Review Updates

Over the past year, NeXTWORLD has reviewed several products while they were still in the beta or pre-release stage of development. In these reviews we did not mark the vendors down for bugs or poor performance. They were, however, only eligible to achieve a maximum of four out of five cubes, pending a final review.

Below, we revisit those products that were assigned beta ratings and update them as promised. In addition, we will use this space to update the reviews of products that have had incremental new releases.

Based on the update, a product's rating may be increased, decreased, or confirmed in place.

Lotus Improv 1.0

4 Cubes

Reviewed in beta: January/February 1991

Shipped: February 1991

Improv shipped with few bugs, none of them major. The performance is good, and in general the program performs as expected. Improv remains a revolutionary advance in spreadsheets, adding a new paradigm to computer software. The faults cited in the review remain extant. There are no undo or no macro functions. For these reasons, we confirm Improv's rating at four cubes. A five would require fixing those drawbacks.


(no rating)

Reviewed in beta: January/February 1991

Shipped: Still waiting

PowerStep never made it to market. With the acquisition of Ashton-Tate by Borland, it remains unclear when or if PowerStep will ever be released. Therefore, we remove PowerStep's beta rating of two cubes and will reevaluate the product if it comes to market.

Create 1.0

4 Cubes

Reviewed in beta: January/February 1991

Shipped: October 1991

Create was reviewed very early in its development cycle. Surprisingly enough, the final product appeared almost a year later, very much like the early version, but with some extras like a good help system. Create allows the average user to achieve complicated effects in short order. While achieving an effect is easy, creating the specific effect you had in mind requires travel up a learning curve; the user interface metaphors employed could be confusing to a professional illustrator. Also, we hit a few small bugs. Still, Create is a tour de force of PostScript manipulation and we confirm its rating of four cubes.

Diagram 1.1

4 Cubes

Reviewed in beta: January/February 1991

Shipped: 1.0, January 1991; 1.1, November 1991

Diagram shipped with very few surprises and very few bugs. Most bugs that did appear were fixed in Version 1.1, which also added more sample documents and made Diagram files compatible with Digital Librarian. Users we have spoken with have found that Diagram lives up to its billing as a digital whiteboard. It is one of our favorite tools around NeXTWORLD. The final product, as delivered in Version 1.1, is confirmed at a rating of four cubes.

3270Vision 2.130

4 Cubes

Reviewed in beta: January/February 1991

Shipped: 1.0, September 1990; 2.1, May 1991

3270Vision has not only shipped, it has been upgraded several times since we looked at it last. It now supports 3290 terminals as well as 3270s. Our reviewer was concerned about the lack of an Operator Interface Line and a file transfer utility. Both of these features have been added. Conextions has also added interfaces to various other NeXT programs. All in all, 3270Vision is an excellent terminal emulator and is confirmed with a rating of four cubes.

SoftPC 2.5

4 Cubes

Reviewed in beta: March/April 1991

Shipped: 1.0, March 1988; 2.5 October 1991

SoftPC shipped, accomplishing all of its promises. Bugs are few, and it remains an ingenious PC emulator for use on the NeXT. The problems with ergonomics and function keys mentioned in our review remain. More seriously, the emulation of some programs is not blazing. In the final version, any serious long-term work in a graphical environment would be difficult. We still love SoftPC for many uses, but these drawbacks hold it to a still-admirable four cubes.