My Favorite Text Editor

October 27, 2022

Yesterday Panic Software released Nova 10. Nova is a text editor, it competes with Vim and VSCode. This release re-affirms the commitment Panic has made to this product, matches the best features of VSCode, and most importantly integrates Tree Sitter for vastly improved syntax highlighting.

What is New?

  • Show the git blame in a comment when you click a line.
  • Sticky class and method names as you scroll make it easier to identify what code you’re looking at.
  • Comments now fold, making it easy to throw lots of documentation in them but quickly scroll a code file.
  • A new diff view for quickly comparing your revisions with previous versions.

Why not VSCode?

Panic Nova is a native Mac app. If you use other Mac apps it looks and feels like them. The performance and memory management are great. When I was looking to switch text editors, VSCode had a painful screen flickering bug that prevented me from using it. I found Panic Nova and never looked back.

The Downsides

The fact Nova is not as popular as VSCode means there is a smaller extension library. Ruby debug support is not yet built-in, and the Solargraph extension is not fully working. For a product I use everyday missing features I can use from the command line is not a huge deal, but I can understand other developers missing them. I have been developing extensions to help it match what is available with VSCode, starting with Rubocop.

The Big Upside

Panic provides great support. Every time I have a question Mike from Panic answers my email within 24 hours with a useful response. My feedback seems to be genuinely considered and taken to heart. Finally every post I have made to the extension forum has been replied to with a useful response.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.