Review of EditEase
Shawn M. Gordon
As I have said in reviewing other editors, your editor choice is a highly personal thing, and isn’t always based on editor ease of use (vi comes to mind), or features. EditEase distinguishes itself in the moderately crowded editor arena by being one of the very very few Client/Server editors for the HP 3000, and being very inexpensive (always a good thing).
I tested the software on a 25Mhz 486 with 12 meg of RAM, with a TCP/IP Winsock connection to my HP 3000 925. I edited and save various combinations of remote and local files.
First off you have to make sure that your environment is correct to make use of EditEase. On the Client (PC) side, you must have at least the following minimum configuration;
LAN connection to HP
2 Meg of RAM
1 Meg of disk space
Windows Sockets 1.1 compliant TCP/IP protocol stack
On the Server (HP) side, you must have;
HP 3000 running MPE
ThinLAN link software
Now that you have the pieces in place, you are ready to do a little Client/Server editing.
Usability (also installation)
My first round of installation was a little shaky, due to the newness of the product. We got all the discrepancies cleared up, and got everything installed. The software came on one diskette, this included the client software which used a standard Windows installation routine, and then a group of files that had to be uploaded to the host after you had created the accounting structure. I wasn’t thrilled with the way the HP files had to be installed, and PegaSys is going to start offering DAT’s to install software on the HP, which will get rid of all my complaints on that end. They have made every attempt to support the various terminal emulator transfer options though.
Once everything is installed, this is a real easy, and straight forward product to use. I mean, it’s a Window’s based editor, and follows all the conventions that those products follow. There is some overhead involved in having server processes running in the right places, but maybe they can change that by making use of the AIF’s from HP.
When you run EditEase, you will need to supply some basic information so it can connect to the host. This is the IP address, and port number that the host computer and server program are using. Once you have entered this once, you shouldn’t have to do it again, but you can change it if you wish. Look at figure 1 to see an example of the prompt screen for opening a host file.
Along the top status bar you will see your current MPE logon, save to account, IP address, Port ID, as well as a row/col indicator for the cursor when editing a file, a running character count of the file, as well as a status indicator that shows weather the file has been changed yet.
It’s important to note that EditEase does honor your MPE security, although it doesn’t actually generate a session on the host because of the TCP/IP connection, it does validate the logon. This means you can still control who has access to what. EditEase will also honor any ACD attributes that are set for the file, so all your security will still be applicable. This was an important, and nice touch for Pegasys to make sure of.
On pre MPE/iX 5.0 systems, it is necessary to have an EditEase server job running in each account that you plan to be using the editor. In 5.0 it becomes possible to save files across accounts, so the multiple job requirement goes away.
Most of EditEase’s features are found in the ‘Edit’ menu bar option, as seen in figure 2. What’s interesting to note in this figure is that I am editing some COBOL source code, and this brings up a current limitation of EditEase, it doesn’t seem to handle numbered files correctly, and numbered is the default file format of COBOL source code, although you can do it unnumbered. The numbers are displayed in the source, and then the file is saved back to the host as an unnumbered file. I hope this is something that can be changed, because I was really looking forward to using EditEase as a COBOL editor.
All your basic search, search and replace, top and bottom of file functions are supported, but there are some other features I would like to see, I will cover those in the summary of the review.
I did run into an ‘Out of Memory’ problem when trying to edit large files, this means that the current version of EditEase is probably trying to load the whole file into memory to edit it. So you will be limited to what your PC has available at any given time. Granted I was trying to pull in over a 5,000 line piece of source, but I feel that it should handle it anyway. This would of course mean changing the basic underlying architecture of how the program deals with files. I put in a request, so maybe it will be in the product by the time you read the review.
A couple of nifty options allow you to change the font of the document, set tab stops, and have multiple documents open. This last option is very nice for quickly cutting and pasting between multiple files (which EditEase also supports). Standard options like selecting, cutting/copying and pasting of pieces of the document are also supported.
Rock solid reliability from EditEase makes it easy to trust it to edit your files. A common worry with a new editor is that it doesn’t destroy your files, there is nothing to worry about when using EditEase as far as I can tell.
The Client based editor will work as fast as your PC allows. It get’s to take advantage of, and suffer from, all the same performance issues that any Windows based program does. This means that if you are on a 133Mhz Pentium you will think it’s the fastest software you have every seen, and if you are on a 16Mhz 386, you will think it’s slow, of course everything would be slow on that kind of system.
I was a little surprised at the speed when opening a document local to the PC, I really expected it to zoom through it, but it was kind of slow starting up, opening a host file takes about the same amount of time, which surprised me. Once the file was loaded, everything went very quickly however.
Saving a file either locally or on the host is very quick, just a second or two.
Supportability (including Doc)
I found their support to be very responsive. I had some problems initially getting the software installed, which was due to some documentation errors (which have since been fixed). I called in the evening, on the weekend, and during the day, and was always able to get some help quickly. You will mostly get voice mail from the 800 number, but the response is very quick. PegaSys seems very interested in making the product as useful as possible, and I spent some time talking with the developer about direction, and features.
There are several features that I would really like to see, especially if I were to use this as a source code editor. First would be a “bookmark” type of feature that let you tag locations in a file, and then get to them with some sort of short ‘alt’ key sequence. Second would be the ability to open multiple windows on the same document. A common situation for me when working on source code, is not always remembering the variable name when I am down in the code typing away, or when I am using one section of code as a template for another. And finally, an option to do a host “LISTF” to see what files are available to edit, sometimes you get the spelling of something wrong, and it would nice to be able to do a LISTF.
The TCP/IP VBX that the software makes use of, doesn’t unload itself when the program terminates. I don’t know why this is, and it’s a little annoying. The limitation on file size is also a bit frustrating, but this limit will vary from CPU to CPU because it is dependent on your local resources. The software needs to be updated so that it pages in and out the amount of data that it can fit. Hopefully it is something that can be fixed in the near future.
Despite the fact that the editor currently isn’t appropriate for editing numbered files, it is a nifty little editor, and rather handy to have around. It’s easy to use, conforms to Windows standards, and honors your MPE level security, without generating a logon. If you even have a mild inclination, you should check it out.
EditEase version 1.0
PegaSys Consulting, Inc.
231 Menlo St.
Buelton, CA 93427
Phone (800) 627-3127
FAX (805) 688-8677
Call, write, fax, or email to order or receive a demo. The software will typically come on one diskette, but if you require a DAT that can also be supplied. Includes one 19 page manual. Price is $395 per copy, and support is free.