|Publisher:||Loadstar (Softdisk, Inc)|
ArcheType is a word processor for the C128, written by Mark Jordan and published in Loadstar, issue #25, back in 1986. It is designed to run in the C128's 80 column mode, taking full advantage of the VDC video chip. This is one of the major advantages the C128 had over the C64, as an office PC. The larger resolution makes it much more practical to run business type applications on it, like a word processor or spreadsheet.
Unlike today's WYSIWYG word processors, ArcheType uses special text commands, typed within the document, to control printer output. These special formatting commands can be placed anywhere within the document, allowing you to format your document “on-the-fly”, so to speak. One paragraph could have a left margin of five spaces, with a line length of sixty characters and left justified. And then, the next paragraph could have no left margin, with a line length of eighty characters and center justified.
These formatting commands are identified with the use of the ⇑ (up arrow) key, which is not printed, but is rather acted upon by the software.
When it comes down to it, I actually prefer this method of formatting, when compared to the WYSIWYG method, because I'm not constantly fighting with the drag-and-drop interface of the word processor, which I do with more modern word processors.
ArcheType comes with some useful functions, as well as a very informative Help menu. You access the Help menu by pressing the C128's HELP key.
From here, ArcheType shows you the syntax for the formatting commands, what the different Fx function keys do, as well as the built in CTRL key combination commands. It is all well laid out and easy to understand.
Some of the unique functions are: keyword search and replace, copy and pasting a range of text, forced page breaks, page headers and footers, and the ability to set bookmarks (what ArcheType calls “Preserve Position”).
One of the things to remember about ArcheType is that, while you are composing your document, the spacing of your document is not “live”. That is, what you document is going to look like once it is printed is not represented on the screen, until you run the “Reformat” command. This is when ArcheType actually implements your formatting instructions and arranges your document accordingly. Up until this time, you will most likey have lines of text with out of place spaces, or the odd blank line. But, this a normal occurrence, as you constantly add, delete or move words and blocks of texts.
The important thing to remember here is, not to put too much emphasis on how the document looks, until you Reformat. ArcheType does have a Preview option, so you can see what the finished product will look like before you send it to the printer.
It's a pretty good word processor and responds well, at least with my typing ability. About the only thing I wish it had was a spell checker. Even something as simple as the spell checker that comes with PowerWord, the word processor that comes with 64 PowerPack for the C64, would be adequate.
Another thing I wish Mark would have done, was override the Run/Stop key. Pressing it initiates a break command in BASIC, and when you are working on a document and accidentally press the Run/Stop key, it's very frustrating.
I really like ArcheType and use it as my go-to word processor on my C128. Loadstar really did publish some good software for the C64 and C128, back in the day. I just wish I could have afforded to buy more of their issues back then. I certainly would have gotten more use out of my C128. But, hey, better late than never!
An FYI: This review was composed using ArcheType.