BBEdit 15. Still doesn’t suck!

BBEdit supports MPW-style worksheets

I launched BBEdit 14 today and was duly informed that there was a major upgrade. This means a paid upgrade. And for most apps this means, deciding whether to (a) continue using the App as is, (b) upgrade it, or (c) delete it.

With BBEdit this has never been a decision. I will quickly glance at the release notes, but I know I’m going to pay. Once upon a time I was paying thousands of dollars in upgrades per year (Autodesk and Adobe, cough) while these days I am using almost entirely free or cheap software.

I just discovered that BBEdit has one of the best features from MPW (this is not new). It supports UNIX worksheets (basically MPW would let you reuse commands from a text file). Sadly it doesn’t seem to support targeting other windows in a convenient fashion (e.g. typing ls -l and having the output appear in another window by default), but you can write ls -l | bbedit and it will put the output in a new bbedit window (without creating a file on disk) which is pretty nice.

In the end, BBEdit’s usefulness as a mainline coding editor is ebbing, basically because it has been left behind by editors that have built on TextMate’s automations and VS Code’s autocomplete, but it’s still an incredible tool for just dealing with text files.

I think Nova would be better off doing something like this instead of providing a (not very good) terminal emulator. VS Code’s terminal emulator is actually one of its weak points.

Anyway, my “will upgrade by default list” is basically down to:

  • Acorn
  • BBEdit
  • Default Folder X
  • FastRawViewer
  • RAWPower

All of these are created by tiny teams, sold for very reasonable price, get updates with actual features that matter, and are very very good at what they do.

I wish there were more items on the list.

  • Sketch used to be on it, but stopped adding useful features and charging a subscription
  • Graphic doesn’t seem to get updated
  • Vectornator seems to have turned into a web-first product that doesn’t work
  • Pixelmator Pro is just not quite there, but I buy the upgrades
  • Affinity Photo / Designer / etc is again just not quite there, but I buy the upgrades so far
  • Cheetah 3d used to be on it—heck, I wrote a book on it—but frankly the developer is more interested seems to have lost enthusiasm, but I still buy the upgrades when they happen
  • Transmit is actually on the list, but it doesn’t get updated
  • Nova could get on it if they actually fixed stuff but I suspect that competing with VS Code is just a losing proposition
  • Motion would be an instant buy if Apple ever charged for an upgrade. It would likely just mean paying another $50 if it ever happened, but as with FCPX Apple seems content to just keep updating it for free.