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Review of Two Editors: Sublime Text 2 and SlickEdit


While IDEs are the predominant tools for coding and debugging in Java and .NET languages, many developers in other languages don't like the heaviness of a full IDE and prefer to work in an editor. Editors today are far more feature laden than their forebears, but still retain the familiar agility and quick response of earlier products. They exist in the space below IDEs and above simple text editors. Many of the leading products in this market segment are open source: notably, emacs and JEdit at the high-end, and vim and Notepad++ in the sleeker end of the range. There are, of course, many other products to choose from.

In this review, I examine two paid alternatives. They're part of a small group of products that compete successfully with open-source offerings, generally based on unique features that appeal enough to their core audiences to warrant payment. One product, SlickEdit, has been around since the early 1990s; the other, Sublime Text 2, is a more-recent arrival that, of late, has been riding a wave of popularity.

Visuals

The first thing that strikes you with any editor is the visual presentation. In this regard, Sublime Text takes a more minimalist approach than SlickEdit. In the main editing mode, only the side pane listing the file system, the file menu, and tabbed windows for editing files is in view. If that's too cluttered, distraction-free mode gets rid of the UI entirely, showing only the file you're editing.

SlickEdit, on the other hand, is full of toolbars and tool windows that can be opened and closed. The toolbars can be docked on any side of the screen or undocked and left floating. Tool windows can also be undocked and left floating. The UI is very customizable — almost to a fault.


Figure 1: The SlickEdit development environment.

Sublime has visual features that seem to go against the minimalist approach: The right side of the editing window contains a preview of the file you're editing with tiny text. The intent, I believe, of this preview (called a "minimap") is to show the overall shape of the file and provide an idea of where you are in the file. My experience is that it's really cool eye candy, but has little functional benefit. However, this effect is far enough out of the way to not be distracting and cool enough to leave on.


Figure 2: The Sublime Text screen. Note the minimap of the file along the right edge. The lightly highlighted box roughly a quarter of the way down from the top of the minimap indicates the location of the code in the main portion of the editing pane.


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Comments:

ubm_techweb_disqus_sso_-cd9e6c23287617f20a96267af894a601
2014-02-07T09:26:37

Lacking a LOT of professional developer information. I have used slickedit for years and also sublime text for some time. I'm an avid vim user and have also used all the other major IDEs out there and some obscure ones too.
The one point that slickedit can handle with ease and grace that EVERY other editor/IDE out there really struggles with is automatic tagging for quick code navigation. On very large systems, this is an absolute life and time saver. On that note, slickedit is the only IDE which handles very large systems with grace as well. I have tried all the others on a very large code base I work on regularly and they all struggle, most just coming to a halt.

If sublime text could sort out auto code tagging on projects and handle vast projects, I'd be very tempted. You also fail to mention the inbuilt debugging capabilities in slick as well which sublime does not do. Saying that, it was never meant to so I can't hold it against it. Sublime is a great editor but it doesn't compete in the IDE space with the likes of slickedit (nor price!!!)


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ubm_techweb_disqus_sso_-2301ed143036bae8519c84a9dd5bd56b
2012-10-16T19:54:20

The Slick-C Macros community can be found here http://community.slickedit.com.... Sometimes they do challenges for iPads, etc.!


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