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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.

uni-XEDIT Screen Display

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 manager.

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 downsizing.

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 we have?

uni-XEDIT is a Motif application that runs under any window manager. The editor will run in graphical mode on all your X terminals.

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 file systems
  • 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.