Expanding BBEdit to iPad is a Long Plan, Bare Bones Founder Confirms


If you’ve been a Mac user since the early 90s, you’ve probably heard of BBEdit. This HTML and text editor developed by Bare Bones Software is often hailed as one of the best writing software apps on Mac, and for good reason.

BBEdit (opens in a new tab)is available for $49.99 / £29.99 / AU$32.99 to purchase a new license from its site and the Mac App Store (opens in a new tab), $29.99 / £19.99 / AU$17.99 to upgrade from the latest version, and $39.99 / £29.99 / AU$32.99 from any previous version . The application allows writers, HTML developers and others to present their projects in the format that best suits their workflow.

US$49.99 new, $29.99 updated from last version, and $39.99 from any previous version (even one from the 90s)

Jason Snell, an Apple blogger, praises BBEdit as a real timesaver. In a blog post (opens in a new tab), Snell describes how the app helped him write a game show for his audience. It also helped him write articles; but there’s a lot more the app is capable of – just think what it could be in the shared ecosystem of iPads, iPhones and Apple Silicon Macs.

With all of this in mind, TechRadar spoke to Bare Bones Software Founder and CEO, Rich Siegel (opens in a new tab)about the present and future of BBEdit, and updates from Apple that he finds exciting.

A look back at the history of Bare Bones

Bare Bones software logo

(Image credit: Bare Bones Software)

We wondered if Siegel noted any major differences between when BBEdit debuted in 1993 and today. After all, between the two you have thirty years of great changes in Apple’s product line, both from a hardware and software perspective. “It’s an interesting question, and I can see why one might look at changes over time through the prism of hardware and software advancements in macOS,” Siegel reflects.

“That being said, we saw things a little differently. What changes is what people are working on – as opposed to the hardware they use to get the job done. an impact, but where silicon would have an absolute impact on augmented reality, gaming, production, etc., for text manipulation, it’s a bit more about changing times,” says Siegel. “For example, when HTML exploded onto the scene, what drove our product development was what our customers were trying to do.”

So was he surprised at the myriad ways users have used BBEdit over the years? “Our audience generally changes more over time than with the Mac platform itself. So the evolution we’ve seen in recent years is that more and more writers, data scientists, librarians , engineers, and academics from many disciplines use BBEdit in different ways, so our audience has grown rather than changed.

The next frontier of M2

MacBook Air (M2, 2022) at Apple Park, Cupertino

(Image credit: future)

One of the big announcements from WWDC 2022 was the arrival of the M2 chip, Apple’s custom silicon chip for its products. We asked Siegel if, from a developer’s perspective, this announcement — or any other — was particularly energizing. “The M2’s improvements over the M1 are certainly closer to a home run than a single one. That said, anything that benefits our customers in macOS is relevant to our interests,” says Siegel. “This often includes things that aren’t necessarily ‘brand’ announcements, such as performance and stability improvements in core operating system components.”

Siegel admits that it’s the stability on macOS that has buoyed him and the Bare Bones team over the past few years. “Because of the high value our customers place on having BBEdit as a tool, I believe the stability of macOS is of greater importance to us than it otherwise might be,” Siegel acknowledges. “Thus, performance and stability improvements in macOS are more likely to catch our attention. Of course, new hardware is always welcome as it improves everyone’s productivity.”

BBEdit and WWDC 2022

BBEdit front screen

(Image credit: Bare Bones Software)

Besides the M2 chip and macOS improvements, we asked Siegel if there was anything else that might work for BBEdit in the future. “This year has been full of announcements. A colleague of mine used the term ‘API-palooza.’ But what really caught our attention was more the ecosystem as a whole. It’s a slightly different angle,” Siegel clarifies. “Without a doubt, because developers rely on BBEdit, our focus can be uniquely tailored to the tools used by developers. Through this single lens, there have been some very exciting developer announcements (beyond the advancement of Swift) which I believe bode well for the ecosystem – and a better experience for end users. “

We asked Siegel about the specific improvements he recognized at WWDC.

“For example, the new Apple Developer Center onsite near Apple’s headquarters is a terrific development. It’s huge, because there will be times [for] put their heads together to solve challenges that require a lab. Also, I think the new online Tech Talks are pretty awesome,” exclaims Siegel.

“I think they’re doing them now in 11 countries, and even multiple languages, going deeper into the issues, even adding one-on-one sessions. Do you have any idea how many times I might have used them over the Last 30 years? years?”

However, Siegel has rounded up his main takeaways. “But the Apple Developer Center, Tech Talks, and one-on-one sessions caught my eye as healthy for the whole ecosystem, not insignificant advances in general; and they should definitely make apps better, not worse. “

Can BBEdit attract other new users?

Bare Bones Software's BBEdit Logo

(Image credit: Bare Bones Software)

At the time of writing, BBEdit 14.5 is being tested, introducing a new feature to work with live log files and better multi-file search, along with other benefits. We asked Siegel if there had been any challenges in developing the editor for different types of users over the years.

“Over the 30 year (so far) history of BBEdit, we have always had to balance the needs of various users; so there are always challenges. The biggest, I think, is the inherent conflict between discoverability and complication,” says Siegel. . “It’s still there, and that’s one of the reasons we continue to focus on creating a good user manual. I’m happy with how we’ve managed to handle this though. over time.”

“In recent years, we have noticed that many of our new customers are data scientists. In our most recent major release series, we added integration with Anaconda and the related environments they commonly use,” says Siegel. “It was pretty high value for money to provide such convenience to this subset, but once it’s done, it doesn’t require additional features to add on.”

Will BBEdit arrive on iPad?

iPhone free

(Image credit: Apple)

Finally, we wanted to address an elephant that has been in the bedroom of many BBEdit users who also have an iPad. We asked Siegel point-blank if an iPadOS version was coming, considering other apps in this area, such as Scrivener, have a version for the tablet. “Any product we ship that’s called ‘BBEdit’ will have to *be* BBEdit, in all the ways that matter: performance, stability, *and* capacity. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of choosing features alone. that are viable on iOS and hoping for the best,” Siegel confesses. “BBEdit’s capabilities depend on a *real* desktop operating system, which (in context) includes a transparent file system and a wide range of POSIX system services and Unix shell services.”

Siegel concludes: “Thus, a ‘desktop-class’ iOS running on ‘desktop-class’ iPads is unfortunately not going to support the full breadth and depth of functionality that would be required to make BBEdit a must-have tool on this platform. And yes, if you can believe it, we’ve actually had people requesting a rollout of BBEdit on the iPhone.”

Well, to the dismay of many BBEdit fans, it seems clear that there won’t be a version for iPad, and certainly not for iPhone – at least not anytime soon. Still, never say never.


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