I have used UltraEdit since the beginning, v.1 in 1995.
I am writing this review in UltraEdit.
Mid-1990s I was using a Windows machine to edit webpages on a unix host. As Ian intended, the early UltraEdit was far better than NotePad and more comfortable than VI. It was also an all-purpose tool in Windows. It would open huge files of any type. I often used it to examine file headers for a clue to what the file was, and search for text strings to see what the file contained.
I was using UltraEdit hours a day every day and growing the early World Wide Web to support my employer. While text-editing is more about fingers than the program, UltraEdit never got in my way. I earned many thanks for how quickly I could update webpages with UltraEdit.
Improved grep and scripting became VERY valuable to me in maintaining web back-end scripts, text databases, and grooming URLs; also for authoring Perl and PHP code. I had a whole dynamic engine based on plain-text data files, "maintainable in NotePad" but most easily maintained in UltraEdit. This saved countless hours over hand-editing multiple files.
Though I did much of this in "dumb editor" mode, UltraEdit soon sprouted code highlighting which made it easier to see my PHP screw-ups and keep track of brackets. Column Mode was often useful to re-order columnar data, plus it will do a Sum of a column making it handy for many minor math tasks. Macro saved many-many finger-strokes: if I could type a repetitive edit once, Macro would repeat the edit thousands of times in a snap. Show File In Browser got used a LOT when I was whacking HTML. Synchronized Scrolling is a great tool for comparing versions of a file. A snappy Word Count helps me know when I've typed too much.
On the non-code side I was soon doing "ALL" my writing in UE. Even formal proposals to bosses: I put words down in UE's clean screen and massaged them into clarity before pasting into a word processor. Online text entry boxes such as in forums are too small and prone to crash; I'd write in UltraEdit and then paste into the web-box. UE's spell-check was a great help in days before browser spell-check.
In this century, improved backup and deep clipboard have saved me from some of my fumbles. The FTP/SSH feature makes remote editing easier.
I was using UE all the time, knew it was a "keeper", and wanted to support the developer. I bought the "lifetime" option; although the 3X price was steep on my puny pay, I felt it was a very good deal for me. I'm now using v.22 every day, and v.25 is a click away, so this worked out well.
UltraEdit's customer relations have been very good to me. Whenever I needed a new key-code for a new version they responded quickly. I have never needed technical support-- each release is nearly bug-free. The one question I had, I quickly found information in their forum pointing to a minor update which fixed my glitch. The best tech support is a product that just works.
Although I am now retired from paid HTML and PHP editing, I still use UltraEdit every day as my tool to put words on screen for forum postings and to document my retirement projects.
There are lower-price editors, some still growing, others mature and quite good. After playing the field, there are several I could use. But I like Ian's business model. Charge about enough to keep good programmers working on the product steady. As a Programmer Editor, UE's customers do understand the value of programmer time.