Useful Sublime Packages

Sublime Text on its own is a great tool to use for HTML / CSS / JavaScript development — but it gets even better with packages! Sublime Text is free to evaluate, with a nominal cost for continued use — a great way to get your feet wet with the tool.

Installing Package Control into Sublime allows you to include add-ons to make coding easier. Once you have installed Package Control into Sublime text, the next step is to locate packages that are helpful. I find a lot of benefit with the following packages.

Bracket Highlighter
Opening and closing brackets/braces/parenthesis can be tricky to keep track of — especially if you are troubleshooting code. This package will highlight the complementary bracket/brace/parenthesis your cursor is currently on.

Sublime Code Intelligence
Many IDE’s (Integrated Development Environments — tools to write your code in) offer code completion. Sublime will do this for repeated statements, and it will do it pretty well, but not for code not previously entered. Sublime Code Intelligence will help with code completion for common HTML, CSS, and JavaScript syntax — helping you to avoid typos.

Sublime Server
Sometimes supporting libraries you might include in your project (for example if you are including a framework like jQuery or something similar) don’t run well in a local environment (testing files directly from your computer). Making your local development environment more like a web server can help avoid some of these issues.

There are many local testing servers you can download, but Sublime Server is nice since you have everything integrated together and you can run any open file by right-clicking on it and choosing ‘View in Sublime Server’ which will launch your file to your default browser in the localhost.

In the examples and demo’s to come, I tend to utilize all of these packages to aid in my development.

Hello World is merely the start

When learning a new computer language, quite often the first example is to create a “Hello, World” type application. “Hello, World” is something we tend to take for granted now, but it wasn’t always the defacto starter example.

Learning a new computer language can be daunting. There are new ways to do things, many details as to how to organize and define your code, ways to package up your code, then to deploy your code to where it needs to go in order to function.

“Hello, World” was first used in an internal memorandum for Bell Labs back in 1974 by┬áBrian Kernighan, and later widely released in his book for the “C Programming Langage” published in 1978. At this time computers were still typically large office machines taking up quite a lot of space, nothing like we have today.┬áBrian Kernighan used this “Hello, World” example as a way to quickly show the basics of program structure and workflow, to get the programmer’s feet wet, and feel like they accomplished something.

So, “Hello, World” is a great start, but the story can’t end there. Learning a new language means you have to buy into its story, how it’s useful for you, what it can do for you, and how it can enable you to help others. When we learn any new language, a big reason why we learn is to help others. To help them communicate, to enable them to do less work, to make things easier.

After this great introduction, we need to keep things moving – and the best way to facilitate this is through story coupled with technical details. So often when learning a new language or API (Application Programming Interface) you are presented with dry stale details. Without a compelling reason to continue past “Hello, World”, a user learning will only do the bare minimum to get by.

If someone is learning your language or API, don’t you want them to dive in deeper. For them to advocate using your product rather than someone else’s? Creating documentation that is compelling, that tells a story, to get your users not only interested, but advocate for it’s usage to their peers – shouldn’t that be your goal?

Story is important.

What are you saying after “Hello, World”?