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The joy of old time shareware

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I juggle between a lot of apps in my slightly chaotic workflow. This maybe because I really like testing different software or because my job keeps throwing up special surprises. Regardless of the reasons, I seem to be noticing one particular pattern in my application choices - most of them were small to medium sized utilities written quite a while ago and a majority of them being shareware or freeware (not open source).

Of course, I do use a lot of open source in my day to day work. Perl and Vim are my two constant companions. Apache and MySQL are also used quite a bit. But then there are these little gems that have been delighting me for about a decade now and I begin to wonder whether these are the applications modern development should be following.

Look at Total Commander, its a gem of a software with tons of features and has been constantly maintained since 1993. My all time favorite general purpose text editor, EditPlus, has been in active development for about 12 years now. Textpad and Ultraedit have been around even longer and are in my two thumbs up category. Same goes for WinRAR, Powerarchiver and Irfanview.

A common theme among these has been the addition of features and removal of bugs without bloating. Editplus is still a 1MB download and it has tons of features packed in. A lot of these were built in Delphi or Turbo Pascal. What is even more amazing is that they have lasted a long time and even some excellent open source packages are following their lead. Winmerge is now an excellent alternative to Beyond Compare to me. Notepad++ is still not as polished as the old timers like Semware Editor or Editplus but its getting there.

I just hope that these and a lot more one-two person shops continue putting out great software. They are delightful in a way that a huge mega feature application would never understand.

4 Comments On This Entry

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17 March 2010 - 07:44 PM
I don't know, I personally would put PeaZip over WinRAR any day.


17 March 2010 - 11:06 PM

WolfCoder, on 17 March 2010 - 07:44 PM, said:

I don't know, I personally would put PeaZip over WinRAR any day.

Hmmm, will have to check it out. I've heard about it because it was made in FreePascal but never actually used it till now.


18 March 2010 - 06:07 AM
What I think: WinRAR is pretty awful, but 7zip isn't. I used to use notepad++ and thought it was quite good - certainly the best of its type of editor I'd used to date.


18 March 2010 - 01:48 PM
I agree with 7zip, a most excellent package. You might also want to give PSPad a try if you're feeling adventurous. . Its quite nice and I think it has some distinct advantages over Notepad++ like the Code Explorer.
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