Beta versus release versions
As some may have noticed, beta 6 was released as an unofficial release (i.e. even if you’ve enabled beta checks in the software update preferences, it wouldn’t appear). Dan asked if these unofficial versions were to be considered more as alphas than betas, so let me clarify on how I view beta versions (since I don’t think there is any consensus on what alpha and beta versions really mean).
Update: Now it’s 1.1 beta 12 (but please read this entry before just downloading, this beta requires 10.3.9 or higher). Beta 12 includes these bundles: C/C++, CSS, Diff, HTML, Language Definition, Latex, Markdown, Math, Objective-C, PHP, Property List, Ruby, Source, Subversion, Text Utilities, Unix Shell, and Web Searches. For additional bundles you’ll currently need to do a svn checkout.
Generally I want people to use beta versions over release versions, because beta versions have more features (and often bug fixes). The reason I call them betas are:
- stuff in beta versions are work-in-progress, so e.g. you may have a text field in a dialog which isn’t functional yet, and
- initially I did beta releases almost daily, and I don’t want to force users (who don’t need the latest cutting edge version) to go through the trouble of daily updates.
Beta 6 is definitely better than beta 5 when it comes to features, but the theme system is very much work in progress (more than usual) so,
- you need to do a svn checkout of the bundles repository to really use beta 6 (nothing is included, and if you do not do the checkout or set a selection color, it will freeze when you make a selection!),
- we (me and the bundle contributers) haven’t stabilized fully yet on language naming conventions and thus, not all languages look as good (with regard to syntax coloring) as beta 5 (although you can easier customize these colors with beta 6 than you could with beta 5),
So, if you don’t mind doing the svn checkout and you won’t write long letters to bugs (at) macromates about broken syntax colors or how this theme editor could be much better, then I’d say: go for beta 6!
You can also read the online release notes. Scroll down to the details on the new scope system, this stuff is freaking fantastic! The improvements in the actual parsing (heredoc support, full recursion, etc) will be detailed in beta 7 (which should be out in a few days). This beta is probably also going to be unofficial, but I hope to have beta 8 out as an official beta before friday. And then I’ll start to blog about these new features.