Giving Sublime Text 2 A Try

November 18, 2012
sublimetext editors

Looks like Rob Conery got back in the blogging mood and picked a rather interesting subject. His topic? The holy war prone land of text editors Though I will say, his title for the post Code Editor Thunderdome. is awesome. Acutally, the blog itself is really a pretty good read with lots of good information for several editors that are worth checking out.

So why exactly am I writing a post about Sublime Text 2? Well because I thought it would be something interesting. That and since I’m pretty solidly a Vim user, I thought it might be time to at least try some other Editors. Well, that and my boss Corey has been pretty excited about Sublime for a while now. Excited enough that as a team for our morning learning we watched a whole bunch of the NetTuts Sublime Text Videos.

With that, I’m going to try and put down my “Meh, unimpressed Vim user is unimpressed” initial attitude and really give Sublime a try.

The Good

Sublime definitely is really fast. Startup is super quick, I definitely like how Sublime starts back up with what I was working on last as well. Even going so far as having the cursor on the last line that I left off at is pretty nice. It definitely makes thing easy when you want to close Sublime and start back up where you left off.

Another feature I’ve come to really like from Sublime is the Cmd-P file searching being built right in. With Vim I use the ctrl-p plugin which is great, but it is not something that comes out of the box. It also requires some fine tuning to use well. Sublime, on the other hand, has surprisingly fast searching for files. It also has another great feature I haven’t setup for Vim yet. If you do Cmd-R you can search for methods inside of a project. This is a really handy feature and comes with support for most of the files I use regularly. So CSS, Ruby, JavaScript all work as I tested them.

That function there is enough to convince me to give it a try for my JavaScript heavy projects since I don’t have this feature set up for Vim. Even for the little bit of Ruby I do seems like it will be easier to work with in Sublime.

The Bad

One thing I’ve found from using Sublime the last couple days annoying though is how working the configuration into my current dotfiles setup is going to be difficult. Since I’ve spent the last several years working on my dotfiles, I feel very inclined to add settings for my text editor. Granted, this is a bit of a minor complaint and it isn’t even something that is impossible, just more annoying to set up than anything.

Along the lines of me wanting to store Sublime’s configuration in my dotfiles repo, I also would like to automate as much of that setup for Sublime as possible. Since I’ve been a bit obsessed with automation lately, I’d love to have a way to run a script and have sublime configured just the way I like it. Unfortunately, I’ve run into a stubmling block. Package Control, Sublime’s awesome package manager has to be installed from inside Sublime’s command window.

The Wat?

So far, Sublime has shown itself as a pretty capable editor that I’ve been enjoing using lately. I’ve shown some good and bad impressions I got from using it but there is one thing that feels just like a plain wat moment for me.

The first thing I decided to set up with Sublime after I got Package Control installed was syntax highlighting for Markdown. Since I’m writing this blog post using Sublime, I figured it would be useful. When I first installed the Markdown Syntax highlighting I started Sublime back up using my favorite color scheme Solarized. Happily for me Sublime comes with Solarized already built in, but then I started noticing something strange.

Using the Solarized scheme, I got very little syntax highlighting when using Solarized. To figure out what the heck was going on with this, I decided to flip through every one of the built in color schemes. That was then i realized each color scheme did the syntax highlighting for Markdown very differently. Some supported very little things, others had pretty rich syntax highlighting.

To me, that just felt really strange that some color schemes would support Markdown better than others. I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation for this, but the first reaction I had to it was WAT?

But Seriously

I’ve only been using Sublime for about a week and it does seem like a pretty good editor. There are a lot of things that I like when compared to Vim. The built in snippets and code completion features are pretty nice, as well as its overall speed. Since I’ve only been using it for about a week I haven’t even had much time to really dig into Sublime and most of its features. When I first started with Vim it took me months before I felt like I was really being productive with it.

So the big question, am I going to start using Sublime as my primary text editor? I really don’t know. To me, putting my Vim setup together just right felt a lot like a Jedi building their own lightsaber (nerdy, I know) so I have to admit I have a strong emotional attachment to Vim. Still though, it doesn’t mean that other editors don’t have a lot of value to offer so I think I’m going to try and make more of a conscious effort to get to know Sublime more and see where things go.