And what of beta SmartWords, the sorta-32bit phantom successor to xyWin 4?
xyWrite's second-generation developer, The Technology Group, will begin shipping the SmartWords editor beta "in approximately 2-3 weeks," CEO Kenneth Frank announced to xylist subscribers on St. Patrick's Day (1999). Didn't happen. With Halloween costumes now in store windows, Frank has advised mailing list subscribers that TTG's "current plan is to have the SmartWords beta disk available for shipment the week of November 8. Sometime in the next week or so we'll put an order form on our web page. [...] The cost will be $15 with 1 word processing filter, and $49 with the whole package. [...] We also would hope to enable downloading of the install from our Web site later in the month, and that will be free for the $15 CD product. The full filter version will still be $49." Frank first announced on 23 April 1998 that TTG was "getting ready to press some CD's with the SmartWords beta," so take "November 8" for what it's worth.This page, dated 23 October 1999, remains here as an artifact. The CD never materialized. No explanation ever was offered. NotaBene subsequently released a SmartWords-based word processor. XyQuest and The Technology Group are out of business. Unless your interest is historical, you have no reason to read further.
While this release is 16 bit, TTG has converted many of the internal structures to 32 bit, Frank said. He said that a native 32 bit editor is under development. XyWrite exists in 1999 as the text editor/word processor module of TTG's SmartWords product line, an integrated development and deployment platform for "intelligent knowledge-based" Windows and Web applications that manage and analyze information and dynamically assemble text (whatever that may mean). "Several large legal publishers" have licensed SW, according to TTG.
Frank said that the SW text editor/word processor "in my judgment is far superior to XyWrite for Windows" and cited these improvements: "it is more stable, can handle larger files, draft/expanded fonts are user definable, true collapsible outline mode, improved interface, up to 36 open windows, better printer and envelope interfaces, adjustable ruler bar and unlimited undo/redo." But he pointed out that "this is not positioned as a competitor to Word or WordPerfect as an all-around office word processor."
He reassured xyWrite vets: "We have of course preserved the command line interface, and while we have added many new commands, the old ones work just as they always did." xyWin users who have complained of unacceptable tables performance learned that TTG has "not yet spent time improving things like column tables, frames, borders, graphics, etc., and for the most part you will not see them on the menus. The commands work as well as they did previously in XyWrite for Windows, but no better."
But the new product has "a much more readible default font for draft, page-line and expanded view, which can be changed by the user," Frank told subscribers, many of whom also have complained about xyWin 4 screen fonts, in April 1998. He said that instead of Bitstream fonts, SW uses TrueType for all modes and offers a choice of font and size even for draft and expanded view.
Frank said that "overall this version of SmartWords should be compatible with previous versions of XyWrite in most important respects." That probably means it is highly compatible with xyWin 4, a win3 port of xyDos 4, a souped-up upgrade of Signature. While the most voluble xylist subscribers are xyDos 4 users, many if not most xyWrite 3 users rejected the IBM-compromised Signature for incompatibility as well as sluggish performance, and even xyDos 4 xpl performance is flaky in xyWin. Frank said that "most macros that worked in XyWrite for Windows should continue to work in SmartWords" and later added that TTG has not enabled VB Script as a macro language, but "the interface is in fact built in VB--we have a command layer between VB and the composition engine that allows VB code to pass commands."
"Ultimately we would hope to support XML but there is no timeframe for that," Frank said. "SmartWords is not an HTML editor," Frank noted in August 1998 and said that "no HTML editor is included with SmartWords. Of course you can edit any HTML file, but SmartWords doesn't understand the tags any more than XyWrite did."
TTG plans to offer the SmartWords editor/word processor to all takers (no xyWrite required) on CD ROM. Included will be support files, command reference and interface help files, and a set of filters to and from one word processor of the buyer's choice. And--oh, yes--the license for personal use only (copying and sharing are no-nos) also gets you installation instructions plus an email address for bug reports. The price is $14.95 plus $5 shipping (410-576-2040, option 2). For an extra $35 (total price $49.95 plus $5 shipping), TTG will throw in import and export filters for "all industry standard word processors," "vastly superior" to xyWrite 4 filters.
The only systematic support will be phone support at TTG's standard $1 per minute, Frank said. TTG is "interested in" bug reports, suggestions, and questions, but may or may not respond directly. The developer will try to provide additional information, bug fixes, etc. at its Web site and/or via the XyWrite list, but makes "no guarantees that we will do any of that. Basically this is `as is.'" TTG promises over time to put portions of a user manual and frequently asked questions on its Web site which was designed by some Macairhead with no concept of the difference between Web authoring and dtp, so if your ISP won't upgrade lynx the site is inaccessible).
Installation also offers the option to install a sample computer law application intended to demonstate SmartWords' ability to store and retrieve information from databases and assist in attendant decision-making. TTG sells commercial licenses for both the editor and the intelligent modules.
|adpFisher nyc 4 january 2004|