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Visual SlickEdit 9, C++ Refactoring, and VS.NET

Sunday, May 23, 2004 Comments

 .NET  ArchitecturePatterns  Extreme Programming  Personal 
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Yesterday, I noticed one of the programmer's editors I use, Visual SlickEdit (, has been updated to include C++ Refactoring.  I have been using Visual SlickEdit since version 6.0 (my current licensed version is 8.0).  Early on, I used SlickEdit as a C++ editor as well as a great tool for editing Oracle stored procedures. Over the last year, I have used it exclusively for Oracle work, but it has also served well for ad-hoc C# editing.  Last night and today, I decided to take the new version for a spin to see what new capabilities have been added.

Here are the main points of Visual SlickEdit 9.0:

Create, Edit, Build, Run and Debug Faster
The Visual SlickEdit workbench provides developers with a powerful set of multilanguage tools to save time and maximize control over code. Graphical project tools help developers organize, analyze and manage code, whether local or remote. The advanced code editor features Context Tagging™, which offers language-specific coding assistance. The DIFFzilla™ differencing system, which provides side-by-side file and directory difference editing, works with 3-Way Merge to support version control practices.

Multi-file and multi-directory search, navigation tools, symbol uses, and symbol references all save valuable editing time. Full screen editing and dual monitor support expand development real estate. A backup history lets developers view and restore previously saved versions of a file without the overhead of placing each version in source control.

Visual SlickEdit now includes C++ refactoring, an industry first that tremendously speeds up development, as well as a Java GUI builder that assists developers in constructing GUIs for Java applications using Swing or AWT.

To simplify builds, Visual SlickEdit offers a C/C++ auto build system as well as support for Ant. Visual SlickEdit includes integrated C/C++ and Java debuggers, and now includes the ability to create, edit, build, run and debug CLR applications for .NET.

Customize to Fit Work Style
Developers can customize and extend the Visual SlickEdit workbench to fit preferred work styles. Visual SlickEdit includes a macro language, access to existing macro source to modify the product and macro API help in the HTML help system. Developers can also customize the workbench through the use of key bindings, a dialog box editor, and ten emulations, including CodeWright, Emacs and VI.

Leverage the Value of Other Tools
Visual SlickEdit integrates well with other development tools to give developers the flexibility to fit individual needs. Using version control tools such as CVS, SourceSafe, ClearCase and any SCC-compliant tool is easy, as is configuring Visual SlickEdit to use preferred compilers. Visual SlickEdit also works as a companion tool to JBuilder and Visual Studio .NET, providing advanced editing functionality.

The Good

I tested this last part regarding its use with Visual Studio.NET solutions and projects.  I found that if you set up your solutions and projects the way you want in VS.NET, and then open the solution in SlickEdit, everything is there, and it builds as expected.  All build events associated with a project also work. Intellisense works great and acts as expected.

The Bad

After much effort (trial and error really), I also got the version control integration to work with the solution and projects as well.  While the VS.NET solution loads, the solution items do not.  I did have a couple of times when the build items got corrupted because it tried to put them on the same line with a character separator unrecognized by VS.NET.  The file view acted strange in that it didn't update the project “view” if a file was moved (I had to stop the editor, refresh the project in VS.NET, then re-open the editor to see everything in its correct place).


SlickEdit is still not quite there as a VS.NET replacement, but if you are used to the IDE (I have C++ friends who did everything in SlickEdit), and are working on multiple projects in unmanaged and managed code, it may be worth a look.  I haven't tried the new C++ Refactoring features yet (I will report on that as well), but if this works well, it will definitely be worth purchasing for those still (unfortunately??) writing C++ code.

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