what's new  ||  xyWrite? xyWhat???
!xyWiz | !xyWWWiz & ... | !xyWise & ... ||  non-xyW kbd remapping || xyW+Windows || linuXyW || PostScript NAQ | PS tables engine || TTG, NB, &... | nbWin v xyWin v NoteTab

This is the page formerly known as www.escape.com/~yesss/xypro/ <compass> | <toc>

here ...


If you believe xyWrite 3 couldn't possibly be any better, or you assume basic things you wish it would do can't be done, !xyWiz will startle you. (And if some !xyWiz component has disappointed you in the past, the current version will come as a happy surprise.)

xyWrite 3.55 and each v3 release that succeeded it is as valid a choice today as v3.55 was when new--what was it?--a decade ago? Like its speed and versatility, its talent for being there only when you need it was and is unmatched. Because of xyWrite's structure and tools XyQuest provided to extend the text processor's reach, it accommodates technologies unforeseen then and features XyQuest left unfinished or unstarted.

It's no stretch to call !xyWiz the missing link between then and now. The modules in this collection of Xywrite Programming Language utilities unobtrusively streamline and amplify familiar writing, editing, file management, and Internet tasks, and introduce options XyQuest didn't get to till xyWrite 4 if ever. Take a look: !xyWiz does things that may have been on your wish list for years.


port new! 4 july 2001
With the port of !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool to Windows xyWrite and NotaBene, I feel confident saying flat out that if you use xyWrite and you tag html, you need this tool. !xyWWWiz's centerpiece has a feeling of inevitability about it: But of course! This is how html was meant to be tagged and maintained. The !xyWiz Web assistant !xyWWWiz is a collection of xyWrite 3 Web authoring utilities. See news too on the !xyWWWiz page of improved color tagging--and check out the two-way color chart.
!xyWiz and !xyWWWiz require



!xyWise takes xyWrite 3 places it never could go before, but the light overlay itself is of interest primarily to xpl programmmers. Users encounter func BC replacement &C directly only while you integrate it into your custom keyboard. You reap its benefits when keyboard macros and xpl pgms--!xyWiz or your own--apply the internal information &C harvests invisibly with no perceptible penalty to xyWrite 3's legendary speed.

Because !xyWise lets an xpl pgm rebuild the entire prelaunch state, you'll see xyWrite 3 do things that used to be unthinkable. Your delete and backspace keys, e.g., now can trap every character you remove as transparently as Del and BackSpace normally destroy chars. You'll be unaware what's under those keys is different till you want to repair an accident, or move or reorder a few (or a lot of) characters without blocking text. Then just tap a third key that returns deleted chars one by one to the screen. The tool that does that is half of a !xyWise accessory called !OutBack, which also archives erased commands for instant retrieval. port new! 4 july 2001 You'll soon find the duo indispensable. (The !OutBack character cache now also is a standalone port to xyWin and nbWin, GetBack.)

In another example of the diverse ways !xyWise brings xyWrite 3 up to date, the !xyWise assistant FizFix1A.exe negotiates the unseen dos end-of-file markers that were of little concern to users when XyWrite 3 was written. Then came the 'net, where they turn destructive and, as control chars, are "illegal." FizFix1A is available to !xyWiz pgms to answer the need to zap lethal hex 1As, midfile in downloads--where xyWrite hides text past their location and when you save or store erases the hidden text--and eof in uploads so they don't wind up midfile in your own or someone else's download.

The overlay makes very modest system demands. The whole thing is smaller than 'most any single &ldpm NotaBene loads. !xyWise and !OutBack occupy about a third of my 9600-byte Help file. If anyone ever tries to tell you that the famously robust xyWrite 3 is unstable, ask how big his Help file, pers.spl, and printer driver are. With my compact Help, a pared-down my.sp3, and the <1500-byte screen driver I load except when printing hard copy, I never experience any of the scary behavior advocates of xyW3 Help xpl allege. Only you can trim your pers.spl (that, alas, is important) and Help to the essence, but !xyWise can help set up your installation with a screen driver similar to mine.

Want to add !xyWise power to your xpl? The xplWise technical documentation bundled with !xyWise, !xyWiz, and the !xyWiz Web assistant !xyWWWiz should help.


17 August 2001

4 july 2001

12 October 2001: TTG gone?

XyWrite architect and former TTG chief engineer Dave Erickson has invested in and is (among other things) working with NotaBene, NB has announced (17 August 2001). The xyWrite/SmartWords kernel is at the core of NB dos and Windows software.

Good news if you use xyWin or nbWin and tag html: Now ported to the Windows releases, !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool, the primary module of the !xyWiz Web assistant !xyWWWiz, makes preparing pages for upload as effortless as that task can be.

GetBack, a port to xyWin and nbWin of the !xyWise !OutBack character cache, transparently collects every character you delete or backspace and can restore them one by one to the screen to repair accidents or make small edits.

Some notes on Signature+ U2 xpl explain how I got back a xyWrite xpl tool Sig+ confiscated and offer some tips on using xyWrite 3 to program U2s. As day the night: the inevitable comparison of xyWin, nbWin, and NoteTab.

4 july 2001

1 january 2001

15 january 2001

4 july 2001

14 february 2001;
new in xyWin/nbWin port 29 august 2001

14 february 2001

The !xyWWWiz module !4www translates to html xyWrite formatting (even column tables) that conforms to !4www protocols. A !4www tagging tool with the same interface as !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool applies those protocols.

Much improved color-attribute tagging has caught up with other !xyWWWiz !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool features, and the !xyWWWiz quick reference html color chart is another tool to help make your pages colorful graphically as well as textually (a two-way cross reference since 6 February 2001). With a keystroke, !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool can load the chart--or the page you're tagging--in your browser. Use the link on the !xyWWWiz page to preview the chart.

Do you know how to make and use gui-"subliminable" tags? Another link on the !xyWWWiz page takes you to some tips on how to expand your site's accessibility by using techniques like that.

Both !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool versions now can insert a file name in an <a> or <img> tag. And both include a new !xyWWWiz one-command utility that helps you maintain pages that contain multiply nested tags--tables, lists, any tag you designate.

xyW3 !xyWWWiz !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool exclusive: When a page is ready to upload, v3 !BetterThanAverageTaggingTool now can convert newlines to linefeeds and zap the dos eof.

new! 10 october 2000
If !xyWise or !xyWiz or !xyWWWiz ever let you down or confused you, now's the time to give it another try. The current package has countless improvements, major and minor. Weak primary units were rewritten from scratch: !xyWise setup went from primitive to real slick. !xyWiz's search wildcard_replace wildcard module and the !xyWiz Web assistant !xyWWWiz both are breakthroughs. A !xyWise library automates swapping print drivers (till you read the documentation, don't be so sure that wouldn't improve your setup).

Many !xyWiz particulars have been revisited and refined--an open-ended process: most recently, !FIND, a module that searches each logical drive in your system for the file(s) you designate on the CMline and lists all files that fit the description, new !B modules that code indents and column tables, and a 2001 Valentine revise of the !PB module, which shuttles text between xyW3 and a NoteTab win9x pasteboard file. New functionality is well documented and how to integrate your own code has been clarified.

!xyWise, !xyWiz, and !xyWWWiz are in one package. If you don't tag html and never will, delete the >43k _xywwwiz.zip. If you don't program xpl and never will, delete the >40k _xplwise.zip.

new! 14 february 2001
Most !xyWise et al documentation is of the read-once, implement-and-forget-about-it variety, but !xyWiz is an exception. Now that we're all accustomed to html linkage, navigating the big !xyWiz reference is a turn-off. Therefore, you also can download !xyWiz documentation as an html file (independent of the package) to surf offline.

A few freestanding xyW3 utilities that don't need !xyWise.

Got the old app/new printer blues?

Driving a release you treasure more than the developer does into the millennium free of printer driver cares takes a certain NAQ (answers to never-asked questions).


   compiles and installs all tables (yes, width too) a standard xyWrite PS driver needs for PostScript Type 1 fonts.

	[GRAPHIC: Datalux Spacesaver desk model]
The option to remap the keyboard without restriction is one of xyWrite's primary attractions. Now you can remap your keyboard across Windows universally as well. (I also review the unusual physical keyboard I use, which has an Fkey solution that I think beats 2x6 left of the alphanumerics.)

linuXyW notes

Arthur Steinberg <arthurs@MIT.EDU> runs xydos 4.017 under linux (red hat ver. 5.2) in dosemu on a dell optiplex gx1 and has posted some interesting messages on his successes and problems to the xyWrite mailing list --r"e-print"ed here.
[This section has fallen increasingly out of date as linux's direction has become clearer and my interest has flagged. PCExpo linux demos and a faithful read of Slashdot consistently confirm that the platform holds no promise for me. I wish linux well but feel no need myself for a un*x Windows. Sorry. --a | 1 january 2001]


<top>| <toc>| <home>

... and there

And what of     beta SmartWords,     the sorta-32bit     phantom successor     to xyWin 4?    

After a Faustian bargain with IBM put XyQuest out of business, The Technology Group bought the assets, speeded up Signature, the dos xyWrite-based successor to DisplayWrite XyQuest had written to IBM specs, released it as xyWrite 4 fairly early in the win3 era, and followed up quickly with a port to Windows. Each xyW4 release has its proponents, but both had problems and neither made a dent in the market. TTG reverted to Plan A, continuing development of the xyWin kernel for use as the engine for TTG legal software and, after upgrading the kernel (16 bit, many internal structures converted to 32 bit), renamed it SmartWords. TTG announced and without explanation never delivered a permanent-beta SmartWords CD. TTG apparently closed its doors on or about 12 October 2001.

Not-vaporware dept:    

xyWrite's legendary architect Dave Erickson has invested in and is "working with" NotaBene as well as pursuing a number of other interests, NB president Anne Putnam announced to the xyWrite list on 17 August 2001. After the IBM debacle, Erickson continued till earlier this year as chief engineer at TTG.
NotaBene offers xyWrite users the SmartWords-based release of the NB word processor as part of the Windows NB Scholar's Workstation (NB plus text database and other add-ons) for $249. The SW-based release is NB's first for Windows. The developer has long sold an early xyW3 kernel plus overlays that endear NB to academics and linguists. PCMagazine's word processor editor used to be a big fan. Writer Paul Andrews testifies below that he is too.

SmartWords' most conspicuous break with xyWrite is a shift from the IBM extended character set to ANSI. File filters convert some chars, but (unlike NoteTab) SW doesn't toggle the sets with a key press. Executing dir commands lists dos dirs; VB 32bit dialog boxes generate lfn dirs. TTG CEO Kenneth Frank commented to the xyWrite list that comparatively the SmartWords editor and the NotaBene product are "functionally very similar" and from the command line are "more or less the same." But "Nota Bene has done more with the interface as it relates to certain functions," e.g., NotaBene has "enhanced the dialog boxes for certain commands, like column tables, and added other academic related functions. Because of what [TTG uses the SmartWords] editor for, many of those dialog boxes are not important to us. I really haven't compared the products at a level of detail to be able to give you a rundown, but for basic word processing functions we use SmartWords as it is all day every day with no problem."

NotaBene also supplies any and all an nbWin demo, downloadable from its site, or by smail as a $10 CD. ... An active NotaBene mailing list has flourished for many years independent of the company. Msg:

sub notabene [your real name]

no subject; if your mailer requires one, use "xxx"--not "subscribe." ... Users have enhanced nbWin Help, nbWin's only documentation.
[Some notes I wrote after a belated immersion in nbWin and xyWin compare them to NoteTab. It will be very interesting indeed to see what develops with Dave Erickson involved directly in NB. Lobbying for Unicode support, e.g., has been intense. --a | 17 August 2001]

<top>| <toc>| <home>

Other resources  

<top>| <toc>| <home>


Paul Andrews noted something of particular interest to dos xyWrite and NotaBene users in a review of Windows 2000 in his 13 February 2000 Seattle Times "User-friendly" column:
"Even Microsoft cautions that Windows 2000 is not for everyone. [...] The MS-DOS prompt is gone, and the DOS high-memory management system sought by most DOS applications is absent as well. [...]

"My two DOS `legacy' applications, Lotus Magellan (a disk-management utility) and Nota Bene (a word processor build on the ancient 1983 XyWrite program), installed and ran fine under Windows 2000 despite dire warnings they were incompatible.

"On boot-up, I still get warned that the programs are trying to write to disk in an unsupported manner. I just click `Ignore' and everything runs fine. I'd like to be able to get rid of that warning message, however.

"Although MS-DOS is gone, Windows 2000 has a `Command' prompt that will run DOS programs from a command line in a `virtual DOS' window. As with Windows 98, DOS windows are not resizable, but can be displayed full-screen by hitting ALT-ENTER.

"The `Command' prompt is buried in Windows 2000's `Accessories' menu, a move that suggests Microsoft would just as soon you abandoned those old DOS applications. We DOS diehards are a stubborn lot, however, and will give up our DOS applications when they uncurl our cold, stiff fingers from our keyboard.

"It was not the old programs, in fact, but the most recent ones that gave me problems. [...]"

-- "Faster, easier to use, but don't expect Windows 2000 to have new look"

  [GRAPHIC: "any damned browser"]

When I snitched that protest from Robert Orndorff's site and in the couple of years since, I've thought it was just a simple graphic in a good cause. Oy!!! I've just seen it for the first time with a Java-enabled browser and learned, to my astonishment, that it's a really clever animation. Sorry, Robert, for grabbing it without asking and without credit. --adpF, 25 June 2002
[This DOS diehard went to hell and back to continue using win95 instead of the win98 that was preinstalled on a new notebook. 98lite lets you wipe MSIE off your hdd and out of your registry, but it can't get MSIE hooks out of the win98 kernel. Ultimately, I failed to attain a kernel not infected by hooks to a browser I don't use. The late win95 release I ended up with creates three ineradicable MSIE subdirs--one of them lfn with spaces in the name--that early win95 lets you delete. My attempts to permanently erase MSIE registry entries fail, as does the 98lite utility that claims to rid the win95 registry of MSIE entries, I suppose because of small victories before I ran it--e.g., I have no \Program Files. Calls to that subdir are directed to \msDrek. (My experience is that MS won't allow a win95 subdir with no space-free lfn subdir names. If you rename \Start Menu, win95 creates a new \Start Menu. win95 hasn't made me any fonder of lfn than when I first encountered them back in the early '80s in my first dos word processor.) My lone satisfaction is that MSIE itself remains uninstalled. Apps that require MSIE? Too bad for them. --a | 14 july 2000]
[That satisfaction is about to go down the tubes now that it's become nearly impossible to buy many peripherals that aren't USB (especially cameras). I've picked up a Partition Magician to get dual-booting in anticipation of reinstalling win98; I'll boot to it on occasions when I absolutely must use USB. Otherwise, being forced to use Mac win98 VirtualDOS has removed any doubts that win95 was the Windows release with my name on it. --a | 30 june 2002]
[Given the vise MS has put a captive market into, let me note, happily, that the folks who brought us 98lite are still at it. It's taken them this long to whip the insecure, vandal-magnet XP into almost-ready lite form, which is pretty scary, but the product promises a lot of control. When finished. --a | 30 august 2003]

win9x xyWrite supplements

Once one buys into the necessity for a dos text processor and graphical browser, the ongoing issue becomes how best to interact with 32bit Windows. Except for SmartWords lfn dialog boxes, xyWin and nbWin perform no Windows services unavailable to dos xyWrite, so the cornerstones (can a structure have three?) of my quest for productive win95 xyWrite 3 supplements are the KR Windowswide keyboard remapper (my review of KR is on another page) plus the NoteTab text editor(s) (which I compare and contrast with xyWin and nbWin also on another page) and the file manager Total Commander (till recently named Windows Commander).

xyWrite made other dos file managers superfluous, but under win9x xyW's lack of lfn support (aside from SW VB dialog boxes) requires a supplemental 32bit file manager unless nbWin or Windows Explorer meets your needs. I've used PowerDesk and I've used Total Commander. Even though PD is prettier and can be had as freeware, Total Commander (thanks, Joe Solla!) is comprehensive. If you're used to PD or Explorer, give yourself some time to get comfortable with Total Commander's homely interface. Powerhouses aren't glamorous. Take time to study configuration options; keyboard help suggests the depth. Although totalCom defers to Norton Commander purists with some dumb key assignments, you can remap all functions:

Alt+O -> O -> Misc: redefine hotkeys (keyboard remapping)

FTP services are phenomenal. <Ctrl+F> to list unix server directories the same as if they were on your hdd. To upload or download, proceed as if you were copying from one dir to another on your hdd, then tap totalCom's copy key; several other basic directory services are available too. totalCom has a command line I find mostly an aggravation, but I can't bring myself to hide it. If I had to give up either KR or totalCom I'd be hard put to make a choice. I consider each as essential to win95 as xyWrite is to dos.
<top>| <toc>| <home>
dos xyW win9x clipboard tip
Did you know you can copy the current item from the clipboard directly to whatever is displayed in full-screen dos xyWrite? Yes, full-screen (probably works with xyW-in-a-box too). Ctrl+Esc->Esc->Tab->cursor-right to the Windows taskbar xyWrite object->Shift+F10 (OR right-click the taskbar xyWrite object)->Edit->Paste. The win95 in the PC I'm using right now won't accept e->p kbd shortcuts, alas; Edit->Paste require use of a pointing device, but when you Alt+Tab to xyWrite you'll find the clip right there on your screen.


When I installed win95, a friend offered three words of advice: right mouse button. My own distilled Windows advice applies to any app you use much: learn the hotkeys. If you don't already know what a placid experience Windows can be when your hands aren't shuttling constantly between kbd and mouse, try turning your mouse on its back.
* Ctrl+Esc unfurls the Start menu.
* Alt+Space opens an app's control menu.
* Alt+[underscored initial] displays other menus
   (yeah, duh, but just do it);
* type underscored initials on the menus;
* tune in the hotkey info that's often there.
* Alt or Esc exits menus.
* Ctrl+Tab cycles tabbed panels
   when dialog box options are several.
* Alt+Tab cycles open apps.
The culprit is the shuttling, not the mouse. In an inherently graphical app, the keyboard becomes the obstacle. If you must move your hand off the pointing device to use a hotkey, the hotkey ceases to be a shortcut. Except when using graphics apps, the only time I touch a pointing device is to get to icons in the system tray. Pointing devices integrated in keyboards seem like a real good idea as long as the device isn't so far from the alphanumeric keypad it might as well be detached.

dos gui xyWrite supplement

Absent xyWin or nbWin, anyone who values dos xyWrite for writing and editing but likes to pretty up projects with a gui app before sending them to an office printer could do worse than NewWrite/NewDraw (ex-GeoWrite/GeoDraw). Kind of dtpLite with a Macish feel, the slick software (born free of 80x25 obligations) has MasterSoft xyWrite impex filters and is part of a suite in a freestanding dos gui you can task switch under Windows. You can shift every NewDraw function except graphical import to NewWrite to form a particularly felicitous text/graphics working environment. Like xyWrite 3, NW/ND were written in assembler; you'd be hard put to find a faster graphical word processor (Geoworks used to tout the speed on a 286 back when that was meaningful). NW has undeniable limitations--forget footnotes, e.g.--and the suite, much praised by the trade press when it was released, all but disappeared with corporate hardware downsizing and the resultant MS software domination. My decade-old release's font and graphical file filter choices seem quaint now; one hopes the current developer has updated them. Third-party fonts always were available but many were high school. (GW neglected to trademark its flagship product's name, someone else grabbed it, and GW came up with a new name as dumb as SmartWords.)

Coming attractions: BeOS had a third-party office software suite that got some nice notices and now the developer has announced ports of Gobe Productive to Windows and linux to be released this fall at us$125 list. Although the software of course won't have xyWrite filters, I look forward to trying it as a possible successor to the hermetic NewWrite/NewDraw. (I must note that I've never once succeeded in raising the Gobe site, but you can find reviews of the previous release at Ars-Technica and the Byte BeOS archive.

not-for-idiots bookshelf

new! 6 january 2001
The win9x book I dearly wish I'd had from the gitgo is David A. Karp's unfortunately titled "Windows Annoyances" (O'Reilly; ISBN: 1-56592-266-2). No cute MSophobic collection of petulant salves for minor irritants, the book's a bible of customization tips that assumes you've used win9x a while, so you needn't skip long sections of basics aimed at PC novices. It's under 300 pages, and most contain I-never-could-have- figured-that-out- myself info. The editor was Andrew Schulman, presumably the Andrew Schulman who writes "Unauthorized [MS OS]" books. Of the multitude of two-inch-thick user manuals, the best probably are Brian Livingston and Davis Straub's encyclopedic IDG "Windows [9x] Secrets" (win95: IDBN: 0-7645-3070-4). You may know the Windows Annoyances site that predates the book. That's the URL I've long had in my bookmarks (with this comment: "very best place to get w95 information --Dorothy Day"; there's no recommendation I value more). The URLs the book gives are Creative Element and the O'Reilly site. But the book is a convincing argument for dead-tree (vs e-)reference. The momentary (22 April 2001) good news for us if not for Karp is that win95/NT4 and win98 versions of "Windows Annoyances" are remaindered--half price at my friendly neighborhood pre-www discount computer books store, Computer Book Works, which I hope it's safe to say really is in business to sell "new, old, and hard-to find computer books" (one Signature book is on the shelves)--not data on your shopping habits.

I was probably the last win95 user to struggle with DUN, but just in case you've never experienced the joy of troublefree hands-off log-on I must mention a little-known freeware utility that ended years of weeping and wailing around here over the failure of highly praised ineffectual solutions. I'm eternally grateful to the indefatigable gadfly Helmar Rudolph for steering me to NetLaunch. To log on, I need only type e on the xyW CMline and tap my <!xyWiz> key, or Alt+S Enter in Total Commander to execute the first item on my start menu. After that, NetLaunch automates the whole process, including (if they weren't loaded) loading my browser and NoteTab (that clipboard-capture feature is quite handy while surfing). (If you use a pointing device with win9x you also can tap the icon in the system tray.)

Compass: Your browser's <Back function and the table of contents at the end of each !xyWise et al and xyWrite/PostScript page get you back to this ("overview") index page. The toc also lets you shift laterally to other local pages, download the zipped files the docs describe, and explore related resources. Navigational links "<top>/<toc>" are scattered throughout pages whose length justifies them.

<top> | <home>

more about  ...

!xyWise modular utilities !xyWiz
!xyWiz Web assistant !xyWWWiz & xy/nbWin port
!xyWWWiz html color chart

consider the alternatives
xyWrite 3+ overlay !xyWise + !OutBack & xy/nbWin port GetBack
xplWise tech reference and instructions
. Make legacy apps eternal: get the NAQ
PostScript Type 1 font xyWrite driver tables

. xyWrite???

non-xyW kbd stuff
Signature+ xpl
unrelated .EXEs

download ...

  • aw_hec
    dos hexdec
    readout (<16k)

gone with the snows of yesteryear:
TTG free kernel upgrades

> xyWrite 3 (see notes above re autoreplace and login ! ) (____)
> xyWrite 4--Windows and dos (read FILE.TXT at the link)

adpFisher nyc 30 august 2003