Tue 17 Apr 2007
No, sorry, we’re not giving away money. But you could say we are giving away time, time in the form of increased productivity.
Customers evaluating SlickEdit® sometimes note that there are cheaper editors out there and that $300 seems like a lot to pay for an editor. Yes, you can pay less for an editor—some are actually free. But focusing on price is missing the most important aspect of an editor: how it can make you more productive.
Rather than asking whether there is a cheaper editor available, you should ask whether there is a better editor available. The right tool will always deliver more than enough time savings to pay for itself. If not, you should look for another tool.
As a programmer, the editor is the main tool of your trade. The editor is to the programmer what the tennis racquet is to the tennis player or golf clubs to the golfer. Do you think Tiger Woods cares whether there is a cheaper set of golf clubs out there? OK, Tiger can afford any clubs he wants, but professional players are sure to have the equipment they need to be competitive. Should you do any less?
No other tool contributes more to your productivity and effectiveness than your editor. So by choosing a less capable editor, you are really choosing to make yourself less capable, to get less done in a given measure of time. If you’re being paid by the hour, that may be fine. Maybe you have one of those jobs where you can just code as you like and turn things in when they are ready to go. The rest of us, who are on a salary with challenging milestones, know that we are the ones who have to put in the late nights to get things done on time. In that situation, you want the tool that will help you get more done, faster.Not all editors are alike. If they were, you could make a decision solely on the basis of price. The right editor will not only increase your productivity, it will reduce your frustration. Much of what’s involved in programming is tedious, busy work. SlickEdit allows you to focus on what the code should do while it handles many of the boring, clerical tasks.
As a professional programmer, you have an investment in the knowledge and skills you have built. This knowledge is not limited to just the programming languages and techniques you use. It includes your mastery of programming tools. As the primary tool of your trade, you should have a special command of your editor.
Return on Investment
Only you can calculate a true return on investment for your work patterns. However, it’s easy to show that you don’t have to save much time to quickly make up for a $300 purchase. Assume an annual salary of $60,000, which is a conservative value for the average salary paid to programmers in the USA. Assuming a normal work year of 236 days and a normal work day of 8 hours, you have to save 1.6 minutes per day [i] to pay for SlickEdit in the first year of purchase.Here are some of the ways SlickEdit can help you save 1.6 minutes per day:
- It takes 30 seconds for Eclipse™ or Microsoft® Visual Studio® to open on my machine. The same project in SlickEdit opens in a second or two. So SlickEdit can save you that much time if you open your environment at least 3 times per day.
- Our tagging engine allows you to instantly jump from a symbol to its definition with a single keystroke (Ctrl+Dot). In most editors, you have to either know the file and where it is stored or search for it. Then you have to scroll down or search for the function name. This process can easily take 30 seconds to a minute. So a couple of quick navigations per day will pay for SlickEdit. By the way, we also have a Symbol View that will preview the definition of the current symbol without having to open the file!
- We have many features that cut down on the number of characters you have to type, like Syntax Expansion, which automatically completes block statements like if and for. Surround With quickly wraps the selected lines in a block statement. In a normal coding session, these will easily save you a couple minutes.
- Code Templates automate the process of creating new classes or patterns. Powerful substitutions are run when a template is instantiated, easily saving you a minute or two on a simple class and several minutes on multi-file templates.
- DIFFzilla®, our dynamic differencing tool allows you to compare files and edit them in the diff view, providing many of the same editing capabilities in our editor window. This saves wasted time re-running a diff after making changes.
For a more complete list of the features we think will save you time and frustration, check out our Cool Features list on our website: http://www.slickedit.com/content/view/353/217, containing feature descriptions and demos showing those features in action.
But My Company Won’t Buy Me an Editor
OK, you’re convinced. You want to buy a new editor. You’ve talked to your boss about the benefits and the added productivity, but your company won’t buy it for you. Well then, buy it yourself.You’re thinking, “Not only does this guy want me to spend $300 on an editor, but he wants me to buy it with my own money!” That’s right. As a professional programmer, your skill with your editor is as important as any other knowledge you possess. Purchasing an editor that makes you more capable is an investment in your career that can pay off in better reviews, higher salaries, and bonuses. Hey! Maybe we’re giving away money after all.
——————————————————————————–  Calculation for minutes per day savings:
|Minutes to Save per Day||= (Price of SlickEdit® / Employee Cost per Minute) / Work Days per Year
= ($299 / $0.79) / 236
|Employee Cost per Minute||= Fully Loaded Cost / (Work Days per Year * Minutes per Day)
= $90,000 / (236 * 480)
|Fully Loaded Cost||= Annual Salary + Overhead
= $60,000 + $30,000
Overhead is the cost for benefits, equipment, training, facilities, and management. We use a conservative figure of 50% for overhead. Many websites say overhead is as high as 100% to 200%.This calculation assumes an annual salary of $60,000 per year, which is a conservative median salary for programmers in the USA. It assumes 236 work days per year based on 104 weekend days, 10 company holidays, 10 vacation days, and 5 sick days. It assumes a normal 8 hour work day, 480 minutes per day.