My Reintroduction to Sublime Text

I must admit, I am a bit late to the party. Developers have been raving about Sublime text for a while now and I finally understand why. I downloaded Sublime Text around the time when it made its first public release. I was first attracted to the look and feel of the default theme along with us other numerous rave reviews. At the time I was using Panic’s Coda 2 and was really tied to the habit of working with Coda’s sidebar to manage and create files within my projects. I gave sublime text for a full day (right in the middle of a project) and ultimately switched back to Coda 2 where I felt more comfortable.

I had heard mention of Sublime’s plugin community but it wasn’t until I watched Jeffrey Way’s introduction to Sublime text over on Tuts+ where I fully understood how amazing it actually was. If you are just getting started with sublime or thinking about making the switch I highly recommending  checking out the free course on Sublime Text on Tuts+

Now, full disclaimer I am still a total noob with Sublime and this is merely a quick overview of some of my favorite features that I have discovered and why I finally made the choice to make it my everyday editor or choice.

How I like to work in sublime

I have settled into a habit of opening sublime in full screen and hiding the sidebar. From there I typically like to view my open files in either 2 or 3 column layout. Separating structure files on one side and style or javascript files on the other. Depending on my mood I could put structure on the left or the right. When I need to access the sidebar I do so with a simple keyboard shortcut of cmbK, cmbB – I do intend to create custom shortcut that is shorter then the default but I’ll get around to that in a bit. As I mentioned I like to run Sublime in fullscreen mode – its so beautiful and so easy to get around without the mouse its hard not to. I also like to arrange my Mac OSX spaces in this order CodeKit, terminal, sublime, browser.

development-spaces

What Features I like the most

The default Monokai theme looks beautiful in Sublime and honestly the one I will stick with for a while. In my opinion it is really hard to beat. The control pallet is amazing. I have been an alfred user for awhile and love the idea of being able to perform actions from the keyboard. This helps speed up your development time and honestly, its more fun than using a mouse. From the control pallet you can open files, search for selector names within projects, access menu items or perform actions like toggling the sidebar.  Not only is the plugin community vibrant, but the ease of searching, installing and managing plugins is a breeze with Will Bond’s Package Control.

When using the control pallet you will notice it uses fuzzy search, which is lighting fast and super smart. So far the final thing I think I love is the visual clues sublime offers for tab and space indentations. As a developer I am currently working on improving my code indenting to perfection. These clues are a huge help. Not only do they offer a easy to follow ruler for aligning your code but when working on javascript where it may be important to not mix tabs and whitespace, there are really excellent visual clues for this which make debugging for mixed case really easy.

Some packages I use

I realize I have only cracked the surface of the amazing plugins out there for sublime text. Right out of the gate some of my favorites are (in no particular order): Advanced New File, Emmet, Jquery Snippets, Sidebar Enhancements and sass.

 

The emmet plugin allows you to easily turn something like ul>li>a*3 into html for you to edit. it’s lighting fast and extremely fun. There are many other wonderful helpers to learn and I highly recommend checking out this demonstration.

emmet-power

 

The sidebar in Sublime was one of the biggest differences for me when switching form Coda 2 to Sublime. I have learned to avoid using the sidebar as much as possible but of course there are times when it’s just the easiest way to get something done. For this I have installed the Sidebar Enhancements plugin which allows you to add folders to project, open in browser and advanced find options.

One task I have always found a bit tedious is creating new files within my projects. The Advanced New File plugin makes this pretty snappy. A simple opt + cmd + N allows you to quickly create a new file in your project and allows you enter the path to the file. Try it out. And to wrap it up I for quick snippets and code completion for my various projects I am currently using the WordPress, jQuery and sass plugins. Those are pretty self explanatory but I highly recommend using those if you have a similar needs.

In closing, this is just a quick review of my reintroduction to Sublime Text and some of the features I am most excited about at the moment. As I continue to learn more about Sublime and improve my workflows I am really interested in getting better at snippet management with gists, fetching files and searching with regular expressions. I hope to follow up on this post with another review of sublime after I have had a few more months with it.