Minimalist UI Difficulties

I spent a little time playing with TextMate this past week, the recent betas seem to be coming along nicely. So far though, I like the idea of TextMate better than I like actually using it. :)

The minimalist UI is very elegant, but in some ways very difficult on the usability side of things. I keep running into things I want to do that I know are supported, but I can’t quickly see how to do them through the commands I have at my disposal. I don’t want to dig into the manual/release notes/help for each little thing. Making functionality transparent to the user is a good thing. However, simplicity is a good thing too. It’s a fine line, but I’d wager most TextMate users will be on the power-user end of the scale, so having more functionality exposed probably wouldn’t hurt.

A couple of quick notes:

  • I’m not used to auto-completion of ‘()’, so I keep getting bitten by that behavior (I’ll go back to add a single ‘(‘ somewhere and it adds the matching ‘)’ for me). I bet there is a way to use this functionality in an elegant way, perhaps someone can educate me.
  • I have become quite dependant on my function list for code navigation – I find it hard to move around in TextMate without it.
  • Code folding rocks, I miss it when I go back to BBEdit.
  • TextMate opens large SQL files very quickly – yay.
  • TextMate switches tabs very slowly – boo.

Regardless of my nits, it’s great to see a text editor for OS X growing so quickly.