Review: EmEditor

EmEditor Professional 4.03
Redmond, Washington
(425) 882-9988

I've looked at EmEditor before, but with the release today of a new major version, it's time to look again. EmEditor falls into a sort of midrange editing niche. It's much more powerful than NotePad or other very simple editors, but it's not up to the heavy-duty project-oriented editing you'll find in, say, CodeWright. Rather, it's the editor you might use to view source on an HTML page, fix a quick C# issue before issuing a command-line recompile, or bang out a little readme file with - the sort of utility text-editing chores that we all do from time to time.

EmEditor packs a pretty good number of basic features into a small package (the full disk install footprint is only about 3MB): syntax color-coding (including getting it right if you embed, say, script inside of ASP pages), Unicode support, a well-documented plug-in interface, OLE drag and drop support, find and replace with regular expression support, and strong customizability.

The new version adds some more features that aren't found in some other small editors. Chief among these is solid scripting support based on the WSH engine. EmEditor has its own Document Object Model, so it's easy to write scripts that alter documents. And the scripts are stored in a language-neutral fashion, so you can edit them in either VBScript or JavaScript as you choose. Scripts are stored as external files, making them portable.

The find and replace feature has been extended to allow finding and replacing in disk files. For example, you might use a regular expression to search for a product name in every file in a folder, and replace it with a reference to a new version. Sound dangerous? For added security, you can tell EmEditor to leave each changed file open in the editor, where you can review it before the changes are saved.

You also get some other small improvements: combined windows (putting together the traditional SDI EmEditor windows into a tabbed MDI interface, new customizations and optimizations, and of course the inevitable tweaks and fixes. EmEditor remains shareware, so you can try it out by downloading a copy from the EmuraSoft Web site. For an editor scriptable with industry-standard languages, it's quite a bargain.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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