Bare Bones Software has released BBEdit 8.5.

The company calls this a "significant update", ushering in a claimed 160 new features to the HTML and text editor for the Mac. Not least, the user interface has been overhauled to make it easier to find and use the software's tools.

Productivity boost

"BBEdit is a mature and deeply capable product," explained Rich Siegel, founder and CEO of Bare Bones Software. "As such, we have to constantly consider the question of how to maintain and enhance its feature set, choosing only well-conceived, attractively presented features which serve the goal of increasing our customers' productivity. For BBEdit 8.5, we've taken a huge leap forward in interface polish and usability, increasing the potential for our customers to be more productive than ever."

BBEdit 8.5 introduces code folding, which boosts understanding of complex files by allowing users to collapse ranges of text. Predefined ranges are generated on a language-sensitive basis, and the user can also fold any arbitrary range of text.

The Glossary function, which provides for storage and easy insertion of frequently used chunks of text, has been superceded by an enhanced Clippings system. A new Clippings menu offers access to text clippings and a way to create and search for them. Clippings can use intelligent placeholders, and invoke AppleScript or Unix scripts.

Extensive improvements to the layout and usability of text-editing views include a revised and simplified tool bar, and enhancements to the navigation bar to speed navigation of the current document. Document properties are clearly visible.

Standards support improved

The software also features support for Ruby, SQL, and YAML. Supported SQL variants include MySQL, PostgreSQL, PL/SQL and Transact-SQL. This upgrade also features improved language support for object-oriented JavaScript.

BBEdit's Preferences window has been extensively revised and simplified. A new Menus preference panel provides unified control over BBEdit's menu structure, including adjustment of keyboard equivalents and the ability to show and hide individual menu commands and even entire menus. Users can now search for particular preferences.

The company has improved its Find Differences and Text Factory tools and also beefed up its built-in FTP browser.

The software now incorporates version 5.0 of the Perl-Compatible Regular Expression library (PCRE). This library features extended Unicode properties, named subexpressions for greater readability, and additional regular-expression enhancements.

BBEdit 8.5 costs $125. Owners of version 8 can upgrade for $30, while an upgrade from version 7 costs $40. Users who purchased the software since January 2006 are entitled to a free upgrade. A demo version of the software is available.