By josh / July 25, 2013

Sublime Text 3: Worth the upgrade?

You’ve heard the buzz about the Sublime Text 3 beta: Goto Definition and Goto Symbol? Across whole projects?

Yes, please!

But when you head over to the Sublime site, you realize those new features come at a cost: You’re going to have to fork over your hard-earned cash to get the upgrade. And the cost has increased to $70.


Is the upgrade worth it?

In the process of updating Sublime Productivity for Sublime Text 3, I’ve combed through the release notes and compiled a list of new features, tweaks and improvements that have already been released.

This checklist isn’t exhaustive, and I haven’t yet explored all these changes.

But since there’s so much curiosity about ST3, I decided to put the list out there anyway to help you make the decision about whether to upgrade.

So let’s see what’s new, shall we?

You’ve probably already heard about the major new features

Most of the buzz surrounding the release of ST3 has focused on these big headliners:

  • Faster startup. Like way, way faster.
  • Symbol indexing across projects, which allows you use Goto Definition and Goto Symbol to jump to related code in other files. Pretty huge.
  • Python 3.3 update. (Yay?)

But there are dozens of small improvements that you’ll appreciate day to day

While those are welcome additions, the Sublime team has added dozens of less flashy features and improvements that’ll make Sublime nicer to work with.

Here’s a partial list:

  • Support for high DPI screens
  • PHP formatting improvements
  • atomic_save setting that respects file permissions on OS X and Linux
  • Improvements to the side bar right-click menu
  • New Jump Forward and Jump Backward commands
  • Better HTML support, including attribute completion, auto indentation, and automatic tag closing
  • New Invert Selection command
  • Fields in find and replace panels auto resize for multi-line strings
  • Auto updating for Windows, OS X
  • More OS-native look for dialogs
  • Support for deleting files from the sidebar and closing any associated open tabs
  • New Paste from History command
  • Find panel preserves a history of previous searches and allows you to view them via a dropdown arrow
  • Right arrow will open file in Goto Anything overlay
  • Better performance for Replace All command
  • Transposed character matching in Goto Anything, autocomplete
  • Better pane management
  • Files preview in a temporary preview tab
  • Multiple workspaces for one project
  • New follow_symlinks setting for project folders
  • More intuitive syntax for build systems
  • Support for canceling builds

And many of the benefits are still to come

The Sublime team is also improving the APIs available to plugin developers, and we’re sure to see new plugins emerging that take advantage of these capabilities.

Speaking of plugins …

Will upgrading break all my plugins and make me sad?

Most plugins will need some updates to work with Sublime Text 3. The good news is that many have already been updated.

Will Bond, author of the Package Control plugin, is maintaining a list of ST3-compatible plugins.

If your favorite isn’t listed yet, let the plugin’s author know, or better yet, see if you can help out with the update.

What is the upgrade going to cost, anyway?

The short answer: It depends when you bought your license. The Sublime team explains in this blog post.

P.S. Even if you’re not ready to upgrade, you probably want to learn how to use Sublime better. Start here today:

About the author


Carlos - June 17, 2014

One major question is though: “Will Sublime Text 3 be acutally ever released?” The development seems to be stalled at the moment…

    josh - June 17, 2014

    I don’t know the release date, but I have talked to SublimeHQ and Jon is still actively working on ST3. Here’s hoping it’s soon!

screw yourdaatbase - October 16, 2014

Code folding for C++ sucks. Come on, it needs fixed. It seems to favour curly brackets starting on the same line as the function declaration. It should work when they curly brackets start on the next line too. It’s especially broken for pre-processor directives – lines that start with # symbol.

I can live without the go to symbol feature working properly on most projects, but to fork out $70 for an editor with all these essential features broken, I just cannot justify it. (then add on for plugins like SFTP, which should be free).

It looks great and beats the crap out of vi though, but it still has a way to go.

fix these things and I will buy the product. Until then, I’m going back to windows and visual studio!

(open source this project and I’ll fix these issues myself – for free!)

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