BBEdit: Where are the dialog sheets?

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 1st, 2005 • 4:25 am

I am a long-time user of BBEdit and am generally pleased with the way the application has evolved over the years. I have bought all the updates.

What I cannot understand, however, is why Bare Bones Software is so reluctant to embrace some of Mac OS X’s core features, even when they have clear advantages.

The most obvious one is the lack of support for dialog sheets. Why is it that, when you want to save a new BBEdit document, the “Save As” dialog box that pops up is a modal dialog box that prevents you from doing anything else in other BBEdit documents until you use it or dismiss it?

This is a clear advantage of dialog sheets: They are attached to their corresponding document and do not interfere with your work on other document windows in the same application.

Why hasn’t Bare Bones Software embraced this? Mac OS X has had this feature from the very beginning, i.e. over four years ago. Bare Bones has had more than ample time to adopt it for its own products.

I know that the Bare Bones folks like, well, bare-bones interfaces. And I don’t really have a problem with that. But this is not just a visual gimmick. It’s actually a useful improvement.

I fail to see why it’s not there in BBEdit in 2005.

2 Responses to “BBEdit: Where are the dialog sheets?”

  1. Warren Beck says:


    I don’t like the sheets. They cover up the stuff in the text window. So if I have a new document that I need to save, sometimes I need to see the stuff in the text window to figure out what to call the document. With sheets, I’m hosed. If I forget how to name the file, I have to cancel saving. Now, if I can move the dialog box, I can just keep on working…

    (The stuff in question is bibliographic material, so the file names are coded to allow me to be able to pick the right file from a long list without having to open it to find out what is in it.)

    So I think the boys at BareBones have it right. They _could_ provide a preference setting for this. Let the user decide how this should go.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    I see your point. However, I can see just as many situations where the user needs to see something in another window in the same application in order to be able to name the file.

    In order to accommodate as many usage scenarios as possible, maybe what Apple should have done is maintain the ability to scroll through a document while the dialog sheet is open. This would help a lot.

    But I don’t think the old modal dialog is a better solution. For one thing, it assumes that you have a big enough screen to be able to drag the dialog elsewhere in order to uncover what’s underneath it.

    As for making it a preference setting, I suppose it wouldn’t be much of a problem in BBEdit, which already has tons of preference settings. But it’s a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils here — and I think the choice is quite clear.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.