[Oberon] Oberon keyboard tweaks

Hans Klaver hklaver at dds.nl
Tue Nov 7 19:19:25 CET 2023

August Karlstrom wrote :

>>    Talking about text editing, is there a command in Oberon for wrapping
>>    paragraphs of text? I can't imagine having to insert manual line breaks
>>    in the right places when editing a paragraph of text, and having to
>>    reach for the mouse in between.
>> Do you mean 'word processing' rather than 'text editing'? Oberon has different tools designed to suit each activity.
> When it comes to line wrapping you have the same need in a word processor (which supports text formatting) as in a text editor so I fail to see that the distinction is relevant in this case. I have only used the Project Oberon System briefly to try some things out and I'm therefor curious to know how it's used for real work. If you write paragraphs of text in a viewer (opened with Edit.Open), are you supposed to press the enter key when the right margin is reached? If you add or delete text in the middle of a paragraph, are you supposed to manually adjust the line breaks to make the paragraph look reasonable?

I do quite some Oberon programming in PO2013 and I must say that I rarely miss a line/paragraph wrapping function. In other editors that I use for software development (BBEdit, VS Code) I have the line wrap feature off by default. This is because the wrapping mostly is to the left margin, which is not what you want in editing code (because of the extensive indentation of program text).

Of course for editing texts other than program code paragraph wrapping is very handy and I guess most people would find it indispensable.

Apart from the text editor 'Edit' early versions of Oberon System (e.g. V1.2, 1992) already had another editor 'Write' (by Clemens Szyperski and Mattias Hausner) which had paragraph commands ('parc') that supported line wrapping, among other things. In later versions of Oberon System the two editors 'Edit' and 'Write' merged into one editor; today the built-in text editor of BlackBox Component Framework is an offspring of that editor and can be used quite conveniently for both code editing and word processing. 

The editor that is described in the book Project Oberon (1992) is 'Edit', and when reviving Project Oberon 2013 Niklaus Wirth chose to describe and use that rather frugal but relatively simple to explain editor for Oberon System V5. Probably for someone who started programming using punched cards and teletypes that is not such a strange choice ;-)

I concur that overuse of the mouse (or trackpad) can lead to repetitive strain injury of the hand, which can be quite bothersome. That is one reason why I tweaked the keyboard code of PO2013 so that the arrow keys can be used for small movements of the caret. Interestingly early versions of 'Write' already supported horizontal arrow key movements, but not vertical. 

With regards,


More information about the Oberon mailing list