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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Less is more
by Odisej on Fri 17th Mar 2017 10:22 UTC
Odisej
Member since:
2006-05-11

All good points. But I would dare to say that the popularity of Wordstar among writers does not only come from familiar keyboard shortcuts but also from the fact that writing in such environments as DOS or terminal in Linux makes you more productive. When writing you have to sit down, literally mentally teleport into another world of creativity and stay there. And for many writers Wordstar is such a teleportation device.

Being a professional journalist I find it that the combination of Terminal, tmux, emacs, Links with an old VGA or DOS font (in green or yellow letters and black background naturally) and of course a big cup of coffee makes me several times more productive than using full DE, Office and whatever browser. There is just too much clutter. And yes, typewriter sounds help as well. Funny, right?

Wordstar would be a wonderful alternative but due to codepage issues it is almost useless for any non-Western European language.

I wish more developers would have a professional writer in mind when creating/updating a text editor. Soft wordwrap is usually quite an issue.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Less is more
by ssokolow on Fri 17th Mar 2017 11:45 in reply to "Less is more"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Take a look at FocusWriter.

Not only is it a distraction-free writing tool that doesn't suffer from WriteRoom's "bad design disguised as a virtue" flaws, it's GPLv3 software, cross-platform, and the Windows version is available in portable form. (The "Tip with download" selector can be set to $0)

https://gottcode.org/focuswriter/

(And, yes, it does support typewriter sounds, though I've always found that sort of thing irritating... ironic given that I migrated from a membrane keyboard to Cherry MX Blue switches to a Unicomp buckling-spring keyboard. IBM-design buckling-spring switches are just about the noisiest thing you can get.)


In case anyone's curious, this blog post covers how FocusWriter gets right what WriteRoom got wrong:

http://writingonlinux.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/focuswriter-and-why-...

The gist is that FocusWriter is packed full of well-designed features... they just auto-hide until you actually need them.

Edited 2017-03-17 11:46 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Less is more
by darknexus on Fri 17th Mar 2017 18:24 in reply to "RE: Less is more"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

The gist is that FocusWriter is packed full of well-designed features... they just auto-hide until you actually need them.

Isn't that part of Microsoft's logic behind the ribbon? I hate that thing, especially the version in Windows Explorer now. There's no logic behind some of the ways options will or won't appear when I really need them. Computers should not try to guess what I want to do.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Less is more
by BlueofRainbow on Fri 17th Mar 2017 20:35 in reply to "RE: Less is more"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

I am noticing the "Edited 2017-03-17 11:46 UTC".

I am curious about how one can edit his/her own post.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Less is more
by BlueofRainbow on Fri 17th Mar 2017 20:40 in reply to "Less is more"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

I believe that there is some similarity between writing and playing music in that automatism of finger motions allows to convey emotions/thoughts with greater focus than the multiple of gestures involved with current user interfaces.

Reply Parent Score: 2