TextPad vs. UltraEdit

I have two favorite text editors. I wish I could combine their features together though. I have used TextPad (TP) for about the last 5 years, but for a few months I’ve been using UltraEdit (UE) more for a couple of handy features.

First is the FTP capabilities built in to UE. I can create several FTP accounts and select which one I would like to save to, or open from. You edit the files as you normally would, but when you click the save button or Ctrl+S as most would, it uploads the file to your server!

The second feature I really love is the ability to have a sorted list of functions when you open a PHP file. When I developed Nerdlance.com I created a function file to hold all my commonly used functions. I found UE quite handy when it came to jumping to the function I wanted to modify.

I think UE falls short of TP in a few areas.

First is the regular expressions. They just don’t work as I feel they should. I think they should work more like TP and perl, but they don’t. I can’t remember off what the issues I’ve experienced were, but I think it had something to do with newline characters, end of string characters and the like.

Secondly is the undo feature. UE remembers every keystroke and undoes ( <- is that a word? ) them one at a time. TP seems to have some sort of “smart” undo features that remembers blocks of keystrokes, which is faster and therefore more pleasing to me.

Third, is the macros. While I like how UE gives you the ability to edit macros, what I don’t like again is the undo feature. If you run a macro and it messes up, you can’t Ctrl+Z to get back where you started. There are work-arounds, yes, but I prefer the TP way.

Fourth is the way that they both read files. TP seems to open and fix files that have been messed up by some means or anothers such as wrong encoding or binary FTP. Again, I can’t point to examples, but I’ve seen it more than once, which leads me to bring it up here.

And finally, the clip library. Again, I prefer the TP way as you can organize you clips into categories, sort them by name, etc. UE just has one large template library available to everything.

On all other features that I use in both tools they seem to be fairly equal.

9 thoughts on “TextPad vs. UltraEdit”

  1. Wow, shortly after posting this blog, I got an email from the Vice President of UltraEdit.

    I read your blog about UE vs. TP.

    What we are known most for is incorporating feature requests into our release schedules. Please compose a feature request for whatever you think we need to do to make UE your most recommended editor. I felt your review had some excellent points but if you do not submit the request, the features will not become reality.

    I also wanted to tell you that UE comes with UltraCompare Lite FREE and that you should consider this when stacking features and value. I would invite you to download UltraCompare Pro and check it out for yourself.



    Richard L. Knott
    Vice President
    IDM Computer Solutions, Inc.

    I’ll have to submit my feedback. Talk about prompt customer support!

  2. Why should you have to submit anything? They’re obviously aware of these issues now that he’s read your post. You get paid the big bucks, Rich. You do it.

  3. Thanks for this, Dustin. I’ve been using TextPad for over a decade, but have had a few folks I respect recommend UltraEdit. I’ll still give it a try but I’m less anxious now that I’m missing something big. Regular expressions are important to me and who doesn’t count on Ctrl-Z. If only TextPad allowed macro editing, I don’t think I’d even be looking.

    While I am impressed that they were paying attention and responded so promptly, I’m with Robert, why should you have to submit anything? I can see why you might want to (so that you can be more specific or whatever), but why shouldn’t he just put in the feedback himself and cite your blog?

  4. This was written a few years ago so things may have improved with UltraEdit. I don’t know because I don’t like to keep paying for updates.

    I actually have found a new editor that I prefer over both TextPad and UltraEdit. I now use E (http://www.e-texteditor.com/). Since I am no long doing QA work and working with a lot of datafiles, I don’t use macros at all and I don’t use regex much anymore. But as far as development goes (PHP, Python, SQL, HTML, CSS, etc) I really find E much more pleasurable to work with.

    I think it has all the features of the others, but I’m not sure about the macros. I believe in a sense you can because it gives you the power the use the Unix scripting language via Cygwin – but I have yet to try it.

  5. The settings in UltraEdit might fix a few of those shortcomings you mentioned:

    Quote: “Secondly is the undo feature.”
    Advanced >> Configuration >> Editor >> Advanced >> Grouped Undo >> (Checked)

    Quote: “First is the regular expressions.”
    Advanced >> Configuration >> Search >> Regular Expression Engine >> Perl compatible Regular Expressions >> (Checked)

    Quote: “Fourth is the way that they both read files”
    (?) Advanced >> Configuration >> File Handling >> DOS/UNIX/MAC Handling >> Unix/Mac file detection/conversion >> (Detect file type and prompt to change –OR– Disable)

  6. I think these features where added after I posted this. I know for certain that the Perl compatible Regex option was because I was happy when that was released.

  7. “This was written a few years ago so things may have improved with UltraEdit. I don’t know because I don’t like to keep paying for updates.” — Dustin

    I haven’t paid for an UltraEdit update since version 9 or 10. I purchase the unlimited update license and I just submit to support for new keys and usually have them in an hour or less. I think it is a bit more than twice the cost of the original license, but it has been well worth it.

    As for features: A considerable time back, when they first introduced FTP accounts within UltraEdit I was connecting to a server that require the account information on login. I requested it and by the next release it was implemented.

    I learned a long time ago that I would much rather deal with someone that provides great customer service and response rather than someone that make or sells a great product with mediocre or bad service and support. IDM Comp’s folks fit that bill.

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