TL:DR— Sublime Text is a proprietary text and code editor which is very popular among developers due to a simple, fast and distraction free interface, an ability to open all the files in a folder, support for third party plugins through a package control system, extensive language syntax highlighting, and a clickable minimap view of an entire file. Sublime Text runs on macOS, Linux, and Windows. For macOS it is a universal binary which means it fully supports Mac computers with Apple silicon introduced in late 2020. Sublime Text is one of the best text editors around.
Apple silicon support, licence changes and countless improvements
Version 4 now supports Apple silicon, and is downloadable from the makers website, Sublime HQ. There are countless changes since Sublime Text 3. The license key now includes three years of updates, rather than being tied to a specific version. This is a good change, to encourage people to keep up to date. The licence still remains valid after this time, with the last build over the three year period continuing to work. Sublime Text has always had a generous evaluation mode with a periodic nag to purchase a licence. It does not have reduced functionality for evaluation. The licence works on all platforms.
Just take me to the link
Sublime Text is a Universal application
Sublime Text became my editor of choice because it supports column selection and multiple item editing. I grew to love the default theme Monokai too. Column selection is something that when you need it you really need it! Multiple item editing was a revolutionary way to edit all instances of a particular piece of text - for example a variable name - invaluable time saver for developers. Syntax highlighting is also pleasingly done in Sublime. I have always loved the original default theme. There are new themes in 4.0 with support for dark and light appearance too.
Indentation and line management - the editor kind not the human resources kind
As one example of the power in Sublime, I find myself using Sublime Text for sorting out indentation issues in code all the time.
Select All --> Edit --> Line --> Reindent. This too, to me, is a helpful way of spotting issues in text or code. There are helpful shortcuts for indentation and almost all the other menu items too.
Smart context sensitive auto complete
Auto complete shows a completion popup as you type, so that you can fill in syntax without errors by typing just a few characters. In version 4, the auto complete engine provides smarter completions based on existing code in a project, as well as syntactically correct language and HTML.
Fast, light, reliable
Sublime Text will now utilize your GPU by default on macOS to render the interface. This results in a fluid UI all the way up to 8K resolutions, while using less power than before. Sublime has always felt fast. It is now faster!
Main editing screen
Command line support
One of the things you learned at Sun Microsystems in the 80s was how to use 'vi'. "You'll always be able to get to an editor at the command line to get yourself out of trouble if you know how to use it", they said. While that is still true it is nice to be able to edit Unix (and Linux) based system configuration files using something a little bit less arcane. So it is a joy that Sublime Text contains the
subl command so that you can access Sublime Text from your command line and even set it as your default command line editor by setting the
To do this you'll need to tell macOS where the command resides, hidden away inside the application folder structure.
% echo 'export PATH="/Applications/Sublime Text.app/Contents/SharedSupport/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.zprofile
Optionally, you can make Sublime Text the editor for all your command line activities and scripts.
% export EDITOR='subl -w'
File/Print via browser
Sublime Text isn't a word processor designed for printing documents, so for years it has had no print support. I havent printed a listing since I had a dot matrix printer with 132 column listing paper decades ago. It seems pointless to do so now. But in 4.0 there is a new Print capability, which renders the document in your default browser for onward printing, for whatever reason you might have to want to do that.
Sublime really want you to buy their 'Sublime Merge' tool to control Git. Thats a shame, because I personally would prefer it be fully integrated in the Sublime Text editor, as it is for example in Android Studio. Nevertheless you can see badges next to files in the side bar, indicating their status in Git, and for individual files there are indications of what branch you are on, and there are diff markers visible.
Projects and workspaces
Projects, which you can think of as ways to group files and folders, are made up of the files and folders concerned and two special files: the
.sublime-project file, which contains the project definition, and the
.sublime-workspace file, which contains user specific data. If you dont need projects, dont worry about them but there is a dedicated Project menu in Sublime Text where you can create them and save them thereafter.
Workspaces are very much like projects, but pertain to a part of a parent project. You might have a workspace for one feature in your code, and a separate on for another. Again they can be controlled from the Project menu. These aren't new Sublime Text features in version 4 but they are powerful tools which make Sublime Text stand out in comparison to other products or even IDE's.
My licence was over three years old, so it was USD 70 for me to upgrade to Sublime Text 4. This licence is valid for three years of upgrades and continuation of use of the last available upgrade once it reaches three years of age. This seems pretty fair and reasonable to me. The licence works on all my Macs and Linux based computers just for me.
I bought the upgrade. I have always liked this editor. I'll keep my old theme Monokai - which works fine in version 4.