Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 16th Mar 2017 22:42 UTC
Features, Office

Many science fiction writers - including myself, Roger MacBride Allen, Gerald Brandt, Jeffrey A. Carver, Arthur C. Clarke, David Gerrold, Terence M. Green, James Gunn, Matthew Hughes, Donald Kingsbury, Eric Kotani, Paul Levinson, George R. R. Martin, Vonda McIntyre, Kit Reed, Jennifer Roberson, and Edo van Belkom - continue to use WordStar for DOS as our writing tool of choice.

Still, most of us have endured years of mindless criticism of our decision, usually from WordPerfect users, and especially from WordPerfect users who have never tried anything but that program. I've used WordStar, WordPerfect, Word, MultiMate, Sprint, XyWrite, and just about every other MS-DOS and Windows word-processing package, and WordStar is by far my favorite choice for creative composition at the keyboard.

That's the key point: aiding creative composition. To understand how WordStar does that better than other programs, let me start with a little history.

An old article from 1990 and updated in 1996, reprinted, but still a good read.

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RE: Wordperfect vs wordstar
by Rugxulo on Fri 17th Mar 2017 18:04 UTC in reply to "Wordperfect vs wordstar"
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(I know this isn't earth-shattering info, and I'll admit I'm old-fashioned with simplistic tastes.)

Historically interesting, but the DOS software is not exactly relevant anymore.

I wouldn't (normally) suggest writing DOS-only apps these days, but that applies to any other OS, too. Portable code is harder but lives longer. (Although as a FreeDOS aficionado, I still also want a DOS port, but that rarely happens.)

80x25 monospace characters

IIRC, you can get up to 130x60 with VESA. Fonts are a different matter, but that can be alleviated with various graphics modes.

no unicode

There are at least three popular programs that have (partial) direct Unicode support. (I have to disclaim that by saying "partial" since I know someone will still complain that it doesn't do xyz. Hey, you can't have everything.)

no copy/paste between apps

There's a third-party TSR for that, but also you could (obviously) instead just use a supported DOS-compatible OS that allows that as well. In fact, I think the TSR just mimics the Win 3.x API.

Funny thing about reading this is that it reminded me about the age old unix debate between vim and emacs. Everyone should just use what they like!

Vim is extremely popular, but there are still dozens of other editors. It's a bit mind-boggling trying to understand all the various different features. I don't think there is truly one-size-fits-all. It seems a common itch to scratch for programmers.

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