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The first public alpha of Sublime Text 2 is now available for download.

Sublime Text is a modern text editor, previously only available for Windows, but the latest version also includes support for Linux and Mac OS X.

The Sublime Text team has been working hard on Sublime Text 2 for the last few months, initially only offering preview releases to registered users. By releasing the alpha to the public, the developers hope to help get some user feedback and bug reports.

While certainly still a “late stage alpha,” Sublime Text 2 is already showing a lot of promise. As a die-hard TextMate user, I immediately took to the program like an old friend.

The user interface is clean and well thought out. A sidebar for projects or files can be turned on or off and files can also be accessed through Chrome-style tabs. One of the best things about Sublime Text — from a TextMate user’s perspective — is its support for multi-pane editing. This include horizontal and vertical split-views and even a quad pane mode.

Fun Features

One of the standout features in Sublime Text 2 is called “Goto Anything.” Goto Anything makes navigating and switching between files super easy. Simply press CMD+P (CTRL+P for Windows/Linux users) and start typing. Typing part of a file name or part of a line of code within a file will search across not only current files in your project or open files, but also recently closed files.

Goto Anything is super fast, and thus very effective. As a TextMate user, I’ve grown accustomed to AckMate for my project searching needs, but Goto Anything is much more seamless. Users can even browse by symbol or go directly to certain line numbers all from this command.

Sublime Text 2 also features instant project switching. This is useful because it will load modified and unsaved files in a workspace on the fly. Switching projects is fast — just like using Goto Anything — and switching back to a project opens it just as it was before.

Some of the best features from Sublime Text 1, including multiple line selections and a great minimap preview window, are carried over into Sublime Text 2.

A Customizer’s Dream

The beauty of Sublime Text is that everything is very customizable. This is important because a text editor becomes a very personal part of a user’s workflow.

As a writer, I have my text editor customized in such a way that helps speed up my writing. The same is true for developers. The reason that classic text editors like Vim and Emacs continue to have such followings is in part, because of how customizable those editors are. Likewise, the extensibility of TextMate is something that has kept that project alive and in use, despite its dormant development cycle.

Sublime Text 2 has the making of a great text editor for customization nerds. Sublime Text can be extended using plugins written in Python (a full Sublime Text 2 API is slated for release in the coming months). Key bindings are fully customizable, as are themes (many TextMate themes are compatible). Per-file and per-project settings can also be customized.

For coders or writers looking for a new text editor, Sublime Text 2 is definitely worth checking out. The fact that it runs on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows makes it a rarity in the modern editor space.

What text editor do you use? Let us know in the comments.

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