Several writers in the Science Fiction genre still prefer WordStar for DOS to other modern writing tools that are equipped with advanced capabilities. These die-hard WSD - WordStar Document fans have put up with years of mild disapproval, typically from WordPerfect enthusiasts who refuse to consider other options. Nevertheless, many WordStar users aver there is none better for creative composition than WordStar.
Released in 1979, before standardized computer keyboards hit the market, many lacked arrow keys with which to move the cursor and function keys to issue a command. Some were even missing the Tab, Enter, Delete, Insert and Backspace keys. WordStar's developers, Rob Barnaby and Seymour Rubenstein chose five control codes as prefaces for calling up additional function menus. The ^O initiated On-screen functions, while ^Q summoned the Quick Cursor; ^K was used for file and blocking functions; ^P stood for Printing; and ^J activated the help function.
Aside from the control key— that doubled as a special shift key—the customary QWERTYUIOP alphanumeric keyboard was all one had to work with. When the shift key and a letter key are pressed at the same time, the keyboard would generate a command instruction instead of a character or letter. These control procedures are known as Ctrl-A through Ctrl-Z, although a few punctuation keys are able to generate codes, as well.
According to the aforementioned Sci-Fi writers, the beauty of WordStar is that it allows them to perform any task whenever the spirit moves him or her. For example, WordStar affords writers the options of marking the beginning of a block of text, activate the thesaurus feature, continue writing, and modifying the block with ease. Conversely, WordPerfect is in control from the moment the writer sits down to write. Every decision must be made quickly and procedures are executed in a certain sequence.
WordStar documents contain data and page layout formatting which are used to store text by implementing the WYSIWYG (What You See is what you Get) DOS editor. Today, WordStar is no longer available or supported, and is regarded as “abandon-ware.” Fortunately, Corel WordPerfect has the capability to access WSD - WordStar Document files.