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Eastern Orthodox Editors(XEDIT/KEDIT/THE...)

News Editorial Recommended Links VM/CMS Xedit Kedit THE Hessling Editor Slickedit X2 Sedit Uni-Xedit

The introductory paper Orthodox Editors introduced some ideas on which this page was build. Here is the abstract of the paper:

This paper tried to introduce a new concept: orthodox editors as a special category of editors. All of them have command line set of commands and respective glue macrolanguage. We have found two such families:

We define the notion of  "orthodox editors" as having the following distinct features:

  1. They have a command line editing support. For many of them that comes naturally, from the fact that they were initially designed for typewirters. 
  2. They permit doing any editing task using keyboard  (although mouse can speed up or simplify many of those tasks and is not rejected in the extremist way)
  3. They use some common scripting language (TCL, REXX) or unique for the application (YASL  - yet another scripting language) like in vim 6 as a macrolanguage. It serves as a glue for the command set implemented by the editor.
  4. They support of folding (all command in XEDIT and its derivatives; folding capabilities in vim6 ).
  5. They distinguish between editing buffer and the windows in which this editing buffer is displayed allowing multiple windows to display the same buffer.
  6. They support regular expressions
  7. They permit processing selected part of the editing buffer or all the buffer via pipe connected to external command (! command in vi)

This article is a modest attempt to create a basic classification useful for further studying this important class of editors. The author argues that this class of editors can serve as viable mid-weight editors for programmers (see a companion paper A Note on Size-based Classification of Text Editors for this further discussion of related ideas).

This article is a modest attempt to create a basic classification useful for further studying this important class of editors. The author argues that this class of editors can serve as viable mid-weight editors for programmers (see a companion paper A Note on Size-based Classification of Text Editors for this further discussion of related ideas).

Please note that both subclasses of orthodox editors were pioneers in introducing several important for any modern editor features, features that unfortunately still are absent or poorly implemented in most other editors:

This paper explores two sets of  deep interconnections that were previously unnoticed in the literature:

Actually the second point was the main reason that decided to use a superclass term "orthodox editors" that includes as subclasses both XEDIT editors line and VI editors lines. Not only because I like to invent new terms, but I really see deep similarities between them and their connection to a similar phenomenon that I studied earlier in case of File Managers (see OFM page for details): all this tools give users the ability to achieve an extremely high productivity both in GUI-based and  non-GUI environment. Although some design decisions in those editors were dictated by limitation of old hardware they withstand the test of time and proved to be useful and extremely productive tools for modern environments.

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Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

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Old News ;-)

[Apr 24, 2014] Highly programmable non-Emacs editor

As of 2014 Slickedit remains one of the few commercial survivors of the genre...
December 24, 2003 | The Old Joel on Software Forum

I really like Visual Slickedit ( ).

It has a fantastic expanded regular expression engine. It's also heavily extendable by programming macros in Slick-C (interpreted C like language). In reality, the whole editor is written in Slick-C and the binary code is just the Slick-C interpreter.

Mark Smith
Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Extreme programmability is important for several reasons. The first is that it offers up a lot of options, letting you do things that the author hadn't thought of. For example, I often use non-mainstream programming languages that would benefit from being syntax colored in non-standard ways (certain types of lines colors a specific way, rather than just keywords). I'd also like to be able to extend an editor to context-sensitive tab completion; build custom, interactive project management systems, etc. All of this stuff is business as usual in Emacs. But Emacs is a relic of the past otherwise.

Text munging is easy. We have entire programming languages devoted to it. An editor just needs to be a thin interface with hooks to routines written in such a language. It shouldn't be a monlithic application. I'm surprised that no one has followed this road, other than Stallman's Emacs.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

SlickEdit 10 Cool Features

At SlickEdit we believe that there is only one thing cooler than our software - the developers who use it. To get the most out of the 15-day trial for SlickEdit v10, check out these cool features.

[Jul 11, 2007] Corrected link

[May 01, 2005] IBM Help - Rhinocerus by Michael Wojcik

In article <Auwce.141$8g.64@news01.roc.ny>, Floyd Johnson <> writes:
> I have student who has received a very attractive internship offer (i.e.
> room and board, transportation, and a small salary) because of the
> training I provided him in COBOL a year ago. We worked with Fujitsu
> COBOL in the PC environment - both the student version and the
> professional version.
> However, the internship includes work with TSO, IPSF (?), ReXX, etc.

It's ISPF - a character-based full-screen editor and IDE. ISPF is one of what Bezroukov calls the "Eastern Orthodox editors": a family of source-code editors (mostly derived from the unrelated but similar ISPF for TSO and XEDIT for CMS) which share significant look and feel. (Bezroukov's terminology and opinions are idiosyncratic, but his site[1] does give something of a feel for the differences between the IBM mainframe editors and the major Unix editors.)

It's been quite some time since I did anything significant with ISPF, though I have used OS/400's SEU, another (lesser) member of the family, recently. So take the rest of this with a grain of salt.

Some of the notable features of ISPF and relations:

- They're designed for block-mode terminals. Consequently, while they support full-screen editing, changes to lines on the screen actually take effect when the user presses an action key, like Enter or a page-scrolling key.

- They have a command line for more complex editing tasks.

- They have a left margin area on the screen with line numbers. The line numbers can be overtyped with commands such as "I" to insert lines below the overtyped line.

- They can "fold" the source view, hiding ranges of lines so that, for example, you might have only section headers on the screen at one point; then you could unfold one section to view its contents.

The only free editor of this type I know of is THE, The Hessling Editor, which is based on XEDIT.[2] It'd give your student a feel
for the ISPF UI, though.

There are commercial ISPF ports to other platforms (back around 1985 I had one for PC DOS, which I used for several years), so there might be a free one out there which I haven't run into.

TSO (Time Sharing Option) is an add-on for MVS (Multiple Virtual Storage), one of the major IBM mainframe OSes. MVS isn't designed for interactive use; TSO provides that. Typically TSO is used to run ISPF so you can do program development and that sort of thing on MVS systems.

IBM's manuals for ISPF and TSO are available from IBM's website somewhere. There might be online tutorials, too.

Someone else has already noted that there are numerous free Rexx implementations, tutorials, etc available. THE also supports Rexx macros.

I'm a Unix programmer by preference, and Unix and Windows are where I do most of my work, but I quite enjoy switching gears once in a while and doing a little mainframe (or even OS/400) development. Some people find changing their work habits difficult and annoying - which I understand - but I hope your student finds the mainframe environment palatable. Even if his career takes him in other directions, I think it will be a useful experience.


Michael Wojcik

Let's say the conservative is the quiet green grin of the crocodile ...
an' the liberal is the SNAP! -- Walt Kelly

[Nov 18, 2004] IBM Releases Object Rexx as Open Source

A few weeks ago, IBM quietly released Object Rexx to the open source community. RexxLA - the REXX Language Association - targeting the first release of Open Object REXX for early 2005.

The "ooRexx" project has been established on SourceForge, says Davis, and the code and documentation are being converted from IBM internal formats to open standard formats. While IBM is involved in the transfer, it does not intend to be formally involved in the project. A number of current and former IBMers have signed on to help with the project on their own time, however, including Rick McGuire, the primary architect and author of Object Rexx. IBM Fellow Mike Cowlishaw, who created the REXX language, "is very interested in seeing Open Object Rexx succeed," says Davis. "His expertise and counsel are immediately available should we need it."

[Jun 21, 2003] allfold - View selected lines by folding away the rest vim online.

A very interesting emulation of Xedit all command in vim 6 by Marion Berryman. Highly recommended.

The allfold scripts implement a feature set which allows VIM users to view ALL interesting lines in a buffer and FOLD the rest away. Lines are selected to be interesting in one of the two following ways:

1. They match a regular expression pattern.
2. They are in a block of lines delimited inclusively by a line that matches
a beginning RE pattern and a line that matches an ending RE pattern.

Sets of lines matching different selection criteria can be combined using logical "and" and "or" operations. The selections may be inverted so that lines not matching the selection criteria are actually selected.

Beyond these basics other features do such things as manipulating lists of selection commands and using the raw selection "bit-map" directly to enhance the capabilities and ease of use of the scripts.

[Jun 20, 2003] ROSCOE Editor information

Subject: Comments from a Softpanorama reader
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2003 14:20:01 -0800
From: Brad Wilmot 

... Another editor that grew out of xedit, which was IBM mainframe (MVS - S/390) based was a commercial product named ROSCOE. (not an acronym).

I've used xedit, kedit and ROSCOE for just about as long as they've been out.

Although kedit has numerous advantages over xedit (kedit is a GUI interface as opposed to xedit being a green screen technology), ROSCOE is much richer than xedit, which also is a green-screen based editor.

xedit, kedit and ROSCOE have many similar features, look and feel. I really like ROSCOE and miss its feature rich environment on UNIX and Windows.

ROSCOE began in a now defunct company called Applied Data Research, probably in the 1980 period. It was sold to Ameritech who later sold the product to Computer Associates (CA). Until the CA purchase, ROSCOE was a growing and dynamic product. Since then, it is stagnant on new features, but still actively maintained (and overcharged for) by CA. ROSCOE is currently in use on several thousand mainframe computers and has 10's of thousands of users today!

The reason I'm writing, is that your discourse on editors went on at length about xedit and kedit, but failed to describe/mention the contribution of ROSCOE which way-out performs xedit, and in certain ways kedit, within the limits of a text-only UI.

Some of the features of ROSCOE that make it highly productive:

As a footnote on kedit; Mansfield has discontinued any further enhancements to kedit. They still actively market their product, but expect no future enhancements. kedit was authored by a single programmer (owner) who has now retired.

[Sep 3, 2002] Project Filelist Version 3.1

3.1 2002-08-13 17:00
764502 68 Any Source .gz
462894 18 i386 .rpm
460912 18 i386 .rpm
563423 22 i386 .zip
406197 19 i386 .zip
519701 10 i386 .zip
415777 251 i386 .zip
350732 88 Platform-Independent .zip
833670 33 Any Source .zip

[Mar 20, 2002] THE links were updated (THE Hessling Editor is now on Sourceforge).

There are now 3.0 RPMs, including Red Hat 7.2 RPM. For more information, see RPM of Group Applications-Editors
the-3.0-253 The Hessling Editor (VM/CMS xedit clone) Linux/i386
the-3.0-196 The Hessling Editor (VM/CMS xedit clone) Linux/i386

[Jan 17, 2000] THE 3.0 is now available

Subject:[THELIST] THE 3.0 released
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 18:07:58 +1000
From: Mark Hessling <>

THE 3.0 has been released! PDCurses has also been released, so if you intend building the X11 port of THE, please use the released version of PDCurses 2.4. You can download THE via my Downloads page at:

Over the next month or so, I will attempt to upload more binary ports of THE. Contributions for the binary ports are welcome.

Cheers, Mark

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The Hessling Editor

The Hessling Editor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

XEDIT Summary -- XEDIT was the first implementation of EOE.

***** THE Hessling Editor the official page for THE editor. I really admire the author and think that he is much underappreciated open source software developer in all this current Linux-related frenzy. He definitely deserves more support from community.

***** X2 Programmer's Editor by Blair W. Thompson -- the development is stalled. Version 1.5 is the last one available and was written n 1996 or so. The last maintainance release is KEDIT for Windows 1.5 Service Level 3 (January 1998).

Rex Swain's Home Page

Open Directory - Computers Programming Languages Rexx Scripts


Xedit is the originator of the family. Mostly used of VM/CMS -- an extremly interesting OS, based on the concept of virtual computer. I some respects much more interesting than Unix. I do not know exactly about AIX implementation, but suspect that it probably exists too.

VM Download Library Packages -- useful macros, especially for users who like author have some VM/CMS experience...

1998-03-11 Probably the best XEDIT-based search engine you will find.
1998-03-11 Multiple target, XEDIT based search.
SEE v-48K
1998-03-11 Like the ALL macro but see the item, not just target lines.
1999-04-21 Comparing files with XEDIT.
1999-03-23 The most complete "cut&paste" for XEDIT V4.1.A
1999-03-16 Execute records as REXX directly from XEDIT. Not Y2K sensitive.
DRM v-84K
1998-09-29 An XEDIT based interface to manage the CP Directory Version 3.0.1
1996-08-26 XEDIT macros that locate, change, or count words
TT v-19K
1996-08-26 XEDIT prefix macro which aligns/flows text for paragraphs, etc.
1996-08-26 XEDIT Macros to Scroll Up and Down by Cursor position
RC v-2K
1996-08-26 RexxComment Xedit macro (+)
1996-08-26 REMEMBER an XEDIT session, for recreating later
1996-08-26 Split the XEDIT screen into many pieces
1996-08-26 XEDIT Macros for Adding Line and Block Comments to Files
1996-08-26 Change the case of a word in XEDIT
AA v-75K
1996-08-26 XEDIT prefix macro which aligns comments in C/Rexx/etc. lang
1997-03-11 PUT macro for XEDIT that respects VERIFY setting.


KEDIT is a first DOS descendant of VM/CMS XEDIT. It is commercial editor and it is considered to be a flagship of this category. The current version for Windows (1.5) has many advanced features making better use of GUI (initial Xedit was command line only) and useful extensions of command-line functionality. This is Win32 only product developed by Mansfield Software Group (MSG).

You can download KEDIT for Windows DEMO to test what KEDIT is. Text mode KEDIT for DOS and OS/2 is older and weaker (demo should be available too, just ask MSG's Technical Support). Combination of REXX and editing primitive produce an amazingly powerful product -- essentially this is a text processing environment similar (but somewhat more convenient for complex reorganizations of text) to Perl in which you can program pretty complex tasks. I once written USENET messages catalog creator in Kedit that was used content generation of Softpanorama bulletin from 1995 till 1997. Many additional macros from user community exists:


SlickEdit - Home

Visual SlickEdit Gets Even Better

Programmers' editors such as SlickEdit's Visual SlickEdit 10 have become much more than manual tools for working with source code text. The March Version 10 update of Visual SlickEdit, a long-standing eWEEK Labs Analyst's Choice, provides impressive real-time analysis and display of program structure. Improvements include expanded tools for code refactoring as well as edit-time flagging of Java syntax errors.

Many tasks will benefit from Visual SlickEdit 10's capacity to edit files up to 2GB in size and to run not only on Windows but also on several Unix variants, including Mac OS X (with X11 support installed). Combined with fully integrated FTP facilities, this versatility rewards the investment of tailoring the editor to personal tastes.

Speaking of investment, though, the Windows-only named-user version of Visual SlickEdit 10 is no casual purchase at $284; the multiplatform package rings in at $799. Even so, that's not much in terms of developer hours, which is the proper perspective.

SlickEdit Studio An IDE in the Rough

Games from Within Are We There Yet SlickEdit's C++ Refactoring

Re Slickedit features in Emacs

Python and SlickEdit

Visual SlickEdit ( v. 10 ) - license - Comparison shopping at ZDNet Reviews -- prices for v.10 starting from $255.






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The Last but not Least

Copyright © 1996-2018 by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. was initially created as a service to the (now defunct) UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) in the author free time and without any remuneration. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License. Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.


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