The trouble with BBEdit for new users

I’ve had BBEdit / TextWrangler installed on my Mac ever since the day I got my first Mac. I have never used on it consistently because it has never clicked with me.

The other day, I was experimenting with it again, thinking that I would like to use it more often. I even downloaded MarsEdit to go with it for publishing to this blog. Sadly, I gave up and put it away, just like I always do. I don’t get it!

Andrew Canion puts the trouble with BBEdit for new users perfectly.

But BBEdit is a Mac classic. It can do virtually anything with text (if you know how to drive it). That brings up the real weakness of BBEdit – a lack of support for the new user, and modern tutorials. BareBones, the developers, are old men. They write great documentation1 but offer zero modern promotion and support. The manual is great, but how about a YouTube channel with some tutorials? Where does a beginner start with this application?


Herein lies the problem with BBEdit. It’s great. It’s wonderful. It’s built for people who already use it and know how to use it. However, I would say this to the team at BareBones: if you’re building a software application, perhaps at some point you need to turn an eye to the new users. The ones that might otherwise choose the free Visual Studio Code. The ones who might already use the copy of iA Writer they own, or Drafts, Craft or Ulysses. Users like me?

I want to use BBEdit. But why should I? Perhaps I shouldn’t.

BareBones 14. I’m sure its great. But I can’t know, because I’m not experienced enough to say.