20 Years of VEDIT
I originally created VEDIT in 1979 because no screen-based programmer's editor was commercially available back then. At that time I was working on microprocessor (Intel 8080) based terminal emulators and editors at the University of Michigan Computing Center. VEDIT, which stands for "Visual Editor", has been been continuously developed and marketed since 1980.
Here is a history of VEDIT ads and some (honest and personal) comments about each year. We advertised extensively in the 80's in Byte, Dr. Dobbs Journal, Computer Language, Microsystems Journal, Microcornucopia, PC Tech Journal and many others. I hope you enjoy this page.
Sincerely, Ted Green.
Click on any ad to see a full-size version of it.
Our first ad was in the May 1980 issue of Byte Magazine. Back then we had to explain what "screen" editing was because most editors used cryptic commands like "4C" to move the "cursor". The "CP/M" operating system and 4mhz Zilog Z80 S-100 systems ruled.
Two of the VEDIT programmers developed products on their own which we marketed. These included the V-COM dissassembler and an Apple II graphics package. Cromemco, NorthStar, Heath, SuperBrain and Tandy TRS-80 were the biggest hardware names.
VEDIT was one of the very first products available for the new IBM PC. This was possible because we already supported "SCP DOS" which Microsoft bought and named "MS-DOS". We also released the first CP/M-86 operating system for the IBM PC which we were certain was a "sure thing". You know who won the OS battle for the PC. Guess we were Microsoft's first casualty. Nonetheless, we sold over 10,000 copies of VEDIT for the IBM PC. It was certainly the #1 editor.
An incredible array of incompatible machines was on the market and VEDIT supported just about every one, including Zenith Z100, NEC APC, Xerox 820, DEC Rainbow, IBM Displaywriter and Tandy 2000. Many included both CP/M-86 and DOS. We sold VEDIT on over 40 different disk formats!
Our new V-DISK, Systran and Transys products could read, write and convert just about any CP/M and MS-DOS disk formats. Our "sure thing" V-SPELL spelling corrector was a huge project and a good product, but was overshadowed by a new on-the-fly spelling checker by Borland called Turbo Lightning. I was 29 years old, had almost 29 employees; due to the poor V-SPELL launch and my lack of business experience, we went about $300K into the hole.
I hire an experienced CEO and have a good year. VEDIT is just one of about a dozen products. However, the lack of VEDIT development in the past two years has unexpectedly caught us; other editors such as Brief have become more popular than VEDIT. In retrospect, I should have just concentrated on VEDIT and skipped everything else. Fortunately, Tom Burt (hired in 1984 and still going strong) works full time on VEDIT development.
Tom and I work hard playing "catch up" to match the features in competing editors. Although the IBM PC and clones now dominate the market, VEDIT continues to support every MS-DOS, CP/M and CP/M-86 computer on the market. Our other products are mostly discontinued. I sell the name "VDISK" to IBM.
A competitive new version of VEDIT is released. However, with VEDIT now being the only product and having lost a lot of market share, it is necessary to shrink the company to about 8 employees. I continue working "around the clock" on enhancing VEDIT.
A great new version is finally released. It sells very well and our many long-time, patient customers are happy again. We continue to support every Intel hardware platform including XENIX and even FlexOS (used by IBM 4680 cash registers).
Just as things are going well again, personal disaster strikes. Our 6 year old daughter is diagnosed with cancer. It takes two years of treatment, 5 surgeries, 100+ hospital days and 40 blood transfusions before she can be called a survivor. (She now leads a normal life as a student at the U of Wisconsin.)
During these difficult years, I no longer have much time or inclination to work, although Tom Burt continues VEDIT development. Needless to say, the business collapses and I am left with only two employees. To reduce debts I had to close CompuView and start Greenview.
VEDIT now also supports SCO UNIX and XENIX, and is supplied as the standard editor with QNX. Many incremental improvements are made; however, the old macro language is now very dated. We begin to emphasize VEDIT's ability to quickly edit huge files. Business improves.
We add hex and simple EBCDIC editing, but mostly I work hard to implement an all-new C-like macro language. The lack of a Windows version is beginning to be a problem. We now have a 24-hour Bulletin Board System. (High tech back then.)
The most significant update in 5 years is finally done. It is very well received, but the lack of a Windows version is hurting more and more. VEDIT is marketed as a "Universal File Editor". We now have a forum on CompuServe.
Since Tom Burt and I still aren't ready to work 18 months straight on a Windows version, I decide that adding disk sector editing will make VEDIT more marketable. Unfortunately, this only appeals to a few very technical customers. Without a Windows version, magazine advertisements become ineffective.
Tom Burt begins working full time on the Windows version. The "World Wide Web" is the brand new thing and Tim McLean and I set up a VEDIT web site. However, Tim, seeing that things are going to get tough, leaves after 6 years of excellent work as my business manager.
Tom continues working on the Windows version and in the mean time, business is indeed tough. Fortunately, inexpensive marketing via the Web keeps us going; banner advertising on Yahoo and Alta Vista work very well. I implement Windows 95 long filename support in the DOS version of VEDIT. Yes, that's me on my bike. We are the primary sponsor of the large Ann Arbor Velo Club for 3 years.
Finally. A true Windows version of VEDIT. Long time customers are thrilled and business gets a huge boost from sales to new customers and updates. However, it is still only a 16-bit version, although it has Win95 long filename support.
The 32-bit Window version is late, but finally released. While Tom does most of the Windows programming, I work nearly full time on feature enhancements. It is only "nearly full time" because after Tim McLean left, there is a lot of turnover in the office manager position. Hiring and training new staff is very time consuming. Due to one customer's request, we add EBCDIC packed field support to VEDIT and create a basic EBCDIC conversion package.
All promotion is done via banner advertising on Yahoo and Alta Vista.
While VEDIT continues to sell well, our EBCDIC conversion software/services take off, largely due to Y2K work. Tom spends most of the year enhancing the conversion software. I rewrite all the low-level routines in VEDIT, many dating back to the 80's, to handle arbitrarily long lines, and to run faster. It is Greenview's best year and I hire three new office staffers.
All promotion is done via banner advertising on Yahoo and Alta Vista.
My long time goal of being able to edit any file (even with 1M+ columns) is finally realized when version 5.2 is released. The EBCDIC conversion software continues to do very well and we continue to enhance it. I hire George Christman, a programmer with 18 years of mainframe experience.