Borland Sprint

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A DOS word processor released by Borland France in late 1987 and in the rest of the world in the summer of 1988. Because the tool is a hodgepodge of old editor and formatting code from the 70's blended with more modern code intended to make the product match and in some cases exceed the feature sets of their competitors alongside a number of features not available elsewhere (and some not that common even today) , it made the Sprint package seem at the time of its release both forward thinking and outdated at the same time. It sold very well in France but bombed in most other places and was discontinued in 1989.

Alternative User Interfaces

The package had a concept they called "Alternative User Interfaces" or AUI's, where you could create skins and command presets that either made the package work exactly like you wanted it to or could be used to create functional emulations of other word processing packages and editors. Borland supplied a variety of user interface emulations with the package but announced that they would later be de-bundling it from Sprint and selling it as an add on package. But as it was shipped Sprint included UI emulations of but not limited to: EMACS, Wang, MultiMate, Microsoft Word, FinalWord II, Borland Sidekick, WordPerfect and WordStar. Note that not all of them were documented in the supplied user manual

OS/2 version

An OS/2 CLI version was announced at the USA release of the DOS version as being basically a couple of months away, and that a PM version of Sprint would be shipped in the summer of 1989, but as Borland had already by then a history of announcing OS/2 products that actually no work had been done on, and as all of their OS/2 development products and the actual development team had migrated to Jensen and Partners International a year earlier, it is not known if there was ever any work done on an OS/2 version.

Versions
  • Release 1.50 for the French version of Sprint.
  • Release 1.01 for most other language versions (equal to French version 1.02).

Links & publications

Documentation
Books
Reviews

History

Originally released around 1980 by Mark of the Unicorn as MINCE, a CP/M text editor that had some EMACS like functionality and UI. It was sold in a variety of packaged versions, sometimes bundled with a text formatting package from the same company called SCRIBBLE which was a Scribe clone that made the MINCE editor able to function as a word processor and other packages included full source code and a license for the buyer to use it as long as it did not compete with MINCE, some packages even included a CP/M C compiler. MINCE was somewhat buggy but gained some popularity with CP/M users that were used to the Teco editor (that EMACS resembled).

One of the customers of the MINCE source code created a word processor out of the package called Perfect Writer and had some success selling it to computer hardware manufacturers as an OEM bundle with a rudimentary spreadsheet and database called "Perfect Calc" and "Perfect Filer" respectively, and this inspired MOTU to convert MINCE into a word processor that they called FinalWord. While it failed to set the world on fire and had like MINCE had a persistent reputation for bugs, it sold reasonably, well enough for MOTU to port it to to DOS and a couple of years later to introduce an upgraded version called " FinalWriter II".

By the mid 80's MOTU was concentrating on developing music software and hardware products for the Macintosh and sold the package to Borland. That company hired the management and development teams from the French office of MicroPro, but they had managed to make MicroPro's WordStar the most popular word processor in France by changing some of its features to better suit local usage and in other ways properly localising it at a time when most packages were merely translated and some not even well.

Authors & publishers

  • Jason Linhart (MOTU)
  • Craig Finseth (MOTU)
  • Scott Layson Burson (MOTU)
  • Brian Hess (MOTU)
  • Bill Spitzak (MOTU)
  • Mark of the Unicorn
  • Borland France