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Bare Bones Software BBEdit 9.1 review

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

Bare Bones Software BBEdit 9.1
BBEdit's find and replace and projects are impressive, but the interface is confused and cluttered

Our Verdict

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


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


  • 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.