AppleWorks; Apple's own integrated software package. (evaluation) Steve Arrants.
It is not unusual for Apple to release exciting and revolutionary hardware. Remember all the noise when Macintosh was released this winter? It is unusual for Apple to release exciting and revolutionary software. Without so much as a single press conference, Apple has released a new integrated package that no Apple IIe owner should be without.
Appleworks combines a full-featured database with a powerful spreadsheet and an excellent, full-featured word processor for the Apple IIe equipped with an 80-column, extended memory board.
Of course, comparisons with such packages as Lotus 1-2-3 leap immediately to mind. Is Apple Works a 1-2-3 for the Apple? The answers are yes, yes, and no. Yes, it features a spreadsheet; yes, it has a database; no, it doesn't have graphics capabilities.
The AppleWorks spreadsheet is slightly less powerful than that of 1-2-3 but it is comparable to VisiCalc and is one of the easiest of all spreadsheets to use. 1-2-3, on the other hand, is more spreadsheet oriented and is a better choice if you perform many involved calculations. AppleWorks might be a better choice for most applications, however.
For one thing, the AppleWorks built-in word processor is very handy and extremely powerful (I have switched from AppleWriter IIe to AppleWorks,) and 1-2-3 does not h ave a word processor. The database in AppleWorks is far more complete than that in 1-2-3, and the spreadsheet will make many users happy.
With that mandatory comparison out of the way, let's look at some of the features of AppleWorks and the specifics of its three programs. Starting Up
When you first get the program you will, of course, want to back it up. Surprisingly, there is no copy-protection. The startup disk can be copied with either the DOS 3.3 CopyA program or the ProDOS copy utility, as can the program disk. AppleWorks is in ProDOS, by the way. You can use DOS 3.3 if you wish. Since ProDOS is the operating system on the disk, it makes sense to use it. Remember to convert your DOS 3.3 text files to ProDOS before using AppleWorks to edit them.
To begin, you boot the startup disk and then the program disk. The reason for two disks is that Apple ran out of space on the main disk--these are three large programs! After the program boots, you are greeted by the Main Menu.
The Main Menu shows you what the other menus will look like. Its half-dozen, multiple-choice selections are contained within a folder-shaped frame. Subsequent menus overlay each other so that it appears that the screen has overlapping windows. Looks are deceiving; however, windows cannot be sized, unsized, moved, or pulled down except under program display control. The advertising and some dealer hype may make you think you are getting a Lis/Mac-like operating system. You aren't; although in the future, an update with the Apple mouse may allow something similar.
On the Main Menu, the first three choices concern what AppleWorks calls the Desktop. This is your starting point. You may add files to the Desktop, work with a file already on the Desktop, and save Desktop files to disk. Desktop
The Desktop is a special area of RAM set aside to contain the files. It is actually a built-in pseudodisk; i.e., a way to store and access your files quickly in RAM instead of having to use the disk drives. On my 128K IIe, the Desktop area starts up with 55K of available space for files. Obviously, this is one reason for the AppleWorks requirement of a 128K IIe.
On your Desktop you can have up to 12 files from any or all of the three apllication programs. This means you can be writing a memo about a proposed budget on one area of the Desktop, have a spreadsheet showing the budget on another, and hold a list of people to whom you want to send the memo in the database. You can then quickly move rmation among the files. The files are separate only in the sense that they are saved and recalled as self-contained units. Once files are on the Desktop, all of the information contained in them can be shared.
The Appleworks command structure is built on the use of the Open-Apple key in the control-key sequence. Most commands and their effects are identical from one application to the next. You should be able to learn all three applications in only a few hours by following the included two-disk, interactive tutorial and using the manual for reference.
From the Main Menu, your first choice is to add files to the Desktop. Once you do that, another menu screen lets you choice whether you want to pick files from the data disk or start new files from scratch. If you pick files from the disk, a third menu screen displays a catalog and notes to which application they belong, their length, and the date and time each was last updated. The up and down arrow keys highlight titles of files. Hitting the right arrow key chooses a file; you can choose up to 12 files using this right-arrow marking. Once you have made all your choices, the files are loaded from disk onto the Desktop. If you want to generate new files, you simply indicate on another menu to which of the three applications the new files will belong.
Once the files are on the Desktop, switching from one to another is very easy. The Open-Apple-Q (Quick) command opens a small window called the Desktop Index which lists all files currently on the Desktop. The up and down arrow keys highlight your choice, and when you hit RETURN, the screen changes to the new choice as your old file is automatically placed on the Desktop.
For example, I am writing this review in a file I am calling WORKREV, and I have some notes I took from the documentation in another file called WORKNOTES. While writing in the WORKREV file, I can easily review my notes by hitting Open-Apple-Q and choosing the WORKNOTES file. The review is replaced by my notes, and another Open-Apple-Q returns me to the review. Moving Information
Switching between a word processor file and a spreadsheet or database file is a bit slower. First, the AppleWorks program must load in the new application program since only one of the application programs may be in memory at a given time. So you can switch instantaneously between files in one application, but you must wait 10 to 15 seconds when you move from one application to another.
Moving information from one application to another involves copying and moving from one area of the auxiliary RAM to another, called the Clipboard. Unlike the Clipboard area in Lisa/Mac this one is invisible, but it works in much the same manner.
Hitting Open-Apple-C (Copy) results in a question as to whether you want to copy within the document, to the Clipboard, or from the Clipboard. The Open-Apple-M (Move) command works the same way.
Suppose you want to move a paragraph from one word processor file to another one. Move the cursor to the beginning of that paragraph. Hit Open-Apple-M and then move the cursor down the lefthand side of the page. Every line you touch will be highlighted. You can then move into a line to take only a partial line length. When the text you want is highlighted just hit RETURN, and, in the case of a Move, the text disappears from the screen. A message appears to let you know that the text is in the Clipboard. The Copy command works in the same manner but places a copy of the text into the Clipboard, leaving the original intact.
Information may also be moved in this Clipboard, cut-and-paste manner from one application program to another. The only time there is an extra step is when the spreadsheet application is involved.
To move information from a spreadsheet you must use the Open-Apple-P (Print) command. Don't worry--you print it to the Clipboard, not a printer. This seems a roundabout way to perform a simple operation. The arrow keys cotrol cursor movements which highlight the areas that are being marked for movement.
The easiest way to coordinate data from different applications is to open a separate file to catch everything instead of trying to "wing it." Otherwise, if you mess up a Desktop file, you must manually fix it before saving--an involved process. The Word Processor
The applicatons themselves range from very good to excellent. In--depth reviews of each could easily qualify as separate, stand-alone reviews. Let's look at the highlights.
The word processor is almost a what-you-see-is-what-you-get word processor. Such things as centering and margins are shown. you cannot see double-spacing or justification as you can with AppleWriter, however.
Despite this, I have switched from Applewriter to AppleWorks. No other word processor I have used--AppleWriter, Format II, Magic window, and Screenwriter-- is as versatile and easy to use as AppleWorks. With just a few hours use, I fell in love with it.
The Delete, Move, and Copy commands are easy to use, through mnemonic control commands. The up, down, left, and right arrows quickly highlight blocks of text. Saving even long files, thanks to ProDOS, is quick and sure. There isn't that long, long wait associated with AppleWriter and other DOS 3.3 word processors. If you do forget a command, typing Open-Apple-? displays a complete help menu. The Spreadsheet
The spreadsheet makes me, an ex-VisiCalc user, perfectly happy. The potential size of the spreadsheet is the same as in VisiCalc, though smaller than 1-2-3, and features almost all of the same built-in functions.
As with any good spreadsheet, you use the cursor to move to defferent cells. Unlike most spreadsheet, however, you insert values into formulas rather than typing in locations. You can name cells, lock cells, change column widths--everything you would expect.
An extra feature is the way AppleWorks uses the highlighting capability of the apple 80-column card. Let's take copying an area of cells for an example: You use the cursor moves to highlight the cells you want to copy--and they light up. You hit RETURN and then highlight the area to which you want to move the information. this same highlighting works on such things as changing column widths, deleting or moving rows and columns, and similar commands. Unlike VisiCalc, AppleWorks makes it almost impossible to blunder and enter incorrect parameters. The Database
The database section resembles QuickFile IIe. you have the same ability to set up fields, change fields, add and replace new and old fields, copy records, etc. According to Apple, the database portion is a superset of the QuickFile IIe program. With the new appleWorks Open-Apple and highlighting techniques, this is a versatile and easy to use database. Hard Copy
Printing is accessed through a separate menu. Once you are satisfied with the content of your files, you can print them out on up to three printers connected to three slots. One printer must be specified as the default printer, and for most of us, one printer will do nicely. The menu-ed routines in AppleWorks support the Apple Imagewriter, daisywheel and Silentype printers as well as all old and new Epsons and the Qume Sprint 5 and 11. Adding print drivers is simple. Just answer the questions about printer type (dot-matrix or daisywheel), special control characters, the type of paper used and its size. Save this as your default printer driver. Documentation
From a look at the preliminary documentation, it appears that Apple continues to produce some of the best user's manuals available. Readable, humorous, and thorough, the manuals hold enough information to answer every question you might have without becoming pedantic. The disk tutorials are excellent--you may only have to refer to the manuals for a quick explanation or refresher on some techniques. A Few Complaints
As with any software package, there are a few missing or odd features. AppleWorks is no exception. My complaints are minor, but you should be aware of some features (or their lack) that may be important to you.
AppleWorks does not offer on-screen text justification. Apple explained that it was available in a preliminary version, but changed in the final release. It was felt that it was more important to pack the screen with information than to show what each printed page would look like. This feature is not important to me, but I know that it is desirable in some business situations.
i am not pleased with the manner of recalculation used by the spreadsheet. You can recalculate either by rows or columns. if a cell is out of order, it will have its formula recalculated with old values. Therefore, a bottom-line figure must follow the cells upon which it is dependent or the information will not be reliable. I found this out while doing my income taxes with AppleWorks. I tried converting a VisiCalc template, and when i saw what I owed the government, I decided to start from scratch.
AppleWorks is incompatible with most terminal programs for uploading files. Appleworks uses "soft" returns in text files. This means that returns are placed only at the ends of paragraphs or at text breaks. Most software and communications services accept only lines of a specific length--80 or 132 characters being the most common. So, to upload a text file, you must manually calculate line length and enter a return after each line.
The final flaw with AppleWorks is also the most disheartening. Although this program is available for the Apple III as Three Easy pieces from Haba, Apple II and II+ owners are out of luck. Apple explained that the auxiliary memory routines are too complex to be adapted for use with the many RAM cards available. It is a shame that Apple appears to be abandoning the large base of Apple II's. Summary
There is no doubt that AppleWorks is the most exciting, versatile, and well-designed program now available for the AppleIIe. The price of $295 might seem high, but consider the cost of buying a separate word processor, spreadsheet, and database. The level of integration offered by AppleWorks is generally unavailable in any other Apple IIe package. If Apple adds graphics and telecommunications applications, Apple owners will be the envy of IBM-PC owners everywhere.
Products: AppleWorks (Computer program)