Sometimes the smallest of changes can deliver a huge impact. In my case, several weeks ago I switched away from the popular Mac text editor TextMate to Sublime Text 2, giving a significant boost to my productivity in the process.
Some context is necessary here: any web developer can tell you that, with the profession’s focus on coding, text editors are generally the most important tool at hand. For the last five years, TextMate was my editor of choice and I depended on it for effectively everything at work: HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, even extended emails and design notes. I loved the speed, the keyboard shortcuts and its slick bundling system – macros, commands and templates came together in a unified package.
But ever since Mac OS X Lion came out, TextMate’s lost a lot of its luster. The downward spiral began with the program’s incompatibilities with much of Lion’s new functionality; this only amplified the nagging suspicion TextMate would never receive a significant upgrade (its last significant release was version 1.5 back in January 2006.) The TextMate team unexpectedly announced a public alpha of TextMate 2 for release before the end of 2011, but I think it’s a case of too little, too late.
I’m a relative newcomer to Apple and Steve Jobs. Apple computers were an influence growing up, but I didn’t really start using Apple products until my post college days. Yet, after getting my hands on my first Mac, a Powerbook G4, I was hooked. The accessibility and design of Apple’s products always matches the tech power under the hood – a rarity in our industry. I don’t think any of it would have been possible without, as Jobs often said, Apple at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. It makes the company’s work unique and often amazing.
Jobs was a genius, yet still fallible; his flare ups of anger and arrogance were well documented. Paradoxically, the weaker sides of Jobs made him even more approachable, human, and charismatic. That made news of his passing all the more tragic. Not every Apple launch under Jobs has been a success, yet his successes fundamentally changed the technology industry at least three times with the Mac, iPod, and iPhone. Who other single person has had that kind of impact?
Jobs also had an incredible gift at intertwining technology and design, along with a relentless drive. Both are traits that I strive to achieve every day in my career.
Rest in peace Steve and thanks for always moving the ball forward.