The Micro User1st November 1984
Published in The Micro User 2.09
Useful... but quite limited
Despite its impressive title, BBtype, from Furey Enterprise, is a somewhat primitive word processor program. Its only major feature is the ability to load in predefined character sets such as accents of foreign languages and technical and scientific symbols.
This can prove quite useful for students preparing their work or for business letters where you may wish to impress a foreign client with your deep knowledge of the client's written language. But there are some limitations to the BBtype package.
For a start it needs the Acorn DFS - it certainly did not want to know about the Watford DFS 1.3 when I tried it. It also requires an Epson printer from the MX, RX or FX range using the parallel interface only.
The printer needs to be switched on when using BBtype, whether you intend to print or not, which is a little bit silly.
A simple menu requesting the character set you wish to work with starts the program. There are currently five available, defined as French/Italian, Ger man/Scandinavian, Spanish, Mathematics and Technical.
This leads on to another little menu which you use to set up the printer to print with or without vertical spacing between lines. This is to allow formulae containing maths symbols such as large braces to extend over two lines without an unseemly gap in the middle.
Editing capabilities can be best described as barely ade quate. The whole document size is limited to 80 characters by 66 lines, and it is not possible to properly load in documents from other word processors such as View or Wordwise.
This is due to the fact that BBtype stores the document as a rather wasteful 80 by 66 byte matrix instead of using carriage return to delimit separate lines like most word processors.
There is no variable margination or centering and the lines scroll 10 lines at a time, which is something I found quite a strain to use after the smooth scrolling of View or Wordwise.
Using the function keys and the templates to access the pre-defined character set is relatively simple and quite effective. The edit area is 80 columns by 20 of white text on black using Mode 3.
It is not possible to use bits of two separate character sets in a single document, but each character set has up to 40 different symbols, which is quite enough for most purposes.
Most of the editing features are accessed via the combination of the Control, Shift and cursor keys in various permutations, and another template is also supplied for reference.
Maths users may be interested to know that it is not possible to create superscripts for little symbols such as the square and cube of a number.
There are some unusual features in BBtype in that pressing Break does not seem to harm the document, and with certain limitations, it is even possible to exit from BBtype into Basic to perform calculations and return back into the program.
The print quality produced is quite good, though all the printing seems to be done in graphics mode only, which can make document printing very slow.
In conclusion, for those really desperate for the special charac ter sets it may be worth suffering through the editor to produce your documents.