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Re: ::scr saving (and RISC OS)
on 20/2/02 12:49 pm, Paul Mison at paulm@xxxxxxxx wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 20, 2002 at 12:27:46PM +0000, Simon Wistow wrote:
>> It was bought up a few months ago in a discussion with some of my
>> friends that the whole idea of having to hit Save in applications is
>> stupid and a throwback to stupider days.
>> At first I argued, probably out of reactionaryism, but now I'm not so
>> sure ...
> Those of you who've seen me enough in real life will know I talk about
> the Two Great Lost OSes of the 90s now. One's BeOS, and the reason for
> that has come up in the last thread or so. The other is Risc OS
Heh, you're half right there. :) Caveat: I stopped using RISC OS before
version 4, so some of this info is probably out of date.
> (and I'm
> not sure I've got the capitalisation or spacing right there, but I'm
> sure someone will tell me).
Some say RISC OS, and some say RISCOS, but AFAIK they all shout it.
I used to kick against RISC OS a lot, but thinking about it without
prejudice, it was pretty good as an OS for use by ickle kiddies. It wasn't
a good OS for making CD-ROMS for windows and mac.
Mind you, it is 99% Millennium compliant!
> * All the menus are contextual, and all are accessible without keyboard
This was a Really Good Thing - you left button standard clicking, right
for cancelling stuff and (mumble), and the middle always brought you a
whole phat selection of relevant options. Most apps didn't have to waste
real estate on menubars or rows of chunky icons, and the user only has to
remember one button. You mid-click to find out what you can do to
And the savings on screen real estate makes it effective to run at really
low resolutions - good for keeping kids peering at tiny fonts. May not
seem like much, but to some parents it's a real selling point.
> * When you save, you're presented with an icon of the file to drag
> to another app in the task list  or to an open folder 
> the latter being the important one for this discussion. So there's at
> least one way to implement saving without dialog boxes (the Risc OS
Doesn't BBEdit also allow you to do this? But yes, it did allow you to
"pipe" the output from one program to another, and it was a good way to
introduce that concept to a newbie. However, for the power user it was
tedious, and woe betide you if you forgot to open one of the apps you
wanted to use before you started the dragfest. If it wasn't on the iconbar
(there you go, Paul), then you had to save utput to the disc, which
defeats the whole object.
Other problems with the RISC OS implementation of this was the fact that
you couldn't drag output to be saved to the desktop. In fact, IIRC, the
desktop would only contain aliases/shortcuts straight out of the box, but
behaved in all other respects like a folder or a desktop from $other_os.
This was a Bad Thing, although you could score a hack to let you treat the
RISC OS desktop in the "normal" fashion. It was great, 'cos you could
switch it off to instantly hide any real files you kept there. Not that I
had any files I wanted to hide, oh no.
> There were probably other good things about Risc OS (their task bar
> seemed vaguely logical, and packaged !Apps seem to have their advocates)
> but other people who know what they're talking about might want to leap
> in here.
The iconbar was probably the best thing about RISC OS. Not only did it
give you access to system settings and guts (on the far right) and running
software a la dock (in the middle), it also kept all your mounted discs
there - one button for options, and one area for your system. It did a
pretty good job of clearly conveying this information considering the
large chunky icons and low screen resolution it typically ran in.
Looking back, it was probably the packaged !Apps system that first got me
into writing code. With that system, you just stick a pling at the
beginning of any folder name and the contents become an application. Okay,
so you have to whack in a text file telling RISC OS which contents to
execute, but it was handy for keeping all the various components of the
app, from the icon to the script (or any other resources) separate and let
you explicitly state what their relationship was to one another. It was
pretty good for a newbie coder who was previously used to point-and-drool
only, and allowed you to write running programs without a need for a
compiler. I spent many a moment piddling around with simple basic and
that's how I was first bitten by the bug.
Of course, RISC OS also had a command line and one lad at Anglia ported a
few apps that I now recognise to be from UNIX. Unfortunately, I only made
use of the command line for a couple of image/video processing
utilities and disk formatting, because at that time I was even more of
a Lame Fool than I am now, and I was Frightened of command lines. Silly
However, no discussion of RISC OS (3) would be complete without mentioning
one or two of the things about it that Sucked a Caribou's Ass: You could
only have a maximum of 75 files in a folder, which made for all kinds of
fun and games when we got them talking to network shares containing
hundreds of files. Nor could it recognise any drive ppartition larger than
512 Mb. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader as to why that was
a problem for authoring CD-ROMs.
on 20/2/02 1:28 pm, Andy Wardley at abw@xxxxxxx wrote:
> Better still is to do away with the concept of files that need opening,
> saving and closing. Just make it all automatic like Emacs doing an
> autosave with bells on. After all, why should I have to do some
> explicit operation to permanantly save the work I've done? After all,
> I typed it in, so presumably I want to keep whatever I typed.
Hmmmm, not sure I agree with that. Presumption is the brother of all
fuckups :) As others have already said in a far more eloquent manner: If I
want software that tries to second-guess what I want to do I'll go out and
buy Microsoft Office. I think that frezing the state of a file upon which
you've been working is your perrogative. I think that it should be
something that you explicitly choose to do. It makes sure that in case of
a crash, *you* have decided what the last permanent state of that document
was. Okay, so you may lose important work if you don't save regularly, but
surely that' a PEBCAK problem, a matter for user education, rather than
creating complex and potentially bloaty systems?
Slap me right down if I'm wrong. Please.
guitar noise is way more real to me than the concept of nationalism! - diesel sweeties
 Heh, Paul, remember Stibbo reckoning he could persuade Apple to port
QuickTime to RISC OS just on his say-so? :)
 Which is RISC OS speak for "!"
 Or rather, it would recognise them, but only show/act upon the first
512 megs worth of sectors. We had some real fun trying to do stuff with
files that were held only partially in the visible space.