Sublime Forum

What's happening



As everyone has noticed, there haven’t been any beta releases for a while, and I’ve been anything but responsive on the forum and email. I’ve been in somewhat of a malaise with respect to progress on Sublime.

The work that really needs to get done on Sublime Text is an overhaul of the UI, for a few main reasons:

  • Project support
  • Better tab dragging (i.e., between windows, and dragging out of the window to create a new one)
  • Remove the dependency on hardware rendering, enabling Sublime to run in situations where it’s not available, such as virtual machines.

All these indicate that it’s time for a new shell over the core of Sublime. Although I’ve made some exploratory steps in doing this, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before it’s possible to get a release out the door.

Due in no small part to this, I’ve been putting very sporadic hours into Sublime Text. At this stage, I’m not sure what it’s future is. The two paths are to either get over the hump, and get it done with the new UI, or to officially stop development work, and release the code as is as open source.



Sublime Text versus Visual Studio Code in 2019

Hi, Jon. Thanks for popping up, and for describing the state of the project. I feel a lot better about knowing that it isn’t simply abandoned.

I have to say that Sublime Text is, by far, my favourite text editor of all time. I feel it has a certain quality that makes it feel both powerful and aesthetic. Its visuals are unmatched on Windows. That for me is extremely important. Also its python extensibility has let a lot of us tailor our working processes, and for me Sublime is now deeply embedded in the way I work. These two pieces – the visual appeal and the extensibility – make Sublime absolutely top, in my opinion.

What this means is that I am very keen to keep using ST, and if I have to wait a while for v2.0, then so be it. In the meantime, I’d like to help if I can, and I think there are other people here on the forums who would, too. Here’s what I can think of:

Sublime seems to have a small core of package developers, and we can help by developing new packages for the core. Things like language support, snippets, source control integration, web development tools – there’s a lot there already and if you coordinated with us I’m sure we can take some of the pressure off.

Also, there are other peripheral tasks that we might be able to help with. Nick has already taken on some of the forum management, and I hope that’ll help. Other developers might, for instance, supplement the API help and tutorials on the website. I’m sure you’ll be able to find alpha- and beta-testers here on the forum.

Any other support I can offer, let me know. I’m interested in what might be done to get Sublime Text to it’s second major incarnation. Have a think about what you can delegate.

As a final thought; I’ve been using Sublime Text for over a year now, and that’s because it’s the best editor available anywhere. Which is why I’ve just bought my second licence. :wink:


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hi all,

i am happy to see jon is responding. welcome back jon! and i hope that you won’t disappear on the future, i think it is better to hear bad news than not hearing anything at all.

regarding the issue you have raised. i have a different opinion. i want to question the need for another UI. lets begin with the facts, at the moment the sublime editor is the best editor around for windows, the implemented features works great and it is delight to work with. i found my self switching from using different editors to work only with sublime. the current half implemented project management is already very good and it is more than many other editors offer. regarding the tab problems, how many times a day you need to do that? yes, i guess we all tried to drag a tab between windows (like google chrome) but it is not supported. so what? i only need a descent text editor, not a tabbed browser. regarding the last issue, the h/w dependency and the ability to work under VM, again, ok, nice feature, but is it the killer feature that we can’t leave without? i will say it again, i only need a decent text editor.

text editor most important features imo are the possibility to do things faster and with ease: automation; easy plugins; good community which produce extensions; stability; speed.

i will sum it up, why make the next generation UI a ‘live or die’ decision? i am better off with a living sublime with the cons it has. jon, maybe you have aimed the wrong target? there is no perfect product, you can plan one, but the implementation time will eventually make you choose what really important and what’s not. what is a must and what’s not.

that’s my humble opinion.

let me be clear, i am not against a better UI which solves all the things jon mentioned, but if i understand correctly, jon feels it is not a trivial work at all, which can take a lot of time, and may even cause him to abandon the project out of frustration. if that’s the case i say: stop walking on this path, it is not worth it. keep your objectives reachable, let the next guy fix the world :smile:


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First, I like SublimeText very much.

Jon, while items (1) and (2) certainly should be done, aim of item (3) is not so clear. And it seems to be the most hard and time-consuming task. Do you really have to make it? From one side, support of 3D hardware in VM is progressing (vmware workstation claims to have it, VMGL supports OpenGL hardware acceleration in VM). From the other side, Windows Presentation Framework have all graphics (including desktop items like windows) as Direct3D applications. For example Intellipad, new editor from Microsoft (once called Emacs.Net), is built on WPF. Like Sublime, it has its own widgets and so unique look. And it uses some cool graphic effects like smooth font resizing and scrollbars fading, that seems to be from DirectX. Its rendering of text selections is very similar to Sublime’s. So Jon, you are not alone with hardware rendering in text editor. I think that hardware rendering is ST’s strength, not weakness and you should only develop it, generate new ideas and push it further. I once made light skin for Sublime and realized that it’s theming have great potential, it needs just gradual improvement, detalization. I think that not much work must be done to achieve Intellipad-like look (greatest light skin of all editors I saw). So my take is that you chose right line of development, and only have to follow it.

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Why not do both? Keep developing, but open source it so that others can help. I for one would be happy to help, since Sublime text is one of the few editors that gets most things right. Unlike vim and emacs it handles tabs and splits correctly. Unlike most editors other than vim and emacs you can make your own macros. The syntax highlighting isn’t limited to just keywords like some editors. It’s the closest thing to a decent text editor I’ve found so far (and believe me, I’ve tried at least 15 of them). Of my remaining issues (the fact that it isn’t free and the inability to resize the output panel) the first disappears automatically when open sourcing and the second I might be able to fix, particularly since, unlike most editors, this one isn’t written in a primitive language (C/C++). Also I would try and see if I can make an embedded interactive console, since command prompt boxes are annoying. Oh, and I’d try to make scrollbars appear only when needed.

Basically open sourcing saves you work, as people who want something can just make it themselves instead of having to open feature requests.

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i thought about what jon said regarding the open source etc. it is important to me to state that this gives me back the confidence to keep using this editor not matter what, because of the knowledge it won’t turn out to be an abandonware no matter what. my personal opinion is that it is best if jon will continue to develop it as a paid editor, because this was meant to be jon’s, and not an open source. but again, thanks for reassuring that this is not a waste of time, investing time on learning and customizing of this editor.

i don’t want to get into jon’s shoes but i wanted to add my opinion regarding the marketing of sublime editor. lately i found out that the ‘e text editor’ is being slowed down if not abandoned. this, together with intype, makes all the potential competition for sublime gone. i think that a modern editor for windows market exists and is actually shouting for someone to fill in. i do fill that sublime can make it, as a paid editor. so if i may, i would like to suggest few things. first, why not put a simple donation button on the main page? second, i think this editor is priced too high, comparing to other editors (like textmate that is around 40$), in my opinion this is one of the barriers to switch to using it. i would suggest the opposite, why not making it 4$ per license? many people who will try the editor and love it, will be very easy with letting out 4$ off their pockets rather than 60$ or even 40$, i think it can change things. regarding those who already bought a licenses in 60$ (which i guess are the most of the people reading it), find a way to make them happy (lifetime license, a kiss, i don’t know…)

just my thoughts.


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Cost of prying a favoured text editor out of a developer’s fingers? Possibly more that $4. If Jon could sell 135,000 licences a year at the current price, he’d make the same. Also, the product is worth the money, and $4 is a terrible signal to the market. It says ‘This product is shitty and valueless. Please look elsewhere’

One interesting organising principle, from open-source text editors, is emacs. The core code of emacs was controlled with an iron fist by Richard Stallman. It was massive work to get something into the emacs core. But developing your own major mode (say, HTML editing) was something you could do yourself, and distribute over the web. The reason you stay with emacs, if you’re a fan, is because it has good modes for the particular language you’re developing. Come for the text editor. Stay for the packages.

So emacs has a tightly controlled core, with a thousand-flowers philosophy around plugins. That seems to me a strong strategy, and it relies on one central developer, making sure the product keeps its integrity while many people experiment with new technologies. It’s the world we have with Sublime Text today.

So I really do think that Jon should not open-source the project, unless he decided he’s really done. Rather, he should keep control of the core, develop core packages for things like python and C and HTML, and then let other people integrate with new tools and such. Pick a new tool – say, the Mercurial distributed source control system. How many text editors out there have integration with Mercurial? Few, I imagine. Sublime’s core should offer all the API hooks we need to write our own Mercurial package, and that should be open-source.

My 2c.

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I just wanna say (repeat?) that I love Sublime!

I use it every day and it is essecial for me.

It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s gourgeous!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Thanks for all the comments, it’s encouraging to see.

re: working with the current GUI, rather than replacing it. These are all very good points, I’ll put some more thinking into it.

re: open source. I’d rather see Sublime open sourced rather than abandoned, but it is a commercial venture, and it just doesn’t make any sense to both release it as open source and continue working on it.

For interests sake, last time I counted, Sublime was around 70k lines of C++, including blank lines, comments and unit tests. Python is used as an extension language only, and it’s use is pretty much what you see is what you get: all the Python source is included in the distribution.


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There’s some features of new Intellipad editor from Microsoft that demonstrate custom made widgets and effects of hardware rendering, it may be interesting for Jon. First, menu bar - it’s custom-made, looks pretty and utilize less space vertically then standard one. Then, windows splitting scheme - you can split any window horizontally or vertically, creating arbitrary complex layout. There’s no way to save and then restore this layout, but surely it can and will be implemented. Second, smooth fonts resizing. I found it rather useful, and not just cool feature. If you can quickly adjust level of detail (lod) for text, you navigate faster. You can diminish text (lower left window) and have something like Sublime’ s minimap.

My thought: and one will navigate even faster, if combine this lod effect of font scaling with changing lod for document structure - something like folding, but more flexible, with several levels of detail. Like Google Earth for text document… Take HTML document, for example. From birs’d eye point of view we’ll see only (body) and (html) areas, without detail. Approaching closer to (body), we’ll see

tags , then

, some

    1. and their contents… This is not far from zooming user interface. Maybe this could be useful. Just a thought…

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    I’ve been fiddling with WPF a little (as in, about three hours) and it does look like it might be suitable for doing sublime-like supplemental programs. Here’s my current attempt at a sublime-style window;

    Two things strike me;

    1. It should not be too difficult to create apps which are ‘satellite’ to Sublime and which are launched from Sublime commands. I’m going to experiment with a file and folder tool which will load when Sublime loads and which monitors Sublime’s open files. I may also be able to put together a library of sublime-like controls for WPF. If so, any other .Net developers out there may be able to use it to create dialogues and forms.
    2. If Jon could host WPF controls (and I have NO idea how hard this would be) then we might be able to have a panel which contains a WPF control. This would mean that someone other than Jon could develop some of those things that people are looking for – like project management.

    As yet it’s very early days, but WPF+IronPython might be a good basis for some package development.

    (EDIT: I should be clear. WPF is the Windows Presentation Foundation, the GUI system used by Intellipad and the newest .net GUI system. Intellipad also has a python-based plugin system, which I assume is IronPython)

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    [quote]jps wrote:

    • Remove the dependency on hardware rendering, enabling Sublime to run in situations where it’s not available, such as virtual machines.

    I completely agree with this. As I already said before, the minimap can be something simpler such WinMerge one:


    That IntelliPad is quite beautiful. But in my opinion, Microsoft = trash, last week I took 3 days+ to install my ex-beloved VisualStudio and 2 days+ to make SQL Server EXPRESS work in my computer. :cry:

    Once someone said me “I like Microsoft products because they work” (against linux and OpenSource stuff)… well, maybe they can work, but to make them work is another story… :imp:

    well, enough of hatery.

    [quote]sublimator wrote:
    Sublime Forum Users: 78
    E Forum Users : 1725[/quote]

    Well, I used E just a little because it started buggying. I asked for help in the forum, but they weren’t carrying about it…

    As people say there in Brazil “marketing/advertising is the soul of the business”.

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    I’m a bit late to the party but I still wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.

    The core is almost perfect. Most things we can add using the API so time should be concentrated on the things we have no control over. Things such as the sticky search highlighting and the tweaks to Find behaviour that have been mentioned elsewhere.

    The renderer rewrite sounds like a big job but I must say that it would be nice to use Sublime when I’m accessing Windows via Remote Desktop. Perhaps something to do more for fun than mass benefit.

    Regarding sales. I believe that Sublime will continue to gain momentum; it’s just a matter of time for the word to spread. All who have seen it love the sublime editing experience. It truly is the best.



    Hi all - Just experimented with sublime for a couple weeks and decided I’d be forever disappointed if I didn’t purchase a license. So I did. However, and I probably should have done this in reverse order, I’d like to confirm what the outcome of this thread was. It appears Jon decided to keep development alive and not go down the open source route, but I didn’t see that actually posted anywhere. Is there a roadmap for sublime? Regardless, I think it’s a great editor as-is and I’m not disappointed by the hefty contribution.




    Hi Geoff - welcome to the forums!

    Development is certainly alive, and I expect it to stay that way in the foreseeable future.

    There’s no published roadmap per-se, largely because what’s at the top of the priority list has changed reasonably often in the past. The current short term plans are to add some more polish to the current beta, and get that shipped into a stable version, migrating project support out of beta status. Slightly longer term, I’m expecting to focus mostly on the Python API, so that more features can be implemented as plugins.

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    Hey, thanks for the quick response! Glad to see that sublime is alive and well, and will be for the foreseeable future. I’m looking forward to checking out the future versions.



    Just wanted to say that I love ST! I would love open source but I completely understand what John said about open sourcing a commercial project. Here is what would help: using github to manage the language and other default packages so that the community can fix and improve them.



    I have mixed feelings about ST going open source but at the same time I think your also placing too high a strain on yourself. I see you either (temporarilly?) abandoning some of your deisng/development goals or simply allowing yourself however long it takes you to accomplish them and not worrying about all the “is this project dead?” noise.

    You could also hire someone to help you meet your goals but this might require a price bump. Which ever way you decide to go you have my support. Till I get work that will have to be moral support tho :smile:



    Please be sure to note that this thread is from 2009, before Sublime Text 2 was announced.



    haha, I didn’t realize. Thanks wbond for pointing that out. I guess I was too excited about news… :smile: