30 Years of UltraEdit

April 4, 2024
30 Years of UltraEdit

2024 marks the 30th birthday for UltraEdit. With the average lifespan for software products estimated at 6 – 8 years, this is no small feat. Thus, it’s with gratefulness and humility that we recognize and celebrate this milestone in an often volatile and always competitive industry.

Almost exactly 30 years ago, UltraEdit’s original author Ian Mead introduced his new Windows text editor – at that time, a side project named MEDIT – to an online CompuServe software library with little more than faith and hope for its future. (You can still read his original inspiring story here). 

In the burgeoning software industry of the 90s, UltraEdit found quick adoption with both individuals and larger companies for its reputation as a performant, versatile, and trustworthy text editor – something that still holds true today. For many users, UltraEdit’s ability to open large files of any size thanks to its novel disk-based approach to editing was (and still is) compelling enough to make UltraEdit the editor of choice for engineers, teams, and even entire corporations.

  • Screenshots of UltraEdit v4.10 – from 1997.

Initially introduced as a 16-bit application for Windows 3.1, UltraEdit kept lockstep with technology with the release of a 32-bit counterpart for Windows NT/95 and adopting a “-32” suffix to distinguish the two versions. Several years later, a 64-bit version would follow and is now the standard version in use.

As UltraEdit continued to grow in popularity, Ian recognized the need to build a team and organization that could service the many aspects of the growing product. This entailed many hires for various roles across engineering, QA, customer support, and marketing, as well as a partner and vice president, Richard Knott, to help steer the vision for UltraEdit. Believe it or not, UltraEdit’s first hire, Troy Pennington, is still with us today as QA and Support Manager!

  • The evolution of the UltraEdit website. Who remembers building web pages in tables?

These three decades have seen some major milestones: we released UEStudio, a version of UltraEdit with additional developer power tools. We brought UltraEdit’s sister product UltraCompare to market, as well as several other products including UltraSentry (now EOL’d), UltraFinder, and UltraFTP. We stepped into the Mac and Linux space with multi-platform offerings of UltraEdit and UltraCompare. We celebrated our one millionth user…now, many times that. We heard from customers about how our products were being used in NASA’s Mars rover program, genetic sequencing in the human genome project, and many other fascinating scientific and technical projects.

Throughout the journey, we’ve steadfastly centered on our “north star” instilled by our founder years ago: always do what’s right for the customer. And while interpretations of “right” may have varied, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to actively listen and promptly respond to your valuable feedback in service of that core value.

  • While UltraEdit has changed in look over the years, one thing that hasn’t changed is its unparalleled performance.

That brings me to the very best part of this 30-year celebration: you. I am extremely grateful for our loyal customers who have helped us become what we are today. Many of our biggest product advancements and breakthroughs are thanks to you: your posts, your emails, your suggestions, and your willingness to work directly with us in understanding your unique needs and challenges. We embrace that spirit of cooperation and collaboration. It fuels us every day. For our part, there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing from a delighted user who’s solved a unique challenge with our “Swiss Army Knife” text editor. 

So while there have been many transformative changes over these years, including a transition to new ownership, our mission and vision remain unchanged. Our team is still largely intact…and growing! Our core values established by our founder 30 years ago still guide us. We’re excited about what the future holds for our products and our customers (stay tuned!). We will continue talking to you about the problems you’re facing in your daily work and what we can do to help you solve them. And we will continue doing what’s right for you, because if we’ve learned anything through this journey, it’s that if we take care of our users first everything else will follow. Thirty years of text editing excellence and success have proven it.

We hope you enjoy the 30th major release of UltraEdit in v2024.0. And thank you again for an amazing three decades. Here’s to three more! 🥂



Ben Schwenk
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