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                        Review: Wordworth Office CD
                            By:  Jason Compton 
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Finally, somebody's done the blatantly obvious.

For years now, ever since it became very clear that Amiga software on CD
was a very reasonable, inexpensive, and easily distributable method of
getting quality products to customers, both members of the Final Writer and
Wordworth camps have tried to convince Softwood and Digita, respectively,
that what would REALLY make good sense would be for the companies to
release "Office" CD-ROMs, in the same vein as Microsoft Office, full of
their entire business software libraries.

The closest I've seen for Softwood's titles have been dealers who sold
Final Writer, Final Data, and Final Calc as bundles at a package discount.

Digita, however, has done the obvious thing, and stuffed Wordworth 6,
Datastore 2, Organiser 2, and Money Matters 4 onto a CD-ROM.

Reviews of these titles as independent entities have been done elsewhere,
and it is true enough that the "upgrade" element to Wordworth 6 from 5 is
fairly limited.

However, the bundle is what's on trial here, so to speak.  Digita will sell
you Wordworth 6 separately for UKP40 (Or roughly US$65, make allowances for
small distribution markups and such.)  However, for an extra UKP 10 (US$16
or so), you can have the Office CD.  Not too shabby...

Wordworth, as Digita claims, is the world's most popular Amiga word
processor.  This is not entirely surprising since Digita was able to close
a deal with AT to put Wordworth on all of its Amigas, and have been selling
their product for years now.  In version 6, users are treated to new
drawing tools, expanded RTF support (to link Wordworth documents to the
rest of the world, so to speak), and an expanded base of ARexx commands.
The functional engine of Wordworth is still the rather solid foundation of
Wordworth 5.  Wordworth supports integration with TurboCalc for importing
tables directly from the spreadsheet program, and offers more than a basic
set of word processor features.

For a long-time member of the Final Writer camp, WW is not all that much of
a departure.  The interfaces are different, but not so far as to cause
panic.  Both have been closely competitive for some time, and each has
their individual advantages over the other.  But for text layout and
creation, you'll hardly notice the difference--drag and drop, auto correct,
they're all there.  For my purposes, I notice that WW 6 has what Final
Writer dropped: a simple Statistics calculator.  (Final Writer now sports a
very complex document statistics option, which calculates the grade level
you're writing at by a variety of methods.  This is actually nice to know,
but changes the process of just counting lines and paragraphs into
something that takes a measurable amount of time, rather than a more or
less instantaneous answer.)  FW does have the notable advantage of a
grammar checker.

Wordworth goes out of its way to help you find a suitable printer, and
comes with presets for a large number.  The online documentation is
supplied in text and AmigaGuide format at the press of a button, and is
broken down into digestible pieces, including lists of new features in the
last few versions.

If you've got an AT-era Amiga, you should have at least a passing
familiarity with Datastore and Organiser.  Organiser is just that: a
personal "keep your appointments, dates, and phone numbers" straight
utility, in the tradition of On the Ball and countless others.  Organiser
is very attractive and easy to navigate, but I prefer my Psion.

Datastore is a simple (non-relational) database program.  A number of very
attractive (For database files, anyway) examples are included to give you
the general idea.  Datastore hasn't seen much significant improvement since
1994, but it's a solid application.

Money Matters 4.  This program is heavily aimed at British consumers, so I
don't think my insight will be too valuable.  There are good tips for
anybody who has bills to pay, and you might actually be able to get
acceptable results by pretending that you're really talking about your
local unit of currency, but it'll be an adventure.

The good news is that all of the applications except MM 4 appear stable in
an 060/CyberGraphX environment, and typically will run with anywhere from 1
to 3 megs of RAM at full capacity.  Money Matters seems unable to remember
its RTG screenmode setting, and when exiting likes to crash.  The bad news
is that the installer program is not quite as respectful of the "Expert"
option as one might hope.  Specifically, if you have multiple SYS: assigns,
it will pick the first one, and if that partition is full, the installation
aborts.  It would have been far better to respect "Expert" and prompt for
drawers for system files such as the fonts the programs like to install.


The Wordworth Office is available in both German and English.  The price
makes it almost silly not to pick up the Office CD over the regular WW 6 if
you have the choice.  Upgrades are offered from earlier versions of
Wordworth.

Digita International
Black Horse House
Exmouth EX8 1JL
England

+44 1395 270 273 voice
+44 1395 268 893 fax
sales@digita.demon.co.uk
http://www.digita.com