Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 9 / APRIL 1990



The Final Revision to this Popular Word Processor (Maybe)


The perennial champion of Atari's public-domain word processor presents a farewell offering and claims to retire, but we're not sure we believe him. ST Writer Elite runs in all three resolutions.

Updates for all three languages of ST Writer! Files STW.ARC, STW_SPAN.ARC, STW_GERM.ARC and STW_MAN.ARC are on Side 2 of your START Disk.

I really didn't want to do it. I felt ST Writer was as good as it could get. Then I received a letter on GEnie from Jim Briant of Richland, Wash., asking me to make some changes. His suggestions were good and I soon found my wife giving me those looks that means she's feeling ignored or wants me to change my 2 year old's diaper.

I then began to look critically at ST Writer and noticed a few annoyances. Since I was on a roll and my wife was already mad at me, I decided to really go for it and fix it up one last time. The result is ST Writer Elite version 3.6.

ST Writer Elite Version 3.6: Changes Since Version 3.0

  • There is no longer a separate resource file.

  • The Global Search and Replace is now roughly 60 times faster.

  • The free memory byte counter can now accommodate values up to 95MB. This makes it compatible with the TT, which can handle more than 25MB.

  • In non-GEM mode, in many instances the [Enter] key acts the same as the [Return] key.

  • Placing the cursor with the mouse now updates the line/column numbers immediately, as opposed to updating them on the next key stroke.

  • An info status line has been added at the top of the GEM menu screen which keeps track of the name and path of the current file in memory.

  • When you save a file under the name of one that exists, you are warned, and the alert box tells you the name of the file that you are attempting to overwrite (nice, in case you click on the wrong file, or type in a name that you didn't know was already a file in the same directory).

  • If you have TOS 1.4 in ROM, file-selector boxes now indicate the operation (e.g., did you select delete, load, save or what?).

  • All disk i.o. has been updated and thoroughly debugged.

  • [Control]-[A], [Control]-[Z], [Control]-[Right Arrow] and [Control]-[Left Arrow] now work in the command box.

  • Search/Replace allows a null replacement (bug in versions 3.2 and 3.3).

  • AtariWriter(tm) files can now be loaded from another folder (bug in 3.4).

  • There's now an option to print only odd, or only even pages, which lets you print your document double-sided, like a book, by flipping the sheets.

Using ST Writer Elite

To use the latest version of ST Writer Elite, boot this month's START disk; the START menu program runs automatically. At the main screen, click on Prepare Disk, then select "ST Writer Elite version 3.6." The program will un-ARC directly onto the destination disk you specify. Before using this update, read the ASCII file READ_ME. It contains bug alerts and a list of changes in version 3.6. To run ST Writer, double-click on STWRITER.PRG at the Desktop. ST Writer runs in all resolutions.

I also updated the Spanish and German language versions. To run those, click on Prepare Disk at the main screen of the START menu program. Select "ST Writer Elite: Spanish" for the Spanish version; select "ST Writer Elite: German" for the German version. The program will un-ARC directly onto the destination disk you specify. To run the Spanish version, double-click on STW_SPAN.PRG; to run the German version, double-click on STW_GERM.PRG.

(Editor's Note: We also republished the ST Writer Elite manual on Side 2. It hasn't been edited to reflect the changes since version 3.0, but we felt it would be useful for those readers who are new to the ST community and receiving ST Writer Elite for the first time. To un-ARC the manual, click on Prepare Disk at the main screen of the START menu program. Select "ST Writer Elite Manual; " the document will un-ARC directly onto the destination disk you specify. The manual, in file STWMAN.ASC, is in ASCII format. You can read it by double-clicking on TYPE.PRG and choosing STWMAN.ASC from the file selector box. TYPE.PRG is a display program written by Sterling K. Webb which first appeared in the March 1989 issue of START.)

The Last Hurrah

I really do not anticipate any more updates to ST Writer. I have my medical practice, my sporting goods company and my own software company, and I would like to think of ST Writer as finished. Nothing is ever perfect, but I can't keep beating the thing to death. So I hereby resolve not to mess with it anymore. Nope, nothing can change my mind. Nothing. Period. That's my final word! Of course, those new resolutions on the TT might be a challenge. Hmmm, a word processor that works in all six resolutions...

Dr. Bruce D. Noonan's wife has resumed talking to him--for now. As always, if you find any bugs, let Dr. Noonan know. He can be reached on CompuServe [72407,504] and Genie [B.Noonanl.