Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sublime Text 2 review - Is it worth the money?

In my Common Lisp days I was a die-hard Emacs fan. Emacs is technically infinitely extensible thanks to Emacs Lisp, but it has a few annoying Emacsy quirks that can make it offputting to some. And when I learned that it did not support Clojure out of the box, it was a definite move to a better, more talked about text editor: Sublime Text 2.

This is commercial, closed-source software so I do feel obligated to state that I do not have anything to do with its development. It is hosted here:
and maintained by one developer, which is an enormous undertaking for making what I feel is the best multi-language editor around.

Let's jump into some screenshots and a run-down of the features.

This is one of Sublime Text's many color schemes. It is the beautiful default of light gray with many different colors for different reasons. Yellow literals, pink functions, blue symbols, etc. The most noticeable feature for most newcomers to the editor (I know it was one of mine) is the scrolling text column on the side that allows you to jump in between places in the file while giving you an overview of how large your file is getting.

Although that feature is small compared to the other features that Sublime Text has to offer.

There is a command pallet that contains a wide variety of features in the editor. Here you can see the impressive collection of inferior modes that it has to offer (inferior mode being syntax highlighting with some grammar rules, such as the highlighted ',' in Clojure). Some other talked-about features are multiple selection and goto anything. Multiple selection is very useful for when you need to turn a list of text into syntacticly-adhering code, or for massively changing a file in a short amount of time.

Splitting the editing pane, although a common feature in many editors, can also help increase the amount of work that can be done. Splitting can even work on the same file (different parts), making copying over code or memorizing some escape character a very easy task.

The selling point for me was the inclusion of Lisp, Clojure, Scala, and Java highlighting out of the box. No other editor I have encountered has done this in as friendly of a manor as Sublime Text has.

Is it worth the money?
You will see that my version of Sublime Text is unregistered. It is common in the community to pirate or keep an unregistered version while disregarding the "Nag screens" that show up. The developer was nice enough to not limit what this application can do (like LispWorks) does before a license is purchased, so many users do not even purchase it. I thought I would be one of them until I started uncovering the deeper features that the editor has, and now as soon as I scrounge up the money from my incredibly low wage job I will put fourth the $60 for the license. The developer has done a fantastic job, and deserves compensation for his work in my opinion. Also, the money secures the chance for future updates and maybe even a Sublime Text 3. 

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