Fantastic New Text Editor: E

For quite some time I have envied Mac users because of a single program: TextMate. TextMate is known as The Best Text Editor in the World. It’s easy to use but also filled with useful features, like the project pane and an powerful plugin structure. (These plugins are called “Bundles.”) Until recently, there was nothing at all like it on the Windows platform.

Now there is.

E is essentially TextMate for windows. It has the project pane, and it even supports many of TextMate’s bundles. To give you an idea of the kinds of things these bundles can do, I’m writing this post inside e right now. When I’m done, I can hit the Post to Blog keyboard shortcut, and it will connect to my blog and publish this thing. (It might even convert the Markdown into HTML for me in one step; if it doesn’t, there’s another keyboard shortcut to do that.)

There are all kinds of bundles. Some provide easy keyboard shortcuts for many major programming languages, HTML, CSS, Textile, Markdown, and other formats. So, for example, if you’re editing a CSS file and you type “font” and hit tab, it will pop up a menu of seven different presets that you can choose.

CSS Font Menu

Other things bundles can do: Automatically validate your CSS/HTML, do math, compare two different text files, run python scripts in the Cygwin terminal, sort a list of items while removing the blank lines, or run a todo list. Frankly, this sort of plugin structure is what keeps me coming back to Firefox, and I expect it’s what will keep me using e for a long, long time.

The only caveat is that e is still in Beta. It’s rapidly being developed, with new versions coming out every few days, but it can be a touch buggy. Hopefully that will stabilize over time, but even with the bugs, I think it’s totally worth the $35 asking price. The price will go up once the product comes out of beta, so I’d go ahead and pick it up now.

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