EPM Beta

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By Derek Clarkson

Love it or Hate it, the EPM is the programmers editor supplied with OS/2. It's been basically the same for the last three releases of OS/2 with only minor finds. Now, IBM has finally started to take a hard look at it, and supplied the latest beta of the new version on the current DEVCON CD.

So what's new ? I'm not going to bother telling you about EPM as we know it, basically because most people at one time or another try it out and either like it or hate it. Instead I'm going to have a look at some of the finds that have been made and the new features it provides. Firstly this is a full 32bit version of EPM. Making it quicker and more responsive. The next thing to note is the maximum line size has been increased.

Previously, EPM would only handle lines up to 255 characters wide. Now it can handle up to 1600 characters which will make a couple of programmers I know very happy. And for macro programmers, the internal size of strings can now also be up to 1600 characters as well.

Next and possible the one overriding reason you might want to use this new version, is colour coding for languages. Yes, that's right, EPM will now colour code REXX, C, and a number of other languages as well. Better yet, the control for this is based out of text files allowing you to completely customise the colours as well as the keywords it looks for. Watch out for the C++ colour coding as the authors have added the complete OS/2 API which is very large and does tend to increase EPMs load times considerably. For REXX though, it's very fast and colour odes the moment it recognises the word, even if the cursor is still on the line. I found it quite easy to add in several of the Object-REXX keywords for colour coding and to modify the colour scheme it was using. You can also setup the command to load colour coding in the EPM profile which is run at start-up.


Also new (if you haven't spotted it) is the toolbar. The one in the screen dump is the default one for the editor and the authors have also supplied a programmers version which can fire off compilers and linkers. Further, you can define and create you own toolbars to suite yourself.

As with previous versions of EPM, you can build your own menus and run REXX macros to perform editing and other tasks for you. However in this release the layout of the default menus is a little different.

Other things I have noticed include GREP support and a really cool feature which will hunt out and place to cursor at the matching bracket for any bracket the cursor is presently on. Handy for large C++ programs I think. EPM now also support drag and drop to IBM's Workframe/2. EPM now supports voice recognition (IPDS) and binary editing of files.

And probably one of the most used new features will be the ability to load and save rings of files. Very handy for programmers wishing to open a lot of source code files at the same time and save where they are at.

These are just some of the new features that have been developed and added and so far it's looking like a good release. When ? You ask. As yet, I don't know, but this ones looks very closed to being finished with no bugs that I could find.

- Derek Clarkson