Xedit: an editor for Basic. (evaluation) Alan Burnes.
Xedit: An Editor for Basic
Whether you own a "bare bones' TRS-80 or one that sports disks, a printer, and other peripherals, there are hundreds of interesting products, costing thousands of dollars, that can plug into, hook onto, or run on your little silver and black box. Whether you can support your computer habit as an adjunct to your business, squeeze a paycheck for your new toys, or raid your spouse's wallet and children's piggybank for enough change to buy Super Space Zap you still must choose carefully to get the most satisfaction for your money.
So why buy a Basic editor when there is a perfectly good editor built right into your Model I or III. Read on to discover the answer.
Xedit is a full screen text editor. That means that a Basic program can be edited in blocks of twelve lines (one whole screen) rather than line-by-line. With user-controlled scrolling, the entire program is available for changes. You won't have to guess at a line number or range, list the program, and hope to catch the right part with BREAK or SHIFT-@ as you do with a line editor. You just scroll until the area you want appears, make your change, and move on.
The actual editing technique is simple and easy to learn. You can move the cursor backward or forward through a line of text with the left and right arrows, and from line to line with the shifted up arrow and the ENTER key. Since the cursor is non-destructive you can see the entire Basic line, including your changes at all times.
The basic functions of delete characters, insert characters, and extend a line are also supported in Xedit. Insert mode in Xedit has a nice feature: SHIFT-@ plus a letter inserts one of 26 macro key definitions. For example, SHIFT-@-P causes the word PRINT to be inserted at the cursor location. These macro key definitions default to common function names such as PRINT, INPUT, FOR, and NEXT, or they can be redefined by the user to any six character strings.
Now we get into more flashy functions that allow you to edit your program as you would edit Scripsit text. For example, Xedit has line insert and delete and block move, copy, and delete. I find these functions extremely useful for copying subroutines, or adding a standard header of inputs, process, and outputs onto subroutines.
Xedit also offers global search and replace so you can search for and change every occurrence of a specified string to another string. With this function you can find a particular variable fast and change it throughout the program in one operation.
If you don't like the statement numbers in your program, you can let Xedit renumber the program for you.
I mentioned earlier that Xedit allows slow scroll forward or backware with the ENTER or SHIFT-up arrow. A fast page scroll, scroll to start of program, and scroll display to a specified line are also part of the editor.
I think all the functionality mentioned above is reason enough to buy Xedit. When the quality of documentation is taken into account, however, Xedit becomes an even better buy.
Xedit comes with a 25-page manual that explains all the functions with examples, and a sample program to run the edit examples on. The manual tells you what you need to know to use the editor without excess verbiage. The techniques for backing up Xedit on a disk and changing the auto-repeat speed are appended to the manual.
There are only two functions I would like to see that Xedit does not support: merge subroutines into a program from a disk file, and execute contents of a disk file which contains Xedit commands to make the same changes in multiple program revisions.
Although I had no trouble loading the program the first time, Xedit comes with a 30-day free replacement warranty in case the tape or disk fails to load. I have worked with it for over three months and have found no bugs yet, so I have no complaints.
If you do any more than cursory Basic editing and you want a full screen Basic editor that is easy to learn and use, doesn't waste your time, and has clear functional documentation, Xedit should be part of your programmer's toolkit.
Products: Computer Applications Unlimited Xedit (computer program)