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How to use TextMate


Jeffrey Zeldman Presents

For nearly 13 years, I created websites with PageSpinner, a charmingly old-fashioned HTML coding environment from the days of Netscape 1.0. But two years ago, seeking updated web page encoding and other modern conveniences, I switched to TextMate, “the missing editor for MacOS X.”

PageSpinner greatly helps coders (but offends the aesthete’s eye) with Microsoft-Word-like menu bars containing buttons that let you instantly create paragraphs, list items, and so on. In contrast, TextMate has no UI chrome whatever. A screenshot of the TextMate interface is like a photograph of snow.

For two years, I’ve created web pages in TextMate, hand-coding every entity with no help from the application because I didn’t know it offered any. But my friend Ethan Marcotte knew, and today, responding to my cry for help, he sent the following info:


I highly recommend starting here. (If you only read one thing in this email—and who could blame you?—make it that link.)

Moving on! Here’s a more exhaustive “getting started” tutorial.

Random feature blogs:

Macromates has some helpful screencasts (most of which could use a good editor, but they might be good train fodder):

Because I have no life, I’ll occasionally trawl through Vimeo to find random tips.

And here’s Dan Rubin’s macro to convert multi-line CSS to single-line (or vice versa).

By Jeffrey Zeldman

“King of Web Standards”—Bloomberg Businessweek.

Principal designer/creative director, Automattic, Inc. Publisher, A List Apart and A Book Apart “for people who make websites.” Co-founder, An Event Apart design conference. Faculty, MFA, Interaction Design program, School of Visual Arts, New York. Have written two books, notably Designing With Web Standards 3rd Edition.