What is uni-XEDIT?
uni-XEDIT is a UNIX implementation of IBM's XEDIT System
Product Editor for VM/CMS. It provides the familiar features of
XEDIT for users who are migrating from VM/CMS on the mainframe to
a UNIX workstation.
In addition, it provides a modern Graphical User Interface (GUI)
to enhance user productivity. Features of the GUI include
- scroll bars
- menu selections for frequently used commands
- cursor positioning with the mouse
- automatic scrolling by arrow-key movements
- cut, copy, and paste (primary and clipboard operations)
- synchronized scrolling (optional) in split screen views
- file list dialogs for open and save
- message logging for the entire edit session
- access to the shell of your choice for executing UNIX commands
- dynamic window resizing
The uni-XEDIT display screen includes both the familiar elements
of an XEDIT-style editor and these new graphical components.
For what UNIX derivatives is uni-XEDIT available?
Version 2 is currently available for Sun Solaris 7/8/9
Sparc and Intel, IBM AIX 4/5, HP/UX 10/11, SGI IRIX 5/6, NCR UNIX,
and Linux Intel and S390.
Why would I want to license uni-XEDIT when the "vi" editor
comes with the operating system?
vi was originally designed for use on teletype terminals
that did not have a modern screen display or keyboard and that operated
at very slow communication speeds. In such an environment, the overriding
principle of any editor was to minimize keystrokes. Thus, vi evolved
with an extremely cryptic syntax. Also as a result of its origins,
vi is a modal editor: commands are executed in one mode, data entry
or modification in another - and the user must be responsible for
insuring the correct mode for the next operation to be performed.
Identical keystrokes produce different results, depending on the
current mode. This can be extremely perplexing to users accustomed
to a full-screen mainframe editor and can bring their productivity
to a virtual stand-still. The screen display format is fixed, automatic
startup processing is not available, and macros are based on the
cryptic command syntax. The user may view or edit only one file
at a time.
uni-XEDIT provides a modern full-screen editor for the UNIX
environment. It is entirely non-modal. A command line and optional
prefix area are available for command entry at all times. Data
entry or modification is accomplished by typing directly into
the file or by executing a commands. Commands are English-like
and may be entered in full or abbreviated. User- defined synonyms
for commands are also supported. An extensive set of options allows
you to configure the screen display and the operations associated
with function keys to the preferences of each individual user.
Profile processing allows you to specify a set of configuration
options or file processing to be invoked automatically at startup.
You may edit a number of files simultaneously using the "edit
ring" feature. Splitting the screen into two or more logical screens
allows you to view different parts of the same file or more than
one file simultaneously. Macros to automate processing or extend
the functions of the editor may be a collection of uni-XEDIT commands
or a combination of editor commands and uni-REXX logic. Either
way, they are easy to write and to understand. uni-XEDIT may even
be used as the basis for other full-screen applications, including
data entry screens or panel-like screens and menus to provide
the user interface for other applications.
The Graphical User Interface enhances users' productivity by
allowing them to take full advantage of the features of modern
windowing systems. The mouse provides direct cursor positioning;
scroll bars provide fast access to other portions of the file;
menu selections execute commands quickly and with minimal typing;
and copy/paste works not only in the editor but also allows you
to share data with other X applications running in your window
And if your users already know mainframe XEDIT (or KEDIT under
DOS or Windows), there is no learning curve when they move to
UNIX -- they can be immediately productive in the new environment.
uni-XEDIT thus removes one of the obstacles often associated with
Does uni-XEDIT require any special hardware or software?
uni-XEDIT in graphical mode is a Motif application that
runs under the window manager on your X terminals. This mode requires
that your system be configured with at least level X11R5 of the
X window system and Motif Level 1.2.0 or later.
For those using ASCII terminals or PC terminal emulators that
do not have X-windows capability, uni-XEDIT automatically runs
in character mode (without the graphical interface). Thus, all
users, regardless of their terminal, can run the editor.
Will uni-XEDIT work with all the various terminal types
uni-XEDIT is a Motif application that runs under any
window manager. The editor will run in graphical mode on all your
For ASCII terminals and PC terminal emulators, uni-XEDIT runs
in character mode as a curses application. It uses the functions
from the UNIX curses library and the terminal definitions from
the terminfo database to manage all terminal I/O functions. As
a result, the variety of terminals you can use is limited only
by the definitions supplied with the operating system by your
hardware vendor. This normally includes hundreds of different
terminal types. You need only be sure that the current setting
of the environment variable TERM matches the terminal type you
are actually using. With the exception of dial-up connections,
this is usually automatic.
Will the keys on my keyboard automatically function as
I expect them to? For example, will the "F7" key automatically perform
the function assigned to PF7?
In general, the answer is yes. In graphical mode, the
keyboard is mapped in the application defaults file and no further
action by the user is normally required.
There may be exceptions in character mode, however, which are
related to the accuracy of the terminfo definitions provided with
your operating system and the accuracy of your terminal emulator.
Most hardware vendors provide very accurate terminfo definitions,
though there may be the occasional exception. Problems usually
occur when the user is running a terminal emulator on a PC. In
that case, the terminal emulator may trap certain keys for its
own purposes, or the emulation may not be sufficiently complete.
And if you are emulating a VT100, it is important to remember
that there are only 4 function keys defined for this standard,
so F5-F12 are rarely defined for this terminal type.
For all these instances, uni-XEDIT is shipped with a keyboard
mapping utility that allows you to associate specific keys on
your keyboard with an editor key or command. It even puts the
mapping right into your profile so that the keys are automatically
recognized every time you start the editor. In addition, the TWG
System Administrator's Reference includes a chapter entitled
"A Curses Application Primer" that discusses all the issues of
terminal emulators, how they might affect your use of the editor,
and what you can do about them. And the TWG Technical Support
staff is available to answer your questions and help you with
mapping your keyboard.
What about telnet connections to the UNIX platform?
Regardless of how you connect to the UNIX workstation
(login, rlogin, or telnet), your session looks to the UNIX workstation
like a terminal of some type. The specific type is identified by
the current setting of the environment variable TERM. If this setting
matches the terminal or emulation that you are actually using, you
should be able to use uni-XEDIT normally.
If your local terminal supports X window displays and your telnet
software provides the necessary support, it may also be possible
to use the editor in graphical mode through a telnet connection.
Can we use our mainframe XEDIT macros with uni-XEDIT?
If your macros include only uni-XEDIT commands or SET
options, they should be fully portable to uni-XEDIT.
More complex macros written in Rexx are portable to uni-XEDIT
Extended, which includes an embedded Rexx interpreter. Some modifications
may be required if the macro includes
- references to disk file names, which are different on UNIX
- execution of operating system commands
My previous experience writing macros is limited, but I
think we may need to do more customization of the editor after we
migrate. What help is available?
uni-XEDIT comes with a sample library of macros and other
tools to assist you. It provides some useful functions that you
might need, including
- text flow
- destructive backspace
- move cursor to beginning of next word
- move cursor to end of line
- move cursor to beginning of line
- spell checker
- support shell expansions for file I/O commands
- split line before or after specified string
- print the file currently being edited
- run background "make" of the file currently being edited
- execute the uni-REXX program currently being edited
It also includes a sample full-screen application based on the
SET RESERVED and READ commands.
Besides their potential applicability for your users, these
samples also illustrate the techniques for writing macros to customize
or extend the editor. TWG Technical Support is also available
to answer questions and offer suggestions for how to approach
writing your macros.
All the samples in the library require uni-XEDIT Extended for
execution. They are included with both the Basic and Extended
products to illustrate the potential for editor customization.
Does uni-XEDIT include a spell-checker?
The sample library includes a macro that adds spell checking
capabilities to uni-XEDIT Extended.
What if I have problems or questions?
Technical support is available by telephone, email, and
FAX. Product specialists with experience in both the mainframe and
UNIX environments are available to assist you with a broad range
of technical issues. Telephone support is available from 8:30 A.M.
to 5:00 P.M. Central time Monday through Friday. We'll also be happy
to answer your questions by email or FAX.
What about warranties, maintenance, and upgrades?
uni-XEDIT is delivered with 90 days' free support. This
entitles you to technical support during the period in which you
install and begin to use the product. It also entitles you to any
upgrades that may be distributed during that time. An extended maintenance
contract is also available for technical support and automatic upgrades.
For those who do not choose extended maintenance, upgrades may be
purchased at a percentage of the current list price.