OK, I’ve been messing around with the new release for a little while now, and here are some first impressions.
Check spelling as you type has been added, and BBEdit-using journalists and writers out there will be jumping for joy. Honestly, this was one of the main things that used to annoy me about the previous versions, and made me flirt with rivals like TextMate. Talking of which…
TextMate’s influence is clear. Renaming the Glossary as “Clippings” is the most obvious evidence of this.
Text folding is a welcome new addition, and long overdue some will say. Any chunk of text (doesn’t have to be code) can be folded, with a contextual menu if you like.
The new toolbar icons are better than the old ones, although I was expecting a more drastic revision of the toolbar. The functions it offers are essentially the same as before.
Menu control - this is a nice feature. In the improved preferences box, you can switch off whole menus that you never use. Don’t bother with Text Factories? Clear them off the Menu Bar. You can also hide individual commands, so there’s room for some serious Menu customization with this release. Some other neat new stuff: open, write and search gzip files; a better disk browser; color syntax support for Ruby, SQL, and YAML. There’s loads more I haven’t even absorbed yet.
Preferences have been tidied up, with a larger window and not quite so many categories. If you really can’t find the pref you need, there’s now a search drawer attached to the preferences, which makes life much easier.
Price Here’s where it gets interesting. Upgrading from version 7.x or older is $40; from 8.x $30 ($25 at educational discount). All of them pretty small amounts, the kind that most people will spend on a shareware app without much thought. A brand new full-price copy of TextMate is $50, not much more than this upgrade. Which will you buy?
I’ve spent only an hour or so just playing around with this new release, and there’s a great deal I’ve not even touched yet, such as the Clippings feature. So far, I like what I see. It still doesn’t suck.