Some General FTE Tips

FTE is a very nice OS/2 text mode editor, by Marko Macek. In the time i've used it for various tasks I've acquired a few tips that may be useful for others. Anyone who has any other practical tips for the everyday use of FTE and would like to share them... here's the mailbox. I'm making this unofficial page without the knowledge of the author of FTE, so if I present bad (or even just stupid!) tips here, don't hold him responsible. All information on this page relates to FTE version 0.37b.

1. "Word" and "Write" are "W" on the Block Menu

You may have noticed, in FTE 0.37b, that on the Block Menu both the "Select Word" and "Write..." functions were accidentally assigned a hot key of "W". This is easy to fix by editing the menu.fte file. In it you will find a line which looks like this:
    item 'Select &Word       '   { BlockSelectWord }
Which I suggest you should change to this:
    item 'Select Wor&d       '   { BlockSelectWord }
The above change will move, as you have observed, the hot key for the "Select Word" from the "W" to the "d".

2. Selected Text Flashes when Switching Back to FTE!

This a most annoying problem. You switch away from you full screen session for a minute (or longer) and switch back to find all selected text is blinking, and also some dialog boxes flash too. I have no idea what causes it, whether a bug in FTE or a foible of OS/2 itself. There are three ways I can think of to deal with it.

  1. The fastest way to get your colours back to normal i've found is to hit F1 key and then ESC. Displaying the KeyMap for a second seems to reset things. You can get good at this combination since the keys are right beside each other, and soon you will find yourself doing it automatically similar to Pavlov's dog.
  2. A more drastic and permanent solution would be to deal with the root of the problem. The flashing is caused by a "high bit" colour being used as a background colour. Therefore to eliminate the problem all you need to do is edit the color.fte file, and make sure all of the background colours are numbers between 0 and 7. For example, the main culprit is often selected text which normally, for text files, is set in a section of the color.fte file which looks like this:
    object PLAIN {
        color {
    	{ 'Background', '07' },
    	{ 'Normal',     '-7' },
    	{ 'Selected',   '80' },
    Notice the last line in the above example. Selected text is set to have a dark gray background, the number "8". You could change that value to:
    	{ 'Selected',   '10' },
    The "8" is now a "1", which is the colour dark blue. It will not flash as a background colour, ever. But wait, there is another big offender, while you are at it, if this is something you have chosen to do, and it is here (in the same file):
    object Entry {
        color {
    	{ 'Field',      '9B' },
    	{ 'Prompt',     '9F' },
    Those nines! Those represent the light blue background you usually see in data entry boxes (such as Open File). The flash on a dark blue background at times, most disturbingly. You can, if you so desire, change them to permanently have a dark blue background (since they so often do anyhow!) which will never flash, like this:
    	{ 'Field',      '1B' },
    	{ 'Prompt',     '1F' },
    Lots of work, but you may find it worth it if you don't like solution number 1 above, or number 3 to follow:
  3. Just live with it. Extensive studies carried out on cute, defenseless laboratory rats have concluded that although the flashing might in the odd case induce epileptic paroxysms (consult your physician), it will not, as many people fear, cause you to go blind from prolonged exposure. Personally I just go with option number one.

3. Marking with Shift-Left/Right Doesn't Go to Next Line

Most editors i use, when holding down the shift key and using the left arrow to mark text, move you to the end of the line above when you hit the left margin and attempt to continue to press Shift-Left. FTE stops at the margin. Likewise with Shift-Right, most editors I am used to move to to the beginning of the next line after you hit the EOL (end-of-line) and keep moving to the right. FTE stays on the same line and keeps moving right... right out into outer space!
Thanks to Marko, who is generally quite helpful, for pointing out how to change this behavior to the work the way i, and perhaps others, are more accustomed to. It is very simple and involves editing the keys.fte file. You will find two lines which look like this:
key   [S+G-Left]    { BlockExtendBegin; MoveLeft;     BlockExtendEnd }
key   [S+G-Right]   { BlockExtendBegin; MoveRight;    BlockExtendEnd }
Just change them to this:
key   [S+G-Left]    { BlockExtendBegin; MovePrev;     BlockExtendEnd }
key   [S+G-Right]   { BlockExtendBegin; MoveNext;     BlockExtendEnd }
That's all there is to it! Just what you suspected all along, right?! If you don't want to edit files you can also just try using CTRL-SHIFT-Left/Right.

4. Wish FTE had Command History in It's Data Entry Box?

It does! Maybe you aren't as slow as me and noticed this right away. But i stumbled along for quite a while before noticing you can hit cursor up/down to cycle through previous filenames in the File Open and other data entry boxes. So, in case someone else hasn't noticed yet, I make this announcement: it's there!

That's All For Now. Please send in your tips for, and solutions to problems you've encountered with, FTE. By the way, do you know what "FTE" stands for? Neither do I.

[ Yarn/2 B&W | Yarn/2 REXX | Text-Mode OS/2 ]

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Last Updated: Sun 02/25/96 05:59 am est