SlickEdit: An Integrated Developer's Dream

What makes this code editor the complete package? The multi-platform, multi-language support, for starters. Emmett delves into the new features of an integration standby.

For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite integration utilities has been SlickEdit (formerly Visual SlickEdit). Every year brings a new release of the software -- and with it, even more features. Case in point: the recently released SlickEdit 2008, which runs on seven platforms, supports 40 languages and emulates 13 editors.

In short, the only way this editor won't work with a platform is if you created the platform yourself.

SlickEdit is a code editor for developers, arguably the most advanced code editor available. To quote the company, "Our goal is to remove the tedious tasks involved with programming, allowing you to focus on the reason you got into programming: the thrill of writing great code."

Figure 1
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 1. The opening interface for SlickEdit 2008.

It stands apart from other editors in its ability to run on multiple platforms and with multiple programming languages. Following are the platforms that it will run on, each requiring a minimum of only 256MB of RAM:

  • Windows Vista, XP ,and 2000
  • Linux (2.6 kernel and LSB 3.1 or higher)
  • AIX (5.3 and higher)
  • HP-UX (11 and higher)
  • IRIX (6.5 and higher)
  • Solaris SPARC (7 and higher/x86 10)
  • Mac OS X (10.4 and higher)

There are 54 languages now supported, as well as some which offer color-coding only, and supported encodings. A complete list can be found here.

But while the support for multiple platforms and multiple languages is great, what makes the product truly stand out isn't just that it can work anywhere, but that it's truly a great editor. With features like syntax expansion, auto-completion, aliases, SmartPaste and more, you can do a great deal more than if you were using another product -- and in less time. The Context tagging, Code browsing, Code beautification,and Keyboard emulation are all nice little features that together form a powerhouse of a program.

It supports files up to 2GB in size, has intelligent symbol analysis and code completion, and macro support (record and program) as well. The DIFFzilla utility allows you to compare both files and directories (only two of each) and see the differences -- as well as edit them -- in a graphical diff-based view.

Among the new features in this version are:

  • A Message List feature to show warning/error/other messages generated by processes running in SlickEdit.
  • The ability to configure options that customize the interface and operation to suit your needs (see Figure 2).
  • Adaptive formatting; when you open a file, SlickEdit scans it for formats in use and then uses those as defaults for your editing session.
  • Quick Brace, which allows you to toggle brace enclosures on and off.

These are but a few of the changes in this version. A complete rundown can be found here.

Figure 2
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 2. Beneath the Tools menu, options are now available to allow you to customize almost every element of SlickEdit.

Licensing is available in both a Named User license and Concurrent User license. For most platforms, a Named User license of the full version is priced at $299. The Concurrent User license runs $429. Both telephone and e-mail support are available for the first 30 days of purchase, but beyond that you need a maintenance/support agreement.

If you think SlickEdit is for you, download a trial copy here. Once you start using it, I think you'll agree with that it's nice to have at least one tool you can count on to interface with all your coding needs.

About the Author

Emmett Dulaney is the author of several books on Linux, Unix and certification, including the Security+ Study Guide, Fourth Edition. He can be reached at


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