EditTime supports Unicode

June 30, 1996

Seybold Report on Publishing Systems,
Vol 25, No 19

June 30, 1996

EditTime, the one-year-old editor from Timelux, has a new add-on for version 1.2 that supports 16-bit Unicode editing. This gives a unique advantage to this editor, which is targeted at the rapid correction of imported text in a high-volume conversion environment. In addition, EditTime gives the user direct editorial access to the DTD as well as to the document instance.

The strengths of the editor include fast keyboard operation, syntax error identification, DTD editing and, now, multibyte Unicode character support. All along it has had a well-defined target audience: people converting large quantities of legacy data to SGML.

The editor’s weaknesses apply to operators who require on-screen formatting. There is little visual feedback using typography; there is a great deal of visual feedback using graphical tree structures.

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Support for converted files. Several features target fast correction of conversion errors. The editor finds markup errors and highlights them in color. Color-coding can guide an operator to sections of the document that require repair. Both the document and the graphic tree representation of the document are coded green for valid, red for invalid and blue for the element being edited. In addition, the status bar reveals the error type and a popup window supplies more detail.

The product has a full GUI, but the editor is optimized for keyboard operation. A user can choose from a context-sensitive list of elements, use a shortcut key or type a start tag and have the program automatically fill in the end tag.

Conversion houses are often criticized for optimizing document types to fit the requirements of legacy data. The design of EditTime recognizes this tendency and gives the operator direct, immediate editorial control over the document type. If a converted instance doesn’t parse, either the document or the document type can be amended on the spot.

Multibyte character support. EditTime employs its own 16-bit, Unicode-capable parser developed by Timelux. Unicode-capable means that it can read the 64,000 characters possible within ISO 10646, about 40,000 of which are currently defined. Working directly with Unicode means that the full set of characters is directly available without using external entity references. Fonts for all 11 languages of the European union are supported.

The Japanese add-in works like this: The user keys in a phonetic character string approximating the actual character. Then, through phonetic recognition, the correct graphic character is supplied. The parser is one of only three, according to Roger Schütz of Timelux, that can parse a two-byte character. The other two are one from EBT and James Clark’s SP.

Target audience. EditTime does not target authors. Rather, it targets those doing conversion and conversion cleanup, so there is no support for on-screen formatting. Markup tags always show on the screen. The role of each piece of the document is identified structurally, not by appearance. The editor addresses the needs of those doing heavy data entry and correction.

Other features. Like SmartEditor from Auto-Graphics, EditTime has a multiple-document interface, which means that several files, with the same or different DTDs, can be open and edited at the same time. The structural view has an expandable and collapsible graphic tree that can be used for navigation. Attributes are edited from a popup window. Omittag, entities and marked sections are supported on import into EditTime. Other optional SGML features are not supported.

The basic EditTime (version 1.2) is priced at $1,000. The Japanese add-on costs an additional $1,000. The base model is available for Windows 3.1, 3.11 and 95, as well as for AIX on the RS6000. The Japanese add-on is currently available only for Windows 3.1 and 3.11.