I recently uploaded Easy View 2.32, the latest version of Akif Eyler’s free structured text file browser. Easy View recognizes the following formats:
- setext, including TidBITS
- Info-Mac, comp.sys.mac.programmer, or similar digests
- Mail collections: Internet, Navigator, Notebook, etc.
- Text with "simple" format
- Plain text
However, there’s nothing new in that list – I just wanted to grab the interest of people who haven’t yet come out from under their rocks to try Easy View. It’s a wonderful program, and if you can spare a few floppy disks, you can download all the issues of TidBITS from sumex-aim.stanford.edu in the info-mac/digest/tb directory and browse through them with Easy View instead of asking me about that article that might have been in TidBITS about a month ago that was something do with conflicts between video cards and certain phases of the moon. Hey, all I do is search in Easy View. Back issues are easy to get, so give Easy View a try.
The basic principle is that you pop straight text files into a folder with an Easy View view (they used to be called indexes); then you can add those files to the view. The most common problems people have are with non-text files and not putting the text files in the same folder as the view.
You can download the latest version of Easy View from the usual spots, including America Online in the Macintosh Hardware New Files library, ZiffNet/Mac in the ZMC:DOWNTECH #0 library as EASYVW.SIT, CompuServe in the CIS:MACAPP #2 library as EV232.SIT, and on sumex-aim.stanford.edu for anonymous FTP as:
Note that the file hasn’t appeared on CompuServe or the Internet as I write this, so I can’t be absolutely sure about the locations or filenames for those last two sites.
New Features — Easy View 2.32 has a spate of new features, including the ability to open the text file you are viewing in the application that created it using Apple events under System 7. I haven’t the foggiest idea if this works under System 6, but I don’t think it could, so add it to your list of reasons to upgrade. This feature works by sending a message to the Finder, telling the Finder to open that document with the application that created it. In my case that’s Nisus, so it works like a charm, but if you don’t have Nisus, or your email program assigns another creator code to the text file when you download, another application will open. If you don’t have the appropriate application, the Finder will complain. In that case, get one of those drag & drop applications (they usually work under System 6 too) that can change the file type and creator of a bunch of files (I think one is called BunchTyper and another is FileTyper).
Many people complained about Easy View’s case-sensitivity in the past. I guess sensitive programs went out with in the 1980s, and Akif has obliged by adding a filter feature (yes, much like a filter feeder) that provides case-insensitive searches along with the ability to ignore diacritical marks. That’s important to Akif because he deals with script systems and text in Turkish. Also to satisfy complainers, Akif added a "Search from top" option in the Find dialog that does what it says. Without that option checked, Easy View searches from the current location on down, which is more efficient if you know where to start.
Aesthetics are possible in Easy View 2.32 as well, as Akif supports the font styles (bold, ~italic~, and underline) that have existed in setext since the beginning. I don’t use a lot of them, since it’s poor practice to overuse emphasis in text, but they do come in handy at times, and you can define your own settings for each setext style. If you turn styles on (it’s a simple toggle) and copy some styled text, the clipboard contents are also styled, so applications that support styled clipboards will retain the appropriate styles when you paste. However, I must warn you that Easy View has had occasional problems with styles, so if you experience any, shut off styles and see if the problems go away. If not, then tell Akif. We were unable to isolate the sporadic problems with styles in beta testing. The styles feature is still an experiment, and isn’t fully supported, so you won’t be able to print styled text, text-selection may misbehave, and word wrap may not work right. The solution is simple in all cases – shut the styles off. Styles also reduce performance, so shut them off during extensive searches.
Text scrolling now works correctly so Easy View retains an overlap with the previous window. Without that overlap, it was easy to get lost while reading in Easy View; the overlap provides a context switch between screens of text.
Finally, Easy View can now use the Finder’s temporary memory for parsing under System 7, so you may be able to get away with allocating less memory to Easy View. I still up the default by a couple of hundred K, but I use Easy View to view many megabytes of archived email and discussions.
Once again, kudos and thanks to Akif for making my life easier, and I certainly hope you can all use Easy View to make your lives easier too.