A China Hand for NEXTSTEP

For NEXTSTEP users needing Chinese-character or language support for desktop publishing or general productivity, Jie-Fu Corporation has introduced CHINAware. Unlike NEXTSTEP 3.1J's Kanji support, however, CHINAware does not replace the entire operating system with a localized version.

CHINAware lets you enter Chinese in several methods, including Cang jie, both ETEN and Daqian phonetic symbols, Simplex, Internal Code, and TeleCode. A special CInput application will process the characters as you type them in your preferred input method, and the characters can then be dropped into standard NEXTSTEP applications for publishing, e-mailing, and so forth. A separate application, CEdit, is like a Chinese-savvy version of the standard Edit application and is the easiest way to edit Chinese characters on-screen. CSearch, a third application, is necessary to do text searches on Chinese characters. A Chinese VT 100 terminal emulator is also included.

The package comes with the applications on diskettes and the five PostScript typefaces on CD-ROM, along with a very helpful Longman ChineseŠEnglish dictionary if you purchase the program for use in Taiwan. (Longman and Jie-Fu are still negotiating for external distribution rights.)

Jie-Fu has also increased CHINAware's usefulness to custom-application developers by adding an API. Apps can then use the software's Chinese input engine. Several tools and resources are provided for application development under CHINAware as well.

The program works well if you're familiar with Chinese-language input systems, but it's not useful if you're just trying to learn Chinese. It also doesn't support my favorite input method, pinyin phonetic (which is supported under the Chinese version of Macintosh system 7.1). But in all fairness, that isn't an accepted professional method.

A more serious omission is the lack of support for simplified characters, but the company promises to include that in a future release. The only other NEXTSTEP Chinese language options require X Windows and are not commercially supported. Be aware that this program is not designed to be usable by anyone on a network, because of its hardware dongle protection system.

At $995, CHINAware costs three times the price of the Chinese Language Kit for the Apple Macintosh but supplies much more functionality with the bundled applications, superior font offerings, and API. Jie-Fu also sells 30 additional Chinese PostScript typefaces. Another company, Jackson, of Hsin Chu, Taiwan, has a library of 33 Chinese PostScript typefaces Šone of which they recently released under the general public license of the Free Software Foundation as a service to the NEXTSTEP community. Overall, this is a welcome addition to the globalization of NEXTSTEP.

Rick Reynolds worked for Time in Beijing before joining the NEXTSTEP community as a NeXTWORLD contributing editor.

CHINAware 1.3

3 Cubes

A good, well-designed Chinese language system that sits on top of standard NEXTSTEP and allows Chinese character input. Includes PostScript fonts and several handy utilities but supports traditional characters only. (Support for simplified characters is coming.)

$995; $795 temporary promotional price; $395 student version

Jie-Fu Corporation, 10F-1, No. 107, Sec. 2, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.

886-2-369-5121, 886-2-369-5120 fax;