[Sublime + Python Setup] Don’t build “nag screen muscle memory”

Hey there,

Once I worked with a developer who refused to buy a registered copy of Sublime for months on end, even though he *loved* Sublime.

He used it as his main code editor every day and was very happy with it —

Except for that dang nag screen that would get him all worked up and angry because it "interrupted his work".

You might be familiar with this popup dialog in unlicensed copies of Sublime Text:


Sublime’s free trial version has all the features of the paid version—but every couple of minutes it displays a nag screen as a reminder to upgrade to the full version.

That's a pretty fair model in my books (yes I grew up when “shareware” was still a thing).

Anyway, when I sat down for a pair programming session with this guy one day I was kind of dumbfounded by how he'd “tightly integrated” the nag screen with his coding workflow:

He’d made a habit out of typing some code, getting hit with the nag screen, groaning and letting out a curse under his breath, then smoothly dismissing the nag screen, and carrying on with this work.

And let me tell you, he’d gotten *good* at dismissing that popup… Watching him reminded me of a guitarist playing a well-rehearsed lick.

His precise and cat-like movements clearly showed that he had developed impeccable muscle memory for the task.

Now there would've been an easy fix to stop this distraction: Just shell out the $70 for a Sublime Text license and he'd been off to interruption-free programming bliss…But no, my coworker did not budge.

When I casually asked our CTO if we could get a team license for Sublime to stop this misery once and for all—he almost spat coffee all over his laptop.

Today I understand the complete look of astonishment on his face:

As an experienced developer, our CTO knew the toll those daily interruptions took on my colleague.

How they affected his creativity, his productivity… and how, by extension, they cost the company a lot of money. Much more than what a measly editor license key would cost.

We purchased a Sublime license the same afternoon.

In the end my colleague was happy to get a full version of Sublime without the nag screen. And for me a lightbulb went on and I witnessed my mindset shift…

Don't get me wrong—I *love* a frugal mindset, but sacrificing your own happiness by trying to save some money on a critical tool you use all day is always the wrong choice. Period.

Because, when you think about it, tools for developers are pretty cheap:

Other professions like architects or graphic designers have to put up with much higher software prices.

I just looked and AutoCAD costs $4,195 for a single-user license these days.

Adobe charges $899.88 for their Creative Suite per user—and that’s an annually recurring fee.

Most tools for software developers are ridiculously cheap by comparison…

And that makes them fantastic *investments*:

I found it always pays to invest in the tools that make you happy and more productive. These days I try to get the best tools I can afford to do my work.

And this strategy has served me well—both professionally and from a "developer happiness" perspective.

Remember how great it felt to automate away a task that got on your nerves for a month?

When you finally got rid of that roadblock or distraction in your workflow once and for all?

Every time I do that it feels awesome. I feel waves of joy and satisfaction rolling through my whole body. (Yes I know I’m a huge nerd.)

For Sublime Text there’s a quick way to get rid of kinks and roadblocks in your coding workflow —

You can turn it into a tool that’s going to make you smile every time you sit down at your computer to work. Get all the details in the link below:

>> Click here to make your Sublime Text experience even better

— Dan Bader

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