Thursday, December 27, 2012

What Sublime Text 2 got right.

After pondering on the IDE matter more, the two finalist in my mind that are worth considering for now are PyCharm and Sublime. This week though I just found myself using Sublime more and more instead of using PyCharm. I am not saying that PyCharm is bad or in anyway less than Sublime. I guess I just find Sublime able to fit into my mind easier. 

I began pondering why in a relatively short time Sublime was able to gain such a foothold as well as mindshare in the developer's community. Just search in youtube or google for Sublime vs PyCharm to see what I mean. I feel that Will Bond of Sublime just did a few things right in my opinion.

1. Kept performance of the editor as it's main goal firmly in sight. I just get the feeling that performance always trumped functionality if there was ever a toss up during the development of Sublime. Never once when I used this editor did it feel bloated or sluggish.

2. Sublime just remembered what Nokia realized all those years back when they launched and marketted their multi color phones in the world of drab black color 'professional phones'. Sublime remembers that although the editor is made on a machine that it's main / only audience is a human. Sublime's out of the box colors / fonts and settings until today still remains the most eye pleasing out of the box and normally I just leave it at the default settings.

3. These two things in turn created the third thing in which Sublime gets right which is having an eye pleasing and easy to use forum where the users searching through the knowledge base can get to the information that they are looking for easy and quickly.

4. Create innovative new features such as their right hand code map which I find really useful for moving around while at the same time giving a nod to the old true and tried ways... read Vintage mode. The fact that Vintage mode is built in and not some third party package also gets a big plus from me. For those who don't know Vintage mode is Sublime speak for vim keybindings.

5. Have some pretty informative videos teaching the usage of sublime. Have a look at this Sublime porn (Although it's a bit targeted towards web developers) and tell me are not raring to get on the Sublime band wagon. The guy can really work fast!

6. Allowed and let flourish the tools / nuances of different languages so that developers of any language can just feel at home on Sublime.

I agree totally with people who say that Sublime was created by a developer ... in this case Will Bond for developers. You can feel that Sublime was created trying to scratch some of the itch he himself was trying to scratch and that makes a really powerful product. At this juncture though, I just discovered that certain really nice to use plugins, such as SVN plugin requires you to pay after sometime. While you can always just choose not to use it, but then I prefer it if all of these plugins were just included as part of the main install and just charge me upfront.

Also, I like the fact that Will and gang have developed this so-called 'App Center' by accepting and creating a repo for the community to contribute towards the development of plugins for Sublime. There are paid / free plugins available but seeing as how you can (for now) just keep on using indefinitely the paid plugins I guess you can decide to pay / or not for the plugins that you like. Personally I have paid for Sublime, the SFTP and SVN plugins all by Will. I really hope that Will will walk a non-Apple path by allowing healthy competition if his users decide to come out with free packages that will compete with his commercial ones. 

I will in the end have a look at PyCharm and seriously use it for at least a week to see if I will eventually pay for it, but compared to my first time on Sublime, I just found myself fumbling around more looking for stuff on PyCharm or just stopping my work sometime waiting for some unscheduled index to finish running. As for now it looks as though Sublime as a lead over PyCharm.


Unknown said...

The only people behind ST development is Jon Skinner, not Will Bond (
Will Bond wrote the wonderful Package Manager and some other useful plugins.

lowkster said...

Dominique Wahli thanks for the correction!

A. Jesse Jiryu Davis said...

I agree that PyCharm is a bit ugly and hard to use and often slow - but I use it's debugger all the time! And I wouldn't want to switch between one IDE for editing and one for debugging. Does Sublime have an interactive Python debugger?

Anonymous said...

A. Jesse Jiryu Davis, Almost I guess: Look here

Anonymous said...

All this being said, after playing with pycharm 2.7, I was for the lack of a better word "charmed" with it and am going to buy myself a copy.