Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose. You’ll love the slick user interface, extraordinary features and amazing performance. Use Goto Anything to open files with only a few keystrokes, and instantly jump to symbols, lines or words. Make ten changes at the same time, not one change ten times. Multiple selections allow you to interactively change many lines at once, rename variables with ease, and manipulate files faster than ever. The Command Palette holds infrequently used functionality, like sorting, changing the syntax and changing the indentation settings. With just a few keystrokes, you can search for what you want, without ever having to navigate through the menus or remember obscure key bindings.
From the general design, Atom and Sublime Text are very similar. This is no surprise as many people think that Atom is actually based on Sublime. For that reason, it’s also no surprise that both come with code autocompletion and syntax highlight. Though in truth, probably no modern code editor worth its salt can do without. Sublime has native support for a few dozen programming languages and will color code elements appropriately (it even has several different color themes — more on that below). The code editor will even warn you of parsing errors in real time! In addition to that, Sublime comes with code autocompletion — including for user-created variables — and code folding. The latter makes large pieces of code more compact to view by hiding parts of it. While these are all pretty standard features, it’s still good to know that Sublime doesn’t skimp on the basics.
Like Atom, Sublime Text can be fully customized via plugins. The quickly integrated Package Manager allows users to find, install, upgrade and remove plugins directly from inside the editor — usually with no restart required. Users can download packages from Github and BitBucket as well as PackageControl.io. The latter is Sublime’s own repository where the community behind the code editor publishes loads of plugins to enhance its capabilities. All in all, there are more than 3,800 packages available ordered by new, trending, recently updated, popular and other labels. With their help you can turn Sublime from a simple code editor into a full-fledged IDE and build exactly the type of development environment you need.
For example, you can add the ability to sync files on a remote FTP server, preview code written in Markdown and advanced sidebar controls. Like the WordPress plugin directory, packages include extensive information on their functionality, installation and usage including screenshots. The only downside: That information is not available inside Sublime Text itself, only on the website. On the other hand, the installation via Package Control is insanely fast and you can control the settings for all packages under Preferences > Package Settings. Themes are also available as addon packages. That is in addition to the 22 pre-installed themes Sublime offers out of the box. Each of them enables users to change the color scheme of their code at the touch of a button. However, in contrast to Atom the rest of the UI stays as is.
Something that quickly becomes apparent when using Sublime is how fast the program is. Built with C/C++ and Python, the code editor is very lightweight. In fact, when choosing it from the Windows start menu, it loads almost instantaneously. In contrast to that, Atom takes several seconds to appear on screen. This difference is also visible when handling large files. Sublime Text can do a lot more heavy lifting without running into problems. In my tests I had no problems at all and also couldn’t find any complaints about performance issues online. In fact, its stability is one of the most cited reasons people gave for preferring Sublime Text over other editors. Freezes and crashes seem to be few and far between.
Another standout feature of Sublime is the powerful search functionality. Its regular search and replace function can look for regular expressions, make case sensitive searches or look for whole words. Plus, it lets you add search results to a buffer for later re-use. In addition to that, there is the Goto function. Upon choosing it, Sublime opens a search bar. When you start typing any file or directory name in your project or active folder, the editor will show fitting options lightning fast.
The best part: when you move down the list, Sublime will automatically open a highlighted file in the background so you can see whether it’s the right one. When you have found it, a click or pressing enter will open the file in a new tab so you can start working on it right away. Finally, there’s the command palette. Everyone who is bad at remembering keyword shortcuts can open this collection of available commands, use fuzzy search to find what their are looking for and execute it without ever lifting their hands from the keyboard. Easy peasy.
One of the most interesting features of Sublime editor is the ability to use several cursors at once. Effectively, this means that you can make the same edit in several places at the same time. For example, if you need to change the name of one variable across an entire file, you can select it once, have Sublime mark all other occurrences and then type in the new name for all of them at once. This is even more comfortable than using find and replace. The same feature can be used to reformat several lines of code at the same time. A useful example of this is creating an ordered or unordered list in HTML. Imagine writing and statements for all list items at once instead of copying and pasting them.
Sublime is one of the most popular code editors out there and for good reason. The program is lightning fast, stable and mature. It also has loads of really useful features and many delightful details. In addition to that, with its modular approach and extendability, Sublime Text can be anything for anyone. The editor is suitable for developers of different skill levels and disciplines. While overall the user interface is similar to Atom, Sublime feels a lot more streamlined and it’s clear that the editor’s developers put a lot of work into it.