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Punched Program Announcement

Topic: programming

PunchEd Program Announcement

Hot on the heels of Apple Computer's release of HyperCard is a new concept in interactive text editors from Obscure Technologies Inc., named PunchEd. For those wondering what HyperCard is, it's a new `metaphor' in human-computer interaction, in which data, be they text, music or pictures, are represented by a hierarchy of `index cards' which the user can activate or browse through by using mouse-sensitive gadgets.

Obscure Technologies has, as their promotional literature states, contracted (not expanded) on the HyperCard idea in their new programmer's editor, PunchEd. In PunchEd, the visual metaphor presented to the user is that of a stack of punched paper cards, just like those used extensively in the computer industry since the 1950s and with which the company believes real programmers will feel more comfortable than with full-screen text editors.

The cards can be viewed on the screen individually, or several can be viewed spread out simultaneously (a process referred to as `fanning'). Like HyperCard, PunchEd allows the user to browse, or `riffle', through his or her `stack' of cards using the mouse. Users must exercise some caution when riffling, since there is a chance that they could experience a `stack drop', where the carefully-arranged cards become hopelessly jumbled. This reviewer somehow managed to perform a stack drop, an operation only slightly less frustrating than getting a stack overflow. Fortunately, PunchEd provides a `shuffle' command for getting things back in order again.

There is also a facility whereby a previously entered card can be duplicated with a single keystroke - quite a time-saver. Other basic editor features, such as entering text, are also provided. One small problem, however, is that there is no backspacing capability, so in order to correct your text, you must retype the offending line onto a new card and remove the old one. Some users will, I'm sure, appreciate this attention to detail.

The feature of PunchEd that will probably make it a big success in the eyes of programmers is that command text can be included in the same file as the source code. Goodbye, Make! With the inclusion of a few simple cards at the beginning of your file you can specify all the processing control you need. For example, to compile and link your C program, just include the following:






//* start of program

main() {

printf("hello, world\n");



ALPHA v0.3