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Plain Text Editor 9.1

And Xojo? But why?

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This piece isn't meant to hit on anyone in particular. We have our 'Very Ugly' section for that, where the purpose is to educate rather than harm anyway, despite the hilarity that ensues.

But BWK mentioned in a recent interview that he prefers the MacBook Air and uses Rob Pike's 'Sam' text editor, and in a search for Sam we found this - Plain Text Editor. And so decided to try it out. For no other reason.

The vendor has a lot of software titles available. They're supposed to be compatible with Mojave, and compatibility with Catalina is 'coming soon'.

The big question mark was the price tag. $40. For a 'plain text editor'.

OS X already has a text editor, maintained and curated by Ali Ozer. And we have a text editor, specifically for plain text and nothing else, and even produced a tutorial on how you build your own text editor from scratch. So what can one possibly have in a 'plain text editor' that can justify a $40 price tag?

We didn't find the answer, but here at any rate is a quick run-through of 'Plain Text Editor'. Of course we tracked everything with Tracker. We'll leave you, as much as possible, to draw your own conclusions, and, as always, we wish the author good luck.

Opening the package

XAs all over the place. And quarantines too - and they're not from the download, as our systems automatically remove all that.

Odds are he's using Finder for file management - a big mistake.

And 36 MB for a text editor? All of Finder doesn't weigh that much. What's inside? (A lot of localisation files which account for some of that.)

The binary's a 10-MB (!) vanilla x86, but the package has the cross-platform Xojo framework, which should account for a lot of the bulk and the general lack of typical Cocoa features.)

This is your first greeting. (Note: there are no signs of data left on disk to check the shareware expiration.)

This is your default document window.

Your preferences.

'Read the documentation' yields nothing.

Selection of font is an epic fail: they're listed off the menu bar, and they scroll forever, this rather than using built-in NeXT functionality. Not a good sign.

Options for CRLF are on the menu. Yes, this seems unnecessary.

The find/replace looks anaemic but what's worse: this functionality is built into NeXT.

Sorry - this is version 9.1? What came before this?

This happens when you try to exit without saving changes. Where is the system's document controller? Why isn't this automated as well? Sorry, but what exactly is 'plain' about this 'text editor'?

He's productive, for sure. But has any of this software even attempted to integrate with the NeXTSTEP classes?


 Start: Thu Aug  2 01:36:50 2020
  Stop: Thu Aug  2 01:46:15 2020
Target: ~/Plain Text Editor.dmg
 Scans: /Library
 Skips: /private/var/db/diagnostics

The app - the system - left a few files in 'folders' but they'll probably be removed on a boot (or you can do it yourself).

The app otherwise drops a single file. com.alphaomega-software.plaintexteditor.plist in the directory ~/Library/Preferences/Plain Text Editor. The contents of that file:


So how the shareware expiry is set is not known.

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Stockholm/London-based Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and support staff from Radsoft Laboratories who tired of Windows vulnerabilities, Linux driver issues, and cursing x86 hardware all day long. Rixstep have many years of experience behind their efforts, with teaching and consulting credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Lloyds TSB, SAAB Defence Systems, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, IBM, Microsoft, and Sony/Ericsson.

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