Software Spotlight: Valdocs for the Epson QX-10

edited January 2016 in Software Spotlights
Valdocs (short for Valuable Documents) is a word processor and office suite designed for the Epson QX-10 and QX-16 Z80 based computers. It was produced by Rising Star Industries and sold by Epson.

https://winworldpc.com/product/valdocs

Valdocs was "WYSIWYG" in that it could display different fonts of different sizes in the editor on the screen. It could also embed images in the document, and print the document to a graphics printer.

Valdocs runs under RSI's TPM-III operating system (A CP/M clone), which is included on the floppy disks. The system is designed to run from dual floppy drives, but may be installed on an external hard drive.

Although the Epson QX-10 could run other common CP/M-80 software, this was essentially "the" word processor for the QX-10. It was also tailor made to use hardware specific to the QX-10 such as graphical font rendering, and its custom keyboard. Notably, the QX-10/Valdocs has a dedicated "undo" key even though at the time the concept of undoing a computer operation was still fairly novel.

One might have even considered Valdocs as the primary reason to own a QX-10, similar to dedicated word processing hardware. Although, it appears Valdocs was not bundled with the QX-10 outside of the US for whatever reason.

Valdocs 1 was released in 1983. However it was extremely slow and laggy, earning it much criticism in the press.

Valdocs 2 was released in 1984 and included significant speed improvements over the original. However, Valdocs 2 was released before it was ready and was extremely buggy.

Valdocs Plus, released in 1985, is an upgrade to Valdocs 2.0 created and sold directly by RSI, after Rising Star Industries parted ways with Epson. In a final attempt to gain new customers, RSI promised free upgrades to those that purchased Valdocs Plus.

The final release was "Valdocs+ III" before RSI went out of business in 1986. An IBM PC port was reportedly in development but never released.

It appears there were seperate releases for both the QX-10 and QX-16. Although the QX-16 came standard as a dual CPU machine with both a Z80 and 8088, Valdocs appears to have remained a Z80 application. There was also an 8088/MS-DOS add-on card avaialble for the QX-10 shortly before the release of the QX-16.

There is a nice video about the QX-10 here, although they do not discuss Valdocs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz1BIIaeF44

Comments

  • SomeGuy wrote:
    Valdocs was "WYSIWYG" in that it could display different fonts of different sizes in the editor on the screen. It could also embed images in the document, and print the document to a graphics printer.
    I remember the WYSIWYG hype. It was kind of like the VR hype today. Windows 95 = Oculus Rift?

    I never heard of Valdocs, though. Too bad they never made a version for IBM PCs, mostly because of the annoyance that was *cough* WordPerfect *cough*.
  • WYSIWYG was certainly hyped, but I would not compare it to some dumb gaming VR. WYSIWYG had a simple and obvious purpose - what you see and work with on your screen should be identical to how it is printed out.

    A really good example of that hype would be Microsoft Word for DOS: http://toastytech.com/guis/word115.html

    They were running up and down chanting that it was "WYSIWYG" when all it could display was underline, strike though, super/subscript, italics, and bold. And it would default to plain old text mode unless you had CGA. But then, it was competing against Visi-On Word and a few other word processors with similarly limited formatting.

    Still, it was a major step up from writing everything with manually inserted control codes. (Yet for some reason kids think it is find and dandy to edit HTML/CSS/JS or whatever mishmash of web stuff in a text editor that might as well be running on a VT-100 dumb terminal. )

    Meanwhile, even LisaWrite would run circles around all of those.

    Since I couldn't test Valdocs myself I couldn't really tell how WYSIWYG it really is. But supposedly it would come fairly close as long as you had an Epson (TM) Graphics Printer.
  • Because Unix existing forever/still being loved by nerds/assimilating everything, and because Notepad/Vi/Emacs and the ideal of plain text editing, and because FrontPage sucks.

    (Clutch onto your Unix hater's handbook...)
  • ampharos wrote:
    Notepad/Vi/Emacs
    There are plenty of other plain text editors.

    BBEdit, Notepad++, Vim, TextWrangler, etc, etc.

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