WordStar for Amstrad CPC and PCW

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Juancho

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Jan 28, 2021, 2:08:17 PMJan 28
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Hello all.

So, I've been wondering... How good/bad was Wordstar for the Amstrad
CPC? And I mean with that: was it usable?, barely palatable?, packed
with features?, best of class word processor for that computer
platform?, a joy to use?, hellish to use?, seldom used because other
better options existed?

I would love to read some recollections about how was the user experience
running Wordstar on the Amstrad CPC platform.

Also, I know the Amstrad PCW was a popular writing tool in the 80's.
Was Wordstar used in that? Or was some other word processor the tool of
choice for the Amstrad PCW platform?

I really would like to know more about that.

I'm wondering about running Wordstar on a Amstrad CPC emulator
(caprice32). Is that doable? Is there a better emulator for the Amstrad
CPC to run Wordstar on?

Best regards,

--
EOT

ColinR

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Jan 30, 2021, 2:36:39 PMJan 30
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I never used Wordstar but used a similar programme called Tasword by
Tasman Software. I even continued using this when I moved from an
Amstrad CPC onto a full PC. It was very comprehensive, but being a text
based system, it could not be WSIWYG so could never be called user
friendly these days, although then was sufficient.

The writers of Wordstar (Newstar) wrote a similar word processor for the
Amstrad PCW called New Word, but I never used one.

As emulators I hope someone else can respond as I have no experience!!

--
Colin

Rayner Lucas

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Jan 30, 2021, 8:24:53 PMJan 30
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In article <rv4cg6$u56$1...@dont-email.me>, ra...@greystane.shetland.co.uk
says...
>
> On 28/01/2021 18:57, Juancho wrote:
> > Hello all.
> >
> > So, I've been wondering... How good/bad was Wordstar for the Amstrad
> > CPC? And I mean with that: was it usable?, barely palatable?, packed
> > with features?, best of class word processor for that computer
> > platform?, a joy to use?, hellish to use?, seldom used because other
> > better options existed?
> >
> > I would love to read some recollections about how was the user experience
> > running Wordstar on the Amstrad CPC platform.
>
> I never used Wordstar but used a similar programme called Tasword by
> Tasman Software. I even continued using this when I moved from an
> Amstrad CPC onto a full PC. It was very comprehensive, but being a text
> based system, it could not be WSIWYG so could never be called user
> friendly these days, although then was sufficient.

A version of Wordstar existed for the CPC, but I don't remember ever
seeing it advertised for sale. Between the lack of promotion and the
eye-watering price (£120 compared to around £25 for its competitors), I
don't think it saw widespread use.

There was a superb public domain word processor called VDE that was
compatible with Wordstar's command keys and file format. A DOS/Windows
version still exists today: https://sites.google.com/site/vdeeditor/Home

Tasword was a stalwart tool that served me well. IIRC the "power user"
choice on the CPC was the ROM version of Protext, as this left you the
most RAM available for your document and also had the nice bonus of
starting up instantly.


Rayner

Matthew Phillips

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Jan 31, 2021, 9:54:22 AMJan 31
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In message <51ebeh-...@intheattic.eternal-september.org>
on 28 Jan 2021 Juancho wrote:

> So, I've been wondering... How good/bad was Wordstar for the Amstrad CPC?
> And I mean with that: was it usable?, barely palatable?, packed with
> features?, best of class word processor for that computer platform?, a joy
> to use?, hellish to use?, seldom used because other better options existed?

I never used WordStar on the Amstrad CPC. Many people reckoned Arnor's
Protext was the best wordprocessor, but there were others that carried on
being developed a long time, like BrunWord. We had Protext in ROM, so all
you had to do was enter |p to start the wordprocessor in an instant. I
believe Brian Watson, the "last 8-bit tycoon", long after using the machine
seriously, kept a CPC by his phone because if you wanted to take notes on a
phone call, quickly turning the CPC on and entering Protext could be done in
about three seconds, easily beating PC boot times.

> Also, I know the Amstrad PCW was a popular writing tool in the 80's.
> Was Wordstar used in that? Or was some other word processor the tool of
> choice for the Amstrad PCW platform?

Most PCW users used the wordprocessor that was supplied with it, Locoscript,
from Locomotive Software. It booted off its own floppy disc, so it was
effectively a complete operating system in itself. Locoscript was written
with the PCW's hardware in mind, so used the full 90-character wide screen
and special keys on the keyboard.

Alternatively you could boot CP/M+ and run any CP/M based wordprocessor.
Protext was a popular alternative to Locoscript. Generic CP/M-based
wordprocessors would probably have seemed poor by comparison with any
wordprocessor designed specifically for the PCW.

--
Matthew Phillips
Durham

Juancho

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Jan 31, 2021, 8:08:09 PMJan 31
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On 2021-01-30, ColinR <ra...@greystane.shetland.co.uk> wrote:
> I never used Wordstar but used a similar programme called Tasword by
> Tasman Software.

Thanks for the tip on Tasword. I see online that it is done in BASIC and
launches from AMSDOS (not from CP/M). Looks like an interesting retro
piece to try out.

--
EOT

Juancho

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Jan 31, 2021, 8:08:10 PMJan 31
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On 2021-01-31, Rayner Lucas <usenet...@magic-cookie.co.ukNOSPAMPLEASE> wrote:
> There was a superb public domain word processor called VDE that was
> compatible with Wordstar's command keys and file format. A DOS/Windows
> version still exists today: https://sites.google.com/site/vdeeditor/Home

Do you know if VDE was ported to the Amstrad CPC. I mean, it's a CP/M
program, but I guess it will need to be adapted to the Amstrad CPC
terminal type to be properly usable with an Amstrad CPC in full screen
mode, am I right?

> Tasword was a stalwart tool that served me well. IIRC the "power user"
> choice on the CPC was the ROM version of Protext, as this left you the
> most RAM available for your document and also had the nice bonus of
> starting up instantly.

Thanks for the tip on Protext. I see there is a CP/M version of Protext,
disk-based, for the Amstrad CPC 6128, that is advertised to as being
able to manage document files as big as the diskette free space:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Protext

So far, Protext looks like the summit of word processing power for the
Amstrad CPC (but I've not searched much yet).

--
EOT

David Cantrell

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Feb 1, 2021, 11:07:19 AMFeb 1
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On Mon, Feb 01, 2021 at 02:02:58AM +0100, Juancho wrote:

> So far, Protext looks like the summit of word processing power for the
> Amstrad CPC (but I've not searched much yet).

That's fightin' talk to the Brunword users!

But Protext was cheaper and more widely used, and "quantity has a
quality all of its own".

These days I don't use any word processor at all, I just use vim :-)

--
David Cantrell | Nth greatest programmer in the world

Rayner Lucas

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Feb 1, 2021, 12:17:59 PMFeb 1
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In article <2j0keh-...@intheattic.eternal-september.org>,
ete...@notreally.com says...
> Do you know if VDE was ported to the Amstrad CPC.

Yes, just to be clear, it was available for the CPC.

> So far, Protext looks like the summit of word processing power for the
> Amstrad CPC (but I've not searched much yet).

The three big contenders in the CPC word processor market were Tasword,
Protext, and Brunword. All had their fans; I mostly used Tasword but
later got a copy of Protext and found that pleasantly speedy and usable.
Never tried Brunword, but the later releases (particularly the versions
that came on a custom ROM module) looked very impressive and
comprehensive indeed.


Rayner

Juancho

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Feb 1, 2021, 5:08:04 PMFeb 1
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On 2021-02-01, David Cantrell <da...@cantrell.org.uk> wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 01, 2021 at 02:02:58AM +0100, Juancho wrote:
>
>> So far, Protext looks like the summit of word processing power for the
>> Amstrad CPC (but I've not searched much yet).
>
> That's fightin' talk to the Brunword users!

Noted about Brunword existence for the Amstrad CPC. Looks interesting.

> These days I don't use any word processor at all, I just use vim :-)

Yeah, neither do I use any word processing software any more. Nowadays
nobody prints and sends letters, email has replaced all that, and for
email a text editor is enough. I'm currently writing this with nvi, a
clone a classic BSD vi. Works fine, it's small and fast, and for email
we don't need pagination, headers, footers, cross references nor end
notes, lol.

--
EOT

Juancho

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Feb 1, 2021, 8:08:12 PMFeb 1
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On 2021-02-01, Rayner Lucas <usenet...@magic-cookie.co.ukNOSPAMPLEASE> wrote:
> In article <2j0keh-...@intheattic.eternal-september.org>, ete...@notreally.com says...
>> So far, Protext looks like the summit of word processing power for the
>> Amstrad CPC (but I've not searched much yet).
>
> The three big contenders in the CPC word processor market were Tasword,
> Protext, and Brunword. All had their fans; I mostly used Tasword but
> later got a copy of Protext and found that pleasantly speedy and usable.
> Never tried Brunword, but the later releases (particularly the versions
> that came on a custom ROM module) looked very impressive and
> comprehensive indeed.

Nice to know, those recollections are most valuable for my research.
Thanks for sharing.

I'll try to test all those tree word processors in a Amstrad CPC 6128
emulator, and see which one I like best (I've already found DSK images
online for them).

I also intend to test VDE, and WordStar (or NewStar). I've found online
two WordStar 3.0 editions supposedly for the Amstrad CPC, one in Spanish
and another in German. Looks like I have nerdy stuff ahead of me,
good times!

--
EOT

Roland Perry

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Feb 9, 2021, 12:04:37 PMFeb 9
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In message <51ebeh-...@intheattic.eternal-september.org>, at
19:57:09 on Thu, 28 Jan 2021, Juancho <ete...@notreally.com> remarked:
A random collection of thoughts:

I don't recollect any version of Wordstar for the CPC native mode.

There's no reason why a CP/M version of Wordstar would fail to run on a
CPC1628 under CP/M. (Or indeed on the PCW under CP/M)

In a parallel universe the PCW could easily have been a CPC6128-alike
running Wordstar (or God Forbid, Tasword) rather than the LocoScript
which was commissioned for it.

But the PCW's hardware is quite different to the CPC, and was
specifically designed to be very Locoscript-friendly.

LocoScript is a clone of a professional word processor written by the
same bunch of guys for a £10k+ minicomputer hardware platform called the
Data Recall Diamond.

Some more snidbits here:

<https://www.theregister.com/2015/09/09/joyce_turns_30/>

What it doesn't say is that MEJ was the son of the owner of Data Recall,
and had designed much of the hardware of their products, including as
far as I'm aware the first 8080 implementation to be marketed in the UK.
I had also in a former life tried and failed to sell Data Recall the
brand of floppy drive I was the UK distributor for. Clayton and Hall
were also programmers previously employed by Data Recall.
--
Roland Perry

Juancho

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Feb 9, 2021, 5:08:08 PMFeb 9
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On 2021-02-09, Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:
>
> But the PCW's hardware is quite different to the CPC, and was
> specifically designed to be very Locoscript-friendly.
>
> LocoScript is a clone of a professional word processor written by the
> same bunch of guys for a £10k+ minicomputer hardware platform called the
> Data Recall Diamond.

This is certainly interesting, thanks for sharing. I looks like the
LocoScript word processor, which was bundled with the Amstrad PCW, was a
quite capable piece of software. Was that LocoScript ported to the
CPC6128 line of computers?

--
EOT

Roland Perry

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Feb 13, 2021, 1:29:14 AMFeb 13
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In message <u2bbfh-...@intheattic.eternal-september.org>, at
22:23:10 on Tue, 9 Feb 2021, Juancho <ete...@notreally.com> remarked:
No, it was heavily dependent on the special hardware features of the
PCW. A version of Locoscript was later produced for the PC, though.
--
Roland Perry

ColinR

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Feb 15, 2021, 5:17:11 PMFeb 15
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Oyyy, you. I liked Tasword!!

--
Colin

Roland Perry

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Feb 16, 2021, 2:05:34 AMFeb 16
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In message <s0ert6$ljc$1...@dont-email.me>, at 22:17:15 on Mon, 15 Feb
2021, ColinR <ra...@greystane.shetland.co.uk> remarked:
A lot of people did, for writing memos the CPC. But it wasn't up to
proper word processing (especially things like mixed sizes/fonts on one
line and right justification). Remember too, it had to drive the printer
pins direct (in simulated 24-pin mode), not just throw acsii at a
printer port.
--
Roland Perry
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