Bare Bones Software BBEdit 9.1 review

The Mac's veteran text editor returns with bug fixes and new features

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Our Verdict

The interface is becoming problematic, but BBEdit is still robust, if slightly dated

For

  • Unsurpassed search/find and replace
  • Projects are useful
  • Fast and stable
  • Improved auto-complete

Against

  • Updated FTP disappoints
  • Needs an interface overhaul

The boast Bare Bones makes about its text editing software is that it doesn't suck. For the most part, we agree. BBEdit is like a friend that's seen us through thick and thin, assisting with various text-based activities over the years, including coding, web design, text editing and advanced find and replace.

Version 9 wasn't a radical departure, continuing the slow evolution that BBEdit's seen in recent years. Having worked with the updated features for a number of months, some have risen in our estimation.

Updated sidebar

Projects, which enables you to dump folders in BBEdit's sidebar and open items within via a single click, is handy; along with BBEdit's drawer, they speed up web design and programming tasks, and ensure dozens of windows don't litter the screen. However, the industry-leading (and now modal – treating dialogs as standard windows) find-and-replace remains the star of the show.

The latest update, 9.1, smoothes out some wrinkles, speeding up BBEdit's autocomplete (which, sadly, does suck for CSS), throws in the decent anti-aliased code-editing font Consolas Regular, and improves the application's FTP capabilities somewhat. FTP within BBEdit is now tolerable, if not entirely intuitive, but we feel a combination of Transmit and BBEdit works better.

However, the one thing BBEdit desperately needs hasn't yet appeared, and that's an interface overhaul. When an application needs a search within its preferences, something's wrong. And although we like BBEdit's Projects, the interface – especially when FTP browsers are added to the mix – pales in comparison with the likes of the super-efficient, streamlined Coda.

So, BBEdit doesn't suck (it's still great for programmers and HTML) but its interface often comes dangerously close to doing so.