Year in Review

15 months ago TextMate was released to the public and got a mixed response. Some loved it, some hated it, and many saw potential. Since then I have been working hard to improve the product, and it was with great pleasure I heard Leo Laporte on The Mac Attack say the following about TextMate (starting with an apology to the folks at BareBones):

It is incredible, it's getting better all the time, is the ultimate programming application […] its ability to replay macros, insert snippets, and run commands is very powerful and it supports all sorts of languages, it's just the ultimate programming or HTML editor, so I have really become a fan of TextMate […] at first people kind of mocked it […] but it's just incredible.

I am truly thankful to people like Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, David Heinemeier Hansson, and the hundreds of other who make up for my lack of active marketing. Words cannot express my gratitude toward the work these people do!

I would naturally also like to thank all those who are helping me make TextMate such a powerful environment for so many different programming languages. Many users may not be aware that probably 95% of the language specific functionality, including syntax highlighting, and color themes, is not done by me, but instead by a team of volunteers (I am not listing them here because I fear I will forget some).

Of course the many people who help me deal with user support, propose intriguing features, and ask interesting questions at the mailing list and IRC channel are also much appreciated!

All in all I am really happy with the growing community surrounding TextMate, and alone the fact that there actually is such vibrant community surrounding a “for pay” text editor.

Speaking of the “for pay” element. I am often asked how much I actually sell, I try to be as open about everything related to TextMate as I possibly can (sometimes at the expense of “promising” a feature or release date, which I later have to change my mind on — hopefully a price people are willing to pay for my openness). But as for how much I do sell, the serial number on your license (should you have bought one) is the actual customer number, so this will tell you how many licenses were sold before you purchased yours.

Recently Gus Mueller disclosed his sales graphs for the first 3 years (with figures removed). Since the graph is likely more interesting than total number of sales, I am following his fine example and present here my (normalized) monthly sales for 2005 (also with figures removed).

2005 Adoption Rate

What's interesting is that the number of downloads do not show the same extreme growth. So the rise in sales is not only due to more people learning about TextMate, but (hopefully) also my improvements throughout the year.

I didn't put any figures on the graph because I don't know how people react to such things. But January do represent a good salary, and I would probably lie if I said I wasn't getting rich from this.

But fear not, I develop TextMate because I am passionate about the program and love to see my ideas turned into working code. More money just means I can be more passionate, hire people to help me, and/or experiment with making larger portions of TextMate F/OSS (but these things are currently very long-term).


  1. 05 Jan 2006 | # oliver taylor wrote…

    I personally bought TextMate as a direct result of the work you have done since it's release. When the app first came out I tried it and dumped it, but after the substantial improvements you've made I now love it; I use it for every bit of writing I do, from coding, note-taking, to screenwriting. So, thank you, you deserve everything that's coming to you.

  2. 05 Jan 2006 | # Mark Jardine wrote…

    Textmate is a wonderful app. I gone through so many text editors on the mac platform (and there are a lot of nice ones), but this one definitely fits like a glove.

    I wish you a lot of financial success this year from this amazing app and can't wait to see how much better it gets a year from now!

  3. 05 Jan 2006 | # Jason Jablon wrote…

    Recently purchased TextMate and love it. I have tried many of the editors available for OS X, and found TextMate to be the best. Love the LaTeX support and the ability to create commands without writing applescripts.

  4. 05 Jan 2006 | # Bob Monsour wrote…

    Some programmers I've known have said that "any editor is better than a new editor". I say that TextMate is better than "any editor" and well worth the learning curve.

    Thanks for your passion. May it continue.

  5. 05 Jan 2006 | # Thomas Aylott wrote…

    I tried out TextMate a long time ago and was interested, but I couldn't actually get any work done with it.

    After seeing the Ruby On Rails video, I got that insane application lust! Now I can't imagine getting any work done without it!

    Frankly, I like that you get paid for this app. The price keeps the whiny cheapskates away from the mailing list. I love open source apps, but I hate the slow pace of most development.

    You getting paid and working full time on this app can only make the app better and improve my life.

    This app has vastly improved my life.

  6. 05 Jan 2006 | # Andrew Ho wrote…

    I must say that the free trial really did help me buy it. Normally, I'm wary of buying software, but I was so impressed with it that I bought it. Which is a big deal for me, because I'm a student, and the only other software I've bought for my mac is iWork.

    What I love about TextMate is the philosophy behind it, which really gels with the way I think. It also received glowing reviews from a friend of mine :).

  7. 05 Jan 2006 | # Xian wrote…

    I also bought it recently as a result of your improvements. When I first tried it, there was a lot that I wanted to like, but not enough to pull me away from from my emacs. Now I use TM for most things. I still use emacs for xml stuff and for complicated file-management/find and replace duties. Because dired is wonderful. Anyway, I digress.

    Point is TM is the first text editor I've ever paid for. Thanks!

  8. 06 Jan 2006 | # Host wrote…

    Again, your changes directly resulted in my purchase. So thanks and congrats.

  9. 06 Jan 2006 | # Bob wrote…

    Congratulations on the new release and all of the success!! The good news is that this is a win-win situation, a real two way street. I'm glad your happy with what your doing because honestly you have made my work a lot easier and more fun to do.

    One thing that might help more people see TextMate in all of its glory — package more updated versions of all of the stuff that is currently available via Subversion with the download. For example, the Python mode that came with TextMate is good but the current one on Subversion is absolutely fantastic!!

  10. 06 Jan 2006 | # Watts wrote…

    I'm one of the crowd who looked at the initial release and was… well, not underwhelmed, but not overwhelmed, either. (I'm not sure one can say "I was merely whelmed.") I'd already paid for BBEdit years ago, I knew how to set up glossary entries for the 'type a word and press a button to expand' trick and how to open file groups in it, and some of TM 1's quirky design choices kept me away.

    But, unlike many developers, you not only listen to feedback, you act fast on it. The quirky designs I didn't like went away, and the architecture that's developed for bundles is probably only eclipsed by Emacs in flexibility–and it's a lot easier to deal with. I kept checking in every once in a while, and eventually started using a TM 1.1 beta… and that time, it nudged aside BBEdit in my workflow, and I bought it a couple weeks later. There are still things from BBEdit I miss (which have appeared on your feature request list enough from others that I won't repeat 'em), but there are now more things that I miss from TM when using anything else. And the recent addition of the "Edit in TextMate" input manager is virtually a killer app in itself.

    I agree with Bob's comment that you might want to keep the bundles updated in the downloads, and find a way eventually to extend TM's own updating system to be able to cover bundles.

    Congratulations on the 1.5 release and thanks for all the hard work you've clearly been putting in!

  11. 06 Jan 2006 | # john wrote…

    I miss the robot.

  12. 06 Jan 2006 | # Matt wrote…

    What exactly do "normalized" sales data mean?

  13. 06 Jan 2006 | # Shiran wrote…

    TextMate is the first Mac app I have purchased (I supposed it helped me break the ice with other software purchases). During the evaluation period I surprisingly learned very little about bundles or snippets or macros or keyboard bindings, mostly out of laziness. But it just felt right. And the frequent updates just won me over. So I bought it. Now, each bit of functionality I learn is accompanied with a "what? it does that too?" exclamation. I love the fact that it doesn't try to solve the world's problems. Just a simple, trusty text editor. It's the Apple way of doing things.

    Tip: Don't use TextMate for live demos of software you'd like to showcase. It will just steal the thunder. Happened to me too. :)

  14. 07 Jan 2006 | # Mats Persson wrote…

    Congratulations Allan, and a BIG thanks for a great job well done!

    As registered user #168, I've been around for a long time, and received great joy and pleasure from this wonderful app, and the community around it. Not only have I had a great time coding with the app, but it's functionality and features has 'forced'/encouraged me to learn many new skills that improved my productivity manyfold.

    Due to personal circumstances I am currently MIA from the community, and spend hardly anytime in front of the computer, but I'm still around and can't wait to get back one day soon-ish ;-)

    Enjoy yourselves, and make sure you tear yourselves away from TM for long enough to care for and enjoy the company of your family and close friends while you can! Life is brittle thing this exists now, and hopefully tomorrow!

  15. 07 Jan 2006 | # William Svec wrote…

    I just want to second (third, fourth, fifth) all of the compliments above. I've been coding for 20 years and I've never had the pleasure of using a better editor than TextMate!

    Amazing flexibility and intuitiveness.

    Keep up the great work! Thanks!

  16. 07 Jan 2006 | # Allan Odgaard wrote…

    Matt: normalized just means that the length of each month has been taken into the calculations.

    For example if you sell 1,000 copies in January and only 950 in February, it would seem as you are selling less, unless you factor into the calculation that January is 10% longer than February.

  17. 07 Jan 2006 | # Dan Ridley wrote…

    Congratulations, Allan, I'm exceedingly happy to see that you're getting a reasonable return from this. I used TM to the end of its trial, then really really wished I had it for quite some time before I actually managed to buy… and it's one of the best software purchases I've ever made. I don't think any other single software, ever, has added this much to my productivity.

  18. 10 Jan 2006 | # Brad wrote…

    I've seen it in the demos and a colleague at work has it and I'm soooo jealous as I'm using Windows. TextMate is one of the major reasons I'm considering purchasing a Mac!

  19. 01 Feb 2006 | # Yan wrote…

    I'm still on free trial but almost ready to purchase. I love textmate…thanks for this wonderful editor. One thing I'm missing though is the awesome navigational and editing capabilities of vi. Now i'm not talking about macros and all that other fancy stuff. Check out the eclipse vi plugin for a 'good enough' featureset that makes me quite happy.

    I would be comfortable paying at least twice the price for this editor if it had a VI mode. I have heard all the talk about textmate being modeless, etc, etc…but come on…someone write a plugin :) I will pay!

  20. 04 Feb 2006 | # hellmachine wrote…

    i hope the salary is good enough to keep your independence. the worst thing i can imagine is textmate being bought by some larger company. look what happened to netnewswire. no updates, no nothing. please, keep the independence and the personal touch of a great product.

  21. 07 Sep 2006 | # johnq wrote…

    I hate to say it, but I will not be upgrading to BBEdit 8.5

    Having tried the latest TextMate (just before WWDC, so, pre-bandwagon hype) I can't look at BBEdit it in the same light.

    When Daring Fireball just announce BBEdit 8.5 was out, calling it a "Major update" (my ass!) I immediately downloaded it, hoping that Barebones "gets it" now and should be fired up to compete against TextMate. They ought to be able to do something at least the same quality as TextMate, however I don't think they are young and daring enough to want to anymore.

    The BBEdit 8.5 update is a snoozer. Bigger icons, yay.

    The TextMate color options alone are enough to leave BBEdit permanently. Anything but the slightest color changes in BBEdit become unreadable because of the limitations of the implementation.

    (Yes, we want text background colors as well, Barebones)

    And their code folding drives me nuts. (Why do I want folding if there is no disclosure triangle to toggle it? Why would I want to fold once and have to go to the menu to refold? Am I missing something?) But yes, I'd like arbitrary folding too, if the disclosure triangle was different to indicate it isn't a matching pair of tags.

    Anyway, they should give up or innovate or make you an offer you can't refuse.

    Barebones has total coding cred but not of late.

    "Barebones" should not mean "stale" and "sooooo 1990's" but it does now.

    Begone Clinton-era text editors!

    BBEdit: It still doesn't suck, but we're working on it.™

  22. 02 Jan 2007 | # Kirt Fitzpatrick wrote…

    I have started writing a Vi Plugin for TextMate. So far I have the basic movement commands, hjkl, x and X, i and a, and visual mode. I'll have more later in the week. I have been dieing for this so I suppose that other people out there have too. I also just setup my domain so it may not have propagated yet.

  23. 10 Feb 2007 | # Jonatan Andersson wrote…

    Hi I just bought mine license today, Saturday 10 Feb 2007. My license number is nearing 41 000. So if the serial number still strictly a customer number and every copy is sold for 39 Euros it would mean that Textmate has sold for 1,599,000 Euros in total. If Textmate has 41 0000 paying customer the people at Macromates have made quite a winning application.

    Anyway I just wanted to say that I really enjoy this editor enough to take it beyond the trial period and actually use it for full time developing.

    But my query still lingers, has Textmate sold almost 41 0000 copies?

  24. 09 Apr 2007 | # laurent buhler wrote…

    Give a VI editing mode and i buy it :)

Comments closed, you can use the mailing list for discussion.