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Description: Amiga Aktuell Ausgabe 10/97
Date: 20.08.2007 - 18:40 - Views 5326
Wordworth is a WYSIWYG wordprocessor. This review is about version 6. There have been many previous versions, I bought version 2 in 1993, but I haven't seen any of the intermediate versions.
Name: Digita International
Address: Black Horse House Albion Street Exmouth Devon EX8JL Great Britain Telephone: +44 1 395 270 273 FAX: +44 1 395 268 893
LIST PRICE 34.99 British pounds.
I ordered the Wordworth 6 CD directly from Digita using my Mastercard/Eurocard. I paid the above amount and 3 pounds shipping and handling (I live in The Netherlands), even though their sales department told me it would be 5 pounds. This was including 17.5% VAT.
There is a demo of version 2 (WordWorth2demo.lha) in biz/demo on Aminet. The demo has some limitations: it won't save or print, and it's ancient...
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
2 MB free RAM is required to run the program. More AM, a hard drive and an 68020 or higher CPU are recommended. Truetype fonts don't work on 68000 and 68010 CPUs.
AmigaDOS 2.0 or higher, I think.
When the program is first started, it asks for the registration number.
MACHINES USED FOR TESTING
Amiga 3000/25, 2 MB Chip RAM, 8 MB Fast RAM
Quantum 525 MB SCSI hard drive
AppleCD 300/NEC 210 CDROM drive
BSC ISDN-Master card, HyperCOM 4 card
Radius paper-white VGA monitor
AmigaDOS 2.0, DLG Pro 1.0 BBS system
Amiga 1200, 2 MB Chip RAM
Phase5 Blizzard 1260 with 16 MB Fast RAM
Interworks I-Card PCMCIA ethernet adapter
Quantum 525 MB IDE 2,5" hard drive
External high density floppy drive
Amiga M1438S monitor
AmigaDOS 3.0, AmiTCP 4.0 demo, Samba 1.9.16
Lexmark Optra R+ printer
PostScript and HP Laserjet/PCL 5 compatible
Connected to a PC running Windows 95, shared over the network
The installation procedure uses the Commodore Installer. The CD contains two versions of the program: a German and an English one. I installed the English version by opening the appropriate drawer and clicking the install icon. The installer asked me if I wanted to install the simple font library that doesn't support the PostScript and Truetype fonts. I shouldn't have said yes, because I missed out on the "complex font library" that way. I got it right the third time...
On the 1200 I didn't have any trouble, except that I had to make an lha file of the CD and transfer it to my other computer, where I unpacked it and used the install script. I don't know if it's alright to install the program on two machines, but I promise not to use it on both machines at the same time.
On the 3000 the installer found some old libraries (diskfont.library, post.library) that it graciously replaced.
The online help mentions running from floppy, but I think you need the distribution on disk for that. It's not possible to run the program from CD.
Of course Wordworth lets you edit text like any other wordprocessor or text editor. No need to get into that any further, except to say that you can use keyboard commands for most functions, which I feel is important for a wordprocessor to do: I don't want to take my hands off the keyboard to grab for the mouse every few words.
Wordworth uses the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) principle, so the screen is a more or less exact copy of what your printout will be. The program offers a lot of ways to change the appearance of the text. There are the obvious ones such as indentation, justification, super- and subscript, bold, italics and underlined, but also color, spacing, small caps, width and font (type face). All major types of fonts are supported: Compugraphic, PostScript and Truetype outline fonts as well as Amiga bitmap fonts.
Most aspects of the user interface are configureable. "Out of the box" Wordworth starts with rulers at the top and to the left, a toolbar to the left and another row of icons for various text formatting options at the top of the window. On the bottom there is a status line and a scrollbar, and on the right just a scrollbar. Style sheets and drawing tools can be displayed in their own window. Fortunately, everything except for the scrollbars can be turned off. I didn't find the toolbar very useful at first, because I didn't understand the icons. Then I discovered that it can be put at the top of the window (in order to have more room side to side for text) and the icons can be completely customized. This was also when I noticed the "copy format" and "paste format" functions haven't disappeared from Wordworth. But they're only available from the toolbar. These functions are very important: when you mess up the formatting of a paragraph it's nearly impossible to get things right again, without copying and pasting the format of another paragraph. There is no longer a "print preview" function, but the text on the screen can be zoomed in or out in order to see something up close or to see one or more complete pages at a time.
I just love the style sheets! This is how it works: when you're making a large document, such as a report, it's important that everything is formatted in a consistent way: the headings, chapters and so on all alike. With style sheets you can define characteristics for different kinds of text, headings, notes and everything else. Then all you have to do is tell the program what style a certain portion of text is and it will be formatted the appropriate way. But that's not where it ends: if you for instance change the font for a certain style, everything that's in that style will be changed.
Of course Wordworth can read a number of text formats: Rich Text Format, Wordperfect and Word for DOS (not for Windows!), Works for Windows, Windows Write, Final Copy II and Final Writer, ASCII, older Wordworth formats. And don't worry, it will read your 15 year old Wordstar documents as well. Saving is limited to Wordworth, Wordworth 3, Rich Text Format, Wordperfect 5.1 and ASCII. Don't expect too much formatting to survive the different file formats. It's also possible to read TurboCalc spreadsheets as tables.
As expected from a state of the art wordprocessor, images can be added to the text. A wide range of graphics formats are supported, such as IFF, GIF, BMP, PCX, TIFF, IMG (bitmap), CGM and GEM (vector) and encapsulated PostScript (EPS). IFF 24 bit color pictures are converted to 256 colors. I don't know about other true color formats. Surprisingly, it's possible to print EPS pictures to non-PostScript printers. They look just as good too, only the dithering is slightly different. Pictures can be made watermarks, so you can type text over them. The text will appear "on top" of the image that way. It's also possible to add a variety of other objects to the text: lines, boxes, circles, polygons and freely drawn lines. To Wordworth those, as well as pictures, text effects, textboxes and tables, are all "objects" so they get treated more or less the same. The text-effects are objects that contain a few words of text that is transformed in some way: turned into a circle or spiral, changing the color and so on.
All types of fonts and graphics can be printed on any graphical printer for which a Workbench driver exists. Alternatively, you may use the printer's internal fonts. It's not possible to mix printer fonts with other types. The reason for this limitation is that Wordworth is unable to change from textmode to graphical mode in the middle of a page. That's also why it's not possible to print images when using printer fonts. Wordworth will also print directly to PostScript printers, but only using PostScript fonts. (Be it internal to the printer or on disk.) Be sure to install every printer you intend to use using the Wordworth installation procedure, otherwise screen representations of the printer fonts aren't available. On HP Laserjet (or compatible) printers the Compugraphic fonts can be downloaded for speedier printing of pages that contain only plain text. Wordworth supports color printing, but due to lack of an appropriate printer I was unable to test this. Color images and text are dithered to different shades of grey when grey scale printing is selected.
SPELLING AND THESAURUS
I'm not very impressed by the spelling checker's dictionary. It doesn't know words like Amiga, FAX, ethernet and wordprocessor. The dictionary uses British spelling: "theatre", "centre" and "colour" are ok, it doesn't know "theater", "center" or "color". It's possible to expand the dictionary with new words, though. There is also an autocorrect feature, but it uses a different (much shorter) dictionary than the spelling checker. It's useful as kind of a macro-expander, though. I found the thesaurus to be very useful (advantageous, effective, fruitful, helpful, practical, profitable, salutary, valuable, worthwhile). And yes, the hyphenation is Wordworth's. (When I exported this text to ASCII al the hyphens got lost... I put new ones in by hand but I'm sure I missed a few.)
Nearly every function that has a menu item can also be used in ARexx scripts. There are also "wizards" that perform functions such as giving tips, creating memos, faxes, invoices and play hangman... Wizards are actually just ARexx scripts, I didn't see the exact difference explained anywhere, but ARexx macros are in the Tools menu and wizards are in the Help menu.
The online help is great, it answered most of my questions. Online help is available for every menu item by using the right mouse button to highlight the item and then press the "help" button. The online help is better than anything else I've ever seen. However, the manual on the CD isn't very good. First of all, it describes an older version. Second, it's plain, unformatted text, which makes for hard reading. I would have expected a Wordworth version! Of course that way the details of the installation procedure would be hard to get at before installing the program, but it's not like there isn't any room for two versions on the CD... But the worst thing is that the manual just isn't complete. It's a far cry from the excellent Wordworth book I received with version 2. But the book is available separately for another five pounds so I guess that's my fault for being cheap.
I like the output! You can use a wide variety of fonts in your documents and print them on any printer, at the maximum resolution of that printer. I also like the fact that I can do anything someone can do in Word for Windows or Wordperfect on my Amiga, be it with more effort. It's great to have style sheets and foot- and endnotes at your disposal.
DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS
Printing in "normal" mode is slow, even on my 50 MHz 68060 CPU it takes more than a minute to print a 300 dpi text-only page. On my 3000 (25 MHz 68030) it only takes a few seconds more. The toolbar can be incomprehensible at times, help bubbles would help a lot. The tabs are very hard to handle. Automatic chapter/paragraph numbering would be great. There is no support for different paper trays on laserprinters, but I guess that's because the Workbench printerdrivers don't support this either.
It's a shame Digita didn't change the way in which printing is handled. On non-PostScript printers you have to choose between printing fast with no graphics or slow with graphics: it's not possible to combine printer fonts or downloaded Compugraphic fonts with graphics. On PostScript printers it's not possible to use Compugraphic and Truetype fonts.
On the Digita website it says "including 50 Compugraphic fonts". That sounds good but it isn't. Almost all of the fonts are ugly and/or unusable. I have seen some of them before in freeware/shareware font compilations. The Shannon Book font is the only one I kept. Fortunately, I still have my old Wordworth 2 Compugraphic fonts, which are excellent. I don't understand why Digita didn't include those with Wordworth 6. But I guess a lack of fonts can be remedied by "borrowing" some Truetype fonts from a neighbourly Windows user...
COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
As a result of a job I had five years ago, I'm very familiar with Wordperfect and Word for Windows on MSDOS/Windows machines. So how does Wordworth 6 compare? Pretty well. Word for Windows is a lot easier to use and complex things such as editing tables are much easier to do. But in the end it's the result on paper that counts, and in that department Wordworth can hold it's own.
At first I couldn't get EPS pictures to work on the screen and the printer in Laserjet mode. This was on the 1200, on which I had a beta version of the post.library and the PostScript datatype installed. On the 3000 I had no trouble. Replacing version 23.1 of the post.library with version 17.7 made all the difference, but now the PostScript datatype doesn't work anymore. This immediately led to the discovery of another bug. Wordworth allows the text to flow "around" the pictures, following the edges of the picture itself rather than the edges of the "box" the picture is in. But when printing in normal mode (using the Workbench printerdrivers in graphical mode) the picture box pre-empts the text, so there is sort of a white box around the picture where the text is overwritten. The workaround is to make the EPS pictures watermarks, then the problem disappears. A very strange bug is one where I imported a file in Rich Text Format with a file name consisting of numbers, a dot and a dash. I was subsequently unable to close the window or quit Wordworth, but other than that the program kept working fine.
I emailed Digita to ask where I could order Wordworth 6. They told me I could order it directly from them, so that's what I did. After sending in the registration card you are entitled to phone and written support for a month.
No warranty, apart from 30 days on the distribution media.
Despite the length of the "dislikes" section, I like Wordworth. I feel it offers excellent value for money. But it's not perfect: Digita should take the time to fix the bugs and quirks and improve the speed.
I, Iljitsch van Beijnum, am the author of this review. Digital distribution of the review in its entirety is unlimited.
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