I, Sublime – A Look at My Favorite Sublime Text Plugins

I have been using Sublime Text 2 since pretty close to the beginning. I purchased it early because I could see the value easily and prefer to support the developers who support my efforts.

One of the aspects of Sublime that I love the most are the plugins. But when you get started with Sublime Text 2, it can be difficult to know which plugins to use. This article will go through the ones I think you need to install first.

  • Sublime Package Control – Will Bond’s Package Control is the first thing everyone needs to install. Installing packages without this is a PITA. Even if you only install one other plugin, this is totally worth it! Install it now using the instructions found here.
  • Advanced New File – Easily create new files from the root of your project rather than from the default directory for the app.
  • Alternative Autocompletion – Install this then press escape to cycle through the various autocomplete possibilities.
  • Bracket Highlighter – Quickly seeing the other side of the set of brackets is very useful
  • Emmet – This used to be called ZenCoding. Not sure why it changed, but Zen was breaking down for me and Emmet makes everything better. If you are writing ANY html, install this and get it done quicker!
  • ERB Insert and Toggle Commands – If you are doing any Rails dev, then you are writing ERB files. If you are writing ERB files, you have to keep typing <% %>. Everytime I do that, my finger searches for the % key. Now I press a simple shortcut and cycle between <% %>, <%= %>. <%- %>
  • ERB Snippets – More ERB goodness. Some overlap with the Insert/Toggle plugin, but thats still easier for me.
  • Find Key Conflicts – As soon as you install a few plugins, there will be key conflicts. This helps you find them and more importantly, fix them.
  • GitGutter – I don’t really use the Git plugin since going from the command line is easier when you get used to it, but seeing what lines changed in the gutter is way cool!
  • LiveReload – Save a file and see your browser auto-refresh. When doing Rails, this seems to work better for me than CodeKit, though I still use that occasionally for regular web dev. Follow the instructions here if it crashes on save every now and then.
  • Sidebar Enhancements – This makes the sidebar infinitely more usable!
  • Synced Sidebar – I am fairly new to Rails so still getting a feel for where files are. I tend to open files pressing Command-P then type the file name. When I do, this plugin shows me where in the sidebar the file came from.

If you are doing anything with Rails, I suggest you also look at MHartl’s SublimeText Setup Instructions for some good pointers. I took the RailsCasts Theme from this online theme editor and made the keywords, constants, and library functions a bit lighter because I couldn’t see that shade of red very well.

Do you have any favorite plugins I should be using? Share them in the comments, or send me a tweet @technovangelist