Sublime Text 2 – My list of necessary plugins

Why Sublime Text 2?

A lot of developers use the hipped text editor Sublime Text 2 and I’m one of them. Multiple reasons influence such a decision and from experience the important things I look for in a text editor are the following (in no particular order):

  • Simple User Interface: Simplicity of the interface does not necessarily mean minimal features! Sublime Text 2 does a great job at maintaining an impressive list of features while not having the interface bloated with nested menus, buttons and toolbars.
  • Text Editing Features: I rely heavily on text editing features (Find/Replace with RegEx support, Multiple Selections and Batch Editing, Keyboard Shortcuts etc…) and these are very necessary to maintain a fluid / non interrupted line of thought. Not only for the sake of productivity but more importantly for the sake of focus.
  • Plugins: Plugins and their abundance either make or break a text editor. Sublime Text 2 has a great list of open-sourced and highly maintained plugins.
  • Syntax Highlight & Languages Support: My eyes are very important to me and I need to keep them functioning for a long time, I need a text editor that support intelligent syntax highlighting of multiple languages.
  • Quick File Navigation and Project Wrapping: One of the main productivity boosters in Sublime Text 2 is the ability to jump between files very quickly and wrap your projects in a project container that gives you quick access to the list of folders/files needed for a given project.
  • Compatibility with multiple OSs: I frequently switch between Operating Systems while working (from Windows to Linux to Mac sometimes) and having a tool that can jump with you is great! Sublime Text 2 is compatible with all major operating systems.

Remember, a text editor is not an IDE. While multiple IDE’s such as Visual Studio, Eclipse, Netbeans and Xcode among others provide all the above features and more (debugging capacity) they are usually memory hogs, slow and annoying to use.

Most Important Plugins (Packages)

To go back on track, I find the below list of plugins extremely necessary and part of my setup configuration before jumping to a new machine and start coding. Here they are, also, in no particular order:

1. Package Control – package_control

2. AdvancedNewFile – AdvancedNewFile

3. Alignment – alignment

4. Build Switcher – BuildSwitcher

5. DocBlockr – sublime-jsdocs

6. Github Tools – sublime-text-2-github-tools

7. Markdown Preview – sublimetext-markdown-preview

8. Gist – Gist

9. New From Selection – sublime_new_from_selection

10. Processing – processing-sublime

11. Emmet – emmet-sublime

12. Sublime Linter – SublimeLinter

These plugins are not timeless and probably in the upcoming versions of Sublime they will become obsolete. However for now, I’m going to use and abuse them.

Tip (Finding Package Documentation)

Most of the time when you install a new package from Package Control you need to see its documentation for Key Bindings (Keyboard Shortcuts). Most of the plugins have their README file in the package folder. To reach the package’s folder click Preferences and follow the below:

 Preferences - Browse Packages - (Package Name) - README.*

“Blekko” a new search engine?

blekko the new search engine
Blekko : http://blekko.com

Introduction

With the Google domination of the search engines world it’s odd to find newly emerging companies trying to enhance the online searching experience and compete with Google. Odd but not impossible. Blekko emerged with the old search concept but with a little twist: “Slash tagging”.

What is slash tagging?

Everyone has had at least one google search of a given topic ending up with a list of spam links and websites relying on Blackhat SEO as top search results. A solution was needed so google developed the star rating system for result links and other filtering algorithms based on popular searches and users interests. Disregarding the success or failure of googles’ ways, blekko developed a new way to get better search results and provide the user with more functions to improve one’s searching experience.

Slash tagging is done by creating an account on blekko and making a new slash tag. You fill the name and keywords related to the slash tag and search for websites you wish to list under it. The next time someone does a search heshe can use your slash tag to filter the results.

A slash tag has the following format “/something. A search using a slash tag can have the following format “global warming /CO2”. Adding /CO2 after global warming will provide you with links to websites discussing global warming with regard to CO2 emissions (example), as long as /CO2 has been created by another user and the results were linked to the slash tag.

Some pre-existing slash tags exist, such as “/date” which filters results based on a descending order of the publishing dates.

Blekko Slashtagging concept
Slashtagging concept

Video

A small video published by blekko explain to a certain extent the use of blekko and slashtags, the video is hosted on viemo and below is a link to it:

http://vimeo.com/14593120

Result link tools

Blekko Result link tools
Result link tools

Another nice feature provided by blekko is the result link tools. These tools provide you with, for the sake of example, SEO data of a given link:

Blekko SEO
Blekko SEO tool

Another example would be the similar tool which when clicked provides you with a list of similar websites if existing:

Result link tools : Similar
Result link tools : Similar

In addition these tools can be accessible via small anchor links beneath the URL title in a result population or via slash tags /SEO or /similar example: http://google.com /similar

Conclusion

Blekko offered something new to the field of online searching, however as primary as it is, I can see many problems revolving around slash tagging and allowing users to make their own slash tags. I can already think of many black hat SEO techniques to abuse this concept in order to elevate the ranking of their links and websites.

Blekko is still in beta version which means it’s not officially released yet, and many bugs might popup while using it, so make sure to report any bugs via the “file bugs” feature located on the left section of the search population page.

You can also download blekko’s toolbar, but meh … who likes toolbars anyway!