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the Beta File

Welcome back to the Beta File, your source for the latest breaking news in OS/2 beta development. Every month we scour the OS/2 world to bring you interesting news of OS/2 software in development. If you have a product that you're sure is going to be the next killer app, or you want a little free exposure for your beta test drop us a note!

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Out of the gate this month, the long awaited "next project" from SouthSoft, Inc., PMINews, is making its way into the world. As anyone with an Internet connection knows, SouthSoft is the company founded by Robert Novitskey and Evan Goldring to develop and publish the wildly successful PMMail v1.x. Hoping to duplicate that success, SouthSoft will soon introduce its first news client.

PMINews is a native OS/2, 32-bit, Presentation Manager (PM) Usenet news client built on technology from PMMail. It also incorporates many new technologies that may change the way users interact with Usenet news. One of these features is SouthSoft's ICSL (Internet Content Search Language) which allows unattended interaction with news articles through advanced filtering and find capabilities. PMINews will support multiple servers and, like PMMail, is fully MIME compliant and will have full featured filters which will allow you to kill posts, notify you of the presence of certain articles, etc. As well, PMINews will work with PMMail to allow users to file articles into PMMail's folders with simple drag-n-drop.

Until recently, the beta test has been limited to a few people close to the developers but in late February, all previous beta testers of SouthSoft code will be able to join in. It will still be a closed beta (as is SouthSoft's custom) though. In Bob Novitskey's words:

We have received many requests from people actually wanting to purchase the beta. We generally don't make that a practice. We feel the whole beta process in the world has gotten a little out of control. Still, if we continue to be inundated with requests, we may break this rule.
Right now, people interested in the product should just watch the SouthSoft web page for PMINews. If they need additional testers, they'll put a note up there. Expect to see this shareware news reader by the end of March or early April with a registration fee of US$30.00 (with discounts for people who purchased PMMail in the 30 days preceding the release).

Will it be worth the wait? According to Novitskey:

People often tell us, "If PMINews is anything like PMMail, I'll send you my money today." Well, we used the code base for PMMail as a starting point and then enhanced it. We created new controls so powerful that they will be used in future versions of PMMail... we enhanced the spell checker... we made hundreds of improvements. So it's not just like PMMail... it's better.
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The newest version of the popular text editor, Smalled v1.45, from Bianchi Software has just wrapped up beta testing (at the time of this writing). Eric Slaats has been refining this handy replacement for E.EXE and alternative to HTML editors for many months with this latest version as the most solid result yet.

Smalled is a fast PM editor with a number of extras, including a separate package called the Smalled HTML Extensions. Complete information on the product(s) can be found at the Smalled web site.

In the process of testing v1.45, 11 beta participants (who are more or less regular testers) have worked with the code for a few months. Slaats occasionally accepts new testers if somebody has some great ideas to contribute. If you're interested, send him a note.

As mentioned above, this beta test was just wrapping up at the time of this writing, with a release date estimated around the last week of February. Registration for Smalled is US$18 and the program is shareware.

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Also in text editor news this month, PillarSoft's Enhanced E & Enhanced EE Editors are entering testing. The freeware Enhanced E Editor is a clone of the OS/2 "E" System Editor. It looks and acts like the System Editor but adds a few features such as the ability to print, print selected text only, insert date and time via hotkeys or menu selection and a complete pop-up menu.

The shareware Enhanced EE Editor starts with Enhanced E as its base package and adds many more features to extend its functionality. It provides users with full printer selection and setup; pop-up menus; time-date-name and signature file insertion; a toolbar; configurable autosave; find by keyword or line number; save or append selected text to file; a file history and more...

Developer, Wayne Swanson tells us that the beta has been open since January 25th and anyone with an Internet connection can jump to his web page (which always has the latest version) and join up.

By mid-summer '97 end users will be able to see the finished result of the beta test. Those really eager can register the Enhanced EE now for US$25 for every version up to and including the GA v1.0.

Swanson says, "If you are using the 'E' System Editor, the Enhanced E or the Enhanced EE can add to your productivity. The Enhanced E, considering the price, should be part of everyone's toolbox."

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And wrapping up where we started off this month, another well known shareware developer is busily testing their latest creation, ProNews/2.

Panacea Software, developer of HTML Studio, is also entering the (arguably crowded) OS/2 Usenet news arena with this 32-bit PM reader, featuring off-line capabilities and much more. However, the final feature set had not yet been determined at the time of this writing.

Developers Bill Buchanan, Bill Young and Brian Lamb should have just commenced their open beta test by the time you read this. For complete details, visit Panacea's web site. Expect the final release sometime late in the second quarter of this year at a yet-to-be-determined price.

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