WordPerfect is one of only a handful of software applications that bring back memories of both enjoyment, and extreme rage. My first experience with the application was in 1994 with WordPerfet 5.0 for DOS. The blue screen, grey text and excessive use of the function keys were so natural to me back in high school. Thanks in part to my 5 point handwriting (seriously), my teachers had asked that I start typing out my essays and reports. They said it was to give me practice typing, but I know it was because my teachers didn't enjoy reading my work with a magnifying glass.
So I became very proficient with the DOS-based program and even used it to type out the manuscript to my published short-story "The Box" (1994 - Susan Carol Publishing -- I wish I could find a link), and several dozen other unpublished works.
As time went by, Windows95 became the common operating environment for most PCs, and I started using WordPerfect 6.0a for Windows. This was when things started to go down-hill. Application crashes, critical exceptions in Windows (only when WordPerfect was running), corrupted documents, format losses, and a slew of other problems drove me away. I had given WordPerfect 7.0 a try, but this application would crash every 10 to 15 minutes. Editing a 2 page document often involved 5 restarts and using one backup .wpd file because the main one was corrupted in the last crash.
My God, what a nightmare.
So after a short learning curve and some cursing while looking for similar functionality, Word97 became the editor of choice and I've stayed with suite up to now (though I don't think I'll be upgrading from Office2003 anytime soon).
So what's all that have to do with WordPerfect Lightning?
Well ... I guess it's because I'm surprised the WordPerfect software is still around.
Lightning is quite a bit different from the actual WordPerfect application, in that it has only a subset of the features. Since hearing that it has some integration with WordPress, I've decided to give it a look and was impressed by some of the features this 20 Meg software package comes with. Though it's only in Beta form, the application does run pretty smooth.
I like the Navigator allows thoughts and similar data to be grouped in idea trees, and the ease of ripping information out of existing documents (almost regardless of format) is pretty sweet. If I were still in school, I could see this is being a very useful tool when keeping like-data together. The online collaboration is also pretty smooth, though I can't see this function being used too often in my case.
What really piqued my interest, of course, was how well a formatted document from Lightning would appear in WordPress.
Using one of my development sites, I started writing some fake entries and decided to even test the drag-and-drop plagorism capabilities inherent in Lightning by grabbing some of my previous posts with images and specific formatting. Uploading the content was relatively straight-forward and the formatting remained intact. I'll admit that this might be the biggest selling feature of the application, but I can't see it catching on enough that people start using it more than the existing post-writing screen in WordPress.
This post was written with Lightning, and though it doesn't have any special formatting, I think it's relatively decent. I am curious to know whether something like lightening will be offered on mobile platforms. Typically, when I'm sitting at a computer, it has internet. So something like Lightning doesn't really fill any of my needs. But if I could get something that would allow me to write or publish blog entries on my PDA (be it Windows Mobile, PalmOS, Symbian, etc.) or mobile phone, then I can see a bit of a market.
Of course if I could do such a thing, then I would want that mobile software to handle certain functions and features that I've become accustomed to with WordPress. Such as Post Timestamp modification (since I usually write all my posts a day or two in advance), category selection, image embedding with automatic upload, and various plugin support such as the GeoPress GeoLocation plugin. If I'm going to be writing and publishing from a mobile device, chances are I'm not home anyways.
It will be interesting to see what functions and features this application may have by the time it's out of Beta, and moreso when a 2.0 is released. But for the moment I don't think it will replace my existing document creation and handling methods.