word processor history -- interesting article (Evan Koblentz)

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 08:12:23 CDT 2016

On 8 July 2016 at 04:33, Rod Smallwood <rodsmallwood52 at btinternet.com> wrote:
> Ho Hum I ask understanding for seniors memory.


WordStar commands are still used in some things, such as JOE.

However, they went away before the GUI era and are mostly now
forgotten. Including by you! ;-)

WordPerfect replaced WordStar on DOS. It was a lot more capable and it
had superb printer-driver support.

Then Windows (and MacOS and GUIs in general) swept WordPerfect away.
The printer drivers issue became irrelevant when the OS handled the
printers and font rendering etc., and most users much preferred the
GUI model of text-editing to the WordPerfect embedded-control-codes

Interestingly, more things seem to understand the Vi keystrokes now,
at least on Unix.

Although I'm something of an old-timer too, dating from before the PC
era and learning CP/M and VAX-VMS before I ever set hands on an IBM

I cordially dislike both Vi & Emacs: I grew up with keyboards with
cursor and delete keys, but they didn't have META or SUPER or any of
that guff.

I disliked WordStar (which I found arcane and clunky even when it was
still current and on retail sale), WordPerfect (all function-keys all
the time, needed a keyboard template or eidetic memory). I also knew
and supported MultiMate, DisplayWrite, MS Word for DOS and others. I
used LocoScript at home, which replaced The Last Word on my ZX

I admit I liked LocoScript but it had the benefit of a dedicated
keyboard intended for a word-processor. MS Word was my favourite DOS
wordprocessor -- even before CUA, I found its menu structure and
editing keystrokes (select a block, _then_ format it) logical. And it
could do WYSIWYG *bold* and _underline_ and /italic/ on screen, even
on a PC text display.

But when I got my hands on early Macs and Windows 2 in my first job, I
discovered the CUA model, and I've liked it ever since. I still miss
CUA editing on the Linux command line.

There are some: http://liam-on-linux.livejournal.com/42908.html

... But they're all nonstandard, not widely supported or have restrictions.

Anyway. the keystrokes you describe are the now-ubiquitous, on GUIs at
least, CUA keystrokes -- in their later incarnation, with some
cross-fertilisation from the Mac HCI guidelines. Everyone follows them
and I think that's a really good thing.

Liam Proven • Profile: http://lproven.livejournal.com/profile
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