Casual users might be satisfied with plain text editors, such as TextEdit on Mac OS, or Notepad on Windows. However power users, or software developers are always in need of a more advanced text editor. Features like code syntax highlighting, line numbers, extended search and replace, proper encoding support etc, are essential elements.
While using Windows at the office, Notepad++ (free application) is my favorite text editor.
Unfortunately Notepad++ has not been ported to Mac OS yet.
For quite a long time on Mac OS I have been running Smultron as the main text editor. The problem is that Smultron is not being developed any more. And although it’s fast enough, I have had some issues while loading large files (e.g. 100k lines), as well as in some cases difficulty detecting UTF-8 encoding properly.
Therefore I decided to look for an alternative * free * text editor, and it was TextWrangler that has won me over.
TextWrangler is a lot more advanced than Smultron, and in some areas actually even better than Notepad++.
Some of the TextWrangler highlights are fast file loading, powerful search and replace functionality, a “drawer” for multiple files, FTP/SFTP support, included diff/merge tool, Terminal/scripts support, excellent encoding functionality and options.
TextWrangler menus can also be fully customized (check the Preferences), as well as you can find lots of options for every little aspect that can make your life easier while working with source code files.
What I would love to find in a future TextWrangler version is a better dock icon, as the current one doesn’t really compete with other app icons on my dock. Any suggestions? Leave a comment!