NPCR–EDITS Software Tools

EditWriter is a versatile and complete development environment for defining, testing, documenting, and distributing data standards. It also provides a means of maintaining a standard definition. The current version of EditWriter is the fourth release of the program.

EditWriter 4 is a full replacement for previous versions of the program. EditWriter 4 can import, convert, and modify metafiles that were maintained with earlier DOS-based, text-mode versions. However, the import process is not reversible, and earlier versions of EditWriter do not work with metafiles that have been manipulated with EditWriter 4. A full discussion of metafile conversion is in the Help system within the program.

Although EditWriter is a program for Microsoft® Windows®, the metafiles it produces can be used on other operating systems, and on hardware platforms other than the x86 personal computer. This capability is rarely exercised in cancer registry work, and would probably require custom programming.

Standard-setters use EditWriter to—

  • Define data items.
  • Create record layouts.
  • Specify algorithms, logic, and documentation.
  • Maintain reference tables.
  • Test individual edits for valid results.

Experts can define data standards while avoiding some of the tedious parts of software development, which NPCR–EDITS handles automatically. A standard-setter maintains a single metafile that can be applied to data on a variety of hardware and software platforms at various stages in the data processing cycle.

If you are not a standard-setter for others, but are responsible for a data set or a data-collection operation, you will find EditWriter a convenient and complete tool for creating and maintaining edit checks. Data checking can be as complete and complicated as your applications require.

Edit Engine

(also known as the Application Program Interface, API, or DLL)

The NPCR–EDITS application program interface (API), a library of C language functions, can be incorporated into many kinds of programs, including programs for data entry, data verification, recoding, reformatting, and vertical or horizontal subsetting. Any language product for Microsoft Windows should be able to use the NPCR–EDITS API in the form of its Dynamic Link Library, or DLL. Additionally, applications written in C or C++ and compiled with modern compilers for Windows, Unix, and VAX/VMS operating systems can include the Edit Engine by means of direct compiling and static linking. The NPCR–EDITS API is distributed as a 32-bit Windows DLL and C++ source code.

Software developers can use the NPCR–EDITS API to apply the standard contained in a metafile at any point in the process, from interactive, real-time editing at the moment of data capture to the analysis phase. There are no constraints on the appearance or function of programs, or on the structure of the target database.

The current DLL version of the Edit Engine, available from this Web site, can be used wherever previous DLL versions were used, so the new Edit Engine DLL can replace an earlier Edit Engine DLL without adverse effect on the operation of the driver program. This does not apply to the previous DOS, text-mode version of GenEDITS, which does not use the standard DLL Edit Engine. The old GenEDITS also cannot use metafiles manipulated with EditWriter 4; GenEDITS is now obsolete for almost all purposes.


GenEDITS Plus, a new generic driver program for NPCR–EDITS, is a batch-mode application for editing any standard cancer data file with any metafile. Records gathered under different circumstances using different programs can be interpreted in a uniform way when validated with the same metafile. GenEDITS Plus is the fastest way to apply standard edits to your data and get an error report. Since GenEDITS Plus incorporates the NPCR–EDITS API, no programming is required when it is used, for example, to apply metafile logic during analytical operations.


GenEDITS Lite was an easier-to-use replacement for GenEDITS. It used the Windows DLL version of the Edit Engine, and worked with metafiles created and modified with EditWriter 3. GenEDITS Plus replaces GenEDITS Lite, and GenEDITS Lite users should consider switching to GenEDITS Plus.


GenEDITS, the text-mode DOS program, is obsolete. GenEDITS users should consider switching to GenEDITS Plus.

Page last reviewed: November 19, 2018