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RE: A radical idea: a new XyWrite


This is perhaps pointless to argue, but just due to my natural contrariness:

"The reason we are still using XyWrite is because it is so fast and so stable."

I don't think so. Word is just as fast and stable. So is Notepad, for that matter. There are three main reasons why I, at least, want to stick with XyWrite:

1. XPL (and U2)
2. Command line operation
3. Infinite customizability

Now, if we're talking about creating a text editor from scratch, I'm speculating that 2 and 3 are easily achieved. I think that to have the ability to actually run XPL code, there would have to be a translator that would do a lot of search and replace operations on XPL to turn it into a modern language, and that language would be what got executed. That translation can be done. I know, because I've done the inverse: turn BASIC code into XPL. It took me a month to make the core of it and get it working. That was in 1990. (Since then, I've done a hell of a lot more, adding bells and whistles.)


At 10/04/2018 13:27, you wrote:
Do you think a porting would be easier than just writing a new editor in C++ or Python? I mean, isn't writing a text editor an assignment given in computer science classes?

If this group is serious about purchasing programming help for XyWrite, it would be necessary for it to understand that there are several orders of magnitude of sophistication separating a computer class text editor and XyWrite.

The reason we are still using XyWrite is because it is so fast and so stable. The secrets to accomplishing such speed are not taught in computer classes. And while I accept that much of Xy4 is written in a semi-structured language such as C++, I have no doubt that much of it is still written in 8080 assembler, an exceptionally opaque instruction set.

Even if the code were open-source, I doubt that 1 in 100,000 programmers could understand a fraction of it; fewer would want to work with it; for those who did, a large commitment in time would be necessary.

Given that though Kenneth Frank might be located, there is not the slightest evidence that he wishes to speak to anyone on the subject of XyWrite, and given that NB does have the rights to the source code (without which nothing can be done), it seems clear that the way forward is to work with NB. If they are unwilling, it's a non-starter. It may be that some of the improvements Harry and others want are not economical or technically feasible; on the other hand, they may well be. There is no way to know without advice from the experts.

But don't insult the experts by comparing their work to computer class exercises. Please understand the universe of difference that exists between XyWrite and ordinary programming.

I suggest that the only feasible way forward is to approach NB, Siebert, Erickson.

Tangentially, may I suggest also that K. Frank may have sold his rights back to NB under NDA? This could be why he does not want to be in contact with anyone. It is equally possible that he has tried to engage programmers to do something with the code and has found that it is not possible. Not possible, that is, for any ordinarily constituted human programmer.

May I also suggest the possibility that Dave, almost 30 years after development ceased, may, himself, have neither the interest nor perhaps, with time, even the ability to make useful changes in the last released Xy4 code? But let us hope that is not the case.

By the way, who says Xy4 is not WYSIWYG? Have they forgotten graphics mode or whatever it is called?

I suggest making up a brief, cogent wishlist and submitting it to NB for costing out. I would be delighted to be proved wrong, but I don't think there's any other way forward.

- - Bill