I first tried Brackets back in my Windows time. It was a very early version, kinda heavy and wonky and not what I wanted from an editor I use on a daily base at all. Just today I decided to give it a second look because beside VIM it is the editor I read quite a lot about latly. My first impression was: “Wow, that’s a simple, clean editor!” - exactly the thing I liked so much about Sublime Text 2 which I’ve been using for the last two years or so.
Plugins + Installation
Both editor support additional plugins to enhance the workflow. Both support Emmet which is by far my most needed Plugin as well as FTP Solutions to upload on safe. Both of these are important plugin for my workflow because when developing on a (S)FTP Dev System uploading on save without another program running is a lot faster. I love it. In Sublime Text the easiest way to add new Plugin is through the Package Controller - Brackets comes with a build-in Package Manager that makes it super easy to add new Plugins. Here the point goes to Brackets for already build-in Package Management.
UI / UX
Both Editors have a clean and simple to understand UI. The only real difference that’s notable in my opinion is that Brackets has open files on the top-left sidebar while Sublime Text has them on top organized as tabs (as well as in the sidebar when displayed). This is a difference at first when you come from Sublime Text and in my opinion it’s easier to have open files at the top. Nevertheless in both editors it’s possible to go through all open files by hitting
CMD + Tab which comes very handy. A huge downside of Brackets is that it’s not possible to have new files unsaved and then close the editor. In Sublime unsaved files stays as unsaved inside the editor until it is opened the next time. I really like this because in case of a sudden system crash, an electricity failure or whatever else files can still be found after re-booting. Highfive Sublime Text.
~Another thing I really miss in Brackets and I got unbelievable used to is multi-select. In Sublime Text it’s possible to select multiple points inside a document when holding CMD while clicking inside the document so you can edit as many rows as you want at once - unbelievable useful!~
As Guido Jansen pointed out in Issue #4 brackets now supports multiple lines.
Bracket comes with a Live Preview functionality that allows to display a file inside the browser that’ll be updated in real time as you type. I couldn’t think of a scenario where I’d need a real-time preview of my file to be honest but it’s a cool feature anyway.
Both Sublime Text and Brackets have auto-complete for CSS. While Sublime Text “only” supports basic auto-complete (e.g. typing
'hei' + tab will get you
height:) Brackets supports to “Quick Edit” colors (right-click on a color or use
CMD+E when hovering it) to bring up a color dialog as show below. This is a nice feature when trying to find a color.
Another thing both support is the auto-closing of HTML tags (e.g.
<article> will get you
Unfortunately Brackets does not query SCSS variables. When you define your variables in Sublime and type
$color-- Sublime Text shows all variables starting with
$color-- - that’s a thing I really miss in Brackets.
I’m impressed by Brackets, it’s a simple and great editor and I’ll definitely keep an eye on it. It’s a good, free alternative to Sublime Text 2 (which costs 75$) and worth a try. However, depending on my current workflow I’ll stick to Sublime Text for most of my work.