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/// Usenet Review:  Textra v1.14
    ----------------------------
    By Keith Christopher
    (keithc@welchgate.welch.jhu.edu)



PRODUCT NAME

        Textra version 1.14


BRIEF DESCRIPTION

        GUI-based Amiga text editor.


AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

        Name:           Mike Haas
        Address:        3867 La Colina Rd.
                        El Sobrante, CA  94803
                        USA

        E-mail:         mikeh@starnine.com

                        Also author of JForth Professional and
                        LCD Calculator.

LIST PRICE

        The program is shareware:  $25.00 (US).


SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS


        HARDWARE

                At least 40K of free RAM.

                Fully hard drive installable via a install script.

                Worked on all CPUs.
                        Tested on:
                                A4000, A2500, A500

        SOFTWARE

                None.


COPY PROTECTION

        None.  Hard drive installable.


MACHINES USED FOR TESTING

        Amiga 4000, 6MB Fast RAM, 2MB Chip RAM, AmigaDOS 3.0.
        Amiga 2500, 8MB Fast RAM, 1MB Chip RAM, AmigaDOS 2.04.
        Amiga 500,  1MB Fast RAM, 512K Chip RAM, AmigaDOS 2.1.

        The A4000 is stock, the 2500 is a 68020 CBM, and the A500 has a 512K
        memory expansion board.


REVIEW

        I originally did my text editing with Textra 1.12.  I used it on my
A2000 under 2.04 without a hitch. After selling my 2000, I waited to buy a
4000.  After I purchased my 4000 I again wanted Textra. After ftp-ing and
installing the 1.14 version, the first thing I noticed (and appreciated) was
it was NOT crippled in any way. This is excellent because, like most of you,
I hate getting a piece of shareware and finding that the one feature I
wanted to test is disabled!!  This makes you want to uninstall the author's
programming language.

        But not Textra!  Instead, the unregistered version has one of the
most troublesome startup screens one could want to wade through to get
things going.  Worth the wait?  After testing it out, yes!  Worth the wait
every time I want to edit my code.  NO WAY.

        Calling the program from Workbench is easy enough:  double click the
icon.  (Can't understand why it says "Textra 3.0" though.)  The first thing
you are greeted by is a personalized registration screen (which goes away
quickly) followed by a window that identifies the disks available on your
system which are placed beside a listview window to select the document to
edit.  After selecting a drive and a file to edit, you get a 1/2 screen
window that has the look and feel of a pretty hard hitter.  I was really
surprised by the interface and options available.  In the upper left corner
it displays the column and line number. In the title bar of the window it
displays the path with the filename being edited. The menus supply the basic
find/cut/paste/open/save/save as options as well as some other nice
features. The Windows menu lists all open files; so if you are editing
several hunks of code, you can easily find the one you are looking for
quickly and painlessly. The Edit menu provides the common cut/paste/find
commands and houses find&replace, go to selected line number, case setting,
and the edit preferences. Editing preferences gives you options like
auto-indent, auto-backspace, tab length... you get the picture. Utilities
menu is one sweet pick. The options are: set file protections(RWED),
keyboard "keystroke command" help (e.g. Amiga X = Cut), The ARexx interface
(perfect for use with your favorite compiler!), and the font preferences.

        The list of things you can do with this editor is huge.  The
documentation is well written well and one can search quickly and painlessly
through it by highlighting the topic number and hitting right-amiga-F (if
you are in Textra 8-)).  If you want a very good text editor and manipulator
with an excellent ARexx interface (50 commands), this is the one for you.  I
have personally used this editor for writing code and searching/editing
documentation and feel it is well worth the registration fee.

        It worked flawlessly under 3.0 on my Amiga 4000, as Textra 1.12
worked as well on my 2000 under 2.04. It is Enforcer clean as Mike states in
his documentation (I didn't get any hits).  I did get a "guru" (I know he's
dead in 3.0 but I miss him) error twice when loading a file but I could not
replicate the errors.  Textra multitasks extremely well with everything I've
tried to run (i.e., SAS/C 6.3, Virus Z, TrashMan, Toolmanager 2.1, DirOpus,
Xcomm, Term3.4, PowerSnap... you get the idea (these were all running at
once).


DOCUMENTATION

        Documentation is disk based.


LIKES AND DISLIKES

        Loved that the registered package comes with very detailed
documentation, and 30 ARexx scripts. The Installer allowed one to install
the documentation in a separate directory.  (I have all my documentation in
one directory, so this was nice.)  Textra can be intergrated with JForth Pro
3.x, HSPascal, Paul Kienitz's Q-Blue Offline Mail Reader, and I've used it in
conjunction with SAS/C 6.3!  Mike also includes his LCD calculator with the
registered version.

        From the WhatsNew.doc file:

        "Programmers will find this nice:

                "If you double click on any of these characters... ( ) < > [
        ] { } Textra will search through the file in the appropriate
        direction for a "balanced match" (handles nested substrings).  This
        is great, for example, when programming C and you want to see
        everything that the { you're staring at encompasses.  Textra will
        highlight everything forward to the balancing } character."

        I would love to see a preferences editor that would allow one to
input compilation parameters and hit F1 to compile.  A dictionary module
would be nice, but it's a text editor not a word processor.

        The most needed option I can see is an Iconify. I am spoiled by the
terminal emulation programs out there that do this:  Terminus 2.0, Xcomm 1.0,
Term3.X, and so on.  This is a sweet option.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

        Other than a couple of very poorly written editors for the Amiga, I
can only compare it to the system supplied editors.  Ed is like UNIX "vi" to
me.  If I need a quick and painless edit this is the way to go, I would not
call Textra up each time I needed to edit a single line, it was not made for
this.

        Compared to Memacs, simply put, Use Textra ! 8-) Textra is much
easier to move around in than Memacs.  With the ARexx ability it is much more
practical to use.  If you are not familiar with Memacs, I strongly recommend
you get Textra, or kludge around Memacs for a while. (While I am not knocking
Memacs, I just find it hard to learn the ins and outs for new users.)


BUGS

        I only had 2 system alerts while using Textra; however I could not
replicate them no matter how often I tried.


VENDOR SUPPORT

        I e-mailed Mike @ starnine with a question and he quickly answered it
and that was that. He offers $5 (US) upgrades once you register Textra.


WARRANTY

        No warranty is expressed or implied.  (Straight from the
documentation.)


CONCLUSIONS

        If you want a very good text editor and manipulator with an excellent
ARexx interface (50 commands) this is the one for you.  I have personally
used this editor for writing code and searching/editing documentation and
feel it is well worth the registration fee.

        Rating:  4 stars out of 5


COPYRIGHT NOTICE

        This review is freely distributable.

Keith Christopher
Welch Medical Library
Unix System Administrator