October 6, 2019

BBEdit iconBBEdit icon

BBEdit 13: It Sucks a Little

Product: BBEdit 13
Price in the App Store: $39.99/year
Price from developer: $49.99
Upgrade price from previous version: $29.99

Bare Bones Software | BBEdit 13 has always been good at providing detailed release notes. Available here.

BBEdit is the pre-eminent text editor on macOS. I have owned a registered version of the product since version 5. It is one of those instant updates for me. I hear about a new release and I instantly update. I did the same thing on this version. I won’t ever again.

These are the additions to the program highlighted by the developer:

  1. Pattern Playgrounds
  2. Grep Cheat Sheet
  3. Improved Dark Mode and appearance switching
  4. Text Transform

Grep is fantastic, and your ability to sling text around will get to the next level if you are comfortable with this technology. This is a geeky feature which should be adopted by more people and this is a good attempt by a leading developer to increase its adoption and use. But it is a feature which is geared towards the more geeky segment of their audience.

Secondly, there are a host of solutions which are available at a much cheaper price which help you understand and use grep:

  1. Patterns $2.99
  2. Regex-Regular Expression Tester $13.99
  3. RegExRX $4.99
  4. Expressions $7.99

The difference, of course, is that Pattern Playgrounds is built into the text editor. How significant is that?

There are a host of other features which you can read about in the release notes. But these were the ones the developer decided to highlight.

Why Am I Unhappy?

I am not a coder. I use a text editor to write everything. I write in Markdown, preferably the variant of Markdown known as MultiMarkdown. This criticism is from the perspective of a writer who deals with text files of the Markdown format.

No Support for Typewriter Scrolling

I am tired of looking at the bottom of the screen when I am working on a document. What is the problem?

Atom supports it, VSCode supports it, Sublime Text 3 supports it, every Markdown based text editor on the macOS supports it. iA Writer, MultiMarkdown Composer, Byword, MWeb & Highland 2 all support it. What is the problem?

I understand that you don’t use it. Come on. You are telling me that the appearance and color schemes are important, but typewriter scrolling is not?

macOS Native?

One of the features which most BBEdit users proudly proclaim as a selling point, is the native nature of the application. It is available only on the Mac platform and I have heard about developers who got a Mac only because they wanted to run BBEdit. Fantastic. One drawback to this story.

It is horse shit.

Since at least High Sierra, I have been able to do this:

System Preference Keyboard PaneSystem Preference Keyboard Pane

This setting lets me capitalize the first letter of a new sentence. It also lets me press the spacebar twice to get a period.

BBEdit doesn’t support it. CotEditor does. The Markdown based text editors that I mentioned before? They all do.

I understand that this is a feature which might get in the way of code editors when they are slinging code. Make it a preference. Let people who are working with prose, and not code have access to system settings and system features.

Don’t tell me that the product is Mac native when it behaves like a cross-platform application or an Electron application. That is horse shit.

Supports Mojave and Catalina Only

I can’t run it on the iMac. The iMac is too old for Mojave. It can only run on the Air. The developer must have had his reasons for dumping High Sierra. I have a perfectly working old machine and I am not going to upgrade till it dies.


This is an underwhelming update. The new features are not compelling. The omissions are irritating. The rest of it are bug fixes. I hope Craig loves it.

Yes. BBEdit sucks a little.

macosxguru at the gmail thingie.


A couple of reviews which are more favorable:

BBEdit 13 Simplifies Pattern-Based Searching - TidBITS

BBEdit 13 review: A lucky number indeed for revered macOS text editor | Macworld

macOS bbedit text editor

Previous post
Why Have I Been Quiet? Closed I have been quiet for the past few months. Struggling to write. I have two products which I want to review but the writing isn’t happening.
Next post
BBEdit 13: Keyboard Maestro to the Rescue Two of the things that irritated me about BBEdit in BBEdit 13: It Sucks a Little - Bicycle For Your Mind: No support for substituting two spaces