CA-Textor

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A word processor for OS/2 and Microsoft Windows originally published by Computer Associates in 1991 as a Windows app and updated in 1992 with an OS/2 version, and it replaced the DOS based EasyWriter word processing program that the company had been selling for a few years. The software was actually not developed by CA itself, but rather by a French company and was a port of a DOS word processor also called Textor that had been the second best selling WP software in France after WordStar for years, and that explains why the first and only English release of the program called "Version 6".

There never was an update to CA-Textor, not even a minor bug fix it appears, but the Windows version is stable and the later OS/2 port even more so. Presumably the later OS/2 version incorporates fixes that did not make it to the Win version, it is also multithreaded PM code and overall a much better OS/2 citizen than word processors that were released for the OS at the same time such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect.

Textor was never used as a substitute for a programmers editor like some other word processors frequently were, it eschewed features that programmers deemed essential like macros. It was however used as an office automation tool and used as a front end to other OA packages as it had strong, and to a degree programmable OA features and is in that sense a development tool.

The software appears to have been the victim of CA's buy and forget policy, but the company has a long history of buying products and companies and continue selling the products but disbanding the development teams and never updating software, a practice that they continue to this day with some of their mainframe products. In fact this had happened with the EasyWriter WP that the company had bought years earlier and was never updated, although in that case the fact that it was written in an obscure home grown variant of Forth may have been a factor.

Links

License and availability

  • Discontinued commercial software - CA-Textor initially sold at mid price with an RRP of USD 225 and a street prices ranging from 129 to 150 US$, by 1995 it was squarely a budget application, the RRP was USD 99 and street prices usually USD 69. Appears to have been discontinued in the "great purge of 1996" at CA.

Publisher

Background & history

CA-TEXTOR
Advert from 1992

Sales of the original DOS based Textor had fallen a bit in its home country under pressure from Microsoft Word for DOS, but Microsoft France had made an exclusive deal with a large number of computer hardware manufacturers that not only would Word be the only word processor they would sell, but also that they would actually not demonstrate any their hardware with any other software than Word and Microplan. The Borland Sprint word processor was also heavily marketed by Borland in the Francophone world and also stole market share from Textor, Sprint was actually developed in France and the local office was headed by the same team as had made WordStar the best selling WP software there a few years earlier. This appears to have lead the original developers to have sold the product or the company to CA.

But Textor, both in its original DOS text based incarnation and the later OS/2 & Windows GUI forms was actually quite an interesting if a bit flawed product. Word processors on early computers were either developments of screen editors that had simple formatting and printing features bolted onto them such as in the case of WordStar, or they were clones of, or ever direct descendants of early hardware word processors such as in the case of WordPerfect.

The feature sets of the "screen type" editors were geared towards the needs of writers of long technical documentation such as computer and software manuals, not surprising since most of the developers of these products were actually writers of such documentation that were fed up with available tools. The dedicated hardware and minicomputer software word processors on the other hand were seriously expensive devices that did not end up with the company's secretary like you often read, but rather got bought for use by technical departments, scientists and professional writers and gained features like strong formatting options, referencing and so on that were useful to those markets.