Text Editors & Cost Of Switching

I currently use BBEdit, which has the strength that it’s basically been around FOREVER, so no real issues with it going away and having to re-learn workflow.

But today I’m looking at Panic’s Nova today. I see that Nova seems to be the successor to Coda, which was also a Panic thing.

I think that Nova might handle file management in a more preferable way to BBEdit, which will make me somewhat more efficient - but then again, I also have to learn a new editor.

Do any programmers / other text-heavy workflow people have thoughts about “gaining efficiency by switching editors” vs. “losing efficiency by having to re-learn the new tool”? Are the customizability things in most modern tools enough that it’s not an issue?

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From a programmer’s standpoint, I use whatever the IDE provides because it’s too much trouble and too limiting to bother with (I’m referring to Xcode, specifically, here). I haven’t found much to hate in Xcode’s editor, although I’d rather use emacs, which I use outside the IDE. I almost never use TextEdit. I’ll also use vi[m] if there’s nothing else available, like on a new Pi. Knowing three editors is quite enough, thank you, I have no intention of learning more.

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I’m conversant in vi[m], but I’m not a huge fan of using it for day-to-day stuff.

If you didn’t already know emacs, would you think it’s a worthwhile editor to explore in 2020? Or do you just use it because you learned it way back in the day?

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If you’re a programmer whose employer is 1) not married to a particular IDE, and 2) you have the freedom to choose, then yes. Unfortunately I think these are probably not true in many cases.

I’ve seen a lot of attention given to org-mode lately, for note-taking and such, but I couldn’t recommend taking on emacs just for that.

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When switching, I’ve found that it takes about a week to reach an acceptable level of productivity, and a few months to iron out most of the little issues.

I like to have multiple editors and IDEs available. I like to use multiple tools because each does not do equally well with different languages/stacks/version control regimens, and because I think it’s fun to use more than one tool. Nova in particular is just fun to have around. I also like keeping my vim and emacs from totally rusting. :slight_smile:

I recommend exploring other editors and their plugins, even if you have no desire to switch!

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Really, if you are happy with what you are using it’s usually best to stick with it. In my case I use Lugaru Epsilon, which is an EMACS clone/improvement. I’ve used it since the 1980s. I did stop for a while when the dropping of 32-bit was announced and I didn’t know when or if Epsilon would make the change (it did, but took until this past summer!). So it gave me some experience with BBEdit, but I’m anxious to go back.

The only other editors I use are those in IDEs, and I would frequently use Epsilon for its features. While I’m now Mac only, Epsilon has had versions for MSDOS, Windows, OS/2, Linux, and OS X, which was terrific when I had to move between systems.

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You are obviously more adaptable and/or flexible than I. Or maybe just smarter. :man_shrugging:

Or your standards are higher! :slight_smile:

I use BBEdit for its unmatched ability (in my experience) to:

  1. Search for “differences” between two text files that are intended to be the same.
  2. Perform Regex searches and replacements.

I deal with large text files and BBEdit has been so reliable and fast in these endeavors that I cannot imagine changing. And for just routine text editing it has also been fine. I have numerous workflows for which BBEdit is the core.