RISC World

PD World

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

It's once again time for me to explore the wonderful world of RISC OS software development. As always every program featured in this column will also be available in the software directory of this issue. So let us see what new developments have been going on...

CleanBar - Peter Scheele

!CleanBar is such a simple idea that I'm amazed that nobody has invented it before. CleanBar simply cleans the icon bar. If you start CleanBar and then several other programs you will see that the icons for the new programs appear between the two clean bar icons on the iconbar. You can then quit a batch of programs (all those between the !CleanBar icons) simply by clicking on !CleanBar and then clicking on OK when prompted. If a program has unsaved data, a warning dialog box will appear, asking you if you want to Discard the file or Cancel. If you click on Discard the program will exit, if you click on Cancel then the program is left running.

DrawToSprite - Matthew Philips

As you might expect from its name, DrawToSprite can be used to produce Sprite files from Draw files, but it can also output Windows BMP files, including compressed 4-bit and 8-bit BMPs. DrawToSprite can produce output which is too large to fit in memory, so can be used for exporting high-definition bitmaps to transfer to other operating systems for inclusion in documents for printing. Full control over the rendered size and quality is easily achieved, including those enhancements provided by SpecialFX.


FireFox Beta 5 - ported by Peter Naulls

With work on FireFox at a seeming standstill I thought it would be worth including the last beta version that was released. This is a "work in progress" version, intended to show progress and diagnose potential problems. It may not be suitable for general browsing use.

Firefox was ported to RISC OS to fill the requirement for a comprehensive browsing solution. Based upon the original Mozilla and Netscape work,Firefox is potentially able to access almost any website, and is one of the most widely used browsers in use. Its open source nature means that anyone inside or outside RISC OS development can update it. These features made it an ideal choice for porting to RISC OS. Firefox was ported to RISC OS by Peter Naulls under the Unix Porting Project as part of a program of bringing Unix programs to RISC OS in order to fill gaps in the application space. Firefox was only possible at all because it built upon work by the GCCSDK team with GCC and UnixLib and current work by the project such as the ChoX11 library, and of course, the many subscribers to the project who made it financially viable.


FireFox should be unzipped using a "proper" unzipping program such as !Zipee, and not using !SparkPlug, which can truncate some file names.

PDF - Colin Granville

!PDF is a PDF (Portable Document Format) viewer for RISC OS. You may be familiar with PDF files under their other name, Adobe Acrobat files. These days lots of documentation is supplied in PDF format. You can load PDF either by double clicking on it, or by double clicking on A PDF file, assuming that !PDF has been "seen" by the RISC OS filer. This new version of PDF includes a number of bug fixes, you should consult the "History" file inside the archive for more details. !PDF also has an HTML manual which is available by clicking MENU over the !PDF icon in a filer window, going to "App !PDF" and clicking on "Help" in the submenu.


Reporter - Martin Avison

The !Reporter application enables the easy display of text and variable values in a debugging window from Wimp programs (especially BASIC), Obey files, Assembler programs, and much more. Anyone who does any WIMP programming in RISC OS will find this application invaluable as it allows the sort of debugging that simply isn't normally possible. This version has a number of improvements over older versions, full details can be found in the help file documentation.


ROTunes - Paul Vigay

This new version of RoTunes comes packaged with an installer. You will need to copy the installer to your hard disc before running it as it needs to write out some files inside itself.

ROTunes is based on the famous/infamous iTunes program by Apple. It's basically an MP3 player, but with lots of extra features including control over track listings etc. You can set up playlists and do almost anything you could want with your collection of MP3s.


ROTunes comes with a very comprehensive HTML manual which I recommend you read as it explains everything in plain English.

Signing off

That's all I have for you this issue (and this volume! - ED), I will have more new RISC OS software for you in the May issue.

Paul Brett