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Try Out Sublime Text 2 For Your Cross-Platform Code Editing Needs

James Bruce 14-03-2012

sublime text editorSublime Text 2 is a cross-platform code editor I only recently heard about, and I have to say I’m really impressed despite the beta label. You can download the full app without paying a penny and with no enforced time limit for your evaluation.


So I really think it’s worth taking a look at, in your search for the elusive best code editor Editra: A Powerful & Expandable Cross-Platform Text & Code Editor There are tons of text editors out there, so why would you need another one? Most people will be satisfied by their OS default plain text editor, while the coders would need a dedicated code... Read More ever.

Nifty Features

Column Selection and MultiSelect Editing: A super-powered selection system lets you select an entire column of code using the option-click or middle mouse button by dragging out a rectangle. You can then edit multiple selections at the same time, which pretty much blew my mind. I can see myself having to train my brain to actually make use of this function on a regular basis, but it could be incredibly time saving once you get used to it.

sublime text editor

AutoCompletion: like every good code editor, Sublime Text 2 will figure out what language you’re writing in and help you out by auto-completing function names. Unqiuely, Sublime Text will also autocomplete variables that you created earlier in the code, which eliminates a good number of bugs when users mistype variable names. Very nifty indeed, especially if you’re the type of  coder who loves to create very descriptive and long variables.

sublime text


Syntax highlight and high contrast display: Despite what some people think about high contrast text on a black background, it is actually a lot easier to read. I’ve been using it for about a week now with no headaches and getting a lot more programming done than usual. On a dark background – though there are other colour schemes to choose from – syntax highlighting really stands out and makes a lot more sense.

sublime text

In-Editor Code Building: for a number of languages, the app will build and run the code without you having to drop out to the command line. This is fantastic for beginners who just want to jump in and get started, and it can even handle large projects for the pro user.

sublime text


Minimap: This is a quick preview of your entire file in the sidebar, with a screen sized rectangle showing where you are now. It lets you jump around your code by sight incredibly quickly. The entire interface is fast, and simple.

Snippets: If you have a block of code you used regular, just create a snippet of it and assign a unique name. Type the name and hit tab to have the entire snippet pasted out for you. For example, typing “html” will auto expand to a basic HTML page structure, while “lorem” will give you a full paragraph of sample text:

sublime text 2


With a python based plugin system, core functionality can be extended greatly, and theres already a wide range of stuff out there. My favourite – an absolute time saving godsend for me – is the WordPress extension, which gives full autocomplete and function definitions with default values for WordPress PHP functions – something you usually have to look up in the codex.


sublime text 2

It also adds a number of key code snippets, such as a complete post content template for you to customize.

sublime text editor

I’d also suggest the Package Control extension, which let’s you easily download new packages and install them without using the console. Installation of Package Control is as simple as opening the console and pasting a block of text.



Although your evaluation period with full functionality has no enforced time limit, a full licence technically costs $59. There is a nag dialog every 10 saves or so, but otherwise it’s completely usable. Of course, I would absolutely encourage you to purchase a full license to support the developers if you love the app, but I’m sure they wouldn’t begrudge starving students, and there’s nothing to stop you using it indefinitely.

Have you used Sublime Text 2 yet? What do you think, or do you have a different favourite code editor? Are you more of a traditionalist Emacs kind of coder, a minimalist notepadder, or do you prefer a full blown IDE to develop in?

Related topics: Programming, Text Editor.

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  1. Steel
    April 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    how to add html template quickly, e.g. type html4 and press CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER or something like that !

  2. Michael Brennan-White
    March 16, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I was one of the guys who loved the whole IDE approach but I have seen the light.

    I have been using Sublime Text 2 for the last couple weeks and am very impressed with the speed and extendability of the app.

    Thanks very much for the tip about the multi-select functionality. I had seen it mentioned in the forum but it finally clicked for me tonight.

    One thing I would love to see is jump start articles for different kind of development tasks like javascript, php or coldfusion.

    • muotechguy
      March 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      It's an odd feature, but very cool once you force yourself to remember it's there!

      By "jumpstart articles", do you mean beginner level tutorials?

  3. Gary Bishop
    March 16, 2012 at 12:31 am

    I used emacs for many years, vi before that. I switched to Sublime Text and haven't looked back. It is a big improvement. I paid the $59, it was money well spent.

  4. Frank Eves
    March 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I'm also a big fan of Sublime Text. I've paid for BBEdit, Chocolat and TextMate, but I'm using Sublime Text.

    • muotechguy
      March 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Good choice!

  5. ArtemZ
    March 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    >a full licence technically costs $59
    Bwahaha! I'll better stay with emacs which is centuries ahead this bloatware. It's also free and crossplatform, yeah.

    • James Brooks
      March 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      How is Sublime "bloatware"? Have you even tried it? It's lightning fast.

      • Joshua Gray
        August 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm

        Another mac "elitist" obviously this guy knows nothing of programming or else he wouldn't be suggesting that Mac is ahead of anyone in the programming department.

        I heard my boss say last week, "Mac is like going to eat at Golden Corral (any buffet with large quantities of low quality food) after you're used to eating 5 star dinners (PC)."

        • Alexia
          August 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

          You realise your statement makes you a "PC" elitist?

        • James Brooks
          August 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

          Are you joking me?

          I've been programming on Windows for 12 years, only in this last two years I've moved to OSX and yet continue to use Windows for work?

          And I agree with Alexia, your pathetic statement, calling someone out on preferring a platform to another, because it simply aids them to do their job better, is elitist.

        • Joshua Gray
          August 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

          Not meant to be an argumentative statement, that doesn't mean I don't recognize the trend though -- Mac is "cool" I get it. My point is -- it's personal preference, I wouldn't understand many of the differences in programming because, well, I've never used a Mac for anything other than imaging. I'm just getting sick of this mindset that just because you use a Mac -- you're somehow better. Not so.

  6. el tio ska
    March 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I've been testing out Sublime Text 2 for the past few weeks and it's great. I find the speed of the app to load and execute impressive. The plugins are great and for Mac users out there, it supports TextMate plugins. Recently came across a plugin for Gists on GitHub, which is sweet. has a good gew tips on adding on to Sublime Text.