At Macworld Boston this past month, Akif Eyler’s text-file browser Easy View won the 1993 MacUser Shareware Award for Text Tools, beating out Rich Siegel’s excellent editor BBEdit and Mark Wall’s DOCMaker. Since Akif wasn’t able to put in an appearance from Turkey, I accepted the award (a snazzy clear glass or plexiglass disk, appropriately inscribed) for him. I hope the ZiffNet/Mac folks were able to mail it to Turkey without trouble.
Distributing documents among users who may or may not have the creating application is a continuing frustration for many Mac users. New technology such as Adobe’s Acrobat or No Hands Software’s Common Ground offers one kind of solution, but there’s another one that’s often overlooked: text files enhanced by a special text-only format called setext [and created by Ian Feldman]. Setext files include unobtrusive formatting tags that let the reader software easily navigate a text-only file with a click of the mouse. M. Akif Eyler’s Easy View is an excellent setext reader for the Mac that has evolved over the past year. (Mac setext booster Adam Engst distributes his popular TidBITS on-line magazine in setext format.) It’s a clever, ground-breaking concept that deserves recognition.
Akif’s award especially pleases me for two non-obvious reasons. First, the Easy View/setext combination shows up in comparison to Acrobat and Common Ground, the glorified fax machines of the software world. Many of us who actually do electronic publishing in real life are concerned about the use of Acrobat and Common Ground, since like DOCMaker, they hamstring the content in exchange for the dubious ability to mimic paper. Second, although Akif programmed Easy View entirely on his own, a team of us from the U.S., Sweden, France, and Turkey helped design and test Easy View over the Internet. Easy View is truly an international Internet effort.
So I’d like to extend public congratulations to Akif and to those who helped make Easy View into a winner. If you’re not already using Easy View to browse through TidBITS issues on your Mac, you can FTP it (and a patch to take you from 2.32 to 2.33) from <sumex-aim.stanford.edu> as: