Now I’ve got the Mac all nicely settled down and running nicely, and I’ve even powered down the Windows PC[1], it’s time to actually do some stuff rather than just generally fiddling around. One of the things I need to do from time to time is make modifications to the template files that make this site the delightful thing it is[2]. These being PHP and CSS files, the thing I need is a good plain text editor.

Before I mumble about my chosen Mac text editor, a bit of history is in order. When I started making web pages, once I’d gained enough of a clue to realise that the tool known as F****P*** was an evil abomination, I started using a nifty tool called HomeSite, which was a nice editor with syntax highlighting and much more. A few years later, I moved on to Dreamweaver, though this was overkill, really – I used it as a code editor rather than a code generator. But I did use the template feature, which made it easier to make changes to loads of pages in one go, so it was quite handy. I also liked the built-in FTP client, which made it easy to edit a page and uplaod it without having to fire up another program.

Then I made the big switch to WordPress. And after a while, I realised that the best thing to use was indeed a text editor, and I settled on the quite lovely TextPad, which handles all manner of files, has loads of clever features that I never used, and some that I did. No built in FTP, though. But TextPad is a Windows-only application, so I needed something similar for the Mac. There is an editor provided with the OS, but it’s pretty basic…

A bit of the usual reading and searching led me to TextWranger, which does all the things I liked in TextPad – nice little sidebar showing all open files, syntax highlighting, easy display of line numbers. It also does nice things like “matching” – when I type a closing bracket, it quickly shows me the matching opening one, which is a great typo avoidance feature. And, oh joy, it has the ability to save to FTP. And that works very nicely indeed on my WordPress theme files. Great stuff.

And the best feature? TextWrangler is free. The same people make a more professional tool with more features[3] – BBEdit does more than I need, and costs $125, which is more than I’d be inclined to spend on a tool I wouldn’t make that much use of. I think the plan is that a moderate proportion of people who start with the free tool go on to buy the serious one, which I hope is the case. Anyway, I’m happy with a nice and simple editor that cost me less than I would have been prepared to pay – I did pay to register TextPad, many years ago…

[1] :dizzy: :eek2:
[2] Or isn’t
[3] Feature comparison