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This is a random collection of notes on text editors for the Mac.

There is not shortage to the number of programs available to edit code.

Built-in OSX:


Licensed nagware:

  • $89 Sublime Text
  • Texttastic
  • Byword
  • There is no equivalent of Windows Notepad++ on MacOS

Free IDEs:

  • Eclipse
  • Aptana Studio
  • NetBeans
  • Spyder (for Python pyflakes and pylint code analysis)
  • Visual Studio Express from Microsoft
  • Gogland, an IDE for Go from Jetbrains (makers of IntelliJ, PyCharm, etc.)

Licensed IDEs:

  • IntelliJ and WebStorm and PhpStorm from JetBrains
  • Visual Studio from Microsoft


  • Markdown display
  • Code completion
  • Pre-compile on the fly
  • Static code scan on the fly
  • Full project navigation
  • Refactoring (renaming) support
  • Debugging


vim is an alias of vi. vim is vi improved.

vim is the most commonly available text editor in Linux.

### Quitting out from command mode

  1. Open

  2. Press : to enter line mode.

    PROTIP: Most of the time when you see a colon at the lower-left corner, it’s saying just press a key for a command, such as q to quit out.

  3. Press q to quit out.


  4. To open to the first occurance of “x” in the file executed automatically when opening a command-line Terminal:

    vim +/alias ~/.bash_profile

    There are three modes:

    • command mode
    • insert mode
    • line mode

    While in command mode, cursor to a position in the document:

    • press X to delete a character.
    • type set number to toggle numbering on the left edge.
    • type set invnumber to toggle inverse numbering backwards.

    • type i to enter insert mode at the cursor.
    • type I to enter insert mode at the front of the line.
    • type o to insert new line below current position.
    • type O to insert new line above current position.

    • type G to go to end of file.
    • type 55G to go to line 55.

    • type dd to delete line.

    • type ZZ to save and exit

    While in insert mode:

    • Press Esc to exit insert mode.
    • line mode is seen after pressing Esc.

    While in last-line mode:

    • cursor up brings up previous commands
    • press u to undo last change.

    • :q to quit (short for :quit)
    • :q! to quit without saving (short for :quit!)
    • :qa to quit all (short for :quitall)

    • :wq to write and quit (in other words, save and exit)
    • :x to exit (shorter than :wq)
    • :e to revert to last saved version
  5. Open at line 55 of the file executed automatically when opening a command-line Terminal:

    vim +55 ~/.bash_profile


According to Wikipedia, pico stands for “pine composer”.

pico menu 75

The ^ character means hold down the control key while you press the character.

Sublime Text

Many tutorials make use of this tool.

There are two simultaneous production versions of Sublime Text: 2 and 3.

Download and Install Sublime Text

Expanded explanations for various platforms:

  • http://docs.sublimetext.info/en/latest/getting_started/install.html

  • On Linux: https://github.com/TCattd/sublime-text-linux-installer

Configure for command-line invocation

To use the Sublime Text text editor from the command line, make a symlink to subl.

  1. If you don’t have a folder /usr/local/bin/, create it.

    mkdir /usr/local/bin/
  2. Assuming you’ve placed Sublime Text in the Applications folder:

    sudo ln -s "/Applications/Sublime Text 3.app/Contents/SharedSupport/bin/subl" /usr/local/bin/subl
  3. To use Sublime Text as the editor for many commands that prompt for input, set your EDITOR environment variable:

    export EDITOR='subl -w'

    Specifying -w causes the subl command to not exit until the file is closed.

  4. Use the Sublime text editor to open the profile file:

    subl ~/.bash_profile

Install Package Control

One advantage of Sublime Text is its plug-ins.

  1. Switch to an internet browser to visit Package Control home page.
  2. Click Browse at the upper right for the most popular:

    • Emmet for keyboard shortcuts
    • SideBarEnhancements
    • SublimeLinter to find typos
    • Theme - Soda to look better
    • SFTP to transfer files from within the editor UI.
  3. Click the Popular heading for a list with more detail.

  4. Visit Package Control home page.

  5. Open SublimeText 3.
  6. If not already installed, see https://packagecontrol.io/installation#st3
  7. Select your version of Sublime you have open.
  8. Double-click on the command text to select it.
  9. Press Ctrl+C to copy the command into the operating system’s invisible clipboard.
  10. Switch back to SublimeText (press Command+Tab).

  11. Bring up Sublime’s command-line Console by using the control+` (back-tick) shortcut or click menu View > Show Console.

    NOTE: The Console recognizes Python code.

  12. Paste the command and press Enter.

    This creates the Installed Packages/ folder.

    If you get IndentationError: unexpected indent ???

  13. Press control+ again to remove the Console.
  14. Restart Sublime Text.

Use Package Control

  1. Press Cmd+Shift+P to bring command palette in front.

    scr sublime text 3 package manager

    The position from the previous action is remembered.

  2. Type pac for Package Control. (Press Esc to dismiss it)
  3. Select Install Package.

    NOTE: This may take a few seconds to bring up a list from a website visited above.

    scr sublime text 3 package manager packages

  4. Type in a package name and press Enter to install it:

    Sublime Tutor

    (This is similar in operation to the Vim Tutor.)

  5. Read more about SublimeText:


    Sublime Text 3 From Scratch 1h 42m video released 29 Oct 2013 by Jesse Liberty (@JesseLiberty)


Use Sublime Text on Retina? for crisp, readable text, to Settings add

   "font_options" : ["gray_antialias"] 

Install spell check

Recommended spelling from the geniuses at Google. Install ST v3 https://github.com/noahcoad/google-spell-check/tree/st3 by https://github.com/noahcoad/google-spell-check/

Git Editor

If Git finds conflicts, it needs a way to show the differences in a text editor.

Git uses the default vim editor. To quit the page, press :q! (colon to specify a command, q to specify quit, exclamation point for immediate).

Sublime Text is a popular text editor.



Advantage of using the intelliJ IDE:

  • Simple keystrokes wraps statements in a try-catch or if-else block.
  • It generates getter and setter methods for object attributes.
  • Inbuilt packaging tools like gradle, SBT, grunt, bower, etc.
  • Directly access databases such as SQL, ORACLE, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server
  • Supports different programming languages (Java, Javascript, Clojure, etc.)
  • Editions for different operating systems: Windows, Linux, etc.

IntelliJ Control Key Shortcuts

During initial configuration, specify the Project SDK using the command up-arrow to the secret portal:

  1. Click New button
  2. Select JDK
  3. Click on the folder list (containing bin, etc.)
  4. Press command + up arrow to navigate up a folder level from Home to the **MacOS** folder.
  5. Click Choose to select the Java associated with the system. This is called the "Secret Portal" approach.
Defaults changeable in Preferences Keymaps

command + G to Generate
command + O to go to class
command + ⌫ Delete line

Web pages:

  • http://symbolcodes.tlt.psu.edu/keyboards/charpalosx.html
  • http://www.guru99.com/intellij-selenium-webdriver.html


  1. Use an internet browser to atom.io

    The site recognizes your operating system (OS X, Windows, or Linux) and presents the appropriate download button.

  2. Click Download to your Downloads folder.
  3. Expand the downloaded zip file.

    On a Mac:

  4. Open a new Finder window and press shift+Command+A or click Go, then Applications.
  5. Drag and drop the Atom app file from Downloads to your root Applications folder.
  6. If an existing file is there, replace it.
  7. Delete the zip file downloaded.

  8. Sign up for updates

  9. Follow Twitter @AtomEditor

    Atom has package control, themes, auto-completion built-in.

    • https://github.com/atom/spell-check doesn’t work per http://stackoverflow.com/questions/27731981/use-spell-check-in-code-comments

    To enable Spell Check for your current file type: put your cursor in the file:

  10. Open the Command Palette (cmd-shift-p)
  11. Run the Editor: Log Cursor Scope command.

    This triggers a notification containing a list of scopes. The first scope listed is the one you should add to the list of scopes in the settings for the Spell Check package.

    Examples: source.coffee, text.plain, text.html.basic.

  12. Press cmd-shift-: to bring up the list of corrections when your cursor is on a misspelled word.

Editor Config

Put a .EditorConfig file ( from editorconfig.org) in your root folder, and the editor will format your code according to the rules defined in the file for whatever type of file is being edited.

It’s supported by default in Atom and other editors.


It may take some effort to memorize the keyboard sequences, but these are the ones I remember because I save time using them:

Eclipse IDE install

To install eclipse-java using Homebrew:

brew update
brew cask install eclipse-java

The response:

Please migrate your Casks to the new location and delete /opt/homebrew-cask/Caskroom,
or if you would like to keep your Caskroom at /opt/homebrew-cask/Caskroom, add the
following to your HOMEBREW_CASK_OPTS:
For more details on each of those options, see https://github.com/caskroom/homebrew-cask/issues/21913.
==> Satisfying dependencies
==> Downloading https://www.eclipse.org/downloads/download.php?file=/technology/epp/downloads/release/neon/R/eclipse-java-neon-R-macosx-cocoa-x86_64.tar.gz&r=1
==> Verifying checksum for Cask eclipse-java
==> Moving App 'Eclipse.app' to '/Applications/Eclipse.app'
🍺  eclipse-java staged at '/opt/homebrew-cask/Caskroom/eclipse-java/4.6.0' (0B)

Microsoft Code

On Mac: To get VS Code to make use of the current working directory, follow these instructions:

  1. In Finder, click on a file using two fingers to select Open with Visual Studio Code (version 1.0+).

  2. Select Code’s menu View, Command Palette at the top of the screen.

  3. Begin typing this until the full command is recognized in the list:

    Install ‘Code’ command in PATH

  4. Select the full command that appears in the drop-down.

  5. Exit the Code program.

  6. You can now, in a new Terminal shell window, use the code command to open a file:

    code hello

    BTW, “hello” in the example above can be any file.

More on front-end styling

This is one of several topics:

  1. Text Editors
  2. Markdown text for GitHub from HTML
  3. 508 Accessibility

  4. JAM Stack Website Project Plan
  5. HTTP/2 Transition Project Plan
  6. Static websites
  7. Jekyll Site Development

  8. Website styles
  9. Website Styling

  10. Email from website
  11. Search within Hyde format Jekyll websites
  12. Windows Tile Pin Picture to Website Feed

  13. Data Visualization using Tableau

More on OSX

This is one of a series on Mac OSX: