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Copyright 1998, Southern California OS/2 User Group

Workplace Shell Add-ons

Presented by Paul Wirtz

Paul notes, "For me the WPS is why I use OS/2 and there are a lot of tools to allow you to shape the WPS the way you want."

Several examples are:

  • Candy Barz (CBARZ101.ZIP) is one of those neat little utilities that you just sit back and enjoy. It makes your desktop look nicer with custom gradient colors (that you select) on each of your title bars. No functionality; it's just surprisingly pretty.

    You pick the colors and set the gradients any way you like them. Top to bottom, left to right, different color schemes for individual programs, CandyBarZ does it all. Plus, it's both Warp 3 and Warp 4 compatible.

    Setup is simple and takes about five minutes. Download the file and unzip it to your \TEMP directory, then double-click on or run the CBSETUP setup program. If the setup program can't find its .INI or .DLL files, it then launches the CandyBarZ installer.

    The installer gives you two drop-down boxes: "where do you want the DLLs" (you select a directory, such as \OS2\DLL) and "where do you want the INI file" (\OS2\DLL is a good choice here too). When the install is done, you reboot to initialize it all and CandyBarZ appears with its default colors.

    Now run CBSETUP again. This time two sample title bars will appear for you to color, one for the colors of the active title bar (the one with the system focus) and the other for inactive title bars. Buttons let you select options such as horizontal, vertical, top and bottom shading, etc.

    Pretty as it is, you don't want to try CandyBarZ in only 16 colors. I did, and 16 colors is downright ugly. My advice is to use CandyBarZ in 256 colors or better.

    I chose brightish colors for my active windows, and more muted and grayer tones for the inactive settings. If you like to play, you can assign a different color scheme to individual .exe files.

  • Some times you will have more that one program for the same type of datafile. Normally the first one you installed is the default so how do you change it. The easiest way I have found is a tool called the Association Editor (ASSOED04.ZIP). So if you want to change from using Zipme to Warpzip this is the tool to do so.

  • Do you have a newer mouse with that little wheel on the middle button? SCROLLMS.EXE won't make the wheel do everything that it will in that other OS but it will allow you to use the wheel scroll text up and down.
  • Want a windows full screen session act more like the WPS? Try The Workplace Shell for Windows (WPSFWIN.ZIP). This replaces the program manager with a windows shell that looks and works like OS/2's. No OS/2 is needed put on the old Win 3.1 box you have and get desktop icons, drag and drop and much more.

  • XFolder (XFLD071.ZIP) is a new enhanced Workplace Shell folder object. It registers five Workplace Shell replacement classes to give you a lot more functionality. There is some duplication with X-it's features (such as opening and closing the parent), but XFolder has many new features as well.

    I especially like the status line at the bottom: you can see your drive space, or if any objects are selected you see the size of that object or that group of objects.

    You can add entries to any of your Workplace Shell context menus, and XFolder gives you additional sort features, including global sort.

    You can configure "hotkeys" for use within folders (several come preconfigured), and you can even shut down and restart the Workplace Shell only, without restarting OS/2.

    A really nice touch is that tree views are automatically scrolled when you click on a "+" to expand the tree, unlike OS/2 which doesn't automatically scroll when you expand off the bottom of the screen.

  • Xit (XIT25.ZIP) is the Swiss army utility knife of OS/2 functions. Now that you've just colored your title bars with CandyBarz (see last month's column), let's cover half of it up with new buttons.

    You can add buttons that roll up a window (leaving just the title bar) and unroll it on the next click, or copy and paste without going to "edit" (and if you don't highlight any text,

    the entire document is copied), or open command line windows (the Warp Center button isn't always visible if you add to it), or go to a window's parent (two buttons allow closing or not closing when doing so).

    There's an X-it configuration button to set which buttons will appear and where on the title bar they'll be.

    And Warp 3 users can catch up on their Warp 4 neighbors a little with X-it's one-button program exit (the original X-it function, and hence its name). Still other buttons give you pop up menus and the task manager.

The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA

Copyright 1998 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.