BBEdit 13.5 Offers Mid-Cycle Efficiency Improvements

Originally published at: BBEdit 13.5 Offers Mid-Cycle Efficiency Improvements - TidBITS

The latest version of the powerful text editor from Bare Bones Software offers a wide variety of new features, refinements, and bug fixes. Adam Engst explores a few of the most notable.

Just went looking for a “randomize” feature today!

I didn’t want to put all this detail in the article, but what I used to do for DealBITS was first sort the list of entries (which were email addresses) alphabetically. That eliminated any association with the order of entry. Then I went to and used its Sequences tool to generate a set of random numbers of the same size as my set of entries. Then, if we had three prizes to award, I’d match the first three numbers in the sequence to the matching line numbers in my BBEdit file of the entries.

What I like about is that it uses atmospheric noise to seed its random number generators. Back when I was in high school, my school got some of the first IBM PCs because IBM Owego and IBM Endicott were just down the road. In BASIC, we all immediately started playing with drawing random shapes of random sizes at random positions on the screen and looping for a very high number of repetitions. No matter what we did, we always got the same diagonal bands of color on the screen eventually because the random number generator in IBM BASIC at the time didn’t seed itself from anything particularly random (I vaguely remember that we could only seed it from the clock—this was very early days).

Anyway, that’s a long way of saying that I asked Rich Siegel about the random number generator that BBEdit uses, and he said it’s a cryptographic generator built into macOS. So it’s pretty good, if perhaps not as random as atmospheric noise.


In fact, that’s what I’ve been doing, too—to randomize my list of supporters for periodic “roll call” nods. But I’ve long thought BBEdit might come along with this feature, so I’ve kept checking the menu after each update.

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