I’m writing this review in a new (to me) text editor for Mac called NovoEdit. Why would I try a new text editor, you ask? Well, for the simple reason that I’m always willing to try out a new word processor or text editor. Not sure what it is about how I’m wired, but I’ve never been, not on a Mac, not on Windows and not on Linux, been completely satisfied with a word processor or text editor I’ve used. Even when I find one I like… I keep looking.
So, when I saw a listing for a new version of NovoEdit, a plain text editor I’d never heard of, I decided to give it a shot.
And… I’ll keep looking.
To be fair, there’s nothing WRONG with NovoEdit. Really. It’s fine at what it does. It allows for plain text to be edited. And that’s it. It’s a simple program, not designed to compete with word processors (of any kind), and for someone needing a simple typing interface, it’s perfect.
Still, there’s nothing really great going on. It has a nice icon, I suppose, and the brightly colored toolbar icons are a change. But if you’ve used TextEdit, the basic text editor Apple includes with every copy of OS X, then you already have more power than NovoEdit offers.
With TextEdit, you can create styled text (using bold, italics, underline, tables, bullets, lists, and more). You can open Microsoft Word documents. You can use styles and use left, right or full justifcation, as well as center text.
With NovoEdit, you can do none of that.
Still, I take something back I just said. NovoEdit does have more going for it than just its icons. For one, it allows you to save your documents to one of 16 different formats, including different types of scripts, css documents, Perl, PHP or SQL documents, and web pages (in HTML, SHTML or XHTML format). While TextEdit can also do the same, NovoEdit makes it simpler. In reality, all those formats are really nothing more than plain text documents with different extensions. But if you’re using TextEdit, you have to know what each extension is in order to save… with NovoEdit, you simply choose your option from a drop-down menu.
A little thing, to be sure, especially since NovoEdit (unlike more professional website, script and full-featured text editors), is unable to perform tag or syntax highlighting (not to mention catch spelling errors). But it is a plus.
Still, I don’t see myself using NovoEdit on any kind of a regular basis. It’s fine, it’s something new, but I just don’t see that the advantages outweigh its shortcomings. If you want something fast, capable and more full-featured, use TextEdit. Unless you can never remember the extensions for all the text document formats NovoEdit knows. In that case, still use TextEdit, but create a sheet to remember them. You’ll be glad you did.