New Zap releaseBy Chris Williams. Published: 12th Nov 2002, 15:14:41 | Permalink | Printable
Version 1.45. Holy moly, it's stable!"You've missed some very important news", cries a drobe reader to us in an email late last night. Gosh! How could such a thing happen? It turns out Zap, an established feature stuffed text and code editor, has not only reached version 1.45 but it's now officially stamped as stable by the developers. It's been four years now since the last official stable release (1.40 on 26th October 1998), so we can understand the celebrations. Zap is also ten years old this year so a stable release as a birthday surprise must have seemed like a good idea.
So Zap 1.45. The original announcement appeared on the zap-announce mailing list on Saturday evening and the change log from the previous version is reassuringly lengthy and illustrates the extensive number of changes to the application in order for it to earn this year's stable badge. If you've not heard of Zap before then you need to get wise on the subject. Zap is a text editor that caters for users and programmers alike and is developed by a number of contributors although version 1.45 was developed principally by James Aylett, Darren Salt and Christian Ludlam. One might say that Zap tries to do too much as it has modes for just about every possible file type, from C to BASIC to HTML to Obey scripts to Perl to simple plain text and back again. It'll disassemble code, it'll edit emails and it'll stick a geeky icon on your iconbar as well as a whole lot more. It's that huge and yet happily runs in 180K of RAM.
Before you start accusing us of being biased towards Zap, it's cards on the table time. drobe.co.uk is split on the choice of favourite editor. Simply put, some of us prefer StrongED and some of us swear by Zap (1.35 admittedly). We have our different views on what we expect from a text editor and for the sake of preventing an editor war breaking out (again), we'll save any review of Zap for a later indepth article. While that feature is being put together, we quickly contacted Zap distribution master James Aylett for his thoughts and commentary on the Zap 1.45 release.
"v1.45 was intended to be the start of a stabilising process, whereby we update Zap gradually to a more solid and future-proof role", James confidently explained in his swift reply. "As such there are quite a few changes under the skin (internationalisation support, internal configuration variables and so forth) that will have little impact on most users.
"It is considered much more stable than v1.40, and there are a decent set of enhancements and additions, such as a Diff colouring mode, the ability to detect filetypes based on file contents, clonable modes allowing different configurations of the same mode, and binary editing modes for 16bit and 64bit (HalfWord and DoubleWord) quantities. There are also lots of bugfixes :-)"
Viewfinder and Zap users are encouraged to use version 0.42 of the ZapRedraw module with the latest Viewfinder driver. What's planned for the next Zap release, then?
"..work has now started on v1.46, where we're doing much more under-the-skin overhauling, including making Zap 32bit compatible", James continued. "This will probably take some time, and there will almost certainly be a couple of releases without all the extensions, as we convert them gradually. Users probably won't see much difference for a while, except that the memory requirements should go down."
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