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I'm not really satisfied with the text-editors available for Mac OS X.

I tried TextWrangler, Smultron, Coda, SubEthaEdit, TextMate and others I do not remember. But none of the above satisfied my needs.

I want a (free) text editor

  • which is fast,
  • which does syntax highlighting
  • were I can define own syntaxes (or there are many plugins e.g. for YAML),
  • where the developers are active,
  • which does not have the look & feeling of TextWrangler (I hate the sliding sidebar) but or a real Mac-application
  • which can define projects (like Coda can)
  • which includes a basic support for Git and/or SVN
  • which supports a fast autocompletion
  • Mac OS X 10.6 compatible

In plain English: the perfect lightweight text editor which is not yet a heavyweight IDE.

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2  
"I'm not really satisfied with the text-editors available for MacOS X." Is there an editor you've used on another platform that you prefer? It may be possible that a comparable equivalent exists for OS X. –  Scottie Aug 18 '10 at 8:27
    
I can't remember what I used on Linux and Windows but I can't remember that I really liked an editor there... –  alopix Aug 18 '10 at 9:07
5  
The ideal program for you doesn't exist. Or, rather, it does and it's called TextMate. –  Scottie Aug 18 '10 at 11:30
1  
I agree that there are things, well lacking with text editors. I also find that between TextMate / VIM and a little shell magic I can deal just fine. –  Josh K Aug 18 '10 at 11:38
2  
I think you need to be a bit more flexible here. You have 10 answers, with the community settling on TextMate (though I'm a BBEdit man myself) and Xcode, but you more or less shot down every single one within the comments. I don't think you're ever going to find the "perfect" text editor that suits your particular tastes unless you just code it yourself. –  Philip Regan Aug 25 '10 at 22:40
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16 Answers

Have you considered Xcode?

I know you said you don't like TextMate, but it's one that meet pretty much all your needs.

which is fast

TextMate
Really fast

Xcode
Not that fast but not Eclipse/Netbeans-slow

which does syntax highlighting

TextMate
Very complete and extensible

Xcode
Does syntax highlighting, it depends on your needs

were I can define own syntaxes (or there are many plugins e.g. for YAML),

TextMate
Very, very extensible

Xcode
Don't know if possible

where the developers are active,

TextMate
Some say it's vaporware, yet very few other text editor can compete with its current features

Xcode
No need to state that Apple is active

which does not have the look & feeling of TextWrangler

TextMate
If you don't like the sliding bar, there's a plugin to replace it by a drawer

Xcode
Doesn't have a sliding bar

which can define projects (like Coda can)

TextMate / Xcode
Do projects

which includes a basic support for Git and/or SVN

TextMate
Support for Git/SVN/Mercurial (and probaby more) via built-in and added plugins

Xcode
SVN support for 3.x, added Git in Xcode 4

which supports a fast autocompletion

TextMate
Basic variable/function completion
very complete code completion via bundles

Xcode
Basic variable/function completion

MacOS X 10.6 compatible

TextMate
Some compatibility issue

Xcode
Fully compatible

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3  
+1. Even though I suggested another alternative below, I couldn't live without TextMate. [hugs TextMate] –  Scottie Aug 18 '10 at 8:25
    
@scottie same here –  Loïc Wolff Aug 18 '10 at 8:34
    
XCode is a full IDE, not what I'm looking for. Unfortunately TextMate isn't free :( –  alopix Aug 18 '10 at 9:11
1  
Actually, Xcode 4 added Git and not Mercurial (as of Developer Preview 2, it could change until the final release) –  Nagon Aug 18 '10 at 11:23
    
@Nagon right, I fixed it. Thanks. –  Loïc Wolff Aug 18 '10 at 11:31
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I would say that MacVim but it's of course a more complicated tool based on the traditional unix vim text-editor with a steep learning curve.

By the way, which aspect of TextMate didn't appeal you?

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1  
TextMate has an awful UI - just like TextWrangler... –  alopix Aug 18 '10 at 6:44
    
+1 with a few choice plugins this is by far the best "light weight" text editor available. –  jdiaz Aug 18 '10 at 21:45
3  
What's awful about TextMate's UI? The entire UI is basically just a document window... –  mipadi Sep 9 '10 at 14:29
    
The bundle-related menus get overcrowded quickly (showing things like Ruby snippets and commands when I'm editing a C file) and the bundle editor is atrocious. Tabs are really bad and useless too, although I disable them right away through the plist and stick with Cmd+T and the sidebar. Code folding is unusable and its folded peek popover is a very basic tooltip (plus it doesn't work at all in Python because TM is unable to handle whitespace-delimited blocks). Well, that was before I ramped up my Vim-fu anyway. –  Lloeki Aug 9 '11 at 7:51
    
+1 if you have the patience to learn Vim you customizable powerful editor for that you can use on "all" platforms. –  tidbeck Nov 18 '11 at 23:11
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I think that Aquamacs might do the trick!

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2  
I was going to suggest emacs, but obviously this fits the bill –  Dan McClain Aug 24 '10 at 23:27
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You're not going to find it.

  • which is fast,

TexMate is pretty fast. TextWrangler is faster for large files though.

  • which does syntax highlighting

Most (if not all) have syntax highlighting.

  • were I can define own syntaxes (or there are many plugins e.g. for YAML),

You might or might not get this.

  • where the developers are active,

Best of luck with that.

  • which does not have the look & feeling of TextWrangler (I hate the sliding sidebar) but or a real Mac-application

What's wrong with the sidebar?

  • which can define projects (like Coda can)

Define projects as folders and you're all set.

  • which includes a basic support for Git and/or SVN

UNIX philosophy is to do one thing and do it well. Integrated support for an SCM is not something easily found. Perhaps you should use an external tool?

  • which supports a fast autocompletion

As far as I know, only a few major IDE's support this.

You're not going to find what you're looking for free. Any IDE will feel slow as mud compared to a text editor like TM or TW.

If you want my honest opinion, try TextMate. Bundles will allow you to replicate some of the behavior you're looking for, the rest you can hope is in 2.0.

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2  
+1 for you're not going to find it. You have way too much prerequisites to find something that will match exactly. –  Loïc Wolff Aug 18 '10 at 11:35
3  
Especially if, as Josh said, 'free' is one of those prerequisites. –  Scottie Aug 18 '10 at 11:42
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Check out Fraise, the successor to Smultron. It meets many of your requirements. Here are the ones that are not met:

  • where the developers are active: Fraise looks like it's now dying like its predecessor
  • which includes a basic support for Git and/or SVN: not sure what you mean by this, but Fraise has command line integration
  • which supports a fast autocompletion: not positive but I don't think it has autocompletion... but it has commands and text snippets

Everything else you mention is in there.

on edit:

I was a notepad++ guy for years doing windows dev work and over the last couple months I've slowly transitioned over to vim. It does every single thing you're asking for and more.

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That's almost what I was looking for. Didn't knew that someone "continued" Smultron :) –  alopix Aug 20 '10 at 20:09
    
I still use Smultron despite the developer (the intrepid Peter Borg) ceasing development. Notepad++ is still by far my favorite editor on any platform. –  gWaldo Jan 21 '11 at 22:18
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Sublime Text 2

Support for TextMate snippets, languages and color schemes. Split view, tabbing, projects, commands. Full-screen on Lion and a "focused" mode. Extensible, too.

Very fast, great multiple selection mode and cross-platform.
Currently priced at $59, but a free version is available with occasional alerts.

It also has a rapidly-growing plugin API and surrounding community.

enter image description here

Check it out, it's freaking awesome.

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I've tried TextMate, Chocolat, Coda, Eclipse and others in the past, Sublime is by far my favorite now. –  Kyle Hayes Feb 6 '12 at 20:28
1  
I know this is an old thread. now that Sublime Text 2 is out, (with 3 on the way--released as a blazingly fast and stable beta in fact) I'd say it takes the cake for me as well. –  sholsinger Sep 24 '13 at 22:56
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I can't vouch for it personally, but RedCar looks pretty promising. It supports TextMate bundles and runs on Mac, Linux & Windows. It doesn't support your entire feature list, I don't believe it has integrated source-control or project support (other than folders).

RedCar OSX

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Looks promising. Has somebody already use it ? –  Studer Aug 18 '10 at 22:55
1  
Redcar is not finished! :( –  alopix Aug 19 '10 at 7:23
    
Too bad. I will be keeping an eye on it for when it does start to mature. –  Adam Lassek Aug 19 '10 at 19:22
    
looks very TextMate'ish. Promising. –  neoneye Sep 2 '10 at 15:52
    
The only app that's finished is one where development has ceased. (Directly contradicts your req #4) –  gWaldo Jan 21 '11 at 22:19
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You need Notepad++ running under wine! or winebottler!

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One trend I noticed this year is Mac programmers and web developers moving away from Textmate and the like to MacVim, including Ryan Singer of 37signals, who rocked MacVim during his Future of Web Applications talk recently.

Lots of people have written about why they switched; "Coming Home to Vim" is my favorite.

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+1 for Vim or MacVim - it does everything the OP wants except that it's not very OS X app-like and has a steep learning curve. Once you can use it, it's awesome. –  w00t Nov 22 '11 at 21:29
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What's wrong with BBEdit, other than you might have to pay for it?

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2  
Someone who "hates" "the look & feeling of TextWrangler" isn't going to like BBEdit either. –  Dori Sep 27 '10 at 2:19
    
TextWrangler doesn't have nearly the features that BBEdit does in terms of customization. As for "look and feel", a BBEdit window can be reduced to a fairly minimal set of interface widgets. –  Dennis Wurster Sep 27 '10 at 12:49
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Try Editra It's do lots of you want but not all of them, it's similar to notepad++ in windows.

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2  
I forgot about this one, it's pretty complete and has the advantage of also being free and open-source. –  Loïc Wolff Aug 18 '10 at 8:43
    
this one is pretty good if you just can't get into macvim. –  Robert S Ciaccio Dec 19 '10 at 20:07
    
@calavera yes I find it before find macvim now I just use macVim –  Am1rr3zA Dec 19 '10 at 20:58
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There is a new editor on the block called Chocolat. I've been using it for a week now and really like it. It has a lot of the features of TextMate (as well as supporting TextMate bundles) but I've found it to work a lot better with large sets of files especially over the network.

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Thanks! My brother told me about that one too, but I forgot the name xD –  alopix Dec 27 '11 at 13:41
    
Chocolat's good, but it disturbs me that it doesn't have tabs (not on top at least). –  julien_c Jan 14 '12 at 18:47
    
It does. Just use cmd+t or the + icon at the top right to create a new tab! –  alopix Feb 6 '12 at 7:24
    
Update: I've recently switched to Sublime 2. I love it. –  Kyle Hayes Feb 6 '12 at 20:27
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I'm partial to Coda these days, but came across this the other day when I was looking for something else. I haven't tried it, so not sure if it meets all your needs. It's free, but only because it's not being developed anymore.

http://www.web-scripter.com/

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The development of WebScripter has been suspended and is now being offered as freeware but no new versions will be released. :'( –  alopix Aug 19 '10 at 7:23
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You might try KomodoEdit.

I want a (free) text editor

Free and free (under the Mozilla Public License).

  • which is fast,

Reasonably fast

  • which does syntax highlighting

Check

  • were I can define own syntaxes (or there are many plugins e.g. for YAML),

There are lots of plugins; I'm sure it is possible to create your own syntax highlighter

  • where the developers are active,

I believe so.

  • which does not have the look & feeling of TextWrangler (I hate the sliding sidebar) but or a real Mac-application

I'm afraid it is not a Cocoa application; it is built off of Firefox's UI system.

  • which can define projects (like Coda can)

Yep.

  • which includes a basic support for Git and/or SVN

It looks like there may be some built-in Git support. Here's a git plugin. It looks like support for SVN is built-in.

Edit: Those features appear to require Komodo IDE, instead of Komodo Edit. Komodo IDE is a for-pay upgrade. You might find "Home-baked SVN support for Komodo Edit" to be interesting.

  • which supports a fast autocompletion

It has autocompletion; you'll have to try it to see if it is fast enough for you.

  • Mac OS X 10.6 compatible

Yes.

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There's a new text editor called Kod that is modern, fast, and support projects.

A warning -- development on Kod is just starting, so things are a bit unstable. It's alpha-level software at version 0.0.3, although I think it will eventually turn into just the application you're looking for.

Features:

  • Written from the ground up for 10.6 using Grand Central Dispatch and other new things
  • Uses GNU Syntax Highlighting format so there's highlighting support for every language
  • Modern UI with Chromium tabs
  • Scriptable using node.js
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Take note that even if it's in alpha, I have yet to see a crash due to Kod. I'm not sure if it does autocomplete or not but I know it does highlighting among other things. –  shadesandcolour Aug 9 '11 at 13:08
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Have you tried any of the Eclipse variants? I'm not a huge Eclipse fan, but the Aptana version of Eclipse (which is geared primarily towards front-end web developers) seems to satisfy all of your requirements above and may be worth a peek.

http://aptana.com

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1  
Eclipse is a full IDE - I want a small lightweight editor. I'm using Eclipse for big projects, but for small ones it's too much overhead. –  alopix Aug 18 '10 at 9:05
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