New free text editor – Tincta

Tincta text editor icon

The History (skip if you want)

A long time ago everyone on the Mac was using Smultron. Smultron was a really Mac like text editor written in Cocoa. It was easy to use, had all the important text editing features and was free. However after version 3 Smultron was abandoned (yet buggy) by its developer. This year with the start of the App Store Smultron 4 returned as a commercial product for 5 Dollars but has lost all the things that once made it valuable, especially the all-in-one-window design but also features like split views. So for me it was no longer an option to use and I had switched to TextWrangler though that never became a happy relationship.

The interesting part

So much more pleasantly surprised I was when I discovered “Tincta“. Tincta is a new free text editor released some time this summer. But despite being still in the 1.x version numbers it already is a very mature editor. It is a one-window app and has a very similar design as the old Smultron, Kod (also an interesting editor but still in version 0.x) and most other modern OS X Apps. All your open documents are displayed in a sidebar so you can easily switch between them (which I prefer over the tab design in Kod).

Tincta has syntax coloring for almost any programming language, (though some languages seem to be a bit rudimentary but I’m sure this will improve from version to version). It also has great line numbering that is actually working and a browser-preview function (not built in but opens the default browser and even runs on the local server so php preview works!).

There are also lots of text editing features like change the case of the selected characters (I use that a lot) and supports a wide set of text encodings (though you all should be using UTF-8 or UTF-16).

The best

But the greatest thing about Tincta – in my opinion – is the speed. Tincta opens within just one second on my MacBook. I never understood why TextWrangler is bouncing so long in my Dock.

The other thing that immediately made me switch to Tincta as my default editor is the design. Tincta is a native Mac app and really intuitive to use. You will never be searching for something and it just does what you expect. This is the editor Apple should bundle with Mac OS! (And I love the icon!)

The money

Tincta is free and has all the basic features. But of course nobody works for free and I’m sure building an editor takes a lot of time. Mr. Fridge Software – the developers behind Tincta – have come up with a “Lite vs. Pro” model. So the basic Tincta is free while Tincta Pro is commercial and has additinal features. Pro features include a split view (two documents side by side), a snippet manager, an integrated file browser, regex search and the possibility to execute scripts.

I actually went for the Pro version some weeks ago. First it has some very useful enhancements (regex search is great to have) and second I want to support those independent developers who created a great tool here. And I hope a lot of people think just like me so Tincta will become a powerful alternative to the old-established TextWrangler and BBEdit.

After all Tincta Pro is at $13 much cheaper (and prettier) than most competing editors like BBEdit or TextMate (both $50). There is even a free demo available on the developers’ website.

Product: Tincta / Tincta Pro
Price: Free (Pro version: €10/$13)
Requirements: Mac OS 10.6
Publisher: Mr. Fridge Software

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  2. I know that this is an old post, but I’m only now looking at Tincta. I’ve never been happy with TextWrangler, nor Smultron’s changes. This review really helped me get a better idea about Tincta. Thanks for sharing!

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