Source Insight develops code for less

In today’s code development environment, projects often span multiple platforms, languages, and even geographical boundaries. Because of the many challenges of managing people throughout the code-development process, finding the right program to facilitate this work is well worth the effort and cost.

Thanks to recent improvements in source-code editors such as Source Insight from Source Dynamics Inc., developers working in Windows who have yet to standardize on an IDE (integrated development environment) have one more viable option, and a relatively low cost one at that.

In addition to being a highly intuitive programming editor complete with syntax highlighting and extensive customization capabilities, Source Insight goes one step further by including team-development and source-code control capabilities. Although lacking a few key features, such as debugging support and built-in compiler support that would classify the solution as a full-blown IDE, Source Insight is best described as a source-code editor with enhancements for C/C++ and Java support.

Competing in a field littered with competition, Source Insight fares reasonably well against its worthy opponents, including CodeWrite from StarBase and Visual SlickEdit from MicroEdge.

In future versions, we would like to see support for platforms other than Windows. In all, we found Source Insight to be a solid code-editing solution, and it easily earned a score of Good.

New features include built-in language parsing and display support for a variety of programming languages, including Perl, Visual Basic, JavaScript, HTML, and C#, in addition to its continued support of Java and C/C++. For the C++ developer, a ton of features have been added, including support for class and function templates, name spaces, and nested classes and structures.

This release also boasts substantial improvements in the areas of editing and display. On top of enhanced window docking, customizable fonts and colours for all windows, and dialogue-box position memory, this release also comes with the capability of preserving its undo and change history across save operations.

The cost and system requirements of Source Insight are remarkably low. At US$249 per user or upgrades for US$99, Source Insight is one of the more inexpensive solutions on the market.

In all, the low cost and light system requirements combined with the highly customizable features and intuitive interface make Source Insight a competitive solution for Windows-based source-code development.

Tim Fielden is a senior analyst with the InfoWorld Test Center. Send him your comments at

Review Box: Source Insight 3.0

Supplier: Source Dynamics Inc.

Platform: Windows 95, 98, Windows NT 4.0 (SP 3+), Windows Me and Windows 2000 (Professional or Server)

Cost: US$249 per user; upgrades US$99

Pros: Low cost; highly customizable; strong language support; intuitive and easy to use

Cons: Limited to Windows workstations