BBEdit and Shortcuts Adoption on the Mac

BBEdit recently released a nice update (version 14.1) with, among other things, Shortcuts support. You can now create a text document and create a note in BBEdtin from Shortcuts on the Mac. As Mac applications go, BBEdit is one of the standard-bearers. (It was first released in 1992.) I know people that switched to the Mac for the exclusive purpose of using BBEdit.

Seeing apps like BBEdit begin to adopt Shortcuts is a good sign. Granted, the initial Shortcuts actions, relating to file creation only, are not super deep, it’s a beachhead. Talking to Mac app developers, I get the impression that will be the case for many apps. They’ll get some Shortcuts support in and then watch for Apple’s lead before going into deeper waters. I think that is fine. The last attempt at Mac automation for the masses (Automator) never really took off not as a result of any problem with the underlying technology but, in my opinion at least, a lack of enthusiasm from the suits at Apple. That doesn’t seem to be the case this time around and initial signs for Shortcuts and third-party developers are promising.

BBEdit 13.5


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Yesterday Bare Bones released BBEdit, version 13.5. There is plenty to like in this new version:

  • Ready for Apple Silicon — If you get it from their website, it will be a universal build. If you are getting it from the Mac App Store, it is still Intel-only until Apple allows developers to start distributing Apple silicon builds through the Mac App Store.

  • Markdown Cheat Sheet — Just as they recently did with regular expressions, BBEdit also now has built-in tools to help you learn and implement Markdown.

  • Server Document Snapshots — If you are accessing documents on a server, now when you quit BBEdit, it will save a snapshot of server-based documents, so when you re-open it, things will go much faster. I spoke to Rich Siegel about this, and he does a cool trick where it checks the server file date to make sure there are no conflicts.

  • “Rescued Documents” — Have you ever brain farted and quit a document without saving? BBEdit can now save a list of documents closed without saving.

There are several more new features, but the thing that stands out for me is Apple silicon support. There was some justifiable concern in the community that power-tool apps like BBEdit may have a hard time making the Apple silicon transition as quickly as we’d like. BBEdit, which admittedly has plenty of experience with Apple silicon transitions, seems to have had no problem making the move with a version ready before there is an Apple silicon Mac on the market.

BBEdit 12.1

The wheels at Bare Bones Software just keep turning. Today they released BBEdit 12.1. My favorite new feature is the ability to open files over 1.5GB. That’s right. BBEdit, largely used for development text files can now open 1.5GB files because for some people, a 1.5GB cap on text files was a problem. That is just how extreme some BBEdit users are. Additionally, BBEdit is now fully 64-bit and includes Touch Bar support for the MacBook Pros.

BBEdit 12


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Today marks the release of BBEdit 12.0. There is a long list of new and improved features. There are plenty of minimal text editors out there but only one BBEdit power tool. Using BBEdit, you can do nearly anything to a text file. This app is so powerful that I know web developers that have switched to the Mac for the sole purpose of using BBEdit.

I use BBEdit when I need its power. For example I used it recently on a complicated search and replace to a big pile of text using regular expressions. That simply wan’t possible with every other text editor in my arsenal but it was laughably easy for BBEdit. Jason Snell writes in BBEdit every day. His comments on the new version are excellent.