BBEdit - Need some opinions...

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by thinkofthestars, Feb 22, 2004.

  1. thinkofthestars macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    Okay, seriously, I can't for the life of me figure out why BBEdit is so freakin' expensive.

    I just got a brand new iBook, I'm going to college for Web Design, and I want a good HTML editor. Ever since before I got my iBook I always heard mention of BBEdit being the professional choice. So I get my laptop, I go to the site to download a trial... I check out the "Buy" option, and seriously, I think I had my first heart attack.

    I talked to my boyfriend who is a programmer and he can't seem to figure out why it's so expensive either. He codes mostly in PHP, but does pretty much everything else imaginable. He uses Gentoo Linux and named a whole bunch of free programs that do what BBEdit does.

    I'm a Mac user now, so obviously I want the best of the best. I can't help but feel peer pressure when I'm constantly reading about how great BBEdit is, but can I really justify the expense? I hear a few good features here and there, but nothing that explains why it costs so much.

    I feel like I'm in the twilight zone or something, where a whole bunch of pod people have been brainwashed to think that this is the best editor in the world. I want some real answers here from real people. So would anyone out there like to explain to me what is so cool about this program? Does it make my morning coffee for me? Will it drive my car? Honestly folks, how can anyone haulk up that much money for a text editor? Everyone is willing to pay $500+ for Photoshop, including me, but that's at least understandable. My boyfriend has a text editor called Kate that does EVERYTHING, and he was talking about something called Grep that will do the massive search and replace that BBEdit does.

    I don't mean to sound rude, but I have yet to hear one person complain about the price and I'm starting to think I'm the only weirdo out there that thinks this might be a rip. I'm not cheap, I'd certainly pay that much for something that's worth it, I just want to know WHY it's worth it.

  2. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I really like subethaedit, which is free. It does context highlighting which is handy for coding Web pages, writing scripts, etc. It seems quite stable.

    Download SubEthaEdit from Versiontracker

    Personally I agree with you regarding bbedit - I had exactly the same reaction when I saw the price. I have NO IDEA how a text editor can be worth > $100; but there are some folks who swear by it.

    I will comment that until about 6 months ago I was a Linux-head; and while there are lots of free programs available that do this sort of thing... there aren't all that many that do it well. Kate never ran for more than 5-10 minutes for me without crashing; plus it was slow as a dog (probably thanks to the KDE underpinnings). Same problem with bluefish (I think that was the name), except that was gtk2 based. Gedit was stable, but didn't do context highlighting (at the time). I always ended up going back to nedit and its sucky tcl interface.

    All in all the Mac is a much nicer environment, and there are still lots of free programs available. It's just that Mac users don't have the built-in aversion to paying for the good stuff. :D

    Edit: You might not know that those "Linux" tools are also available on the Mac. "Grep" is a command-line tool that's also here, for example. Although to use it for search-and-replace you'd need to learn bash scripting (on Linux or Mac OS X); grep is powerful, but all it does is search for stuff (not replace). There definitely is some value-added with graphical tools that'll let you do the same task without you having to invest hours in learning bash, perl, etc.
  3. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Just took a look at subethaedit. Seems ok, though the colouring of code is sometimes at tad funky (code that shouldn't be coloured sometimes is...). It also lacks some neat text editing features that BBeditLite has. So guess it's quite far from being as good as BBedit.

    Maybe a subethaedit + BBeditLite (free) combo is a good solution if you don't mind switching apps from time to time?
  4. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
  5. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    i recommend BBEdit lite, mentioned by whocares. (search in versiontracker)

    some people get really passionate about text editors... i'm pretty sure you will be able to find die-hard vi/pico/emacs fans out there and BBEdit has its share of followers... but i don't get it either, it really is a glorified text editor and how much could that be worth?? :confused:

    of course, M$ has been making loads of $$$ for ages with what amounts to nothing more than a typewriter replacement... :p
  6. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    I have been using bbedit for years starting in the pre OSX days. At that time, it was one of the only really good editors for the Mac IMO. Many other people felt that way too and as a result it became the gold standard editor for Mac. I don't really use it for coding HTML - mostly for C, Java and perl. The power is in the ability to manage many large source files at a time with cross file search and replace, etc.

    I don't think most people will find it to be worth the price for doing basic HTML coding. The reason I say that is most web pages do not contain a lot of code and debugging is pretty easy. I can't personally comment on some of the alternatives, but if there is something that works and it is cheaper or free, use it - especially if you are a student.

    For professionals it's a bit of a different story. For example, if an editor messes up the color coding and you spend a couple of hours trying to find the problem, you just paid for bbedit - no brainer. Bare Bones knows that a good editor is easily worth a couple of hundred bucks to a programmer so they charge accordingly.

    As another example, I used to do a lot of work with VMS before HP bought DEC. The editor we used at the time was $800 a copy, even though VMS included a fairly decent editor.
  7. thinkofthestars thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    Okay, it's starting to make a bit more sense to me now, but I think I'll stick with some of the free, if not cheaper, editors that everyone mentioned. I downloaded Taco and HyperEdit yesterday, and I think I'll try that Sub thing today. It's a good thing uninstalling programs on this thing is as easy as deleting a file... otherwise I might be overrun with programs by now. Now if I can just find a good program I can do HTML, PHP, and CSS in, I'll be happy.

    I am glad to see that I'm not the only one questioning the price on this thing. At least now I know not everyone is a pod person.

    Thanks for the help everyone.

    Edit: Spelling errors... I'm compulsive, I know.
  8. Doraemon macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2001
    Europe (EU)
  9. andrewtayloruk macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2004
    Just my 2c

    I'm new to mac, but I think BBedit is too expensive also. I'm used to coding PHP on Linux and find kate superb, even Windows has a number of excellent free editors, however, all is not lost.

    jEdit from is very good
    Pepper is also worth a look

    Kate is in a working alpha state native on OSX so that's definatley going to happen sooner or later.

    Did you know you can BBedit for $110 if you're a student.

    If you're going to be doing PHP and you're going to pay full price for BBedit, Zend studio is probably a better bet.


  10. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I've coded (and written the text content for) entire, multi-hundred-page, million-plus-visitor sites with BBEdit light. Point being, it's a really, really nice piece of software, and although the framework is the same as BBEdit, it doesn't have half the features of its big brother. If I could afford BBEdit, I'd certainly pay the money for it, and anybody who makes enough money off of their coding certainly can.

    Don't foget that BareBones also makes TextWrangler now; it is a $50 product that is basically what BBEdit Light used to be, but with quite a few additional features (spell checker, code coloring, and more). Unlike BBEdit, it doesn't color HTML markup (they're selling it as a programming editor, as opposed to BBEdit being an HTML editor, though I think that's a financial mistake on their part), but it's still a spiffy piece of software.

    I'd recommend trying BBEdit light and a couple of the other free programs; if you end up liking BBE Light, maybe think about buying TextWrangler or BBE if you can afford it. If you like something else, you're not out anything.

    By the way, another thing BBEdit (and Light, and TextWrangeler) have going for them are powerful find features; they can do a very fast and effective multi-file find and replace, as well as grep without having to resort to the command line (though you still need to learn grep syntax).
  11. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    Another nice feature is Terminal integration...

    Rather than use pico/vi/emacs for editing shell scripts, config files, etc, just type "bbedit filename" and work on it in BBEdit.

    Very nice, for those that do that kind of thing.
  12. thinkofthestars thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    Yeah, another person that's telling me it's wonderful, totally worth the price, and the best thing since sliced bread. Yet they're not telling me WHY, which is what I really want to know.

    But thanks to the guy that said I could get BBEdit for $110. I didn't know I could get a discount for being a student. I think I'll try some of the free editors for now, continue to use the trial version of BBEdit, and eventually I'll decide whether or not I want to shell out the cash. Does anyone know though, how good is BBEdit's CSS support? I think it's HyperEdit that has some cool CSS features. I do all my sites in XHTML and CSS, so any extra CSS stuff is good.
  13. Colonel Panik macrumors regular

    Colonel Panik

    Feb 23, 2004
    Dublin, Ireland
    Bare Bones almost always have some offer on allowing you to get BBEdit cheap... I believe that I got my copy when they offered registered users of BBEdit lite (free) a cheap upgrade path. I only paid about €70 for it.

    As for what it can do, it was the king for multi-file 'search-and-replace' tasks (with GREP feature) before Mac OS X. Of course, if you're able to, you can use Terminal to do this. It can handle huge files too.

    I use BBEdit for manipulating text all the time (I work in publishing), and I love it's HTML tools. Producing perfectly valid pages gives a warm feeling inside. The one thing I'd love to see improved is it's support for CSS, but I reckon that if enough people ask, they'll brush that up too. Apart from that, it's updated regularly and their forums are populated by some of the programmers. Making HTML pages with BBEdit is really easy. It's got a tool for almost everything you can think of, and it's not just for HTML coders. It's for 'real' programmers too (not that I use those features). I suggest that you browse through the manual to see some of it's other capabilities. It's not just a text editor, and it's rock solid. It's saved me days of mind-numbing labour. The first time I understood the potential of its GREP multi-file search-and-replace I nearly fell out of my seat.

    My advice would be - try out the demo, and if it's not worth the price, stick with BBEdit Lite and other freeware apps. I haven't regretted it.

    --Just an impressed user (going on 4/5 years now).
  14. Flowbee macrumors 68030


    Dec 27, 2002
    Alameda, CA
    All of the features of BBEdit are listed on their website:

    If you don't understand what the features are or why they're important, then BBEdit is probably not for you.

    For a student just starting to learn HTML, BBEdit is overkill. Period. BBEdit Lite will serve you just fine until you learn a little more about coding, scripting, and programming. You'll know when you need a more robust editor, and at that time you can evaluate the features of value of BBEdit for yourself.

    It's like a beginning guitar student wondering why professional guitarists would pay $10,000+ for a Martin acoustic when they can get a Yamaha for $150.

    Maybe you should ask one of your professors which software is appropriate for the coursework you'll be doing.
  15. dukemeiser macrumors 6502a


    Dec 17, 2002
    Of course. Just try out the Academic Superstore , you can get discounts on amost all commercial software for being a student. The Apple Store also gives good discounts for students. And you're going to be mad when you find out that Photoshop CS is only $280 for students ($170 upgrade).

    That said, if you're going to school for web design, you should probably find out what the class will use when you take it. For example, I'm also taking a web design class and we are using Dreamweaver MX. So, knowing I'd be doing web design after the class, I went ahead and bought Dreamweaver so I could work on my stuff at home and use it for myself. It is only $100 for students.
  16. thinkofthestars thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    Thanks again everyone for all the help. I am going to school for Web Design, but I already know HTML and PHP. I'm just taking classes as a formatlity, although I am learning how to use Illustrator in my Comp. Graphics class... which is really cool. I'm buying the full CS package this week for only $400. And I hand code all my sites, so I have no need for Dreamweaver, which is why I'm looking into text editors. Thank you all very much though.
  17. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Boy this is almost like the vi vs. emacs debates I remember from my Linux days. :D We're not gonna settle this, obviously. Having said that...

    Some of us old-timers who've been programmers for a decade or two still think it's grossly overpriced. :rolleyes:
  18. andrewtayloruk macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2004
    its not just the price that gets me

    The thing that gets me is textwrangler is a great tool but they've removed PHP support, they've purposefully removed PHP support yet left Perl, now I know you can't please everyone but why support the likes of C/C++/Java and not php, Apple has a perfectly good tool for C/C++/Java in Xcode yet we still don't have a good (cheap) editor for PHP. It's purely trying to get the most money possible out of users. I would stump up $100 for BBedit without out thinking, at $180 it's just out of my league. Or, how about the base module (textwrangler) is $40 then you add language packs for $35 a time, you could have a web pack (CSS,HTML, Perl, PHP, ASP) or a Java pack etc, that means I could have the perfect tool for $75, and so could someone else, even though our needs are different?

  19. maradong macrumors 65816


    Mar 7, 2003
  20. jywv8 macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2003
    Well, I'm one of those pod people who think BBEdit is the best thing since sliced bread. I use it for HTML, Java, PHP, Perl, Python, and C/C++. It is the most solid, useful piece of software I have every owned. It has every feature I want, and not a lot of crap I don't want/need. Is that vague? Sure.

    If you can find a free or cheaper solution that does what you want, more power to ya. I think it's worth it, but it's just an opinion.
  21. beerguy macrumors regular

    Aug 20, 2003
    Unlike what I've gathered from many folks on this thread, I actually like vi. :) That being said, what makes bbedit worthwhile for me is the ssh/sftp integration; I use the crap out of if. I like being able to open a file via ssh on my server without having to retrieve and then save the file as separate operations.

    That being said, I do think it's overpriced but at $149 it's not like it's a million bucks.
  22. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Re: its not just the price that gets me

    Yeah, this is my one and only beef with BBE; as software, it's near perfect for what it does. BareBones as a company, though, seems to haveput a professional-level price on a piece of software everybody would love to own if it were more reasonable.

    When they had the EXTREMELY powerful and entirely free BBEdit Light, this was forgiveable, but now that they've given the reasonably priced TextWrangler all the programming language support, while saving the HTML and PHP support for BBE, illustrates that either they don't understand a demand curve well, or they just enjoy milking their users because they know how good their product is.

    It's obvious that there are way, way more HTML coders than almost any of the languages that TextWrangler supports. It would seem logical to target that large userbase with your cheap, entry-level application, then charge the hardcore programmers for your pro product if they really need it. Yet they do it exactly the other way around, essentially making the less commonly used tool cheaper (and you know that a lot of the people who pay for TextWrangler just want it for HTML, but can't afford BBE for light use), and pricing themselves out of reach of all but professional HTML coders.

    I'm willing to bet they'd make more money if they just made TextWrangler the HTML editor, and BBE the full programmer's editor.

    By the way, here are some features, and these are all just from BBEdit Light, the two year old free version. Most of these exist in other apps, but BBE Light does them all, and well:

    -GUI access to grep
    -Fast, easy, and powerful GUI based multi-file find and replace
    -Supports a variet of linebreak formats, and converts between them, with ease
    -Extreme fine-tuning of editing behavior (multi-word selection, auto space-insertion on paste, etc)
    -Auto indenting
    -Lightweight and fast; launches in half a bounce and never feels slow in use
    -Can open files as large as RAM allows--I've worked with tens of megabytes of "text" at a time
    -Auto "gremiln" cleaning (non-valid characters, e-mail quoting, hard line-wrapping, etc)
    -Invisible character display
    -Stable like nobody's business: Has not, within recent memory, EVER crashed on me
  23. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    We da pod people! :cool:

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