Moving from Wang WP to PC Word Processing
From "Migration", Access to Wang, December 1995
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If there is one application that PCs have assumed primary control over, word processing would be it. The features, speed, and presentation of these products have changed the process of document processing, and it's likely your shop would like to make a move towards these tools as well.
If you are considering the move from Wang Word Processing to products based on the desktop, you know that there are many differences in their appearance and operation. Here's some help directed to the Wang WP user. Though the discussion will center on the standard Wang WP editor (VS/IIS) and Microsoft Word for Windows, most points will also apply to Wang WP+ and other PC and Macintosh word processing programs.
While there are many differences between Wang Word Processing and popular PC word processing programs, there are also many similarities. Like WP, PC word processing systems interlace text and formatting information throughout the document, allowing you to change the appearance of specific areas of the document without affecting the whole. Some of the keys on the keyboard perform the same functions, including the arrow keys, Page Up and Page Down, and Cancel (replaced by Escape).
Mostly, it's the differences we notice. Here are some of the important contrasts between Wang WP and PC applications:
Screen appearance and operation: The screen appearance mimics the final appearance of the document, including formatting and page breaks. You can also work on more than one document at the same time.
Keyboard differences: Standard PC keyboards are different than Wang keyboards. There are fewer function keys, and the remaining keys are spaced further apart. Cursor keys are in the "inverted T" formation - not in a cross shape as on the VS. The Help, Cancel, and Execute keys are gone, and the meaning and use of the Insert, Delete, and Home keys change.
Text entry mode: Though it can changed with overtype or overstrike options, text entered from the keyboard is normally inserted into the document, pushing characters to the right of the cursor along. This is considerably different than WP, where pressing the Insert key triggers a different mode of operation - one that must be closed before other editing can resume.
Document design: Page areas in PC editors are specified according to the printable area, not the line length or number of characters. Once this page "container" is defined, text is "poured" into it. The operator does not normally need to be concerned about word wrap or pagination.
Saving files: Wang WP saves information at page breaks and when the operator exits the document; there is no option to save without exiting. Most PC word processors require explicit actions to save documents (typically CTRL-S or ALT+FS) and allow you to exit without saving your work (with appropriate warnings).
Document control and identification: High-end PC products offer similar information and productivity statistics as those provided by the Document Summary page and Operator Statistics. Some also provide information on the specific revisions made.
Program operation and control: In contrast to the specific activities required to edit and format text in WP, PC products offer one or more methods for accomplishing the same result. For example, a file can be saved in Microsoft Word by using the mouse to select the File menu, then the Save option. If you prefer, you can use the keyboard instead of the mouse by pressing ALT-F, then S. Finally, a close examination to the File menu shows that there is a accelerator key defined (CTRL-S) that can perform the same function.
Keyboard shortcuts: You can use some keyboard techniques to rapidly cut, copy, paste, and change text and move around within a document. Pressing CTRL while using the left or right arrow keys moves a word at a time, while CTRL plus the up or down keys moves between paragraphs. The End key moves to the location beyond the last character of the line; Home moves to the first. Pressing SHIFT while performing any of these moves highlights the text, allowing you to perform other operations (delete, change font, bold, etc.) to this material. If you have the option selected to replace selected text ("Typing replaces selection"; a typical default setting), the information you type replaces the selected text without the extra step of deleting it first. (Some other Windows key conventions are listed in Figure 1 (below).)
Simultaneous access to other programs: PC products allow you to switch between screens, so you can edit a document and alternate with a VS terminal session or other programs. If you use a Windows-based terminal emulation program, you can also cut and paste text between the VS and the PC.
Here's a real-world example to help you understand the points made above. For this exercise, let's edit an existing document.
You start the word processor and select File/Open using the keyboard or the mouse. At the file open dialog box, you select the document you wish to edit. You can move to other disks or directories until you find the document name. Once selected, the document appears in the editing screen, ready for modification.
Your first change is to add a new paragraph between the second and third paragraphs of the document. You would like this new paragraph to have the same format as the one before it. The simplest method of duplicating a paragraph format is to go to the marker at the end of the preceding paragraph and press Enter to create a new paragraph.
After entering some text into the new paragraph you notice a misspelling. Using the left arrow and the CTRL key in combination, you skip back to the word, highlight it (by adding SHIFT), and type its replacement. There is also a sentence that needs to be moved from the middle to the end of the text, so you select the entire sentence with the mouse and drag it to its new location.
Satisfied with the text of the document, you save the revised version (CTRL-S) and turn your attention to its format. Though the screen display appears similar to the final printed document, you would like to see how the sections will actually appear on the printed page. Selecting File/Print Preview (ALT+F, then V from the keyboard), you review the pages and notice that a single line has been left on the bottom of the page - a "widow" in typesetting terms. Returning to the document, you force a page break before this paragraph (by entering CTRL+Enter) to keep the lines together and save the document again. Finally satisfied, you print the document (CTRL-P).
Hopefully, this simple example can help you see some of the differences in technique required.
If you've routinely move between data processing and word processing applications on the VS (like most of us), you are probably concerned about how you will replace these processes with PC-based word processing products. Fortunately, there are good alternatives to VS/IIS functions like document conversion, merge letters, indexes, and Table of Contents generation. More on these topics next month.
If you read this column regularly, you know that I have been promoting the World Wide Web (WWW), a service of the Internet that provides on-line text retrieval. If you've been around the VS for a while you might remember my book USERAIDS: A Guide to Low-Cost Software for Wang VS Systems (now out of print). I am considering a project that combines both of these interests: a WWW site featuring information on USERAIDS. This site would allow you to search for information on user-supported VS software and get information on its use.
If you're interested in seeing this resource developed and have the tools required (Internet access and a Web browser), please contact me through the magazine. If there is sufficient interest I will make most of the text of the book available on-line.
Figure 1: Standard Windows Keystrokes
Keystrokes Results HOME Moves to start of the line END Moves to the end of line CTRL+arrow Skips between words in a sentence (left and right) or between paragraphs (up and down) SHIFT Highlights text when used with arrows or other movement keys CTRL-X Cut selected text (typical) CTRL-C Copy selected text (typical) CTRL-V Paste selected text (typical) CTRL-I Set selected text to italic CTRL-B Set selected text to bold CTRL-U Underline selected text CTRL-S Save file (typical) ALT+F4 Exit program
Figure 2: Glossary of PC Word Processing Terms
Term Definition Accelerator key A underlined key that allows menu items to be accessed through keyboard commands. Some accelerators are key combinations (CTRL-S), while others open the menu and allow the function to be selected. Dialog box A standard display provided by a PC application that requests information or confirmation from the operator. Example: choosing File/Open brings up a dialog box allowing the file to be selected. Directory A storage location, similar to a VS library, where files can be placed. In contrast to VS libraries, directories must be set up in the file system prior to their use and directories can contain other directories. Sometimes referred to as folders, especially in Windows 95 and Macintosh applications. Drag and drop An operation in most recent PC products where items are selected, then "dragged" to a new location using the mouse and then "dropped" into place. The items are picked up by pressing and holding the left mouse button, then dropped by releasing the button. Help file Program documentation provided for PC products. Most is context-sensitive; that is, the help topic is selected based on your current position in the program and the system's assumptions about your needs. Minimize, maximize Window sizing terms. A minimized application is one that has been put aside, replaced by a small icon indicating its presence. (Note that minimized applications are still loaded in memory.) Maximized applications fill the entire working area of the PC screen. Applications can be minimized and maximized through arrows on the control bar at the top of the screen or through the keyboard. Overtype, overstrike Options that select whether text entered by the keyboard replaces (overstrikes) or inserts text at the cursor, "pushing" existing text further along the line. Typing replaces selection An option that replaces all highlighted text and formatting characters with information entered through the keyboard. Undo Reverse the results of prior editing or typing actions, usually only for the last action taken (e.g. a "one-level" undo).
Copyright © 1995 Dennis S. Barnes
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