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The XPT Rich Editors

One of the first things you do with any new operating system is write your own editor. One of the most aggravating things with Win16 was the segmented memory model. One of the most painful exercises with Win16 was writing WinHelp source.

Put those all together and you have the mother of the invention of the XPT rich editors. Try as we may, we could never get more than about 52KB into Winedit (to Notepad's 40KB but still) because of the DS register. And writing raw RTF documentation was a lugubrious ordeal. And Microsoft wasn't backing down - their official WinHelp development environment was Word, pure plain and simple.

Along comes 95, a far cry from a true 32-bit operating system but with a number of significant 32-bit modules, among others the rich edit control. This control has gone through several rebirths in several reincarnations and is still around, and is still the bane of Office users everywhere. Fortunately, the first incarnation is very good and still ships.

The impetus actually came from the huge header files supplied by Redmond. You had to fire up their T-Rex IDE to read them. That certainly would not do. So we set to work on Rixedit - and three years later had not one, but six editors, all in the same class: Rixedit, Rixedit2, Txtedit, Txtedit2, X-edit, and X-edit20. But Rixedit was the first, the one true 'original'.

It was supposed to side as a WinHelp editor too, but then someone pointed out that WinHelp is actually a superset of RTF, which blew that idea - yet the need for an editor which could handle monster buffers remained. So we continued.

All told it took about two months before we stopped moving the code around. We had multiple toolbars, floating toolbars, status windows - god-knows-what - but ultimately opted for the idea that there is elegance in simplicity, and Rixedit became what it is today.

Then Microsoft introduced the next generation of rich edit controls with Windows NT 4.0 and we were off to the races again.

This new generation rich edit control was a high-powered module. It had both undo and redo capabilities, it handled file buffers of in principle unlimited size, and it did all the stuff the other control did, such as file input and output streaming and printer streaming. Adapting our Rixedit code to this new control was child's play. The built-in print streaming was no joy, so we truncated a bit and saved a few bytes.

One day a thought struck us, 'why not take the RTF code out of Rixedit for 9x users and see what we get?' What we got is Txtedit, lean and mean at 9.5KB on disk, perhaps the leanest and meanest text editor for Windows ever. Or at least for a while.

Then we went one step further. We almost never use the excellent printing with Rixedit and Txtedit anyway, so why not take that out too? So we did, and the result was X-edit - only 9KB on disk, the new world champeen. And it has all the text functions from Rixedit but weighs in at only 80% the size.

We wrote the two tag-alongs too: Txtedit2 and X-edit20. Over here it's Rixedit2 and X-edit which see most of the action. You're bound to find a couple which suit you nicely.

Disk image sizes: 11KB (Rixedit Rixedit2) 9.5KB (Txtedit) 9KB (Txtedit2) 9KB (X-edit X-edit20).

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