Those of you familiar with UNIX and World of Warcraft will understand what I mean when I say that Emacs and vi are like the Aldors and Scryers. Once you get to Unix City, you take the tour with Khadgar’s annoying minion and then choose a side. Once you choose a side, you start questing for that faction and end up aggroing all the hate and ire of the other side.
This happens to be because text editors are the basic tools in the Unix world. Coding and editing files is a must and a text editor is your best friend. You’ll be editing many a fstab or crontab with this thing and you want it to do what you want. It’s very much like a sword that’s attuned to you.
So I ended up going Scryer. The decision to go Scryer or Aldor is much easier than choosing a text editor. But I did decide to throw my lot in with vi. Why? After I eventually get around to learning the rest of the commands in vi, I’ll be able to do superhuman things with it. Emacs on the other hand can do anything else, which is not really what I look for in a text editor.
So with my move to the Mac, I was in search for another text editor. The environment was very different for this sort of battle. For one thing, the text editor users weren’t dominated by Old Unix Zealots, but designers. Yes, web designers are the ones who influence me, at least, as to which text editor to use.
The thing about text editors on the Mac is that most of the good ones are commerical: TextMate, BBEdit, and others. The problem is that I didn’t want to spend money on a text editor.
So far, the only true alternative I’ve come up with is Smultron. It’s free, it’s open source, and it’s as beautiful as any other Mac program, and just as functional as any other text editor. It’s become my text editor of choice for anything on my Mac, really, from HTML to Java to that vaunted VHDL. Is it the one true text editor? No, but it is pretty darn good, so give it a whirl and enjoy the giant berry sitting in your dock.