I have been using TextMate from MacroMates for the past couple years for Ruby and Rails development on the Mac, and very happy with it. I occasionally do Ruby work on Windows and have settled on E Text Editor, which is basically a clone of TextMate, including its bundling capabilities. The features of both of these text editors has been beyond my needs and offer some really nice, simple features.
There has been a bit of a holy war going on lately on the internet about developers moving away from TextMate and using Vim or Emacs. Granted, there is no TextMate for Linux but you can have your open-source operating system and text editor too. Don?t most Rails developers use TextMate anyway?
I decided to give some other editors a try on Linux, in search of one that would work on Mac, Windows and Linux. The only real options are Vim and Emacs, both having support for Ruby and Rails.
Vim has rail.vim. This gives Vim some shortcuts to the usual Rails command for creating such things as models, views and controllers. I set this up and gave it try but in the end, it is still Vim. I am sorry to those folks who love Vim but all that I can say is Vim sucks. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to using this editor. I used vi, the precursor to vim back in the mid-80?s and it was almost the only thing we had on old Sperry systems. It was not a pleasure then and it is not a pleasure now.
Emacs has emacs-rails. This is an improvement over Vim but not by a ton. It also sucks but it sucks less. I think I could get used to this editor if I needed to but hopefully I will never have to do such a thing.
TextMate has a ton of built-in bundles for many different languages and has the Mac UI we all have come to admire. It really works well for doing Ruby development with nice shortcuts built in through bundles. Dr. Nic Williams has created an updated Rails bundle to help out with Rails 2.0 changes supported under both TextMate and E-TextEditor.
Twitter developer Alex Payne recently examined alternative editors as I did and came to the same conclusion as I have. I guess this pretty much seals my fate for at least the near to mid-term as how I will be writing Ruby code, either on the Mac or Windows.
So I wonder why folks would even consider moving from TextMate to Vim or Emacs for Rails development. What am I missing? I can?t see how you could possibly be any more productive.
There is a report of version 2 of TextMate coming but we don?t know how far off it might be but for now, it works just fine and no need to look elsewhere.
So the reasons I use TextMate are pretty simple really:
- Great plug-in support, like ProjectPlus.
- Great bundle support
- Great theme support
- Great community support
- Tons of little niceties
- Almost made for Rails development with the Dr. Nic bundle and the way projects get loaded from the command line.
It made no sense to me personally why I would step back in time and use an editor such as vim or emacs when I didn?t HAVE to.