frequently applauded.

Some features that stand out to me are the folding code section, the clipboard history where you can copy and paste multiple items, and the sweet folder/file pane for working within numerous folders simultaneously.


Some things I would like to see is support for SFTP, some built in validation, code hinting, and a split window feature.


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Chuck-a-rama Style Buffet

If you want features, open up wide. This thing is packed. This is what I used for about 5 months while working on a particular project that that had multiple developers to sync code with. Git integration, XDebug, code validation plugins including CodeSniffer and JSLint, code completion, a nifty file navigator, tons of search features, regular expression engine, etc.

Sounds great, right?

Well, not really…for me at least. I was running on an iMac 27″ with dual i5′s and 12GB of RAM. That should be enough horsepower to run this beast. It was still pretty slow. Beefy Java apps are not really known for their speed or efficient memory usage, and this one fit the bill. Every time I would try to search for a file it would take a very long time and sporadically re-index upon search. There were a number of other quirks that bugged me such as having to add a file to a project before you can actually start coding, random bugs where it would say that I had a bug in my code when I had already corrected it, and did I mention that it is pretty slow?

Basically, when I picked up Sublime Text 2, there was a stark contrast in speed. Netbeans is awesome and it is free, but it comes with a different kind of price.


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Looks Great from 50 Feet!

But on closer inspection, you may find that it is missing some important features. I also believe that I am not the target market of this product so my review may be unfair. Coda seems to target front-end and PHP developers. The interface is by far the most appealing and it has some convenient features. For example, you can organize all your sites with FTP integration and group them together in Coda 2, file synchronization, code snippets, built in terminal application, rudimentary version control, and a few other ones. It is also worth mentioning that Coda 2 has MySQL database administration support at it’s most basic integration.

On Second Thought…

No live debugging, validation features are lacking, and some of the features it boasts are integrated at such a basic level that I still need third party apps to get the job done. For example, on Coda 2′s MySQL tool, I can only view/edit database structure. No custom queries, no MySQL views, no data browsing, etc. That really hurts! I resort to Navicat to do those tasks. The GIT integration is also fairly rudimentary. I use either Terminal or SourceTree for those tasks simply because the GIT integration is missing great features like “git stash.”

What will I do?

I personally will stick with Sublime Text 2 and supplement it with both Terminal/SourceTree for GIT source control and Navicat for my SQL administration.

What will you do?



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