Why I’m so pleased to have TextWrangler back

Textwrangler iconMy Mac note-keeping app of preference is BareBones’ TextWrangler, which I also use for coding. I love TextWrangler because although it’s a very powerful program, it’s also light on cpu usage even when I open a lot of windows and files with it. Navigating and managing open files through multiple windows is made easy with drag and drop functionality. And TextWrangler saves files on quit even if I don’t and will bring up unsaved files on relaunch.

So, how did I manage to create and access notes over the past couple weeks after TextWrangler suddenly stopped working for me? Since any text editing program will open the plain text files TextWrangler creates, I found a well-reputed free substitute in Sublime Text 2 and used that instead. I was able to open my old files and create new ones without needing to use Apple’s TextEdit – which corrupts text files by adding way too much bloat code to them – but oh boy, did I miss TextWrangler’s features and simplicity.

The TextWrangler features I most missed in Sublime Text 2:

  • If preferences are configurable, I couldn’t figure out how to access them.
  • Windows are black with white type – yuck.
  • Can’t drag files between open windows.
  • When in an ST2 window, the open new document command pops open a new entry in that window, but if I double clicked to open a text file from a Finder window, ST2 would make it open in a new window. That wasn’t very convenient.

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Sublime Text 2 also saves files I didn’t save before quitting; it has a smart parentheses feature I enjoyed (adds a closing parentheses when I key in an opening one and positions my cursor between the pair); and it is also delightfully light weight. I’m very grateful for having had free access to a good app that let me work with my files temporarily but when compared to TextWrangler, Sublime Text 2 seems to not be ready for prime time.

How I fixed TextWrangler

TextWrangler is the freeware version of BBEdit, probably the most powerful made-for-Mac text edit applications out there, which now costs $49.99. Support isn’t available for it (because it’s free) so I had to find the fix on my own.

My TextWrangler problem? It failed to launch after I upgraded to the Mavericks OS and found my computer a bit sluggish, so I ran Onyx, which is supposed to solve Mac performance problems but created them instead. The app I’ve used over many years that really does fix performance issues is Yasu … which I hadn’t tried to run because its development had ceased. I didn’t know that Yasu’s creator had changed his mind and released a new version for the new Mac operating systems (thank God for small miracles).

The fix to my TextWrangler issue turned out to be simple, although figuring out what to do took me two weeks: in the end, I downloaded the latest version of the app and installed it. That was it.