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BBEdit's new Markdown support lets you copy a selection of code as styled HTML (top), paste it into a new window (middle), and view it as code in a Web browser (bottom).
How do you make BBEdit, the Sawzall of text editors, even better? Start with luxury features, like on-the-fly spell checking, autosave, and "folding," which automatically hides completed sections of code so you can focus on the incomplete parts. The document window, where we used to wade through a good half-dozen toolbar icons, now sports just a few: the Save diamond and Write-Status pencil (two gimmes), the Text Options switch, Info, and the Finder icon, which you can still drag into a Web browser window or the browser's Dock icon for a quickie preview. BBEdit isn't as intimidating as it has been, and better yet, all of the document information that used to hide behind those toolbar icons is still available in the status bars above and below the document body.
The new Markdown features remind us why BBEdit rules. Putting code examples in a Web page or printed publication can be a royal pain in the x61\x73\x73. (Get it? ass Ha!) The new Styled HTML support lets you save or copy code (HTML, PHP, Ruby, SQL, and so on) as it appears in plain text, and BBEdit re-creates the code in styled HTML, so it appears as raw code in a Web browser.
Some new features won't be as handy to as many people, but this is the reason we love BBEdit; inexplicably, some of Mac OS 10.4's plist preferences are binary files, rather than the standard plain text. You generally can't even read binary files in a text editor, but as of version 8.6, BBEdit can open, edit, and save such binary files-no small feat.
The bottom line. If you use BBEdit, you need to upgrade. Otherwise, if you have any intellectual aspirations, buy BBEdit. It makes you smarter.
COMPANY: Bare Bones Software
PRICE: $125, $49 educational, $30 upgrade from BBEdit 8 to 8.2.6, $40 upgrade from BBEdit 7 to 8
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4 or later
Code folding. Markdown support. Streamlined toolbar.
People like us tend to waste its power.