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We here at The After Mac are happy to bring you a short interview with Allan Odgaard. The creator of TextMate. Arguablly one of the finest text editor around for Mac OS X. Allan comes from Denmark. He just turned 30. One of his other accomplisments is a Masters Degree in Computer Science from the University of Copenhagen. Ever since Allan was 12, he knew he was obssesed with computers.

TAM: So Allan, what made you decide to create TextMate?

AO: A personal need for a powerful text editor.

TAM: With the release of the Intel Macs, was it difficult to port TextMate into a universal binary?

AO: Not at all. Nothing is written in assembler, and I was already familiar with the endian differences of the two CPUs, so it was just adding a conditional variable to these locations (unfortunately I do have to know about endian format in my code, but only in very few places).

TAM: So far BBEdit is the leader/most popular html/text editor for the Mac, how does TextMate compare to BBEdit? In your opinion what makes TextMate a good alternative for BBEdit or other text editors for the Mac?

AO: BBEdit has been around for more than 13 years, so it likely has a larger installed base, but I don’t agree with your other assessments.

As for comparing the two, I am only superficially familiar with the product and naturally biased in how I value things, I mean, would I have created TextMate if I thought there was an ideal or better product out there? So you should ask someone else for such comparison.

Speaking generally, the strength of TextMate lies in its easy and powerful customization capabilities and extreme versatility.

In roughly 20 months TextMate has gone from supporting three languages to almost a hundred, and for many of these, the support is unmatched by most other general purpose text editors. The reason for this is that TextMate has a good infrastructure for it, and quickly got a large community supporting it.

TAM: What’s in store for TextMate’s future? Any new features, ideas you’d like to share with us?

AO: I am working on a 2.0 — but there is a lot of new concepts in this, so easier to just say wait and see

TAM: Are there any new products in the pipeline for Macromates?

AO: No — there are still many things I want to realize with TextMate.

TAM: Lastly, any parting words for our readers?

AO: If you think a text editor is just for writing text, and the difference among them are minor, go watch the screencasts which showcase some of the features unique to TextMate.

I recommend seeing them in the following order:

http://macromates.com/screencast/scopes_and_comments.mov (21:26)
http://macromates.com/screencast/math_and_column_selections.mov (11:41)
http://macromates.com/screencast/insert_html_tags.mov (7:19)
http://macromates.com/screencast/objective-c_part_1.mov (4:32)
http://macromates.com/screencast/objective_c_part_2.mov (10:39)

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