Paul Brett with the latest freeware and PD releases for RISC OS.
Welcome along to our latest stroll through the wonders of RISC OS application development. The RISC OS market continues to surprise and since we last met there have been some interesting releases. So let us start with what might be one of the most significant, although perhaps for not the right reasons.
RISCOS 5 Source Code Batch 4 - RISCOS Open Ltd
Due to a previous commitment I was unable to attend the recent Wakefield show. This was unfortunate as if I had been able to attend I would have made the ROOL (RISCOS Open Ltd) stand my first port of call. Then I would have been able to obtain a CD with the latest RISC OS 5 source code release. This apparently contained the sources to the RISC OS HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) as well as the Shared C Library and others. One would normally expect a downloadable version of this to follow on the RISCOS Open website, but as yet it has not appeared and I am writing this nearly four weeks after the Wakefield show.
I am, along with a lot of the RISC OS community, a great supporter of the work being done by RISCOS Open and I am desperately keen to take a look at the Batch 4 releases, but I am getting a little worried. I am sure you noticed the use of the word "apparently" in the first paragraph when discussing the source code CDs released at Wakefield. I have used this with some trepidation as ROOL announced shortly after the show that some of the CDs that had been duplicated on one of their machines might be corrupted. This was apparently due to the ISO image used to copy them on the fly becoming damaged. This can happen, so why am I expressing some concern. Well in the first case I cannot seem to find anyone who has a CD, as if I could them they could simply make a copy and then send it to me. (If anyone does have a copy I would like to take butchers myself, so forward it to me and I will pass it on - ED). Secondly why the delay? If the code was available at Wakefield why could it not be released on the website? Whilst I am no advocate of conspiracy theories and I am sure that there is an innocent explanation for the delay I am concerned.
Let us hope that the release will have appeared by the time you are reading this in which case enjoy it and disregard my ramblings above.
Calibre V 2.0 - Ray Favre
We have featured Ray's excellent calendar generating application in previous issues, but we are returning to it as there have been some significant improvements in the latest release:
For a start there is a new print preview facility, which allows the printed output to be stepped through sheet by sheet. This makes it very easy to check, the calendar for any errors and to preview the pictures for each page. The handling of "Red Letter Days" has been completely re-worked and the option to automatically insert English Bank Holidays, as well as other key dates, has been added.
Ray has said that there are also other improvements. As an example the main colour pickers can now be opened using any mouse button and that there has been considerable rationalisation of much of the code to make future development and support easier. Users of earlier versions should consult the supplied ReadMe file before upgrading their copies.
As with all of Ray's applications a helpful and comprehensive manual is provided in a number of formats, including HTML.
DrawPrint V 1.12 - Hillary Phillips
DrawPrint is an application designed to allow and image to be printed across a number of sheets of paper, this is often referred to as "tiling". Despite it's name the new version of DrawPrint not only handles Drawfiles, but also Sprites and JPEGs.
As one would expect the user has full control over the size of the assembled image, the margins and the overlaps. There is also a handy review feature that lets you check the job before committing it to paper, and potentially wasting some expensive ink. DrawPrint was originally developed to be used in conjunctions with NetSurf on the Iyonix, but since then has come on in leaps and bounds. It provides an excellent way to print posters, large size family trees, multi page spreadsheets, indeed it can manage almost anything that can be imagined.
GnuPG 1.4.9 - Stefan Bellon
This is the long awaited update to GnuPG (the privacy encryption system) and is the fist update for over three years. GnuPG is a complete and free replacement for PGP. Because it does not use the patented IDEA algorithm, it can be used without any restrictions. GnuPG is RFC2440 and RFC4880 (OpenPGP) compliant.
The GnuPG suite
GnuPG itself is not a desktop application, but a tool designed to be run (or accessed) from the command line (F12 - ED). It's designed to be used by other applications, much like a relocatable module such as the Shared C Library. It's supported by a number of applications including Messenger Pro and Pluto, to name but two. Developers writing their own applications can make easy use of GnuPG to protect potentially confidential material. As it's open source it's quite easy to examine how it works, which should please those who are heavily concerned about keeping their material private.
SiteMatch V 2.27 - Richard Porter
SiteMatch is designed to make maintenance of a website much easier. It keeps track of a local copy of any site on your harddisc. It can then monitor the local copy for any changes and then make sure that these changes are automatically uploaded to the server. Not only does SiteMatch allow for existing files to be altered but it also checks for new files that have been added, and for old files which have been removed.
SiteMatch ensures that what's on your copy of a website is correctly replicated on the server. Speaking from personal experience I have fallen foul of this myself, having re-worked part of a site to my satisfaction and then neglected to actually upload it so that it's available to the rest of the world. SiteMatch can interface with both sFTP and FTPc to perform the maintenance. In addition it can record the changes that need to be made on the server as a script which can be imported into a range of FTP clients at a later date. If you are upgrading from an earlier version then I strongly advise that you consult the supplied documents before performing the upgrade.
Top Ten - Benoit Gilon
TopTen is designed as an add on to RISC OS and provides similar functionality to the Windows Recent Documents folder. TopTen keeps a track of the files that you have recently used and keeps a lit of the most recent, or top, ten, hence the name. This list can be opened at any time from the Topten icon on the iconbar by clicking with the Select button on the mouse.
TopTen configuration window
TopTen works on a FIFO process (First In First Out), this means that it will starts building up a list of the documents and folders that have been used. Once it reaches the predetermined limit the oldest document in the list will be removed. The user can also freeze the application to stop it gathering any more information for a period if you are working on a large number of transient files.
And there we must leave things for this issue. IF you would like to get in touch then please send an e-mail to the normal editorial e-mail address.