Test Drive of Qedit for Windows
Shawn M. Gordon
S.M.Gordon & Associates
What it can do?
For many people in the HP world QEDIT has been their editor of choice and it’s fan’s are very enthusiastic, rather like the vi fans in the UNIX world. A few years back Robelle ported QEDIT to UNIX, and they have now created a client/server version that let’s you run a nice standard Windows editor program to edit local files, 3000 based files, or 9000 based files. Given that one of QEDIT’s main reasons for it’s popularity is it’s robust command line, I was wondering how the client/server version would fare, especially given the ever more crowded nature of this market segment. For brevity I will refer to Qedit for Windows as QWIN for the rest of the review.
How does it work?
Unlike virtually every other client/server tool that I have looked at, QWIN doesn’t require a server job on the HP to be running to serve the client request. This is good in the fact that it’s one less background job to worry about, this is bad in the fact that it actually generates a logon to the HP, and chews up your session count.
From this point if you look at Figure 2 you will see that QWIN appears to actually run the host based QEDIT program as opposed to a special server program. This is kind of cute actually, and not a bad trick. The implementation and communication layer is very fast.
QWIN isn’t meant to be a word processor, but a text, or more specifically, a code editor. This means your not going to see things like fonts, colors, frames, etc. What you should expect to see is a high speed editor, that can easily edit local or host based files. The biggest features appear to be the speed, and the ability to edit multiple files at the same time across multiple platforms if desired, as well as the searching ability. I have heard, but did not verify, that QWIN will also allow you to edit files across an Intranet, or the Internet. This could be a pretty handy trick if you are out on the road, or need to edit remotely, especially if your HP is on the ‘net.
Installation and Documentation
The installation is a piece of cake, but it is two phase. You need to install the host based software on your 3000 with the supplied tape, this is very simple and Robelle has done a very clean job. Next you install the client software, which is also very straight forward and follow’s the current standards for Windows installation programs.
The documentation is clean and robust, filled with screen snapshots and easy to read text. It is indexed and contains a table of contents for quick reference. The online help for the client software was good, but seemed to be incomplete, for example I could find no reference to the “push cursor/pop cursor” commands and had to ask for help from Robelle tech support. I didn’t notice any other lacks in the help system.
The Test Drive
QWIN really couldn’t be any easier to set up and use, which was very nice. If you look at Figure 1 you will see an example of the program with 4 different files open, the pane in the upper right corner has two views on the same file open. This feature works like the code editor in Visual Basic, which I found to be nice, the dual view in VB is one of the few things I like in VB. This is one of the main features that set QWIN apart from other client/server editors that I have looked at. From the figure you can see that I have turned on the ruler and line numbers. These are optional and can be enabled/disabled at will, but if you are used to editing on the HP this information is rather comforting.
In the upper left corner you will see a little black triangle, and a little blue “lollipop”. The black triangle is a tab stop, so you can create new tab stops by dragging them down into the document. The blue “lollipop” is a guideline marker, so you can drag these into your documents and get your vertical guide marks. This is handy in a language like COBOL where you try to keep your columns straight.
The client software makes use of your standard MS Window tools such as a dockable tool bar and robust online help. The interface is very standard which makes the learning curve very short.
The “push/pop cursor” function was a disappointment to me, and I had to get tech support to understand how it worked because it’s not documented under that name, and can’t be found in the index. Basically this allows you to “mark” spots in your text file so that you can quickly jump to them. The problem with the function is that it’s a LIFO stack (last in, first out). so when you “push” cursor locations onto the stack and then “pop” them back, it goes in reverse order, and there is no way to go to a specific cursor location. Also, once you “pop” a cursor, it’s gone from the stack. So this feature only allows you to get back to a cursor location once, otherwise you have to keep “pushing” the cursor everytime you pop back.
Another area where QWIN starts to shine is in it’s ability to search for, and replace text. You can do things like look for only whole words, so if you are searching for “USER”, it won’t pull up “USERNAME” unless you want it to. QWIN also has the ability to search for a matching pattern as opposed to a literal string. So I could say @shawn@gordon@ which would find any occurance of the string “shawn” followed by zero or more intervening characters and then the string “gordon”, you are provided the following match pattern criteria.
@@ at-sign matches zero or more chacters of any type
# pound sing matches exactly on numeric character (0-9)
? question mark matches exactly one alphabetic character (a-z, A-Z)
~ tilde matches zero or more space characters
& ampersand matches the next character (use &@ to look for an @)
Qedit for Windows is a very nice tool taken on it’s own, but I think it might be a bit behind the curve on some other products I’ve seen in this arena like the WhisperTech editor, which has good bookmark features for one, and has a more solid “feel” to me. However QWIN is very very fast, and let’s you edit files from multiple sources, and from what I hear across the Internet as well. You have all the standard editing and search tools that you could want, although the “push cursor” feature needs to be redone and severely enhanced.
The product is very reliable and well written, but I think the main problem is that you have lost what made Qedit so great for so many people, and that’s the command line interface. I feel that to really entice the hard core users of Qedit, Robelle should seriously consider giving you a pop-up window to execute command line options, that way it’s there for the people that want/need it, but doesn’t clutter the nice interface job they have done.
I would say that as an existing Qedit customer you will definitely want to check this out, and probably buy it. If your not using Qedit, but looking for some nice editing solutions, especially client/server, you should get a demo.
Qedit for Windows version 4.6.03
Robelle Consulting Limited
Unit 201, 15399-102A Ave.
Surrey, BC, Canada V3R 7K1
Qedit for Windows includes the client interface software, and either the host based QEDIT program or the QEDIT upgrade to support the Windows client depending on if you already own QEDIT. It requires that you have TCP/IP installed and configured and that your 3000 has the Remote Process management (RPM) listener software. Qedit for Windows supports opening multiple files across the 3000, 9000, and local PC, and provides standard Windows style editing.
Qedit for Windows will run on Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95 and NT and requires 4MB of memory and 3MB of disk space. The QEDIT server software is supported on both HP 3000 and HP 9000. If you already own QEDIT then there is an upgrade price of $1,000 for the server, and the client ranges from $150 to $200 per copy depending on number of copies. If you don’t own QEDIT then the cost is $5,000 for the server side, but includes host based QEDIT as well. Currently there is special introductory pricing that makes the upgradr $500 and includes 2 free client copies. The 2 free copies only pertains to the introductory special. All prices are in US dollars.
Figure 2 SYS.PUB% SHOWPROC #S430 QPRI CPUTIME STATE JOBNUM PIN (PROGRAM) STEP #s430, shawn,mgr.smga,pub (ldev 44) B152 0:00.094 WAIT S430 256 (JSMAIN.PUB.SYS) C152 0:00.018 WAIT S430 585 :??? C152 0:00.148 TRMIO S430 460 (RPMDAD.NET.SYS) C152 0:00.306 WAIT S430 574 (CI.PUB.SYS) QEDIT.PUB.ROBELLE "-t" C152 0:00.936 IPC S430 155 (QEDIT.PUB.ROBELLE) -t