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std (2004-03-21):

Text processing has always been a serious issue on the C64. I remember how, a few years ago, my dad had to write a 'something'. The 386 computer was broken, so was my Amiga, so I had to write a text processing program. I did - but it was no big deal. As soon as I found Writer, my old program became seriously obsolete.

Writer combines a great deal of seriosity in its design with a very good speed and powerfull options. It goes in much of the tradition of GNU: Writer was designed to write. It can't do much aside from that - but it does is VERY well.

The screen is somewhat limited because of the small display of the C64 (you have to see it on my 17-inch display... I can see what is written from the other corner of the room). However, this can be ignored due to the fact that - although the options are in a great number - the menu is carefully designed. Therefore, the text covers most of the screen and it easy to follow it.

Another plus goes to the fact that Writer makes the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters. If your printer supports that, it's okay. If it doesn't, you'll HAVE TO STICK TO THOSE UPPERCASE LETTERS THAT SCREAM TO YOU BECAUSE OTHERWAYS YOU'LL GET VERY STRANGE CHARACTERS WHEN PRINTING.

Oh yes, printing. Well, you *are* going to laugh, but Writer makes some very serious formatting when printing. Writer is not wysiwyg, but much of the formatting can be done before printing. One thing is missing - page setup - but that isn't a problem. When writer appeared, probably most of the printers didn't support page setup (my old printer didn't). However, there are many other options that allow a good deal of formatting: line spacing, page numbering (top or bottom of the page), number of characters per page (this way you can do a rough page setup) and so on.

Another plus comes from the options when you save the document: you can save it (of course you can...), the name can be up to 8 characters, but documents can also be password protected. It generally works (although with a 4-character password you can't really talk about unbreakable security), but I don't know if the documents are encrypted when using password protection (they probably aren't, I haven't been able to check since geOS wouldn't read my disks and no other text processing software would actually read the file). Another thing I've apreciated when using Writer was the ability to 'copy' a file. No more fiddling arround with disk copying software (god I hated those... so much time lost just for copying a disk!) when you wanted to have carbon copies.

Not much criticise can you bring to this - but I'm still going to be jerk and underline the things that could have been better. First of all - I found this both on my C64 and when using CCS64 - the thing is awfully slow when using the backspace key :). The menu is nicely divided, but I'm yet to find a reason why 'save' and 'print' are hidden under the 'other' options. Find is sepparate from replace (which is a good thing), but the options 'delete', 'erase' and 'clear' are quite unintuitive (first question is 'what's the difference anyway?'). Still a good plus for the incredible speed Writer has when dealing with long files (they still have smooth scrolling and good working conditions). Writer is, indeed, a great piece of software if you need your C64 for such things.


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