No matter how hard I try, I could not recall my experience with using WordPerfect more than ten years back. I can recall using it for months but the overall user experience escapes me. It puzzles me. After all, I can still recall some of the keyboard commands for the DOS version of Word.
But a link in del.icio.us not only reminded me that I once used WordPerfect and that the software suite still exists, it also pointed me to a cool free product that I have been testing for days now–WordPerfect Lightning.
Corel WordPerfect Lightning is a free lightweight word processor and note-taking software. It aims to fill “a gap between today’s existing desktop and Web-based productivity tools.”
Corel got the “lightweight” claim part right. The initial installer download is less than 1MB albeit it downloads more files as it installs the software. This setup is puzzling because Corel says “WordPerfect Lightning is simple, free and doesn’t need a Web connection.”” You may not need a Web connection to use it, but it appears that you need one to install it. I couldn’t find a standalone installer. Still, the whole installation process took less than 5 minutes in my PLDT WeRoam connection.
WordPerfect Lightning is also quick to load, so quick that I’m comfortable letting it auto start both in my office PC and in my laptop. I can’t say the same thing of Accomplice, the task manager I wrote about earlier and which I sometimes use to organize notes. After several days of slow loading on startup, I decided to disable auto start for Accomplice.
WordPerfect Lightning helps you take down notes and collect information. I’ve been using it extensively to test the ease by which it can be used to organize notes and in the several days that I’ve been using it, I’m impressed. The screenshots I took were captured in the early phase of the test and my WordPerfect Lightning installation now contains more notes.
What’s good about the program is that it also comes with a free Joyent Connector account. Joyent is an online collaboration service that provides a suite of services for backups, bookmarks, calendars, contacts, and e-mails.
When you open an account with WordPerfect Lightning (you need one before you can download the software), you also get a Joyent Connector account with 200MB of storage and the ability to add two more users so you can collaborate online. Joyent says “files, notes, and Web clippings associated with Corel WordPerfect Lightning will be automatically backed up to Joyent Connector, and available to view and share through Joyent Connector.”
I tried synchronizing WordPerfect Lightning notes created in my office PC with my laptop installation and the process was flawless and took less than a minute. The problem with this type of synchronization–on-demand instead of automatic– is that you really have to make sure that you’ve downloaded the latest version of the data before you start editing notes. I haven’t lost data by making a mistake in synchronization with WordPerfect Lightning but knowing how forgetful I can be, I fear that one of these days I might make the mistake of losing data through synchronization errors.
I hope the synchronization process will still be improved. After all, Corel didn’t place a save button in WordPerfect Lightning because the software automatically saves changes you’ve made.