Its rare that I do product reviews, but then again its rare that I use a product for 20 years without reviewing it at some point so today is the day.
UltraEdit (sometimes just called UE) is undoubtably the best tool for anyone working with text files of any kind. I started using UE back in the 90's when programming was still fun and computers had a MTBF (Mean time before failure) measured in minutes. 20 years later its still a tool that sits with pride on my desktop readily awaiting the next challenge.
For anyone who has to work with files on a daily basis, be that text files, data files, batch files, shell files, C, C++, VB, HTML, PHP or in fact any type of file, you won't find a better tool for the job. UE seamlessly adapts to the task with its broad spectrum of tools and functions and I'm going to list just a few here..
Search and Replace? is a regular feature of most projects but how many times have you wanted to search for control characters like CR and LF? How many times have you wanted to strip blank lines or double blank lines? With UE its so simple and yet so powerful. Search for ^n^n and replace with nothing and your double blanks are gone. What about having grep a click away? Search for all occurrences of class="G" and just show me those in a new window.... done. How about regular expressions? How often have you been looking at a SIP log and just wanted to highlight the ^(SIP/2.0).(100|183) - UE's got that covered too with optional Linux, Perl or its own Regular expression options.
Side by Side? Have you ever needed to work with two files side by side, like a debug log along side the normal log or a SIP log from the switch along side a SIP log from the endpoint? Yep its just a click away and of course the search functions work for both files simultaneously if required.
Let's talk about LARGE files, I often come across data files that are flat formatted and run into the hundreds of megabytes range, where other editors creak and grown UE loads it as quickly as any other file and allows me to hotkey to go to the end and back to the top without any visible delays. I regularly have to deal with AS400 exports which are flat formatted and have that annoying header and tail record but with UE it takes seconds.
Data files anyone? when converting from a flat format to a more 'modern' format such as CSV most of us would reach for awk and substr $0 into strings and then print those back out with the prerequisite , separator but wait, there's no need to even leave the editor, just hit Column/Convert to Character Delimited, give it the delimiter and a series of field widths such as 57,30,6,2,22,30,30,26,26,8,12,12,57,60 and your done - You can even script this if you were so inclined.
Digging Deeper; Ever left scratching your head trying to figure out whats wrong with your input/output? Maybe your import tool is complaining about a line that looks fine? or maybe like me you have to fix SQLite tables by hand? one click takes you to HEXEDIT mode where you can see exactly what's going on and fix it - perfect.
Anything else? Capitalise, Convert case, trim, wrap, unwrap, tabs to spaces, spaces to tabs, multiple clipboards, conditional highlighting, themes, customisation, encryption, decryption? No matter what you need there's an option for it and its even got a spell checker thrown in at no extra charge.
When you use this product the impression you get is that the developers have spent decades making it the best possible product in the marketplace and with version 24 being current at time of writing its clear that UE will continue to evolve for many years to come. UE is available for Windows, Linux and OSX which is yet another plus especially for those of us who use all three daily.
So there you have it, UltraEdit, name says it all. Its available from IDM for a very reasonable price and they offer a 30 day trial which I strongly encourage you to take and see for yourself.