Many of these pages are written on a Palm Tungsten E using peditPro. I would use the PC, but that’s hogged by the rest of the family most of the time. At various times in the past I’ve used a Psion Series 3, a Series 5, an MC400 and a Dell laptop to bash in the text. A change of project at the end of 2003 meant that I had to give up the laptop, which was provided by my clients, and so the hunt was on for a replacement.

At that time of the year I’m always financially embarrassed due to a series of kid’s birthdays, straight before the Christmas present buying season - bad planning that! So a new laptop was out of the question. A hunt through the hardware archive revealed that the Series 3 and 5 both needed repairs whilst the MC400 still worked fine (once I had marshalled enough AA batteries). Unfortunately the MC400’s serial lead seems to have slithered off and hidden somewhere.

I found a couple of Macs in the loft. The Classic was dead, the SE30 eventually came to life but only has an 800K floppy and we couldn’t find a way to get text from it to the PC. I even found an Amstrad ALT-286 portable. MS-DOS 5 booted without problem and all my old writing tools, like PC-Write, were still there. But the rechargeable battery had died and running it on the mains meant that the fan did a pretty passable impression of 747 taking off.

The Palm Vx, I was using at that time, was my most used computing device and I already had the Palm Portable Keyboard and Blue Nomad’s WordSmith - both excellent products. Whilst that combination is great for word processing, it is not ideal for laying out code, be it Java, JavaScript or HTML.

Since the Vx seemed to have drawn the short straw, the hunt was on for a usable text editor. After many trials, and various errors, I eventually settled on Paul Nevai’s peditPro. I had tried it out some years ago, probably on a Palm III without the aid of a keyboard. At that time I just didn’t get it. This is a techie’s editor so I should have felt at home - after all I spend most of my day in front of vi. But I think I was put off by the wilful breaking of the PalmOS user interface rules. I’m a firm believer in sticking to UI guidelines:

  • every Mac application should work the same way,
  • every Windows app should fall over in a consistent manner,
  • and it shouldn’t be possible to guess a Unix utility’s function from its name.

But this time the logic of pedit, especially with a keyboard, made a lot more sense. With the Monaco font selected, the cursor position displayed at the top of the page and auto-indent enabled its pretty easy to edit HTML code.

The solution worked so well that I bought the licence - though I was disappointed to find that it expires in 2068… How, I wonder, am I going to type up initial drafts of my lifeless prose when I’m 108?

All I need now is a simple HTML browser that will allow the previewing of the code. So far I’ve found nothing suitable…