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SlickEdit - Is there anything in there than VS hasn't got?

Last paragraph updated with feature demo info and 15-day trial not 30.

This question came across my blog, and I put it aside to think about it a bit because it's a good question.

In my opinion, a code editor is one of the more personal things a developer uses. Sure we all have Visual Studio, and in today's version you can do tons of stuff with that thing. And... if you're just starting out, and VS is all you've seen, you probably would wonder why anyone would want more.

I'm going to bring up some of the things I use SlickEdit for, and don't send me hate mail if VS ALSO does some of those things. I've been using SlickEdit for so long that I go to it first for these things, it's just how I think. I also am not going to try to list out all the features, you can find that on their site. This is just an incomplete list of my thoughts.

Macro Engine

If you've been reading along, you've gotten the idea that there's a Macro Engine in SlickEdit. That's almost an understatement. This might not be exactly true, but I've described SE to people as being a Macro Engine with a ton of Macros delivered that make up the editor. It has a very rich language for manipulating text or buffers of text or pretty much anything you can imagine associated with editing. All the executing code that it does out of the box is in macros that you get the source for. So if you want to extend some functionality, go for it... worst case is you just restore their file!

Template Editing

No matter what the file extension, you're going to get code-completion and intellisense for that extension, and that includes things like if I'm editing C++ or C# and I type do and hit space, I get this:


} while( );

and the cursor is indented between the curly braces.

You don't like that indentation and brace style? Chaange it in the setup options.

What if you have a driving need to edit in some extension that's not onboard? I wrote my own .xul template when I was coding for Mozilla. It was a bit of an IQ test getting started, but once I had it going, it got very easy to add onto, and worked just like the ones delivered.


SlickEdit comes up quick, and works as a text editor... no matter what I want to edit, I can pop it open pretty quickly... I can edit Hex if I want to, and have done so successfully. It's a different paradigm than using VS. I dump a folder of data into a text file and open it with SE, write an F7 macro and blam... it's all formatted out like I want. I'm not even sure how I'd do some of that in VS.

Not wanting to make this real long, I'll give a good example of something I do twice a month. I am responsible for the Paint Shop Pro instruction at, and as such, I have to pull the student lists from the site and part them out to the instructors. My only access to the student lists are by scraping them from a web page. So I do that for all 8 classes.

  • I go to the first numbered one, F7, delete, line down to the next number, F7, then F8 all the way down the page to rip off numbers.
  • Replace commas with blanks and ' with '' to avoid database issues
  • Edit the long comments to be within the limit of the database
  • Go to the first student record and push my "CSV" button -- turns that formatted block into a CSV line -- hold down that button for however many there are
  • Find and replace "Date, Instructor" with current date and blank
  • Find and replace "Class," with the appropriate class designation

That takes about 10 minutes... no matter how many records there are. Then it gets imported into the database to assign.

And the bulleting of that text block (above) ... I typed each as a separate line, hilighted them, and hit a button that runs a macro I wrote.

When I want to see what the file looks like (if it's html), I push a button, and it opens in a browser -- just like VS.

What Else

I'm not sure... I use it so much and all the time that it's hard to think of all the things it does, much less compare them to VS.

Mostly it's a helluva text editor on steriods.. no matter what that text is, or how big it is. I've edited files for people that were so big other editors choked on them, and I've ran macros against so many lines of text that I actually had to wait on it to complete. Anything I can think up that I want to do, if it doesn't do it out of the box, it can be trained to do so.

Some things on the menus of SE2008: RegEx, Refactoring, Beautifying, FTP, Version Control, Build/debug (command-line to VS - or something else?), Spell Check, Selective display (methods or blocks you define), bookmarks, etc. 

Download a Free Trial

I don't work for SE, but I use the tool... try it for yourself... I think there's a 30-day 15-day trial download. Give it a shot... see what all it does. If it doesn't make life easier, nothing lost!

Also there are some demos of features, as relayed by Jason from SlickEdit -- thanks Jason! -- you're trying to make me NOT shoot from the hip I guess :)

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Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 10:23 AM SlickEdit , General Technical | Back to top

Comments on this post: SlickEdit - Is there anything in there than VS hasn't got?

# re: SlickEdit - Is there anything in there than VS hasn't got?
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I also use SE and I use it for the following reasons:
1. Multiple editor emulations. I use VI, But it has CUA, Emacs, etc support. This is important to me such that I won't use an editor that doesn't have VI support.
2. Context Tagging. I can jump to functions by hitting ctrl-. when the cursor is over the function name. In VS I have to move my hand to the mouse and right click and then say goto definition. Additionally in VS that function must be definined in the solution I'm working on. In SlickEdit I can be editing a Txt file and and type in the function name and then hit ctrl-. and it will find the source file and open it to that function for me.
3. Syntax highlighting for EVERYTHING you can imagine. HTML,XML, C#, C++,C, Java, Fortran, Python, Perl, Just about anything you can think of.
4. Super fast and lightweight.

As far as an Editor goes I've never found anything close to it's ease of use and power.

VS needs to let us decide the emulator we want to use, it needs VI, Emacs, Brief etc support and let the developer decide which to use.
Left by Bret Patterson on Jun 02, 2008 6:10 PM

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