Browse through the Boomer website via the Search field and you’ll find more than a fair share of Mincey family vices at play. Poker games. Calculator collections. References to Scotch. And, a growing number of Mac text editors. Here’s another editor from a different mother.
Text editors need to be segregated from word processors. Though there are similarities– the latter can create text, but the former is not the device to process words– they are different. Word processors process words for documents, while text editors mainly are used to help programmers, website developers, and others who work in a specific coding language and have requirements far different than mere typing of words.
Enter Bluefish, a text editor that’s been around a few years and runs on various flavors of Linux, macOS, and Windows. For sheer number of features and options, Bluefish comes well endowed. Does this look familiar?
Of course Bluefish looks familiar. It looks like every Windows text editor or word processor you wanted to run away from, screaming at every step. The user interface captures everything you thought would happen from the spawn of when Fisher Price married Microsoft Word. Tabs are everywhere, and while tabs are not inherently bad, icons without text labels are, and the very Windows Explorer-like file browser in the left sidebar should serve as a warning.
If you don’t mind the absolute maximum of visual clutter, or the fact that Bluefish runs on a Mac much like a blue fish would navigate Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on a hot summer afternoon in Atlanta (slowly, with some discomfort), then there is a feature for everyone who collects text editors with features; lots of features.
Preferences? Bluefish got preferences.
Here there is much to like. Bluefish has options for Editor settings, Files, the actual User interface, Plugins, Language support and much, much more. If settings are your game then Bluefish is the name. I don’t want to denigrate the work of an app developer or an open source project where many developers come together to create a utility– Bluefish is free– but there are times when an effort is not, well, not worth the effort.
We’re moving rapidly into the 21st century. Apple builds in a few safeguards to macOS Sierra and one of them is signed certificates from developers. Bluefish doesn’t use one so you’ll need to jump through some hoops just to get it to run (blame is placed on the Mac App Store but that’s wrong) on your Mac. Notice the floppy disk icons to Save files or Open files? When was the last time you used a floppy disk? Sooner or later we have to give up the ghost, folks. Floppys are dead. And so are their icons. An entire generation of users have grown up without a floppy disk. Hey, I don’t even have a Mac with a SuperDrive for CDs and DVDs any more, let alone a device that can use a floppy.
Still, it’s hard to argue with free. Well, yes it is, and especially so when Mac users have so many free text editor options around. For example, TextWrangler is one of the better text editors available for the Mac and it’s free, too. It’s big brother commercial version, BBEdit, is free to use and all by its lonesome a very good reason to own a Mac. I can appreciate developers who have a product and want to make it available to as many users as possible, and in this case, Bluefish succeeds because there are Windows, macOS, and Linux versions available– all free– but there are times when reinventing the wheel is merely an exercise and the end result won’t take anyone anywhere.