Mainframe vs. Micro
I am a programmer-analyst who works with mainframe computers. I have recently purchased a Commodore 64 for my personal use. I have enjoyed the 64 very much as a game machine, but when I tried to program on it I was appalled at the poor quality of its program editor. I have looked at local computer stores and the other editors available aren't very good either. Are there any good program editors available for the 64?
Scott T. Ellis
You may be surprised to learn that the Commodore 64 is considered to have exceptionally good editing capabilities for a machine of its class. The term program editor means something slightly different in the home computing world than in your mainframe experience. For eight-bit machines like the 64, editors are usually not discrete programs, but rather integrated with the language's interpreter or compiler. Because of the amount of memory available in eight-bit machines, their editors are usually screen-oriented and lack all the commands of mainframe editors like ISPF or XEDIT.
At first, the full-screen editor that comes with the 64's on-board BASIC may seem limited when compared with its mainframe counterparts, but after you use it a while you may begin to like it. Many people are disappointed with mainframe editors after using a Commodore 64.