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Ask HN: Is Sublime Text dead?
73 points by hbbio on Apr 10, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 88 comments
The latest beta (3) build dates from 2013. The latest stable is almost one year old. Several features are missing, mainly a proper go to definition mechanism. Is the project dead?

This was posted in the ST forum on Mar. 18, 2014 [1]:

"From the Sublime office: We are not selling to Github, we are not stopping development of Sublime. As noted by another poster, this is effectively a one man band (I'm here to answer sales questions, process your refunds and get the mail so Jon doesn't have to). The past few months of silence on the development front have been a combination of boring back end work (taxes, new payment platform) as well as a break for the man driving this whole operation. No, we don't currently have a loud internet presence, which is can be an understandable cause for concern-something we intend to address once we move into the production version of 3. There is a vision for continued growth and development, there is momentum behind Sublime Text; it is not dead, just slow.

I'm happy to field any specific questions you might have about the Sublime's future: sales@sublimetext.com."

[1] https://www.sublimetext.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15477&...

I know this feeling. One-man bands are especially prone to "Valve time." On 4chan, "soon" basically means "anywhere between an hour from now and never."

It can also be a problem with micro-managing and fear of delegation. Speaking more from personal experience than to this project. As a one man outfit it can be difficult to let go of something you're so attached to.

I hear you, but Jon should take heed from his predecessor, Textmate.

Textmate was a prime example of what happens when an incredibly popular project is run by a single individual. The fact that TM 2 has flourished (IMO) since being open-sourced, is a good indication that additional eyes are a good thing.

I'm not suggesting that Jon open-sources ST, just saying that reaching out for help is not a bad thing in these one-man-band projects.

I've open sourced http://github.com/EGreg/Q

Docs: http://platform.qbix.com

So far my company are still the only ones working on it

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but when zooming in/out of your docs page there is a huge, noticeable lag where it blocks out the page completely to reload it again.

May I suggest adding a link to the http://platform.qbix.com in your README.md

Yep - we haven't completed it yet so even though the platform is already opensourced under GPL and we are committing to it bazaar-style and not cathedral-style, it's not yet been properly marketed.

I just wanted to illustrate how just opensourcing things isn't enough. You need marketing, PR or organic notoriety. And often that takes resources. Once, I met Eben Moglen and he yelled at me for half an hour simply for taking investors for my company. I explained to him that "free software" doesn't solve the economics for entrepreneurs who start new projects. You still need to use resources. Later when I sent him the link to github he said he was wrong but stopped short of an apology. Quite a strange guy.

That's good to hear. I have to say I was a bit concerned that there weren't any new developments/beta versions but right now it's working fine and the plugins get updated every now and then so there's no need to worry about it for me. I also currently don't experience any big bugs which would make me switch so something else.

Edit: I'm talking about the ST3 beta version here.

I don't understand what people are doing that they need editors to have rapid development cycles.

Hell, the only reason I tend to drop editors (which happens rarely) is exactly because there's so much development that it has become bloated with bells and whistles I don't need.

It's an editor, not a fashion item.

Because there is still lots of room for improvement. I'm still waiting for the ability to set a bookmark on a line by clicking on a line number. The key bindings for booksmarks are a bit awkward, I don't always want to remember key bindings, and using the menus take too much time.

I agree with you, I use KomodoEdit for maybe 4 years and I drop it just because the release cycles became too quickly and "new features" keep me from doing my job. It really annoyed me.

Weird how a product that's used by thousands of developers all around the world every day is still basically a one-man-show.

Isn't this the case with Vim, too?

Perhaps an amazing text editor is a project that's easily given to being a one-man-show. A single developer writing code and then thinking, "I need to make myself a better tool than this".

It doesn't look like it's the case with Vim - https://github.com/neovim/neovim

The wiki gives a good overview of the problems with current Vim https://github.com/neovim/neovim/wiki/Introduction#problem

I read about Neovim on HN when the developer (Thiago de Arruda) was crowdfunding it to make it his full time job. I remember Bram had refused (ignored?) a few pull requests from Thiago, which is one of the reasons for Neovim.

I was wondering whether Neovim would end up as a one-man endeavour too, but it seems like a pretty lively project with loads of other people involved - I'm really looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

No. Vim is opensource and developed by a community.

Nope. Technically correct (it is open source), but Vim in reality is mostly a one man show, 90% developed by Bram.

TextMate was just a one man show (with lots of community support) for quite a while. Might still be actually, although I think there were a couple of other people full time on it for a while.

I'd say it is used by more than just "thousands" of developers. https://sublime.wbond.net/stats :-D

I can't imagine that the product hasn't made enough money that it wouldn't be viable to hire a developer, or to take on investment to expand the operation. ST seems to be the most popular code text editor amongst developers.

Textmate had that mind share for a while. That one man shop pretty much stoppped. I see no reason why Sublime won't go that way if other developers (somehow) aren't brought in.

Developers do get tired and burn out.

Have to agree with you.

I bought ST just like many friends did. Sublime may be selling about as much as RubyMotion, which invested the proceeds in hiring very few, high-level coders that seem to be fully inline with the founder/original author.

Just a proof that freemium model doesn't work.

What proof? For one, he said "he can't imagine that they haven't made enough money" and he's correct. They have made boatloads of money. If they don't hire someone else to help with programmer, that's their choice.

Second, ST is not based on a freemium model. Only the betas are free (and that only as long as there's no stable release), for the stable versions you have to pay.

How much do you estimate ST makes a month? Considering, the software doesn't coerce you to buy a license by restrictions and you can continue evaluating forever, I speculate the sales records to be a bit gloomy.

What "proof" do you have that they made "boatloads of money"?

For one, the wild recognition it has in the editor space. People have been raving about it, left and right.

Second, the fact that since ST2 he was able to hire a second person to help him with the business side.

About as much proof as the poster above him.

I hope Sublime Text isn't going the way of Textmate: after making lots of profits during a short period of hype, the product enters a period of complacency.

Textmate 1 was in support for quite a while and I feel like it has ended up in a very good state. Textmate 1.0 was released in 2004, and the last release was in 2012 - I call that a solid support for a 50$ product. I certainly don't see a "period of complacency" there.

Textmate 2.0s failure is a sad one (although I still often use the OS version), but hey: that happens, projects fail.

I didn't notice any major changes in TextMate since I bought it in 2008. All kinds of issues that I had with it was never resolved over all those years: slowness when opening large files, the uselessness of the open-file-by-typing-a-part-of-the-filename dialog, weird scrolling behavior when I press Up or Down when the cursor is not in the visible area, lack of good key bindings, etc. Sublime's improvements over the course of half a year steamrolled over 4 years of TextMate development, from 2008-2012. I don't see how that isn't complacency on TextMate's part.

Why do you consider TextMate 2 failure? It's being actively developed as open-source by the original author:


It's lost the "great new editor" mind think. Too long between "I am developing the new one", long pause, "I am open sourcing it".

Too little, too late, thats why.

I like it and still use it daily, but if it had come 3 years earlier or so, it would have been a serious competitor to Sublime.

Because everyone who got fed up of waiting for a solid release of TM2 moved to Sublime Text.

And it looks like the same is happening to Sublime Text, which is why I've moved to PHPStorm.

ST has been even in version 2 far more ahead of TextMate feature wise (and speed wise).

TextMate was basically a badly written amateur editor with a handy system for extending it (albeit kludgly).

ST's system for extensions and the whole package managing thing is so far ahead of TM it's not even funny.

Almost like selling your soul to proprietary software for critical infrastructure bites you in the butt in the long run.

I've never liked Sublime Text because it took the wind out of FOSS editors like Kate, Geany, etc and stole all kinds of valuable project contributions and userbase.

>Almost like selling your soul to proprietary software for critical infrastructure bites you in the butt in the long run

Don't know, half of the work works with proprietary software for very critical stuff (from banking to government) and I haven't seen it "biting them in the butt".

>I've never liked Sublime Text because it took the wind out of FOSS editors like Kate, Geany, etc and stole all kinds of valuable project contributions and userbase.

I think you're thinking with an OSS bias (ideology, more like it), instead of pragmatically based on real life facts.

ST is huge on Mac and Windows. What few users it "stole" from Kate et al is negligible, much less of stealing "project contributions" from them.

And I speak as someone who has used Kate and other FOSS editors since 2000 or so. Those editors cannot hold a candle to ST in aspects of general speed and overall flexibility and architecture.

I've been using TextMate 2 "alpha" for a while now. It's pretty usable.

I would go as far as to say it's VERY usable. I and many of my colleagues use it every single day. I can't recall it ever crashing on me.

It's been more stable and usable than TextMate 1 for me for about a year I think (maybe more, my memory isn't so accurate); it's been my editor of choice since then, replacing TextMate 1 which was my editor of choice since it first came out.

It's my editor of choice at work. I use it daily. Have never experienced crash.

I cannot say anything about the status, but saying "a proper go to defintion mechanism" is missing, is misleading. First, ST3 has a Go To definition feature, and second ST has always been a Text Editor first, IDE second. I am more frustrated that long standing bugs and inconistencies do not get fixed.

There were 3 years between vim 7.3 and 7.4 releases, but nobody has ever thought vim was dead.

And 1314 patch versions between 7.3.0 and 7.4.0. Not a good comparison.

Edit: Downvotes for factual information on HN?

As usual Emacs tops Vim ;) Almost 6 Years between 21 and 22.

I guess that people begin to talk about the dead of sublime text with the launch of github Atom. Since there are basically the same features and with a beautiful interface to manage the extensions, everyone started to look back to ST and ask: "Ok, what's your move now?".

I have almost nothing to complaint about ST, I've been using the version 3 regularly for a few months. Off course, I want new features (and a few bugfixes, damn you single quotes bug), but I'm pretty happy.

Until Atom does something for other than Mac, it's just an experiment and not a real tool.

I've been a Windows user for about two decades, and I've never heard anyone complain about software being Windows-exclusive — it was just the norm. But now that the Mac's become a little more popular, I see lots of tech-savvy people suddenly getting offended whenever a cool new piece of software comes out for OSX first. It's really annoying.

> never heard anyone complain about software being Windows-exclusive

Really? I guess you never spent time outside of Windows-user circles. Understandable, since they're the majority. But I've been whining and have heard others groan about Windows-exclusivity precisely since I was introduced to Linux.

Linux people complain about Windows all the time.

Linux people complain all the time.

People complain all the time.

> Until Atom does something for other than Mac, it's just an experiment and not a real tool.

Unless you're using Mac. There are very good editor/IDE that run on a single platform.

Just like Final Cut or OmniFocus are not real tools?

Funny, Final Cut X isn't a real tool, it's sad that Adobe are trouncing apple at the moment in the video space, and OmniFocus is a toy piece of software... there are probably more users of Atom.io than Omnifocus ;)

I get your point, you don't have to be multiplatform, but your two examples aren't good ones.

>Funny, Final Cut X isn't a real tool, it's sad that Adobe are trouncing apple at the moment in the video space

Perhaps you are 1-2 years behind in the news. What you refer was based on the FPCX release back in the day. Since then it added the missing features (multicam, library management and tons of other stuff), and has regained market share. Actually it has been one of the top sellers for Apple. Professional editors that bashed it, have changed their tune -- you can find several articles and posts to that effect.

The whole backslash were because FCP7 was discontinued and initial FCPX didn't have 100% parity. Plus, editors didn't know how development works (can't blame them), so couldn't understand that a newly developed engine, re-designed to be future-proof, will have dropped features and might lunch without 100% parity.

>and OmniFocus is a toy piece of software... there are probably more users of Atom.io than Omnifocus ;)

You seem to have a very bizarro notion of what's a "toy piece of software".

Actually Atom.io is as fringe as it gets. Most people have checked it out of curiosity and returned to their editors.

Omnifocus, OTOH, has been featured on the Mac Store, and has been on the top list of best selling apps.

In what way is OmniFocus a 'toy'? It's a powerful GTD tool with iPhone and iPad clients, and a thriving beta testing community currently testing v2.

Or Xcode.

I know I switched because it does everything Sublime Text 2 does for me - and then more. I even created my own package and published it online because it was so intuitive to extend.

What's not to love?

I've tried Atom when it was an alpha release and it was ok, lots of bugs (alpha release, it's all forgiven), but ok.

It seems to be slower than ST, but I didn't use it enough to see if it really is slower than ST in a all day work.

I read somewhere that there is a beta release now, I'll upgrade and give it a try again.

Its def slower. I do like atom, however I tend to end up doing a lot of heavy log crunching. Atom will stutter and crash whereas sublime breezes through anything I can throw at it.

Atom really annoyed me to be honest, I wouldn't have bothered requesting a beta invite if I knew it was Mac only at the moment.

Furthermore, why is Windows and Linux only an afterthought here? That suggests to me that further down the road, new updates and bug fixes will be released for the Mac version, with the Windows and Linux versions left to suffer.

I'll stick with Sublime and VIM for the foreseeable, thanks.

It was done because using WebKit on Mac is ten times easier then Windows/Linux. It makes for a faster/easier mvp.

While Windows/Linux are also fairly easy to implement using CEF, they didn't do that. And instead opted for using the Mac built in WebKit libraries.

It isn't as pretty as Sublime Text but I am a long time (~15 years I think now) user of UltraEdit. I have never used the Linux or OS X versions just Windows but it is a pretty solid editor with loads of features and very, very fast. Kind of pricy these days though, I bought it a long time ago with a lifetime upgrade license and it has been well worth the money IMHO.

I always like UltraEdit and paid the premium for many years. Two things happened though (1) it competed by getting bloated rather than better -- honestly the 2000/1 version may have been favorite. and (2) The world (or my subsection of it) coalesced around ST -- well, other than the VIMs and EMACS faithful.

So I adapted, and I really do like ST. Got the features I want, and a clean interface.

Yeah I know what you mean about the bloat added in the 00s that was crap. They did seem to listen a lot to their users though as things got better. It isn't as quick to load as Sublime Text 3 (which is lightening fast!) but it can open big (like several hundred MB or more) files in and instant whereas Sublime Text is a lot slower.

My biggest gripe with UltraEdit is that it basically has zero ways to extend it. It has no plugin system and their macro system is horrible. This is where Sublime Text is really great.

I used to use UltraEdit on the PC, but they were slow to get their OSX version to market, and wound up sticking with Sublime Text 2. I'll need to check if their recent Mac builds up-to-par with what they used to offer on the PC?

Sure, it'd be great if the author open sourced it if he's no longer interested in doing it, but whatever. My license is still valid, and it still does everything I paid for it to do. If someone wants to take up the charge and make a better version, it looks like there's a market for that.

No, it isn't. Move on.

How do this kind of threads get to 1st page at HN?!

There seems to be a bit of a discussion on the forum:


Shame its not opensource then people could contribute more than just plugins!

I hope it's not dead. I just moved a few months ago from Eclipse to Sublime Text for Go and Javascript programming. I'm loving not having a slow IDE to deal with.

You should give Komodo edit a try. For go you can use this plugin https://github.com/trentm/komodo-go and it already has JavaScript support.

I tried and tried to like Komodo but it feels laggy

If it dies, at least there's Atom now. I just bought my Sublime Text 2 license, though, and I'm happy to stay with it because it gives me all I need.

A while ago Sublime Text 2 announced that the current version was now outdated, fair enough. However it didn't let me use the program any more, suggesting I go and update.

Roughing it with Notepad++ now.

>However it didn't let me use the program any more, suggesting I go and update.

Not even sure what you mean. You can continue using ST2, and you can also go use ST3 betas (which have been stable from day one, and have been more feature-full than ST2 for half a year or so).

Is Notepad++ that bad? I used it heavily in my Windows days and loved it at the time. There were features in it that I loved that I have yet to see other editors tackle natively (the diff view was awesome).

No, I like it, sorry first time use of the phrase "to rough it" :)

Sublime though looked and felt really super polished, something to fall in love with. I guess I put that comment out to see if I was mistaken, and it could move back in...

Still works for me

Now I know about it at all... Thanks. :)

Dead Sexy.

He's getting ready for a Sublime Text 4 alpha release. It's supposed to ship any day now.


I believe it's more along the lines of: "SublimeText is dead, long live SublimeText!"


Too soon...

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