BBEdit 8.0 Streamlines Tasks, Supports Perforce

The new version of the Mac-only HTML and text editor includes a "documents drawer" for working with multiple documents at once, a "Text Factory" for applying and saving lists of operations, and an updated preview function.

Bare Bones Software Inc. this week will release BBEdit 8.0, an updated version of the popular Mac-only HTML and text editor that officials say contains more than 100 "new features and enhancements."

But the upgrade will focus on productivity and efficiency rather than on feature creep, said Rich Siegel, founder and CEO of the Bedford, Mass.-based company. An introductory price of $179 will last until Oct. 31, when the cost will go up to $199; a cross-upgrade will be available for users of Adobe GoLive, Macromedia Dreamweaver and previous BBEdit versions for $129.

Siegel said the upgrade addresses the tendency of software and Web site developers—as well as other high-end users—to work with many documents at once. To expedite that, he said, BBEdit 8.0 will feature a new documents drawer that slides out to the side of the main text window and presents a list of project files.

"People said they wanted a tabbed window, like in a Web browser," Siegel said. But he said Bare Bones found that the drawer tested better by offering constant availability of each files name—as opposed to the way a tabbed interface can truncate tab names—while still saving screen real estate.

Users will be able to save, close or perform other actions on files listed in the document window through either an action button similar to the one in Mac OS Xs Finder, or via contextual menus. But users also will be able to revert to the traditional paradigm of one document per window if they so choose, Siegel said.

In other attempts to streamline tasks, Siegel said BBEdit 8.0s search function, which has long offered advanced GREP capabilities, will be multithreaded and multiprocessor-aware. Unlike in previous versions, users will be able to perform multiple searches simultaneously, as well as continue to work on a file while searching. Siegel said the new versions searches will benefit greatly from a multiprocessor environment, gaining a speed boost of as much as 100 percent.

The upgrade does contain new features targeted at the high-end user, Siegel said, including new support for Perforce, one of the more widely used SCM (software configuration management) systems. BBEdit 8.0s integration is automatic, Siegel pointed out, so if a BBEdit user has access to the Perforce version control tools on his or her system, a P4 menu will appear that allows full use of Perforce tools within BBEdit.

Previous to this, most Perforce users accessed the tools through command-line interfaces. BBEdit 8.0 also will continue BBEdit 7.1s support for the open-source CVS (Concurrent Versions Systems), which also had been accessible only through a command-line interface.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about TextWrangler, a "lite" version of Bare Bones BBEdit product.

Siegel said an addition useful to software developers is the inclusion of a utility called ctags for source-code indexing, in which contextual menus enable the developer to jump to the tags definition.

One longtime user of BBEdit, Miro Jurisic, a software engineer at Etna, N.H.-based Fetch Softworks, said that with the inclusion of ctags, "I may look into using BBEdit 8.0 for my source-code editing." Jurisic added that he currently uses BBEdit 7.1 for processing text with Unix scripts, such as Perl scripts that gather crash logs.

The upgrade also features a new Text Factory that "allows you to string together what BBEdit can do," Siegel said. Similar in ways to Apples Automator for AppleScript, Text Factory lets users drag BBEdit operations into a list, which can then be applied with one click to any number of documents. Text Factory configurations can be saved as text files and reused.

Also targeted at Web developers is an update to the preview function of BBEdit. The function, which incorporated Apples WebKit in the 7.1 version, now can render server-side code such as PHP. BBEdit 8.0 hooks into the version of the open-source Web server Apache that comes bundled in every installation of Mac OS X, Siegel said. The result is that users will be able to see their entire Web design displayed correctly within BBEdits preview window, rather than seeing server-side tags.

/zimages/6/28571.gifFor insights on the Mac in the enterprise, check out Executive Editor Matthew Rothenbergs Weblog.

A new feature designed in part to appeal to educational users is BBEdit 8.0s full support of Unicode, giving the application the ability to render all non-Roman Unicode fonts, including relatively obscure ones such as Yiddish. "We got a lot of interest" in Unicode support, Siegel said, in particular from a group doing research on an ancient Greek dialect. Siegel said the researchers usage of a unique character set and a desire to publish in XML made BBEdit a tool uniquely suited for them.

When asked whether hes felt some pressure to produce a Windows or Linux version of BBEdit, Siegel said theres "always" been such pressure.

"But the fact of the matter is, were Mac developers," he said. "If BBEdit can be used as leverage to get more Macs into an organization, its a benefit," he added.

"We develop software for the Mac," he said, noting other Bare Bones products such as the Mailsmith e-mail client. In a reversal of the usual argument Windows developers give for why they may not port to the Mac OS, Siegel said that the resources required to make a Windows version of BBEdit would outweigh the potential gain.

BBEdit 8.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3.5 or later.

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