I used SlickEdit Programming Editor until a few years ago when Visual Studio 2012 came out. SlickEdit was quite the only usable development environment in those days because the previous versions of VisualStudio were really a joke, just good enough to manipulate the project file and debug. And that’s how I used SlickEdit in those days, as a text editor only. I did compiling and debugging in VS and editing in SlickEdit because it had macro capabilities.
With VisualStudio 2012 things got better because they added macro capabilities to C++ (before they had that only for C# presumably to coerce people into using that horrible language) and when used in conjunction with Whole Tomato’s VisualAssist, it is actually quite good. The version of SlickEdit I had did not support the new project file format so I gave it up. I tried to use it once again with Ada, but it was horrible with that language so I dumped it.
I gave it another try today because they have a new version. So here is my result.
Working with the new VS project file format works of course, as expected. Compiling from SlickEdit works too. Debugging is not good, especially when you debug multiple projects at the same time as I have to due to my client-server development, but they bring up VS to debug by default, so that’s OK. Editing however is a nono for me. I use namespaces a lot. In VS I can simply drag a classname from the browser into the editor and get a copy decorated with all namespaces, which I need since I dont use “use namespace” clauses. SlickEdit can not do this. You have to remember the namespace sequence and type them in. It brings up context sensitive fragments in a window to presume what you are typing, but this is so slow that you can rather look it up yourself (I have a fast 8 core machine). So this is already a showstopper for me. There is really nothing in SlickEdit that I need that I can’t do in VisualStudio.
I also think they rushed this out. They still had bugreports coming into the forum when they released it and that looks to me like they wanted to push it out the door.
I then tried the editor again with an Ada project. The browser works nice now and the beautifier too, so that’s good. Compiling is also possible, but debugging is a big disaster. I was not able to start the Ada gdb debugger from within SlickEdit and integrate the output with slickEdit so that I could set brakepoints. I also don’t know if it would support the special Ada language features that the Adacore gdb version supports since I could not run it.
So I will stick with Adacores GPS IDE for Ada. I might check out Emacs as a text editor. You can configure GPS so that it opens a file in an external editor, so I will check out Emacs tomorrow since I need an editor with some macro capabilities, to fill out a new file with a skeleton template etc. I am pretty sure Emacs can do that.
All in all, SlickEdit isn’t worth the 300$ they want for it (plus 60$ maintenance contract per year so you get the next major upgrade). I stick with what I have. Shame there isn’t anything better out there, but you can’t always have the ideal solution.