When working with text files I have a few different types of purposes. I draft most of my writing in a basic Text Editor, and then move it into whatever program is needed to do that formatting, markup and graphics insertion (word processing) once the writing in completed.
This simple text editor is my absolute favourite for network configuration, and has just one feature that I am absolutely committed to. When you create a document, you don’t have to give it a name, it is automatically saved, and automatically opened when the program starts.
If you work on large Cisco networks, then you are often ‘stashing’ bits of configuration to use in other parts of the network as you move from console to console. Or capturing pieces of debug output or show commands. Then a couple of days later you wish that you had saved them so that you could use them in your documentation. The bar on the left keep a list of the files that you have open.
Typically, my xPad has a couple of hundred text snippets from various projects and I often find myself referring back to them weeks or months later. Where hundreds of .txt files in a directory doesn’t work, xPad does.
Its possible you won’t “get” this program until you use it. A must have for every Network Engineer. xPad is freeware, Universal, and fast get it HERE
Text Wrangler is a freeware version of the BBEdit from Barebones Software (a major force in OS X development). However, don’t think that this means that features are missing because it is a seriously powerful text editor. It does syntax highlighting, multiple open files, can read and write windows or *nix formatted files but the MOST important feature is the ability to open, edit and save files from an FTP / SFTP / SSH server. I mainly use this feature for working on web servers and blog software, but is becoming useful for configuring networking equipment (such as ACE probes and scripts).
BBEdit – It doesn’t suck ™
I recently shelled out the quids to buy BBEdit which is the commercial version of TextWrangler. This was a big decision since paying USD$100 for a text editor is quite a stretch but one that I am pleased with. Many features are not suitable for a network engineer, but some of the key things that I now like are:
- compare windows side by side
- write html pages
- write articles in markdown format
- macros, syntax lookup for perl, TCL, HTML and CSS
- and much more
I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, but it does work for me. If you do a lot of text work then consider this.
This is a standard Rich Text Format editor that is part of OS X. The closest approximation in Windows is WordPad, but TextEdit has far more features. I have heard of many people using this exclusively to write all documents. Since it supports Rich Text Format you can certainly write letters and short notes with enough formatting to make it look nice.
NeoOffice is the best Open Source suite for MAC. A small team of two or three guys take the OpenOffice code and port it into a native MAC application. While I can agree that OpenOffice is not for everyone, it certainly works for me and has saved me from spending several hundred pounds on Microsoft Office for MAC. I format most of my documents on OpenOffice before sending them to Windows based MS Office users and don’t have any problems doing so. ((only one trick, you need to make sure that screenshots are in a format the MS Windows can understand in Word documents))
Open Office 3.0 has been ported to native OS X recently (not running inside X11 window), but it is not as good as NeoOffice which definitely runs better and faster.
I can’t remember who asked me to write about applications that I use on my MAC, but this is for you. I would be interested to hear about other text editors that you use and maybe find a better tool that I am using now.