“I know I’ve done this before! How did I code this for Client X before?”
“What’s that CSS3 slideshow I did for Client Y again?”
These are the types of questions I ask myself when building new sites. Especially doing something I know I’ve down before. I would waste so much time trying to remember not only the site where I wrote the original piece of code, but also locating the code I wrote within the source once I remembered the site. Talk about a headache.
“Wouldn’t it be great if after writing a function (that took hours to build) I could file the function away with some sense of organization for future use,” I thought to myself. That’s where CodeBox comes in.
CodeBox is not the only, nor the most popular code snippet tool out there. There are other big hitter apps like Snippets and jCodeCollector. There are also countless online storage tools like Snipplr and Snipt.
I have tried
them all. I found the online tools incredibly cumbersome for my taste. There are too many steps involved to add, edit, or use a snippet. I also tried Snippets, it was nice. But a little overpriced for its simplicity.
And then I discovered CodeBox. Appropriately priced ($4.99), simple, quick, and clean in appearance. I would like to share with you some of the features I enjoy about CodeBox.
Folders AND Tags
It seems most managers of content, be it pictures, text, or code are either Tag based or Folder based. Most fall under the former. CodeBox allows for both. I like that. While I tend to organize by way of folders, I can also use Tags for snippets that transcend its parent folder.
Multiple Assets Per Snippet
Each snippet in CodeBox can have multiple assets associated with it. For instance, if I create a killer WordPress loop that displays a custom post type. In most code managers I would have to store two different snippets. One for the loop (loop-home.php) and the other for the functions file (functions.php). But with CodeBox I can create a new snippet and give it two assets. Each asset can be appropriately named too, so I know where the code goes.
Also worth mentioning:
- Syntax Highlighting
- Smart Groups (think iTunes like Smart Playlist)
- Multiple Libraries
For how great I think CodeBox is, there are couple things that annoy me.
I am surprised that I cannot move between all fields when creating a new snippet. For instance when I create a new snippet, I can give it a name, tags, and some asset notes but that’s where my tab-based journey ends. To continue down the working tree I must use the mouse and click-to-edit.
Since the tab-based navigation ends just after the Asset notes field, that means I cannot technically add a new snippet without taking my hands off the keyboard. I am forced to use my mouse to click the code snippet box. Not a deal-breaker, just a major annoyance.
As I mentioned above, I like that I can have multiple assets per snippet. But I would greatly appreciate the ability to attach files to a snippet. For example, images. If I create a fantastic CSS3 slideshow, I would love the ability to attach a screenshot of the results.
I did contact Shpakovski regarding this ability. His advice was to use a service like CloudApp to store the screenshot. And then paste the URL into the notes field. That works for now, but what if CloudApp goes away?
There is no true search function in CodeBox that I have found. Filtering is the only option for finding exactly what you need.
And from what I can tell the filter is dependent solely upon the snippet name. It does NOT dive any deeper looking at the notes or even the snippet text itself. Bummer. I suppose Google or Evernote has spoiled us all with what we expect when from a search field within an web page or app.
I am enjoying using CodeBox to manage all my snippets. From *nix commands to WordPress loops it’s working for me. I suggest you give it try.
What have I missed? Do you have any more to add? If so, feel free to speak up and let me know.