RISC World

PD World

Paul Brett with the latest freeware and PD releases for RISC OS.

Welcome to the first PD World column for the latest volume of RISCWorld. There have been some interesting releases since I wrote my last column, and a couple of rather informative public demonstrations of Cineroma and Firefox (ported by Peter Naulls). We hope to have more details on these in a future issue one they get a full public release. In the meantime let's see what software delights I can tempt you with...

MiniBarAW (Wibli for ArtWorks) - Stewart Brookes

I covered the Techwriter and Easiwriter versions of Wibli last issue, now Stewart has released an Artworks version. MiniBarAW is an add-on buttonbar, designed to enhance your experience of using ArtWorks. The idea is to offer time-saving shortcuts for frequently-used features, avoiding the need to traverse menus or memorise keystroke combinations.

Double-click on !ButtonBar and then double-click on MiniBarAW. It is very important that you follow that sequence (if you don't, then things will go horribly wrong...). Once you've done that, try opening an ArtWorks document. There should be a new buttonbar on show in the bottom left of the document window (on the horizontal scroll bar):

The buttons shown have the following functions:

Save Save
Copy Copy to Clipboard
Paste Paste from Clipboard
Cut Select: Cut to Clipboard
Adjust: Delete (leaving contents of Clipboard intact)
Align Align
Line Line Width
Colour Select: Edit Colour
Adjust: New Colour
Print Select: Print
Adjust: Show print border on/off
Info Info...

Once you've experimented with MiniBarAW, you may find that you would like to have it available every time that you use ArtWorks. To arrange this, you should: double-click on !Boot on your hard disc; click on Boot in the 'Configuration' window; click on Run in the 'Boot Sequence' window; and then drag !ButtonBar and MiniBarAW into the 'Run at Startup' window. It is very important that you make sure that !ButtonBar appears before MiniBarAW in the list. Next, click Set (and Set). When you next restart your computer, MiniBarAW will be ready and waiting for ArtWorks.

NB: If you are using a 'classic', pre-RISC OS 4 version of RISC OS, then you can manually place !Buttonbar and MiniBarAW in the Tasks folder in !Boot (!Boot.Choices.Boot.Tasks).

Alternatively, you might only want to load MiniBarAW when you are using ArtWorks. To do this you could add the following lines to the beginning of the ArtWorks !Run file:

Filer_Run <path>.!ButtonBar
Filer_Run <path>.MiniBarAW

where <path> is the full pathname of the folder containing the !ButtonBar application and the folder containing MiniBarAW.

NB: The disadvantage with this method is that you will need to re-enter this information into the ArtWorks !Run file each time an updated version of the application is released.

MiniBarAW and the WIBLI toolbars for Easi/TechWriter live at:

AppBASIC - Joe Taylor

This is the latest version of AppBASIC, the free DDE (Desktop Development Environment) for RISC OS. AppBasic is a development tool for creating RISC OS applications. Along with its helper applications, AppBasic is essentially the BASIC equivalent of the C/C++ development package. Programs use no special techniques other than the standard methods of the RISC OS Toolbox.

AppBasic simplifies the complex task of desktop programming, allowing the user, even a beginner, to quickly create high-quality applications which strictly conform to the standard specified in the RISC OS Style Guide.

  • Applications are written in ordinary BASIC and work on every OS version from 3.10 onwards.
  • The applications produced are very efficient with virtually zero 'overheads'.
  • Other than the Toolbox modules (installed on every RISC OS computer) they require no special aids or libraries to run.
  • Programming is reduced to a minimum; applications only specify what they should do in response to desktop events.
  • The programming environment is ultra user-friendly with similar features to C/C++

Included with AppBASIC are a full StrongHelp manual as well as HTML tutorial guides a lots of sample programs so you can easily and quickly see how to write your own software.


MiniLogo - Jon Ripley

This is a very impressive one line BASIC version of Logo, complete with lots of commands including:

  • F Move turtle forwards (distance)
  • B Move turtle backwards (distance)
  • L Turn turtle left (angle) degrees
  • R Turn turtle right (angle) degrees
  • H Home turtle (move to centre of screen)
  • P Toggle Pen Up / Pen Down
  • C Clear screen and home turtle; rest of line is ignored
  • X Exit MiniLOGO
  • * Do *(command)
  • : Short comment; can be included in compound statements
  • | Long comment; rest of line is ignored
  • ; Command separator
  • Repeat command, must be first command in a line

Commands can be upper or lower case. No spaces are required in commands but can be used anywhere except immediately before a command. Invalid commands have no effect. Numbers must be in decimal.

Multiple commands on one line can be separated with ';', eg. f100;r90;f100;r90;f100;r90;f100; The terminating ';' is not required. Repeat is enabled by prefixing a line with the number of repeats followed by';', eg. 4;f100;r90;


MyTunes - Jaffa Software

In an rather unusual twist two separate developers have started work on two different "iTunes clones" for RISC OS, the first is MyTunes from Jaffa Software.

To use MyTunes simply run it in the normal way, the "Update library" window will open. Now drag directories (a handful at the time currently due to a bug/limitation) containing MP3 files to this window. Wait for "Progress" to show "Finished" before dragging in the next lot.

When the indexing is finished, click the "OK" button to save the library. Click "Cancel" at any time to abort and keep any existing library. Tick "Use ID3 tags" to read ID3 information for each file; this could take a very long time, but may be necessary if your music is strangely named or the heuristics to derive the information from the filename fails.

Currently it is not possible to add to the library without rebuilding it in its entirety.

The main window contains information on the currently playing track, "Stop", "Pause" and "Next" buttons and a toggle as to whether or not the tracks will be played in a random order. To play a song, simply click on it in the displayed list. To rebuild the library, select the "Update library..." option from the iconbar menu. Standalone MP3 files can be played by either double clicking them in the Filer or dragging them to the main window.


ROTunes - Paul Vigay

The other iTunes clone is RoTunes by Paul Vigay. Just like MyTunes you load ROTunes in the normal way. If it's the first time you've run it, and no library database exists, a window will open asking you to import some MP3s. Drag the directory containing your MP3s into this window and click 'Add to Library' to being the import and building of the main library.

This may take a few minutes depending on the number of MP3 files in your directory. It takes approximately 1 minute to index 7500 files on an Iyonix. A small count indicator increments with every 100 files detected. To be recognised by ROTunes, MP3 files must be filetyped AMPEG (&1AD) or they will be ignored.

The main window is divided into two sections. The left contains the playlists available, in addition to the main library. This is not fully implemented yet. The right side shows the main music database and comprises a number of columns including track name, artist and album name. A small speaker icon indicates the currently playing track. Double-click on a track to jump to and start playing it.

The bottom toolbar contains two icons and an information indicator showing the number of tracks and disc space occupied.

If you have the mini control window enabled, it reproduces the main controls such as previous/next track and play/pause. It also displays the current track playing and time remaining. If you click SELECT on the name playing icon, it will toggle between track name, album and artist. A small 'x' in the top left corner closes the window.


SuDoku - Mark Hutchinson

SuDoku is a solver for the Su Doku problems which appear in various newspapers and seem to be a current craze. Mark has yet to find a solvable problem which it can't do. It warns when a puzzle has multiple solutions, and contains a 'hint mode' allowing you to check your own attempts without peeking, too. also available to download is a (slightly larger) un-mangled BASIC version, so you can look at the source-code if you want (the solving routine is horribly messy, however, as mark says he has added quite a lot of features higgeldy-piggedly - sorry!).

ThumbCat - Malcom Ripley

Finally there has been another update to Thumbcat, and I have included the latest version in the software directory on this issue.

I will see all the RISCWorld readers again next issue.

Paul Brett