Ask JW: How Do I Work On My Server in TextMate?

The greatest advantage that Coda has over TextMate is that you can work directly on your server. Obviously, by removing the middle-man, we can work much more quickly. This is a bit unfortunate, as TextMate is a much more powerful platform. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve just learned how to work around this. We’ll use a program, for Mac and PC, called ExpanDrive. For more information, check out this quick screencast.

What do you think? I love it.


  • Jamie Barton says:

    Thats awesome! I love it too! I’ve been using it for a few days and finding it great!!

  • That seems like a pretty sweet setup, though typically I just use the “edit” option in Cyberduck to directly edit the files on my server. ExpandDrive looks interesting though. May try it out. Thanks for the tip!

  • Dan Gayle says:

    I’ve used Expandrive + Textmate for some time now, and I love it. It’s simple: connect to your remote drive, drag the folder onto your Textmate icon to open a temporary project, and that’s it. When you’re done, close it out.

    I like it much more than Coda. If only Textmate had the ability to do the Bonjour sharing that Coda has.

  • Roderick Gibson says:

    You know, in general i think its bad practice to edit directly on server for more than trivial changes, and its virtually unmanageable if you have to work with someone else. The proper way to do this (and its a little technical i think for this website, or I’d have written a tut for ya =) ), and wholly necessary for working with a team, is using repositories like git or subversion.

  • Kevinsturf says:

    woah very cool program Jeff. I might buy it too.

  • jeff says:

    Transmit makes it even easier. Just double-click a file in Transmit and it opens in Textmate.

  • tommy says:


    I do that at work sometimes, but it seems like it gets confused sometimes and needs to be restarted every once and awhile, especially when working with multiple files simultaneously.

    Textwrangler (free! yay!) can open files on a server and is perfect for small, quick changes or when you’re developing and don’t want/need a bigger environment.

  • John Daniel says:

    Hi Jeff,

    my question is kinda dummie, but I always heard that Coda was only of the best editing tools for Mac, and I always thougth that TextMate was like Notepad for Windows (a simple text editor). I really woud like to know the diferences between the two of them.

    P.S. Iam asking this because I want to buy a Mac and I’m looking to know what are the best tools for developing in Mac.

    Thank you

  • Eduardo says:

    @jeff The problem with Transmit is that you can’t open a remote folder as a Proyect in TextMate.

    I tried this some time ago. But when I hide TextMate and try to use it again… It freezes for about 5 secons. :S But i think this is maybe because of my slow connection

  • Mephux says:

    Why not just use macfuse and mount the server as an SSH drive. 100% free that way with an identical UI.

  • Rata says:

    I do it exactly like Delilah but – very old feshioned ;) – with BBEdit

    Kind regards

  • Hassan says:

    Helllo, This is great. But i am having troubles on the windows? I can’t get it to work? Can you please help?

  • krike says:

    woooow this is great :D thank you for sharing this

  • Jelmer says:

    Sounds great, but I’m having trouble on Windows too…
    Keep gettting “Keyboard Interactive Authentication” prompt, which asks me for a password, but nothing works. I filled in the right password in the beginning, so I don’t know what’s wrong? :(

  • Hassan says:

    Yea, Jeff, It would be great if you record the windows version as well…? It would be highly appreciated.

  • RappyBMX says:

    lamo… have you ever heard about webdisk… some hosts offer it and it’s free ! u don’t have to pay anything… it’s the same thing

  • yan says:

    EpanDrive works fine with Amazon S3 for you? Me not :-(

  • Johnb says:

    I just use a Firefox FTP plugin called FireFTP. Right-click on a file, open it in ANY editor. Edit file, save. It automatically updates the file on the server.

    What i’m doing is working on the server, right? So what’s the benefit of using Coda or ExpanDrive?

  • Keith says:

    This doesn’t work with my host, I don’t think my host allows ssh does anyone have any tips?

  • Willabee says:

    @Keith. Yeah, I do as @JohnB above does, use the Firefox FireFTP plugin and open your files with your favourite editor for direct server updates. Best of all, it’s free (but maybe @Jeffrey is on a commission).

  • Noah Hendrix says:

    For those asking what the value of this over an FTP client is, I believe that because it acts like a drive on the desktop it means 1 less application you really have to deal with. Most FTP clients can get pretty bulky with the features, but it looks like expandrive integrates really well with Finder. I typically work in Coda, but if there is just that one line of code you want to modify and you don’t have the project created in Coda it makes it so much nicer to just mount the server and fire up lightweight textmate (rhyming mostly unintentional). Also when working on a project you get to see the project drawer, where it lists all the files in your current project, wheras the cyberduck/fireFTP doesn’t allow for that very easily.

  • Garth Jantzen says:

    The value of this over an FTP client is that TextMate has a great project feature that allows you to work with all your websites’s files in one window, rather than opening each one everytime you want to make changes with an FTP client. But when you focus off TextMate to another app and then focus back to TextMate it refreshes the files to reflect any changes made. If the project files are over a network it can take forreeevveeer to refresh them. Thats where mounting makes things way quicker to work over a network. However, there is a TextMate plugin to disable the auto-refresh feature, but that can cause problems if collaborating with others on those files.

  • - says:

    Another shout out for MacFUSE. If you can access your server via SSH, you can mount it as an external drive for FREE.

  • Matt says:

    I’ve tried using expandrive and textmate instantly crashes when i try and load the project from my server. When im browsing for which folder to open as a project textmate sees the files/folders and navigates them quickly enough, but as soon as i try and open a folder, it crashes?!

    Tried macfusion and expandrive, tried sftp and sshfs, and tried a few different servers, all the same result!