To run the editor the usage is :-

usage: ae [-l] [-r] [-w width] [-h height] [-i inifile] [--] {filename}
       -l          means load the files automatically
       -r          means restricted mode (no shelling allowed)
       -w width    specify non default screen width
       -h height   specify non default screen height
       -i inifile  specify non default initialisation file
       filename    filename of file(s) you wish to load

As an example :-

ae doc/usage.htm

When the editor starts up it performs the following steps :-

  1. Trys to initialise the screen and machine generally. If this fails then 'cannot initialise' error occurs.
  2. Creates an empty buffer with no name. This is called the root buffer. For each filename given on the command line, it creates a virtual fold >>> filename.
  3. If the editor can find the configuration file ae.ini, by looking in the directory where AE itself was loaded from, it executes the code within it. If there is an error during this process, an 'error at line N' message is displayed. On UNIX, AE looks for ~/.aerc, and failing that, it looks for ae.ini in the directory where AE was loaded from.
  4. If the -l option is given, it trys to create and load a buffer for each file. Directories are skipped.
  5. If there is only one buffer (other than the root buffer), it is selected.
  6. The editor responds to key-strokes and commands from the user.

Whats on the screen

When you are running the editor, looking on the screen you should see on the top 3 lines :-

  1. The name of the current file.
  2. The current folds tag just below that (if it has one).
  3. A blank line below that (where prompts and error messages appear).
  4. The language name (probably top) for the current buffer.
  5. The current line and column numbers at the top right. The line number is the 'flat' line number (ie: over the whole file).
  6. The indicator gen if the current buffer was generated, rather than applying to a file.
  7. The indicator mod if the current buffer contains modified and unsaved data.
  8. One or more of the words cs, ci, ere, f and b which denote searching defaults as being case sensitive or not, ERE or not, forwards or backwards.
  9. The indicator ai if autoindent is in force, and ins or ovr to indicate insert or overtype mode, followed by either ^I or a number specifying either the number of spaces per press of the tab key or that real chr$(9) tabs are in force.

You will see the current fold of the file being edited on the lines below this.

Lines before the first line of the fold are displayed as ~'s in classic UNIX vi style. The same applys to lines beyond the bottom of the fold. The last line in the current fold is displayed as a caret ^.

A typical screen might look like this :-

Quick test

All you need to know to start using AE is the following :-


And when the unmodified configuration is used :-

Consult the Commands page to understand the configuration file language, the Configuration page for examples of what is in the configuration file and why, and ae.ini to learn all the other initial key bindings.