Bare Bones Software to retire TextWrangler in favor of BBEdit

Posted:
in Mac Software edited March 2
Bare Bones Software recently announced it has halted development of popular -- and free -- OS X text and code editor TextWrangler in favor of BBEdit, the company's professional-level HTML and text editor.




According to Bare Bones, TextWrangler will no longer be updated to take advantage of future versions of Apple's macOS. The software should continue to function as intended, barring future macOS features or security protections that break compatibility with the text editor.

Bare Bone suggests current TextWrangler users upgrade to BBEdit 11.6, a version of the company's HTML editor that includes many of the same features as TextWrangler, plus a few additions. Released last July, version 11.6 can be used for free without a license, the company says.
What you may not know is that last July, we released BBEdit 11.6. You can use this version unlicensed, forever, for free. Without a license, BBEdit now includes all of the features that TextWrangler offers, plus quite a few others. That's right. You no longer have to pick between them.
With the change, Bare Bones is essentially replacing TextWrangler with BBEdit 11.6 -- and likely subsequent versions -- as the company's free-to-use product.

Customers can download the latest BBEdit iteration from the Bare Bones website and use the product for free for 30 days. After the trial period, users are limited to basic text and code editing functions, with advanced features and capabilities available through a single license purchase of $49.99.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    nhtnht Posts: 3,393member
    Textwrangler is my default out of habit but I've been using Visual Studio Code lately and am liking it.

    Frankly TextWrangler probably has more mindshare as a product and they should have merged BBEdit into it.
    lolliverdewmerandominternetperson
  • Reply 2 of 17
    jdwjdw Posts: 450member
    Of course because TextWrangler is so good you really don't need BBedit.  But I for one will continue using TextWrangler as long is it continues to work.  In fact, I use a slightly older version (version 5.0.2) of TextWrangler already because in newer versions they killed off Assembly (ASM) code highlighting.

    People who have been using TextWrangler because "it's good enough" may find $50 for a product that is largely wasted (feature-wise) on them is too pricey.  Drop BBedit to $19 (or even $10 in a fire sale) and many more T.W. users will likely bite.  But it is nice that they allow use of BBedit version 11.6.x for free.  I did not know that.  But it seems like you will lose features after the 1 month trial concludes, and whether you will have the same or worse feature set as compared with TextWrangler needs to be determined.
    edited March 2
  • Reply 3 of 17
    cashxxcashxx Posts: 86member
    If you have to pay for then it's not free!  That is a bit misleading!  It's a one month trial that I see.  Correct?
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Back in the days when I was learning html or code, I would use Textwrangler and/or BBedit lite or whatever it was called. Good thing I don't have to do such things now.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,111member
    cashxx said:
    If you have to pay for then it's not free!  That is a bit misleading!  It's a one month trial that I see.  Correct?
    You get all the functionality for 30 days and then it's restricted pretty much making it Textwrangler plus a few extra things.
    If you need the full power of BBEdit then you pay exactly how you did before.
    briananonrandominternetperson
  • Reply 6 of 17
    hattighattig Posts: 801member
    Whilst in the main I use an IDE for my work programming, I keep TextWrangler around for various text file analyses.

    I also use Atom sometimes these days - the interface is more modern but it has its quirks, and the 'learning issue' whereby I can't be bothered to learn yet another text editor.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 135member
    Well, I came here to panic ("what am I to do without my beloved TextWrangler?!?"), but am relieved to read that they are more-or-less just merging the two. I can live with that.

    What they're doing actually makes sense, making the "pro" features just an in-app purchase (at least, I assume that's what they've done, I haven't downloaded it yet myself).  As long as it doesn't constantly nag you to pay (and I doubt they will, it doesn't seem to be their style), it should be fine.

    I do have to agree with many of the comments above, tho.  I suspect TextWrangler probably has more mindshare than BBEdit does.  Perhaps they should've kept the TextWrangler name.  I also like the TextWrangler icon better than BBEdit.  And finally, I think this may lead to problems for them with mindshare moving forward: for example, TextWrangler is available on the App Store, BBEdit is not.  That's a problem right there, if just for discovery for new folks.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    evilution said:
    cashxx said:
    If you have to pay for then it's not free!  That is a bit misleading!  It's a one month trial that I see.  Correct?
    You get all the functionality for 30 days and then it's restricted pretty much making it Textwrangler plus a few extra things.
    If you need the full power of BBEdit then you pay exactly how you did before.


    Here's how it's described on the website (emphasis mine):

    A better free alternative

    BBEdit offers a 30-day evaluation period, during which its full feature set is available. At the end of the evaluation period, you can continue to use BBEdit for free, forever, with no nag screens or unsolicited interruptions.

    After the evaluation period, BBEdit provides a modified set of features, which incorporates all of TextWrangler's features, and offers unique features of its own. In the best tradition of TextWrangler, using BBEdit in this fashion costs you nothing, while providing an upgrade path to advanced features and capabilities.


    All told, that's about as good as free gets.  It's no different than if they added some premium features to TextWrangler and turned them on for 30 days for free.

    Unfortunately for me, this means I'll have to go through the dozens and dozens of tabs of text that I've have in TextWrangler for year and years and decide what to do with them.


    Deelron
  • Reply 9 of 17
    RobertXRobertX Posts: 0unconfirmed, member
    No, TextWrangler is a subset of BBEdit.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 67member
    _rick_v_ said:
    Well, I came here to panic ("what am I to do without my beloved TextWrangler?!?"), but am relieved to read that they are more-or-less just merging the two. I can live with that.

    What they're doing actually makes sense, making the "pro" features just an in-app purchase (at least, I assume that's what they've done, I haven't downloaded it yet myself).  As long as it doesn't constantly nag you to pay (and I doubt they will, it doesn't seem to be their style), it should be fine.

    I do have to agree with many of the comments above, tho.  I suspect TextWrangler probably has more mindshare than BBEdit does.  Perhaps they should've kept the TextWrangler name.  I also like the TextWrangler icon better than BBEdit.  And finally, I think this may lead to problems for them with mindshare moving forward: for example, TextWrangler is available on the App Store, BBEdit is not.  That's a problem right there, if just for discovery for new folks.
    Full TextWrangler can't be made available on the App Store, just like full BBEdit can't be. They both do things which sandboxed applications are not allowed to do. For example, you can elevate privileges to edit system files. There are also command-line tools, which App Store applications are not allowed to install.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    _rick_v__rick_v_ Posts: 135member
    zimmie said:
    _rick_v_ said:
    Well, I came here to panic ("what am I to do without my beloved TextWrangler?!?"), but am relieved to read that they are more-or-less just merging the two. I can live with that.

    What they're doing actually makes sense, making the "pro" features just an in-app purchase (at least, I assume that's what they've done, I haven't downloaded it yet myself).  As long as it doesn't constantly nag you to pay (and I doubt they will, it doesn't seem to be their style), it should be fine.

    I do have to agree with many of the comments above, tho.  I suspect TextWrangler probably has more mindshare than BBEdit does.  Perhaps they should've kept the TextWrangler name.  I also like the TextWrangler icon better than BBEdit.  And finally, I think this may lead to problems for them with mindshare moving forward: for example, TextWrangler is available on the App Store, BBEdit is not.  That's a problem right there, if just for discovery for new folks.
    Full TextWrangler can't be made available on the App Store, just like full BBEdit can't be. They both do things which sandboxed applications are not allowed to do. For example, you can elevate privileges to edit system files. There are also command-line tools, which App Store applications are not allowed to install.

    Yup, I get that the App Store version is hamstrung.  But for many many people, that's perfectly ok as that's not what they're using it for.  They're using it (for example) to edit HTML or code, and don't need (or want) it to access system files.  And not being on the App Store means that BBedit has to rely fully on word of mouth.  Versus a search for 'text editor' on the App Store, where many may folks might start their search.

    Finally, editing system files isn't (or, it shouldn't be!) a daily, weekly, or even monthly occurrence anyway.  (If it is, something is probably wrong).  For those rare instances, I will just fire up vi or nano within Terminal, since undoubtedly I would be using Terminal to get to the right system folder anyway.  :-)

  • Reply 12 of 17
    The only reason I got TextWrangler was because the text files I created or edited with the OS X included TextEdit were not exactly compatible with the Windows text editor for some reason. The default TextWrangler "save" format always worked. I'm not a coder and don't go back and forth between OS's as much as I used to. I just use text editors for transferring snippets of text, and TextWrangler eased my transition from Windows to Mac. I do still occasionally hop over to Windows, so it's nice to have one less thing to worry about when I do.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 13,881moderator
    The only reason I got TextWrangler was because the text files I created or edited with the OS X included TextEdit were not exactly compatible with the Windows text editor for some reason. The default TextWrangler "save" format always worked.
    The end of text lines have invisible return characters and Windows, Unix, Mac all used different ones originally. Mac used the carriage return control character, Unix used line feed, Windows used both together:

    http://www.theasciicode.com.ar/ascii-control-characters/line-feed-ascii-code-10.html

    Mac now uses the Unix one but Windows still uses both. This means text sometimes collapses into a single line. This happens on the forum here with comments sometimes.

    It would be a good idea for Microsoft to recognize both characters as a single new line for new documents and start making them with a single return character. It's an unnecessary problem to keep perpetuating.

    TextWrangler allows you to use regular expressions for searching documents. The newline characters are \r and \n. If you do a find in TextWrangler and enable the grep checkbox then put \r or \n or \r\n into the find box and replace all, it will collapse the line endings. Tabs are \t.

    It would be nice to have the power of regular expressions in all text documents without having to understand the syntax, XCode supports regular expressions. Things like negative lookahead assertions are just confusing for something so basic:

    http://www.regular-expressions.info/lookaround.html

    There can be an expression builder like how Automator works with blocks representing each input. This way you could extract all the prices from a PDF or webpage and drop them into a spreadsheet to add them together or build charts from sales data. A more powerful form of data detectors.

    Software like TextWrangler is useful but all the editors in this class have their own flaws. They all perform badly with large files too, especially files that have no newline characters. They could easily stream files from disk to allow unlimited file sizes and instantly open any file with version control by saving changed lines to disk as soon as they are changed then overwrite during save. That's another thing that needs to be fixed at the filesystem level, saving a huge document like a multi-GB file should only need the changes saved, not the entire document.

    This class of editor is for plain text only so there's no formatting options, which is fine but it would be good to have an editor that can transparently do both plain text and formatted text without switching document format e.g have a JSON style block that is appended to the file and uses line and character ranges and plain text editors will only see the unformatted text. When a plain text editor changes the plain text part without supporting the style options then the ranges will be broken but a version control system can handle this and it can be easily corrected. This way software code could be formatted with bold text, italics, headers, underlines, comments without breaking the compilation.

    Some other editor options for the Mac are the following:

    https://www.sublimetext.com
    http://brackets.io
    https://atom.io
    https://code.visualstudio.com
    XCode (would be nice to get the editor and tools separate from the developer platform libraries to avoid the multiGB download each time, the platforms and documentation should really go in /Library/Application Support/XCode and be updated from inside XCode)

    https://www.codementor.io/mattgoldspink/best-text-editor-atom-sublime-vim-visual-studio-code-du10872i7

    The middle 3 editors are developed in Javascript, which means they are very customizable but they can suffer slower performance.
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 14 of 17
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,158member
    RobertX said:
    No, TextWrangler is a subset of BBEdit.
    No to what exactly? Welcome nubi poster -- might try to state what u disagree with next post. Tis easier to understand ur objection -- then we know if we r to take u seriously or not
  • Reply 15 of 17
    Marvin said:
    The only reason I got TextWrangler was because the text files I created or edited with the OS X included TextEdit were not exactly compatible with the Windows text editor for some reason. The default TextWrangler "save" format always worked.
    The end of text lines have invisible return characters and Windows, Unix, Mac all used different ones originally. Mac used the carriage return control character, Unix used line feed, Windows used both together:

    http://www.theasciicode.com.ar/ascii-control-characters/line-feed-ascii-code-10.html

    ...
    Wow, that was a lot of text...about text! Very informative, though. Thanks.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    blah64blah64 Posts: 785member
    Does anyone actively use BBEdit and some of the other modern text editors? 

    I'm curious if BBEdit has anything over TextMate (other than timely updates) and Sublime.  I was an avid TextMate user for many years, but recently I've found myself using Sublime more and more, and like it quite a bit.  It allows me to use it fully-functional for free, for as long as I want, with only an occasional nag reminder.  I like that because it will eventually drive me to either a purchase or a change, but in the meantime I can use it without restrictions and potentially grow to love it.  BBEdit is a throwback to the past (for me), because I used it for a short time many years ago and moved on to TextMate shortly thereafter, which at the time I believe was *the* best GUI editor available, period.  Not sure about that anymore.

    Are there specific features that would lead one to choose BBEdit over Sublime or TextMate?  I know, I could rummage through all the feature set documents and spend hours doing detailed comparisons, but I'm wondering what others who have actually used these editors over time have run across. 

    For me, personally, the HTML features of BBEdit would be helpful occasionally, but not a huge draw.
    For me, personally, coding features are very important, git support, and to a degree, customizability. 
    I also tend to use Sublime/TextMate for things like opening large text files (logs, or similar) to search, strip, clean, etc.   Yes, the kind of stuff one might use vim-in-a-shell for, which I also do, but sometimes it's nice to be able to do some of these things in your GUI editor as well.

    Anyone have offhand insights?
  • Reply 17 of 17
    blah64blah64 Posts: 785member
    I guess not.
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