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A Programmer's Editor Shootout

Kon 1.11 Rev 1044 971103

Written by Andrew Pitonyak

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Kon is a flexible editor with a host of features for programming, general editing, and poking through binary files.

Packaging and Installation

The packaging consists of a single zip file and the installation was painless; copy the help file into the OS/2 help file directory.

  • Built-in hex editor. Switchable between ASCII and hex anytime. Hex startup switch.
  • Full control of the file you're editing, even in ASCII mode. No codes are inserted in the document except the ones you insert.
  • Handles LF-only line breaks without converting the file
  • Configurable syntax highlighting
  • Configurable keys (Borland/Wordstar by default)
  • Configurable toolbar
  • Search & Replace in multiple files
  • Regular expressions
  • Macro support (editable macros)
  • Undo/redo on all editor functions with configurable buffer
  • Multi-threaded operation
  • Column block
  • Word wrap
  • Drag & Drop
  • Opens up to 10 files in separate windows
  • Window manager
  • Usable as a file viewer in read-only mode
  • View files in file dialog before you open
  • Autosave
  • Prints to printer or file
  • Selectable code page
  • ASCII table
  • Jump to specified position at program startup
  • Convert between codepages
  • User specified INI file on startup
  • Configurable backup options
  • Configurable mouse buttons
  • Configurable cursor
Kon, like most PM editors, uses a separate window for each open file. Although there is no automated easy method to arrange all of the windows on the screen at one time, it is easy to move between windows using the keyboard or the mouse.

Kon includes syntax highlighting for C++, IPF, and HTML. I created my own syntax highlighting for REXX CMD files. The most difficult part for myself was trying to choose which colors to use. The syntax highlighter is very good, but I was able to fool it slightly with the syntax for strings in REXX. For example, In REXX, """head" will place a double quote inside of the string. Unfortunately, the highlighter is not aware of this syntax. The author of Kon is considering adding support for statements such as these.

Although Kon supports syntax highlighting, it does not do any sort of automatic formatting besides line wrapping and autoindent.

The default key bindings are the same as the Borland/Wordstar editor. I decided to add the bindings for the Brief editor. For most commands, this was a simple task. I had some difficulty, for example, with text marking. In Brief, I can start marking with Alt-M and I stay in marking mode even if I am doing general editing things or moving about. The original location to the current cursor location is the marked area. In general, Kon marks text by defining a start point and end point. This is purely a difference in philosophy. In general, this is an easy task and you will be able to set the commands as you desire.

It is simple to define your own macros and to assign them to key commands if you desire. The macro language is suitable for many tasks. The primary limitations are that it does not contain looping instructions, variables, and conditionals. This is suitable for the majority of tasks.

Kon is very configurable with respect to the creation of backup files. You can choose to create them or not, where to place them, and what extension to give them. My preference is to store them in a backup directory, as opposed to the current directory, and to keep the original extension.

Kon supports setting ten markers, or bookmarks, in a file. You can then easily jump to one of these markers later. For example, Ctrl-Q+Ctrl-3 sets marker number three. When I want to jump back to this marker, I simply type Ctrl-K+Ctrl-3. I also mapped these commands to the Brief editor equivalents. Kon has another method of marking positions mapped to Ctrl-. called SavePos. You can save multiple positions and then move between them going forward and backward. This proved to be a convenient method of moving through a few different locations in a file. These commands are local to an edit window so you can not jump between open files using these commands.

If you know the absolute position in the file to which you which to go, you can use Ctrl+P. This is very useful when editing a file in hex mode. Have you ever wondered what the character really was sitting under the cursor? With Kon you simply switch to hex mode and take a look.

The ability of Kon to search for text is magnificent. You can choose to search in the currently opened file, across selected opened files and/or across all files matching a file spec with or without recursing into subdirectories. Regular expressions are supported. A very important feature which should be stressed is that search and replace works not only in open files, but in files on disk as well. I have seen requests for this feature alone many times. The search and replace capabilities of Kon are very impressive and all editors should have them.

Special characters are easily inserted using an ASCII table. Line drawing can be inserted as easily as moving the cursor with the Ctrl and Alt keys pressed, and entire areas can be blocked with a single command.

If you have ever want to convert text between code pages, Kon does this with ease! If you have a file written using the windows code page, for example, you can convert it to another one.

It is not possible to cover all of the features which Kon does so nicely, I recommend that you simply go out and grab a copy and give it a try.


Kon can be downloaded from:

The price of Kon is US$20.

There are two ways of registering:

  1. Send $20 cash or a $25 cheque by mail.

    Send to:

      Björn Andersson
      Vidblicksg. 13A
      S-412 57 Gothenburg
  2. Register through BMT Micro.