Using ABC Programs and Conversion Websites
Just as you don't have to write music in order to read it, you don't have to understand ABCs in order to use them. If you can 'cut and paste' and surf the web, you are already equipped for basic conversions
To translate an exiting ABC file into standard notation and midi playback, bookmark this great site - Paul Swartz's Convert-o-Matic. Simply paste or import all of the abc text (one tune or many tunes ... starting with an X:1 header etc) into the online form. This will process one tune at a time, the first tune in the file. Output can be a screen image, high res PDF or MIDI -- all free services.
To write and edit most programs support many tunes per file. You don't need a powerful computer to import 100 tunes with the click of a mouse. I've been using Barfly on older Macs for years so I haven't kept up to date with updates and functionality - however one of my customers, Bruce Maxwell of San Francisco recent sent me the following up-to-date information:
Newly updated programs EasyABC and abcExplorer both use basically the same rendering engine as the one at www.concertina.net. They both allow choice of playback MIDI 'instrument' and a choice of chordal accompaniment or not (if chords are included in the ABC code). ABCexplorer even has an option to add drones!
EasyABC - EasyABC version 1.3.3 an open source ABC editor for Windows, OSX including Lion) and Linux.
Cranford Pub Search Engine