Software Review: BBEdit as a Tool for Building Your Website, Page 3

Among the most powerful text-editing packages available on any software platform, BBEdit 8.0 for the Macintosh fills a specific niche that is under-served by visual XHTML authoring software.

Addenda

Regarding Product Updates

Since our original review was published, some incremental updates (free to existing owners) have arrived from Bare Bones Software, bringing the version number as of this writing to 8.2.1.

The full (and lengthy) list of bugs fixed and features added is available from the Bare Bones website, but I wanted to mention that two shortcomings specifically highlighted in our original review are among those fixed by the updates:

  • Text factories are now directly available from the menu bar — just like scripts, and
  • Text factories are now fully accessible to AppleScript.

This second enhancement directly addresses the problem of applying the power of text factories to automated processes. Previously, text factories could only be used by someone sitting at the keyboard. Now, however, they can be called from the Macintosh scripting language AppleScript, just like most of the rest of the program — meaning that automated processes can draw on them directly, without requiring any interaction from the user.

In a curious omission, text factories are accessible via AppleScript but not via Automator, the new tool supplied with Mac OS X Tiger to ease the creation of automated processes and workflows. However, given how quickly Bare Bones Software has managed to enhance text factory functionality so far, I’m guessing this minor omission will probably be remedied in short order.

Regarding the Modal Find Replace Box

Several months after we published the original review of BBEdit, a Bare Bones marketer pointed out to me something which I’d completely missed: although the find and replace box is modal, it is possible to close the window without losing what you’ve entered, return to the document you were working on (or a different one), and then go back to the find and replace box. The key is to press the button marked “Don’t Find” (or Command-D), rather than the button marked “Cancel” (or Esc or Command-.) when leaving the find and replace window. The button was there all along, I just hadn’t paid any attention to it!

So, contrary to what I’d indicated in the original review, the bottom line is that it is not necessary to open a second text editor to craft complex grep expressions: it can all be done right there in BBEdit. (Yes, it would still be nice to be able to see what you’ve already entered in the find and replace box, but at least you can get out of the box without losing what you’ve entered.)

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