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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS Select 3

RISC OS Select 3

Posted by RISCOS Ltd on 01:00, 8/5/2003 | , , ,
RISC OS Select 3's Information dialogue RISCOS Ltd. have been busy bees since the release of RISC OS Select 2, and have been building upon the features of RISC OS Select 1 and 2 to produce what is now RISC OS Select 3. This new version of the Soft-Loaded version of RISC OS continues to improve on the graphics and networking parts of the operating system, as well as adding usability to the operating system by improving the desktop and stabalising some of the features from RISC OS Select 2.
Major changes to RISC OS Select for the new release include displaying thumbnails of pictures in the filer, highlighting text in a writable icon and a "Recycle Bin", called Recyclone, for deleted files.

Filer Thumbnail Comparison

Normal filer
A normal filer window without thumbnails enabled (click for full size)
Thumbnailed filer
The same filer window as above, this time with thumbnails enabled (click for full size)

The Filer

The RISC OS filer has been updated with the ability to display graphics files as thumbnails rather than their type icon. This was possible before with third party applications, but is now available, and configurable, in the RISC OS filer. The top screenshot on the left shows the filer without thumbnailing. As you can see, there are several graphics files in the directory, all of different types including DrawFiles, Artworks files, BitMaps, Windows Icon files with others in there too.
The second filer window shows the same directory with the new thumbnailing facility enabled. The file icons have been replaced with a thumbnail of the graphic contained in the file. The actual size of the thumbnail in the filer can be configured from the Filer's configure plugin, as can the maximum size of the files that are thumbnailed, which could be handy if you have a lot of large graphics files. The configure plugin for the filer also lets you specify the mode at which the thumbnails are generated.


Recyclone window (Click for full size)
Recyclone window (Click for full size)
Recyclone is a utility which is now included with RISC OS Select 3 and is a "Recycle Bin" which catches all the files you delete and lets you "undelete" the ones you decide that you wanted to keep after all. The Recyclone window is just like any other RISC OS filer window, which lets you do all the things a regular filer window will let you do. The Recyclone icon sits on the icon bar, although RISCOS Ltd. fail to state where on the icon bar. One would assume that it sits next to the drive icons on the left hand side. Deleting files from an ordinary filer window would move the file to Recyclone rather than deleting it, where it will remain until either fished out again or deleted permanently. Recyclone can be set to expire after a certain ammount of time to save clutter and having to delete the files manually. The location of the storage place Recyclone uses to store the "deleted" files can be changed to wherever you want them to go.
Selecting Text

WIMP improvements

The RISC OS WIMP interface has also been given a facelift, and buttons, groups and other 3D icons can have their colour changed, and even be made round. The colours and shape of the icons is configured via a plugin interface, meaning that anyone can make their own styles for RISC OS.
Another addition to the RISC OS WIMP is that writable icons can now have their text highlighted and then be transfered back and forth between the global clipboard and other applications.

Image Viewer
Image Viewer* (Click for full size)

Image Viewing

ImageViewer is a new program supplied with RISC OS Select which can view any image which is renderable with ImageFileRender. You can change the gamma, brighness and contrast of the viewed image and see the results in the viewer window. Alongside this, !Draw can import any file which can be handled with ImageFileConvert, which means that PNG, Artworks, BMP and many other types can be imported straight into !Draw without using any other tools to convert them first. A new class of sprites has been created for alpha-channel sprites. Alpha-channel sprites can be used whereever the standard sprite operations would be used through system sprite rendering calls. With alpha-channel sprites, each pixel can have variable translucency, which means that sprites can blend better into their backgrounds. An example of this can be seen in this screenshot.

Naming the Scrap

As mentioned in the original feature list, the ScrapDirectory was previously based on the MAC Address of the Network Card or the NetFS station ID. Now, the scrap directory name is based solely on the hardware configuration as detected by HWScan. RISCOS Ltd. point out in their announcement that for most users, this will be disabled and so their ScrapDirectory will be called "Disabled".

New Paint
New Paint application (Click for full size)
We all know and love !Paint, and it's been given a facelift in RISC OS Select 3. !Paint has been updated to support the new alpha-channel format mentioned earlier, and can now create sprites with alpha-channels, add one to an existing sprite and allow the editing of the alpha-channel. Also updated in !Paint is its user interface. It now has a seperate attached toolbox for each sprite allowing for a separate working set of toolbox settings for each one. The new toolboxes have shortcuts for zoom and select colour along with a new colour display area. The menu tree for the application has also been revised to be more style guide compliant and logical.
So there you have it. A short introduction to the new features of RISC OS Select 3. Below are the screenshots we couldn't squeeze into the rest of this article and a short bit of text for each one.
AlphaSprite This is a screenshot for !Draw, showing the effect of an overlayed alpha-channel sprite on top of an example Drawfile. The 'icicles' demonstration image can be found on the PNG website at http://www.libpng.org/.
ExampleButtons0 The example chosen to use for the button effects is the Display manager dialogue box. This is a small window which has the main action button and two information fields and therefore demonstrates the two major types of buttons. In this example, all the options are off and the standard rectangular buttons are present.
ExampleButtons1 In this example, the rounded borders have been enabled and affect both the information fields and the buttons themselves. The information fields can be left as rectangular if desired. The curve type has been left at 'Normal' although there are four levels of curve which can be used which increase or reduce the size of the curve on such buttons.
ExampleButtons2 In this example, the rounded buttons are disabled, but the action buttons have been coloured lilac and the 'fade' and 'rim' options enabled. The 'fade' option causes the buttons to be given a fade from the 'light-side' colour at the top to the 'dark-side' colour at the bottom. The 'rim' places a border around the icons which makes them stand out more.
ExampleButtons3 In this example, the background of the buttons has been made a dark blue and the text colour into a white-cream. This effect is not ideal for most users but may look more effective with other customised effects. The information fields have the same 'fade' effect enabled, making them look a little more metallic. Again, this may not be to many users tastes.
FilerConfiguration As with the changes in Select 2 which brought in the Window configuration tool using independant sections to configure the options, the re-write of the Filer configuration tool has used the same base. This example shows some of the options for the thumbnailing display.
ResolverConfiguration This example shows the new Resolver configuration, together with a menu of the 'local' servers. The tool can identify DNS servers on the local network and present them in a menu for selection.

Related Links

RISC OS Select 3 Features
Modules in Select 3
State of !Boot in Select 3
Example Output from ImageFileConvert
Example Output from ImageFileRenderer
Example Output from *ShowStat

* Modified screenshot
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The Icon Bar: News and features: RISC OS Select 3