AmesEdit
Multilingual editor

Main Features

Download

You can download and use AmesEdit for free at Simtel:

Background

Why do I (or you) need AmesEdit ? As far as I know, AmesEdit is the only Windows text editor out there that's: 1. Free. and 2. Allows entry of text in a language that differs from the Windows default.

Point 2 justifies some explanation and can be illustrate with an example: I use English Windows, but often have to work with Japanese text and sometimes also Chinese text. Notepad doesn't help me here since I will often see garbled characters when I open a Japanese or Chinese text file. Other Japanese or Chinese text editors don't help because most of them are written for localized versions of Windows so their menus and dialogs come up garbled although the text display and entry may be correct. Sometimes localized text editors also don't install properly.

Technical readers can read my technical description of the problem if interested.

Therefore I wrote AmesEdit to always use English for its menus, prompts, dialogs, etc. Plus, AmesEdit's installation is just a simple copy to hard-disk (or floppy!). It will open a file in any language the user specifies (as long as the language and its fonts are installed).

How to use

AmesEdit is made to be very easy to use. There are three features that require some explanation. The first one is the menu item File/New Window. The second is the language (aka codepage) dropdown list. The third is the AmesEdit icon that appears in the system tray on the Windows taskbar. These features are explained in turn in the sections below.

1. File Windows

AmesEdit can open multiple files within the same window. You can switch between the files in the same window by clicking on the file names buttons. The example below shows AmesEdit with 3 files opened. Currently, AmesEdit2 is being displayed. To switch to Frisby3.doc, simply click on the F:\Frisby3.doc button.

To open a file in a new window, use the File New Window menu item.

2. The language (aka codepage) dropdown

A codepage is a way for the computer to map regular characters into other languages. Sometimes there are multiple codepages for a language. For example, Shift-JIS, ISO 2022 JP, and EUC-JP are all codepages for the Japanese language.

Since there can be many codepages for many languages, a better way to represent characters or alphabets of languages is with Unicode. If you like, you can think of Unicode as a big codepage that contains the characters and alphabets of most of the languages in the world.

Unicode is a relatively new invention compared to codepages so there are some applications that still use codepages. If you ever encounter files created by these programs, the content will look like garbage. For example, this happens sometimes when you view a foreign web page on Microsoft Internet Explorer.

The language dropdown listbox allows you to open the garbage-looking file and try the various languages until something that makes sense comes out

Sometimes, you may want to switch to a language without AmesEdit converting the file content. In this case, you can select the language while holding down the Ctrl (control) key. If you're thinking "why would I ever want to do that ?", read the technical descriptions

3. AmesEdit in the system tray

If the "Access from System tray" option is enabled, the AmesEdit icon will appear in the system tray on the Windows taskbar. Left-clicking on the icon will open a blank AmesEdit window. Right-clicking on the icon will remove the icon from the tray.

Beware/Known issues

Some features, like opening AmesEdit from Explorer context-menu, will work only with logins with Administrator rights.

Contact/Warranty/Legalities

Please send AmesEdit-related issues to amesedit@chuclan.com. To help filter spam, please include the word "amesedit" in the Subject of your emails. Emails without the word "amesedit" in the subject will be deleted automatically.

AmesEdit is a copyrighted work:
Copyright (c) 2004 by Vincent Chu. All rights reserved.

Permission to use, copy, and distribute this software and documentation for any purpose, including commercial purposes, is hereby granted without fee, subject to the following restrictions:
1. The copyright notice in this software and documentation must not be altered in any way.
2. This software and documentation must not be altered in any way.

This software and documentation are provided "as-is". I make no representations or warranties, express or implied, including but not limited to, warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose or that the use of the software or documentation will not infringe any third party patents, copyrights, trademarks or other rights. I am under no obligation to provide any services, by way of maintenance, update, or otherwise on this software and documentation.

The section below are for people who are interested in a more technical description of AmesEdit

Technical description

AmesEdit was written to solve some very specific problems of mine. Since I'm a programmer, my solution is technical as well. AmesEdit's real strength lies in its manipulation of codepages and Unicode. If you're pulling out hair over manipulation of multi-lingual text, AmesEdit is for you.

Here's some common codepage tasks that can be done with AmesEdit

Codepage dropdown (aka language dropdown)

AmesEdit has a codepage dropdown on each window. This codepage dropdown is the center of all codepage operations in AmesEdit. The dropdown determines the codepage of a file when it is loaded from storage. It also determines the codepage in which a file is saved. When a different codepage is selected and the control-key isn't held, AmesEdit will convert the edit content to the selected codepage. If the control-key is held when a different codepage is selected, the codepage is changed but the edit content is not converted. The reason for this feature will be made clear in the next section

MBCS and Unicode and AmesEdit

AmesEdit will most usually be used to load files that are saved in MBCS codepages or encoded Unicode (UTF8). Althought AmesEdit knows how to load Unicode files as well. When a file is opened, AmesEdit reads the raw bytes of the file and convert the bytes to Unicode based on the codepage selected in the codepage dropdown. The text is then displayed using the appropriate font for the codepage.

It is useful to know that the text displayed in AmesEdit's edit window are Unicode text. All non-English text entry are done with Window's IME and inserted into the edit window as Unicode

When a file is saved, the Unicode text in the edit window are converted to the selected codepage and saved to file

Sometimes, you would open a file in a codepage and realize that you're seeing garbage. That probably means that you've opened the file in the wrong codepage. You can then select a different codepage, and AmesEdit will reconvert the file content to the selected codepage. You can keep trying different codepages until something understandable comes out.

Sometimes, you would have a file in the codepage you like, but you want to switch to a different codepage. For example, you have a file encoded in SJIS, and you've opened it as Shift-JIS. Now you want to save the file as iso-2022-jp. If you just change the codepage from Shift-JIS to iso-2022-jp using the codepage dropdown, you will not get the desired effect because AmesEdit will think that you want to take the Shift-JIS content and display it as if it has been encoded with iso-2022-jp. What you need to do, is to tell AmesEdit that you want to it to treat the content as iso-2022-jp without any conversion. To do that, select the iso-2022-jp codepage from the codepage dropdown while holding down the control key. Then save the file. You will now have the file saved in iso-2022-jp instead of Shift-JIS.

You can also convert between Japanese Kanji and Chinese characters using the control key codepage select feature.

Copy and paste in AmesEdit

When Unicode text is pasted into AmesEdit from the clipboard, it is pasted as-is. If the text is just regular 8-bit text, then AmesEdit will convert the text to Unicode using the currently selected codepage. This makes it very easy to transfer text between non-Unicode applications and AmesEdit

Similarly, when text is pasted from AmesEdit to an application that supports Unicode, Unicode text will be pasted. If text is pasted from AmesEdit to an application that does not support Unicode, the text is converted according to the selected codepage in AmesEdit and then pasted.

Alternatives to AmesEdit for multi-lingual

Windows 2000 or XP Professional with MUI will also display and allow entry of languages other than the system default. The downside to this is you don't get codepage conversions, and XP Professional isn't cheap (compared to AmesEdit, which is free).

MULE (GnuEmacs) will also allow display and entry of multiple languages. However, it is huge (8mb).





Created by Vincent Chu. Copyright (c) 2004, all rights reserved.