March 18, 2006

Transmit 3 and BBEdit

I do a lot of work from home. Sometimes I can work on my home computers, but I often need to make changes in source code on systems in my office at work.

That's always been somewhat annoying. I've used BBEdit for that because it can do SFTP, but BBEdit's SFTP interface is to the rest of BBEdit what South Africa was to the World Baseball Classic. It's there and it's important, but it's so much worse than the rest of the application that you don't really want to use it. The SFTP interface is so awful that I found myself doing all kinds of convoluted tricks to get around having to use it -- VNC, even -- or just getting frustrated whenever I tried it.

About a week ago I decided to give Transmit 3 a shot. I bought Transmit (then Transit) the first day version 1.0 was released to the world back in 1997 and have always found it to be both fast and well-designed. I upgraded to Transmit 2 when it came out, but I hadn't used it in a few years because I just don't use FTP any more.

Transmit 3.5 was released a month ago as a universal application, with a new feature called "Edit in Whatever" that lets you remotely edit any file in any application. I saw the release announcement in Steven Frank's weblog and was intrigued, but it wasn't until last week that I put two and two together and realized that Transmit might work nicely as a solution for my remote editing problem.

So I tried it, and wow. I'm amazed. I'd gone all this time thinking that SFTP was just slow (BBEdit's SFTP is painfully slow) or that there wasn't any way to do a fast file browser over FTP (the Finder's FTP file system is painfully slow). Transmit is just unbelievably fast. And its UI is great. I can get it to do exactly what I want, and it does things immediately. Did I mention that it's fast? I just can't get over the fact that I can double-click a file in Transmit, have it pop up in BBEdit, change it, save it, and have everything happen so smoothly and so quickly that I'd never know I was working with a remote system. Very, very cool.

Now if only the guys at Panic could come up with a way for me to go back in time and recover the hours I've lost by not using Transmit all this time.... Or if the fine folks at Bare Bones could add an option to BBEdit that would bring Transmit forward when I press command-shift-O....