10 Essential Sublime Text Plugins for Full-Stack Developers

Shaumik Daityari
Tweet

When I started with web development a few years ago, Vim was my first choice of text editor. It was easy to work with and I could get the basics done without much hassle. Also, many developers like terminal based text editors because they get the same environment in both their local development machines and remote servers. In spite of the “Vim vs Emacs” debate out there, about a year ago I decided to try out a native text editor and Twitter was abuzz with one of them (no prizes for the guessing which one.)

The creators of Sublime Text say it’s a text editor you’ll fall in love with and, having worked with it for almost a year now, I must say I completely agree with them. It has an untimed trial, and a licence for a single user costs $70. If you spend most of your day working with a text editor, I would say it’s a worthy investment!

What makes Sublime Text even better is its extensibility. So, here’s a look at the plugins that make an already wonderful editor truly Sublime.

1. Package Control

One way of installing Sublime Text plugins is by downloading files and copying them to the packages directory. However, you should go through that process exactly once, because there exists a plugin called Package Control: a package manager, enabling you to install other plugins without leaving Sublime Text. It’s like apt-get for Ubuntu, pip for Python and npm for node.js.

Follow the installation instructions here and you won’t have to install another plugin manually ever again.

To verify that it’s been correctly installed, press Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + p and type in ‘package control’ — you should be able to view a list of options.

Package Control

2. Git

These days, more often than not, you are going to work with a version control software, and the most popular VCS is Git. Are you tired of saving your text files and switching back to the terminal to run a few Git commands. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could execute Git commands from the text editor itself? Install the Git plugin and get more done in less time!

Running Git Diff

3. GitGutter

Although you can run Git commands from within Sublime Text, why check the differences in a file from the last commit by running a separate command when you can view it in real time?

With GitGutter, you can see which lines have been added, deleted or modified in the gutter.

Git Gutter Usage

4. Emmet

Emmet is a useful plugin that saves time by making you write less, thus increasing your productivity. Emmet is available for other text editors like Notepad++ and Eclipse.

There are a lot of things that you can accomplish with Emmet, but I will just tell you my favorite here. Type html:5 and press Ctrl/Cmd + e, and it is expanded to a basic HTML 5 page template. Simple!

Emmet Demo

5. AllAutocomplete

Sublime Text’s default autocomplete considers words that are present in the current file only. The AllAutocomplete plug-in, however, searches all open files to find matches while suggesting words.

AllAutocomplete Demo

6. Terminal

Just in case you want to open a terminal in the directory of your current file, this plugin can be of use. However, by default, it sets Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + t as the shortcut for opening the terminal, which is also the shortcut to open the last closed file. You should change either of the shortcuts to be able to use both functionalities!

7. SublimeREPL

This is probably the most useful plugin for programmers. SublimeREPL lets you run an interpreter of a range of languages (NodeJS, Python, Ruby, Scala and Haskell to name a few) right inside Sublime Text. Let us run a Python interpreter and see if it works. Perform some list checks and computed 48 raised to the power 100.

Running Python in Sublime Text

8. ColorPicker

Usually, if you want to use a color picker you probably open Photoshop or GIMP and use the built-in color picker there. The ColorPicker plugin lets you use a color picker within Sublime Text! After installation, just press Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + c.

The Color Picker Plugin

9. MarkdownPreview

Although many developers prefer to create Markdown files in the cloud (GitHub Gists, StackEdit, Markable), this is for the ‘old school’ writers who prefer to keep their files locally. Although MarkdownPreview is primarily to preview Markdown files, you can go one step further and install MarkdownEditing, which gives you proper color highlighting.

MarkdownPreview Options

10. DocBlockr

If you follow coding guidelines strictly, this is one plugin that makes your task easier. DocBlokr helps you in creating proper comments for your code, by parsing the functions, parameters, variables, and automatically adding the basic items. Start with “/**” and DocBlockr does the rest for you. For instance, check how DocBlockr makes my life easier by creating a format for me to fill based on my comment.

DocBlockr Demo

With this, we come to the end of our list of plugins to boost your productivity. Did we miss out any important ones? Do let us know your favorites in the comments below.

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • Sjors van Dongen

    Indeed I agree that sublime text is an awesome editor and even though I have tried other editors I keep getting back at sublime. But, my love for sublime has decreased in the last few months. The support is pretty bad and the development of sublime text 3 is as good as over. Nice article though, thank you.

    • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

      Glad you liked it :)

  • Paul C

    Biggest issue with Sublime – unless it’s now fixed – that I encountered while switching git branches from a terminal is that the editor does not update the open files. This can destroy work as I found out. All other editors that I have used will do this or at the least prompt you. A shame.

    • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

      Hi Paul,

      I have never tried that. I just use it for little feature wise commits. Heavier Git tasks go back to the terminal, where I am more comfortable.

      • Paul C

        Yes, that is what I mean. Open a git project and a file in Sublime make a change and commit on the terminal. Now switch branches. Sublime does not reload the open file to reflect the branch you are now on. So now if you don’t close and open the file you will overwrite a the wrong branch file.

        I should say I love Sublime but stopped using it for revision controlled projects preferring Eclipse.

        • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

          Oh yes, I have felt the reloading issue very much! I have to reload files manually, otherwise the contents of the file are not refreshed.

          • Paul C

            If they could sort that out I would probably go back to using it as my primary editor. It’s great for small quick jobs.

          • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

            I think this bug is unintentional.

            If you make changes to a file, and do not close that tab, but close Sublime Text altogether, it gets saved in the buffer. Next time you open Sublime, you can see the changes that you made (still unsaved in the file). I think something that does that work led to this bug.

  • http://www.integral-service.fr Integral Service

    Sublime text is really awesome, but if you add too much plugins… It could be quite long to open it.

    • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

      Definitely. Too may plugins can plague any service!

  • http://alfy.me/ Ahmad Alfy

    Hey man it’s just everybody should pick up his own cup of tea.

  • http://alfy.me/ Ahmad Alfy

    I hated the terminal plugin and had to remove it because it became a defacto standard to open the last closed tab using ctrl+shift+T and this plugin replace it.

    Perhaps I will see if I can use it again and change its shortcut

    • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

      Hi Admad,

      I already mentioned it in the post that it clashes with the shortcut for opening the last closed tab- you should change the shortcut in the plugin’s preferences.

  • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

    I think it shows a message that the file contents have been changed.

  • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

    Are you talking of the history of files being opened? Or changes in files?

  • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

    Agreed. However, I skipped color themes in this altogether as I wanted to concentrate on the plugins!

  • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

    Even I was reluctant to start with Sublime until a good friend of mine shifted from VIM to Sublime. I wondered – why not give it a try? And I haven’t used anything else ever since (except when I need a CLI based editor).

  • http://dada.theblogbowl.in/ Shaumik Daityari

    Well, I haven’t encountered either in Sublime.

    For version control, I prefer Git – always. And I can open the last closed file through Ctrl + Shift + t.

  • Paul

    Over priced !!!!!!!!!!

    • Jono

      I think you’re outraged Paul, I am to! Its actually a very reasonably priced piece of software ;-)

      • Paul

        Irony is meant by over priced!!!!!! From Piotrs comment.

  • http://sarhov.com sarhov

    Thank for terminal plugin, from the 10, that was the only one, I didn’t know.

    here is the a few useful plugins I use, but there is not in this article

    1. SCSS Expander https://sublime.wbond.net/packages/SCSS%20Expander
    Expands the SCSS rule in the current cursor scope.

    2. Gist https://sublime.wbond.net/packages/Gist
    Sublime Text plugin for creating new Gists from selected text

    3. Google Search – https://sublime.wbond.net/packages/Google%20Search

    Search Google for the currently selected text in Sublime Text.

  • http://about.paulofreitas.me/ Paulo Freitas

    Well, you are not required to buy it. Just use and ignore their advertisement. :)

  • http://about.paulofreitas.me/ Paulo Freitas

    A few missing:

    – ApacheConf
    – Autoprefixer
    – Bower
    – CSScomb
    – Composer
    – Dayle Rees Color Schemes
    – LESS
    – nginx
    – SideBarEnhancements
    – SideBarGit
    – SFTP
    – SublimeLinter (and a few SublimeLinter plugins, including SublimeLinter-annotations)

    – TodoReview

    (probably I missed a few others)

  • Цээгий Цэлмэг

    Netbeans != Sublime text

    • https://www.raptor-editor.com/ Petah

      Netbeans > Sublime Text