Well, to make a small understatement: It’s but on really rare occations that I buy software. Normally all I need can be done with free and opensource software. I think the last time I bought a software was somewhen in 1999, since then I used Linux and FOSS for everything from writing letters to managing my photos to browsing the web.
Well, where to start? A few months ago I watched a demonstration movie of Ruby on Rails showing off how easy it can be to built a basic CMS. This alone was definitely cool enough but I also noticed something else: His text editor did some nice tricks. I guess most other people aren’t really looking at such minor details but it really looked quite cool to me.
Later I started looking for a new laptop since my current one back then was not all that far away from simply breaking apart (about a week before I wanted to take it with me to the EuroOSCON). Since I was looking for a much smaller notebook this time than my Acer Travelmate 803 (15”) I also checked out Apple’s small Powerbooks and iBooks and also the software that is available for it. Through some browsing I eventually came to macromates.com, the home of the text editor TextMate. Looked quite nice to me but nothing really all that special or at least not enough of it to justify spending 40EUR on it if you’re used to editors like VIM or Emacs. Well, then I scrolled a little bit down and found a link to a video demonstrating some features of Textmate… yeah, not any video but the same video I saw some time before that of Ruby on Rails ;) After reading some more about that editor and was even more looking forward to getting my Powerbook since now I would also have some new apps to play around with.
Last thursday I finally got my Powerbook and one of the first things I installed was TextMate. It really felt just like a basic text editor but with quite a lot of power, potential and customizability under the hood, basically just what I love about VI and VIM. But all of this packed into a nice and slick GUI with some additional stuff like tabbed editing for projects as well as searching within projects and some nifty tab-completion stuff.
Actually, I wanted to buy my license of it already on the day I got the Powerbook but then I just thought that I would be perhaps, just perhaps, a little bit too early to buy a software I’ve just tested for a few hours judging it only by it’s featurelist, a video and things like that. So I waited until today. Last saturday I already used it exclusively for everything I had to use an editor for to get my homeworks done and today I wanted to write some more LaTeX with it. But yesterday alone was enough to convince me that this app will probably be really worth the money … and working with an application basically more than 5 hours per day is simply way more fun if there’s no nagging screen reminding you that it’s shareware and that the author put quite a lot of work into getting it as far as it currently is.
So I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the Textmate community: Horst Gutmann, phpBB supporter, software developer. Nice to meet you :)