RISC World

PD World

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

Welcome back to PD World, where I cover the latest software releases for RISC OS, so without any further delay let us see what new applications the keen RISC OS developers have been working on recently.

NurseW - Graeme Wall

NurseW is a helper application for the Dr Wimp program. It is a macro inserter designed to take the drudgery out of writing out the various library commands. It also helps in eliminating spelling mistakes which can be a nuisance when trying to trace faults.


To start the program, simply double-click on the NurseW icon and it will install itself on the iconbar. Clicking Select on the iconbar icon will open the main menubar. You can then click on any of the menubar options to open a window giving access to the appropriate wimp functions. Click on the Menubar icon to shut the window again.

Clicking Select on the appropriate function will insert that function at the cursor, complete with brackets to remind you to fill in the appropriate parameters. Clicking Adjust on the function will open a window at the top of the screen showing which parameters that function takes.

Click Adjust on the iconbar icon opens a small menu at the bottom of the screen giving access to a few of the most common BASIC functions used in Dr Wimp.

Three menu windows, those for Window, Icon and Menu functions, have writable icons at the bottom. You can type in the appropriate handle or icon number in the boxes and the contents will be inserted at the relevant place in the function string. If you omit the % character from a window, icon or menu name, NurseW will automatically add it for you. In fact, to get the best results, it is advisable not to add the % character. The contents of these icons are automatically deleted when the parent window is closed.

Icon numbers and item numbers can be increased/decreased using the bumper icons. This saves losing the cursor in the BASIC window when entering successive icons/items.

I have also included the full DrWimp package version 4.20 in this issues software directory.

PrintPDF - Steve Fryatt

PrintPDF provides a front-end to the "*ps2pdf" command in GhostScript, allowing PDF documents to be produced more easily. Normally, the process requires a document to be 'printed' to a postscript file, before that file is passed through GhostScript and converted into a PDF. This two stage process is complicated by the fact that the RISC OS printer drivers can only 'print' to a file in a single location, so care has to be taken not to overwrite an existing postscript file before it has been converted.


By setting up a dedicated postscript driver in Printers, which prints to a specific location, PrintPDF can watch out for new documents being printed and add them to a queue. These are processed in turn, with the resulting PDF files being saved using drag-and-drop from a dialogue box. To the user, printing from an application while this printer driver is selected will result in a Create PDF dialogue box opening; the PDF is saved directly, and no postscript files need be seen.

As the process behind the scenes still involves creating a postscript file and then converting that to a PDF, PrintPDF also provides a quick way to convert any of these files which already exist by dragging them to its icon.

In addition to the manual, interactive help is also fully supported. As PrintPDF relies on GhostScript, which is quite a large download, I have also included a full copy of GhostScript in the software directory.

Tau - Tim Birks & Peter Killworth

!Tau generates publication-quality graphs in the form of Draw files, ready to import into your favourite word-processor, computer presentation, or DTP. A data worksheet (16 columns by 4096 rows) can be filled by keying-in, importing from a file or files, and/or calculation. You determine line patterns and thicknesses, colours, text positioning and font sizes, etc. The data worksheet can be redimensioned, if you would prefer more rows of data for example.

Note that Tau does not (usually) draw graphs on the screen (Acorn's excellent Draw or similar applications will do that).


Double clicking on the !Tau icon in a filer window, or double clicking on the icon of a file of type 082 (TauFile) or 083 (TauStyle), loads !Tau. The Tau icon is installed on the icon bar, and the application's main window opens, showing the data worksheet (dark blue background) with labelling (grey background) along the top and left edges. If starting by a double click on a TauFile or TauStyle, that file is loaded into Tau. If starting by a double click on the !Tau icon itself, Tau looks for a TauFile or TauStyle called "Default" within the !Tau directory and loads that. If there is no such file, Tau starts with its worksheet empty and with minimal appearance data.

I strongly recommend that users read the comprehensive manual supplied so that can get to grips with !Tau's many features.

RISCSearch - Patrick Mortara

Finally it's been bought to my attention that a new version of RISCSearch is now available at, this new versions includes the following changes:

  • A feature to highlight the keywords in the html output file
  • Fixed a 'Too many nested structures' bug
  • A new added link checker
  • Program version is now part of !RiscSearch's user agent string
  • Online update now gives information about recent development version of !RiscSearch available
  • Link-check statistics to HTML output file
  • Added possibility to use Acorn URl fetcher modules instead of !RiscSearchs own socket code
  • Fixed possible bugs that occurred when SysLog logging was enabled but SysLog was not available
  • Updated !ResFind to it's most recent version
  • Added a new line to the small status window, telling how many pages have been found so far and how many of them have been checked


!RiscSearch is meant to be a meta search engines and queries 18 different internet search engines for your keywords. It collects all results, sorts out duplicates and presents the result in a browser window. !RiscSearch works on all versions of RISCOS from 3.5 and above. I have included version 0.96 in the software directory.

That's all for this time, I wonder what new software we will have for the next issue.

Paul Brett