June 6, 2016

Syntra Small: A Fast and Free Text Editor

Syntra SmallSyntra Small

Product: Syntra Small | Code Editor Built for Speed
Price: Free

This is a new text editor for the Mac OS. It is available from the Mac App Store, here.

The developer is clear as to its mission. This is it:

My goal with Syntra Small is to make the fastest, tiniest, most modular code editor on OS X.

It's not meant to replace your IDE. It's meant to be there for those times when you need to quickly browse or edit a script, and want to do so with beautiful syntax highlighting and a built in linter.

So, how does it do?

It is fast. Fast to launch. Almost instant, on my five year old iMac. It is snappy.

Tiniest? I am not sure I care about that. But as a programmer, the developer might. I don't see the advantage that this provides the user. But to indulge the developer:

Program Size
Syntra Small 18 megs
CotEditor 19.4 megs
SublimeText 31.4 megs
BBEdit 30.7 megs
TextMate 33 megs

It is capable. It is fast. It is beautiful.

Syntra PreferencesSyntra Preferences

It is minimal in that it gives you a small subset of decisions in its preference panel. You get to choose between Light or Dark mode. You get to specify Soft Tabs settings, Enable or disable Auto-Save and choose a font from a selection made available by the developer.

It has github integration available through the modular plug-ins which are a part of the architecture. I am waiting for more choices in that feature. A public API which is promised will make the process of users adding plugins easier.

That is about it.

One of the advantages of dealing with a new product is that as an user you get to have some impact on the design and future of the product. The developer, Garet McKinley is responsive and you the user, have an opportunity to affect the future design and growth of the product.


Syntra Small supports the basic features of every text editor, It supports themes and highlights the syntax of a whole host of languages. For my needs, it does a good job of highlighting markdown syntax.

What Is It About Full Screen Mode That Baffles All of These Editors?

I have noticed that a lot of these text editors have trouble implementing full screen mode on the iMac. Why is it difficult to implement a 80-character or thereabouts, text window. The text window centered on the screen and everything else black or swathed in the background color? For instance, this is Syntra Small in fullscreen mode.

Syntra Full ScreenSyntra Full Screen

I know the screenshot is difficult to read. Look at the lines, they go across the screen. So one line is all across the 27 inch iMac screen. It is not possible for anyone to write like that.

See the same thing in Sublime Text 3.

Sublime Text 3 full screenSublime Text 3 full screen

See the same thing in BBEdit.

BBEdit Full ScreenBBEdit Full Screen

I wish the developers would solve this problem and make full screen usable on bigger displays.

This is a free offering. It does what it is supposed to do and if you are looking for a quick, easy to use text editor, it fits the bill nicely.

Recommended heartily.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie

Syntra Small text editor

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