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input editing in terminal windows

Is there a hack that allows input editing in terminal windows. It seems
that the window sends off each keystroke immediately to the connected
device (a fairly reasonable thing to do) but it would be nice if there
were some way to buffer the line, allowing the various editing keystrokes
to be processed locally, then send the whole line when you hit return (for
example). This introduces a problem of how one sends keystrokes like c-D to
the host, but there are many simple conventions one could adopt for that.
I guess it would also be nice if there were some easy way to toggle this mode
(perhaps automatically) so that programs like vi (gaaaakkkk!!!) on a vt100
terminal window would behave rationally.