For a long time CygnusEd has been the landmark for those peoples that intended to use a powerful, light and fast editor on Amiga.
Since CygnusSoft released first version of this TextEditor, there was marginal differences from other editors on Amiga, and many peoples considered Cygnus a program fated to fall into oblivion.
But the general esteem Cygnus enjoied for 8 years proved exactly the contrary...
First important step towards Cygnus's glory was made by ASDG, the wellknown american software house author of famous ADPRO.
ASDG acquired the whole Cygnus software, releasing (in 1992/1993) first a corpulent update of the version 2, then the version 3.
We can affirm, without risk of denial, after Diropus4 CygnusEd 3.x has been, for several years, the most used and loved program on Amiga.
CygnusEd has always been characterized by absence of hard bugs (like guru or other); for complied with Commodore's rules of programming (like possibility to open Cygnus on a public screen -included screens opened on a Video board-, the support for ARexx port, AppMenu ecc.); for the high speed of the scrolling and editing, for a sensation of "lightness" using the program (specially dued to the few RAM needed).
When ASDG leaved Amiga, many users was waiting for new versions of CED. Except for some patch and catalog, CED development was interrupted and the editor ran the risk of death!
Moreover, with the appearance of even more powerful editors (like GoldEd), CED took a back seat, although many amiga users continued to use it instead of the editor supplied with Workbench.
But after two years we can greet the return of CED on the market, thanx to one of the software houses that still believe in Amiga, Ossowskis Schatztruhe, and to one of most "loved-hated" Amiga programmer -Olaf Barthel-, also author of Term and of the CD Developer of AmigaTec, sometimes exalted, sometimes vituperated.
We must say version 4 of CED is not really a Big update but an improvement of the editor, in some sectors, and expecially a proof that authors of the update have not buyed CED's rights only to add dust in their archives (as happened for other programs)!
The review will examine each aspect of CED, almost considering it a new program, included the differences between version 3.x and 4.x .
InstallationCygnusEd requires only a floppy-disk whereas its installation on HD is really simple: you must only drag CED icon in the desidered partition. No assigns, nor particular fonts or libraries are needed.
You can soon notice its "lightness" if you consider requirements to run Cygnus.
OS 2.0 or higher ( but also partially compatible with lower OS). 300K of free RAM, CPU 68000 or higher (also works perfectly on CyberstormPPC 604e 200Mhz and 68060 50Mhz and is compatible with any Amiga, Draco included); 600K of free space on HD for a complete installation of the OnLine Guide in AmigaGuide format! In addiction to CED you can install other three useful programs: Metamac, Ed and RecoverCEDFiles, respectively: a program to create macro; the invoker of CED that replaced the editor of the system (thanx heaven!); a program that Saves (recovers) CED files you could lose because of an unexpected software failure.
The interfaceWe can say practically the interface of CED does not exists!
Infact, for interface we intend a whole of buttons, menus, cycling gadgets(?) and so on. Leaving out any criticism towards this type of interface, CED uses Intuition's standard menus only for this reason: "The user interface is clean and easy", as Olaf Barthel sayed.
The editor is simple and very fast to use (all functions are carefully ordered in the menus and each function has a corresponding short-cut).
Under menu's bar there is another bar that shows the name of the file opened, the type of active editing-mode, line and column where cursor is placed. When you open a new CED, another title bar appears and you can drag it as you like.
To move a text you can use a scroll-bar (slider) you can place at the left or at the right part of the screen; you can also use arrow keys (Shift-upper/lower arrow key allows you to move quickly up/down the text.
As regards screen and fonts used by CED, you can use the menu GLOBAL to change preferences. If you chose to work with Workbench screen, automatically you will use default colors and fonts used by Workbench. The same thing is for all others public screens usable.
Anyhow, you can set an appropriate new screen, with the possibility to set some other interesting options, like to use a fast internal scrolling routine (Menu GLOBAL, SubMenu Rendering choice, option: Use Custom Scrolling Routine), but not perfectly compatible with the software of some Gfx boards (P96 included).
Always in the menu GLOBAL, submenu Select Font, you can choose font to use.
CED configurability is complete, easy and fast. Few minutes are needed to find an appropriate and confortable set-up.
Functions and useAs already sayed, all functions are carefully ordered in the menus.
Menu `Project`This menu is used to LOAD/SAVE/PRINT/CLOSE a file. You can open more CED screens, load a file from disk, insert a file starting from cursor position etc.
A document can be saved with or without a name (if the document has already one). You can also Save the content of the clipboard or save all those documents opened that has been modified. A document can be printed entirely or partially (it is enough to save a part of it in clipboard).
If you have more than one document opened, you can choose to close one or more documents, to quit CED and all documents.
Finally we must consider other two interesting options: `Spawn new CED` and `Activate nextCED`. First one opens a copy of CED. As CED can open more documents at the same time, you could think this function useless. In reality it is quite comfortable, as CED 4 allows you to open and save macro-sets from disk. Naturally, only a function can be assigned to a short-cut so...how we can do if we are writing a program in C, with some sub-routines in Assembler??? The function Spawn makes possible to assign, in the first set, macros of commands most used for C; whereas in the second set, macros for commands used in Assembler...So, using two copies of CED, we can comfortably edit both the sources, using in each copy of CED a different set of macros! In addiction we could use some ARexx script, to compile "ex-novo" all parts of the program, with informations of the assembler's debugger in a copy of CED, and informations of the C compiler in the other copy...
Menu 'Global'GLOBAL menu is the main menu used to configure CED. From this menu you can set screen, palette, and fonts to use. As already sayed, if you choose to use a Custom screen, you can enable CED's fast scrolling routines (advisable on native screens only, not on gfx boards).
In the sub-menu 'MacroDefinition' you can create, delete, edit program's macros.
Other options are 'priority' (default=1); the possibility to associate an icon to a file saved with CED; Autosave (timer is editable); automatic backup of a file etc.
Finally there are other three commands (besides to LOAD and SAVE):
Menu 'File'Unlike you can think, this menu not includes I/O operations, but other useful configuration parameters, from fully configurable Tabs (essential for programmer that want to order his own code), to 'Word Wrap' (to begin automatically a new paragraph).
Interesting are the functions:
Menu 'View'As you can open more CED screens at once, you can also change parameters for each screen, allowing to show tha same text in different ways.
All enumerated operations work only on the selected CED screen.
You can choose if show or not document's status bar, if to show tabs (as ascii codes or as spaces), and if place scrollbar on the left or on the right size of the screen etc. 'Set scroll borders' option allows to define part of the screen where text must start to scroll when you move it down by using lower arrow key. If we have a text of 100 lines and we see only 50 lines (lines 40-90) and cursor is on penultimate line, we might want to see more lines under the cursor. So, with this option you can set the part of the screen starting from which text must scroll.
Menu 'Special'This menu includes different functions, all useful to a comfortable use of CED:
Menu 'Cut & Paste'This menu is used to cut, copy, paste, kill, duplicate a part of text (you can mark by mouse or by keyboard). Same operations can be applied to the line where cursor is placed.
Furthermore, there are commands used to "encrypte" a selected text (command 'Rot Marked'), to remove 'Carrage Returns' used on PC command 'Strip CR Marked'), to turn Tabs into spaces and vice versa, to turn Upper Case words in Lower Case words and vive versa.
Command 'Shift in marked' adds a tab at the beginning of each selected line (useful for a quick "indent" of the text).
Menu 'Search/Replace'Search/Replace engine has always been one of the most powerful features of CED, for its entirety and speed.
Besides classic search (forwards/backwards) and replace (more times) functions, there are functions to set searching or replacing of a text in Clipboard and options to set a "case-sensitive" search etc.
Furthermore, there are Undo/Redo commands, limited only by dedicated memory (you can set when you want).
Menu 'Move'This menu allows you to quickly navigate into a text, skipping to a desidered line, to a bookmark or to the begin or to the end of text. (anyhow, you could use shortcuts to execute these operations).
Supplementary programsCygnusEd package includes three additional programs.
The first one is ED, the invoker of CED that replaces editor supplied with Workbench. Once you have configured it, CED will be always loaded instead of ED. Note that invoker uses same commands used by ED.
The second is RecoverCedFile, used to recover file you could lose because of a Guru (even if is quite rare to salvage a file after a reboot, especially if the reset has been caused by an Hard Software Failure!).
Third and most important is Metamac, an editor of Macros. As already sayed, CED can use Macro to execute operations you can often find quite boring to repeat! Metamac allows to create, edit, modify, remove etc. macros.
When you run Metamac, two windows appear: 'Metamac' and 'Macro Listing'. In the window "Metamac" are listed all hotkeys used in the loaded set of macro. In the window "Macro Listing" are listed all operations executed by a macro. Metamac-window has two menus: 'Project' and 'Add Macros'. In the 'Project' menu you can load, save, print macros of a certain set. In the 'AddMacros' menu you can add new macros to a loaded or just defined set. The function 'Find/Add short invocation macro' finds or adds a macro assigned only to one key (a function key, for ex.).
'Find/Add Long Invocation Macro' finds or adds a macro assigned to a sequence of keys (alt+amiga+s, for ex.).
Finally, 'Find/add startup macro' creates a macro to be executed on CED startup.
You can edit all macros defined in the window "Metamac" in the window 'macro listing', in which all menus, options and commands are like in CED.
Suppose you want to create a macro to open CED on a public screen, with a chosen font, with scrollbar on the left, with a certain priority of execution and with a defined number of pixels to jump during the scrolling of the text. A way to create this macro is to activate 'Metamac' window and select the option 'Find/Add short invocation Macro' of the menu 'Add Macro'. Now program will ask you to press a key: press F2. A new macro will be created and you can edit it in the 'Macro Listing' window. In this window you can execute operations you want to "record" in the macro (for ex., you can select option 'Set Screen Type&size' in the menu 'Global'...). Once you have recorded a macro, you can save it from 'Project' menu enabling 'Metamac' window. All that is quite easy! If you made a mistake while creating a macro, you can delete mistake by selecting wrong operation, in the window 'Macro Listing', and by pressing 'Delete Entry' key. Finally, interesting is the button 'Insert Special' to add to a macro some requesters through which you can insert useful datas to ARexx-scripts or to commands like that to change fonts, tabs etc. Metamac allows you to insert Text-requesters, Numeric-requesters, Font-requesters, File-requesters. So, through these operations you can create quite powerful and own macros.
An easier way to create macros is the following: Suppose you want to assign to key F1 the sequence of characters <A HREF=""> so that when you press F1 that sequenced is inserted. Pressing RightAmiga + m CED will ask you to press a key or more key at once. Press F2. By now, any operation you will execute, will be "recorded" in the macro. Now write <A HREF=""> and then press again RightAmiga + m to save macro. Now, whenever you press F2 the sequence <A HREF=""> will be inserted where the cursor is placed.
After all, with a wise use of macros and ARexx scripts you can add to CED numerouse useful functions.
Final noteIt's quite hard to judge CED, expecially if you dont consider it in the right way in the outline of Amiga editors. First of all, this review has entirely been written using CED...
To make a comparison with GoldEd is almost inopportune. GoldEd kills CED as regards features, configurability, user interface etc...but you must pay dear to use GoldEd! Some set-up of GoldEd require 2MB of RAM, quite a lot for a text editor.
You must set CED against point of view of a program that aims to save memory and resources as much as possible, but at the same time CED offers useful and wisely implemented functions.
We must say CED is to WordPad95 (but CED is more advanced than WordPad!) as GoldEd is to Word95.
We can consider how much time a "search" takes in Word95 and in CED in a file of 3MB. To find word "sasicchione", we imagine located at the end of the file, CED takes 2 seconds (on 030/50 with 16MB), whereas Word95 takes 3 seconds (on P100 32MB)...
Microsoft needs to learn what programme means! Noteworthy is the italian Ferruccio Zamuner, notoriuos fond of Amiga, that probably will soon realize an italian version of CED. Unfortunately this review makes reference to the price of an original copy of CED buyed at Cologne. Italian price of CED is not sure... (pehraps about 100.000 Lire).
After all we must say for the same price there is the powerful GoldEd (really a war-engine among editors, able even to kill Emacs on Linux). Anyhow, if you are searching for a fast, easy and powerful editor, that replace properly ED supplied with Workbench, we advise you to use CED!
Thanx to Ossowskis Schatztruhe and Olaf Barthel the "Cygnus" (sorry for this blameful wisecrack!) returned to fly away.
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Also available in Italian