OS2 World Community Forum

OS/2, eCS & ArcaOS - Technical => Applications => Topic started by: Dariusz Piatkowski on April 08, 2017, 07:39:55 pm

Title: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Dariusz Piatkowski on April 08, 2017, 07:39:55 pm
So in the process of re-newing my ArcaNoae Subscription package today I noticed that they also show the "eCo Software Runtime Packages" as available for download.

Having reviewed the latest changes/log entries it appears to me that these were intended to bring the newer user interface type improvements to our OS/2 platform. Certainly the FOC alone is ripe for a lot of changes which would benefit us all...and it certainly appears that some of these options have been addressed. For example the log for the WIN runtime states the following:

foc
  25.12.2016 Dmitry A.Steklenev
   - Now WC_PREVIEW formats date and time according to the current locale.
   - Added standalone preview plug-in for JPEG files. This plug-in can work on
     systems without MMOS2 installed.
   - The context menu of the file dialog and of the directory selection
     dialog now have a "Properties" menu item.
   - By default, the file dialog remembers last 10 of selected files and
     directories. This number can be redefined via ULONG value of the
     MaxRecentItems key of the PM_ControlPanel section of the user profile
     (OS2.INI). The maximal possible value is 128.
   - Settings of the WPFOCSystem WPS class now splitted into two pages.

Sooo...before I take a stab at installing these can anyone tell me/or provide feedback on just how "usuable" these enhancements are? Meaning, is the implementation intended to re-direct the standard FOC calls to these enhanced versions, or is it that only apps re-written to take advantage of the new APIs can actually use these features?

Thanks!
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Dave Yeo on April 08, 2017, 08:47:35 pm
Quote
Sooo...before I take a stab at installing these can anyone tell me/or provide feedback on just how "usuable" these enhancements are? Meaning, is the implementation intended to re-direct the standard FOC calls to these enhanced versions, or is it that only apps re-written to take advantage of the new APIs can actually use these features?

The implementation redirects the standard FOC calls so most all applications use it. For example if I save a file with SeaMonkey, I get the new FOC to choose where to save the file.
Personally I like the new save as dialog, at least as implemented in ArcaOS.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Dariusz Piatkowski on April 08, 2017, 08:50:42 pm
Hi Dave!

...I get the new FOC to choose where to save the file. Personally I like the new save as dialog, at least as implemented in ArcaOS...

I have not seen the ArcaOS yet, but is it relying (maybe in part?) on these runtimes they show? Seems like it would make sense to deploy something that's been already developed and tested over some time...
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Dave Yeo on April 08, 2017, 09:27:30 pm
Hi Dave!

...I get the new FOC to choose where to save the file. Personally I like the new save as dialog, at least as implemented in ArcaOS...

I have not seen the ArcaOS yet, but is it relying (maybe in part?) on these runtimes they show? Seems like it would make sense to deploy something that's been already developed and tested over some time...

Yes, the ArcaOS ISO has ecobase.wpi, econet.wpi and ecowin.wpi (these may be customized) that are installed.
Much of ArcaOS are packages like this that are independently available and by looking at various changelogs, you will see a flurry of recent development. Of course Arca Noae has done a lot of work to get all these packages to coexist in a pleasing way (we hope). Sometimes just small changes like not automatically installing the eCSBall when doing a virgin install of the screensaver.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Martin Iturbide on April 08, 2017, 09:56:26 pm
Hi

For what I know, only apps that has been created with that API in mind can take advantage of it.It will be interesting to have more documentation of the library on the EDM/2 Wiki.
 
The only issue that I found with that library is that it is close source freeware. Even that there if there is a compromise to be freeware in the future it is not the same as being open source.

On the other hand I'm looking with good eyes the other open source libraries that has been ported to the OS/2 platform like libc, cairo, sdl, etc, etc.

I think that today if someone wants to develop software on OS/2 they have two choices:
1) Using all the native-IBM API to reference CPI, PM, SOM, WPS
2) To use APIs based on open source software that will also make your applications portable to other platform. Libc, Cairo, SDL, Qt are very interesting.

Here it is where we tried to document all the APIs that the platform has: http://www.edm2.com/index.php/The_OS/2_API_Project
 (http://www.edm2.com/index.php/The_OS/2_API_Project)
(help to improve it is also welcome)

Regards
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Doug Bissett on April 08, 2017, 09:59:07 pm
Quote
I have not seen the ArcaOS yet, but is it relying (maybe in part?) on these runtimes they show? Seems like it would make sense to deploy something that's been already developed and tested over some time...

In the past, I have seen nothing but problems with that stuff. However, I haven't seen those problems with ArcaOS (after some fixes). That may be just because I haven't stumbled over them, yet.

FWIW, ArcaOS does include a feature called PNG desktop (Sunny Icons).  This version works a lot better than what was in eCS 2.2b2. It also includes FOC (File Open Control), which was also in eCS 2.2b2. I think it has also had some updates, but I am not impressed with the whole concept, and I don't use it, other than to see if it causes problems (so far, no problems).

There are a few more things that use the runtimes, and they seem to be okay, so far.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Sergey Posokhov on April 09, 2017, 05:10:53 pm
It's widely known that they will never release it as open source.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Andreas Kohl on April 13, 2017, 02:43:51 pm
It's widely known that they will never release it as open source.

Thank goodness! Nobody needs this crappy stuff. It consists mostly of open source libraries repackaged into a larger DLL. The libraries are of no earthly use.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Andreas Kohl on April 13, 2017, 02:53:21 pm
FWIW, ArcaOS does include a feature called PNG desktop (Sunny Icons).  This version works a lot better than what was in eCS 2.2b2. It also includes FOC (File Open Control), which was also in eCS 2.2b2. I think it has also had some updates, but I am not impressed with the whole concept, and I don't use it, other than to see if it causes problems (so far, no problems).
"PNG desktop" a "feature" - that looks very pathetic. Neither any application nor any known device driver is using this so-called feature. It's only a Potemkin village. Why not simply using OS/2's own icon format? It seems ArcaOS will only be eComStation with a new background image.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Sigurd Fastenrath on April 13, 2017, 03:07:03 pm
Yes, the ArcaOS ISO has ecobase.wpi, econet.wpi and ecowin.wpi (these may be customized) that are installed.

Hopefully these wpi's can be deselected during Installation process - I have to admit that Andreas Kohl is right - these files have been of no use at all for me so far. Quite the contrary: while tailoring my own "up to date OS/2 Version" I avoided these files and I do not (may be not realised so far) see any usefull application for me that needs this runtimes. I hope, that the "new" Interface parts of ArcaOS do not rely on this files.

But - please proof me wrong - for what applications (besides sunny Icons) these are needed? Can the FOC Application be compared with the "Object Navigator" that was included in Object Desktop?
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Martin Iturbide on April 13, 2017, 04:25:32 pm
"PNG desktop" is an interesting feature (but I don't mean it is implemented right). It solves the problem that you need better resolution icons for higher resolution screens. The OS/2 icon format is old and it is very limited for people trying to create icons on the platform. If someone is happy on his 800x600 screen using OS/2, there is no reason for this, the rest of the 90% of OS/2 users wants/uses a higher resolution.

The bad thing about "PNG desktop" is that is close source, so it has a high risk on becoming "future abandonware". Maybe an alternative can be to try to improve WPS-Wizard icons functions to be more stable.

Regards
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: ivan on April 13, 2017, 06:00:28 pm
Martin,

What do you class as higher resolution monitors?  Our 28" 1920 x 1200 are using the standard OS/2 icons and most people comment about how clear they are compared to some of the win rubbish icons.

Maybe if we managed to get video drivers that would drive the 4k monitors we might need icons with a little more colour depth.

Unfortunately, many of these 'enhancements' are answers looking for problems rather than being the answers to problems.
   
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Martin Iturbide on April 13, 2017, 07:41:01 pm
Hi Ivan

I can not discuss things with people that are just fine with what they got.

In my case with 16:4 monitors at a higher than 1024 x 768 resolution (and 23" or more) requires to increase the size of icons. Some people does not have great vision, and when you increase the resolution of the screen the icons and text get smaller and smaller. It is required "something" to increase the size of the icons on OS/2. When you get "that something" that increase the size you also notice that the OS/2 standard format (and OS/2 standard icons) has it's limitations compared to modern standards.

When you see this picture and think it looks fine, we may have a disagreement.
(http://www.os2world.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=1337.0;attach=1755;image)

If you are fine with little icons and you have a nice vision , maybe it does not apply to you.

Regards
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Martin Iturbide on April 13, 2017, 07:54:26 pm
Hi

I also think that we need an standard and modern format for Icons and Pointers (PNG or SVG)  (http://www.os2world.com/wiki/index.php/Comments_and_Suggestions_about_eComStation_User_Experience#Recommendation_.236_.E2.80.93_GUI_.E2.80.93_Icon_Format)but there are people with so much fear to change that will complain to it by just suggesting it.

Regards
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Andreas Kohl on April 13, 2017, 10:17:16 pm
Neither PNG nor SVG are Icon formats. Even newer Window releases use an (different) ICO format which is also a bitmap array and can also store PNG images inside of it. Or take a look at Apple Icon Image format (*.icns) which additionally can include JPEG 2000 images.
It's the task of the Presentation driver to select a suitable size for displaying icons. Otherwise there will be a fallback to device independent format. No reason to use this buggy hacks.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: ivan on April 14, 2017, 01:25:37 am
Martin,

Strange how the icons in your screen grab are not very much larger than those I have on my screen.  My sight is good out in the great outdoors but I need glasses to read text on the screen, something many of us nudging 80 do.

I am sure that Andreas is correct in saying it is the job of the Presentation Manager driver to give a suitable size to fit the screen resolution.

The main thing is that everyone has a different idea of what they like to see on a computer screen so we will have to agree to differ and hope we each end up with what we like as long as it complies with the way OS/2 does things.  Appearance, to a large extent, depends on the ability of the video drivers which takes us on to the need of improved SNAP to handle wide screen display panels for desktops and laptops (my 1440 x 900 laptop screen is not supported).
 
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Rich Walsh on April 14, 2017, 02:00:21 am
I can't comment on the eCoSoft runtime but I can tell you a bit about one of the add-ons that use it: PNG Desktop, aka Sunny Icons.

A few weeks ago, eCoSoft gave Arca Noae permission to have me create a customized version called "Dynamic Icons". Since then I've put in an enormous amount of time chasing down bugs and reworking its menus and notebook pages. I have to say that I'm extremely pleased with the results. The version I released yesterday (beta72 - sadly, only available to AN testers right now) is quite stable and, IMHO, easier to use. If you decide to install AOS when it's released, I hope you'll give it a try.

BTW... an AOS-only feature lets you turn customized icons on and off. If you install 3rd-party icons and find you don't like them, you can just turn them off and use expanded versions of the stock icons until you find a set you like.

Also, to follow up on a question that Martin asked a few months ago... It appears that XWP's Xview and PNG Desktop/Dynamic Icons are fundamentally incompatible. Sadly, most of that incompatibility is due to Xview's design. PNG Desktop was designed to support standard WPS folder windows: one folder per window with all of its settings stored as part of the folder object. In contrast, Xview displays multiple folders per window and stores its settings outside the object in os2.ini. Getting the two to mesh would probably take a lot of work.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Doug Bissett on April 14, 2017, 07:33:33 am
Quote
A few weeks ago, eCoSoft gave Arca Noae permission to have me create a customized version called "Dynamic Icons". Since then I've put in an enormous amount of time chasing down bugs and reworking its menus and notebook pages. I have to say that I'm extremely pleased with the results. The version I released yesterday (beta72 - sadly, only available to AN testers right now) is quite stable and, IMHO, easier to use. If you decide to install AOS when it's released, I hope you'll give it a try.

I can say that Rich has done a great job with that package. I tried the feature in eCS 2.2b2, and swore I would never try it again, but felt obliged to try it as an AN tester. Very much to my surprise, it seems that the bugs are gone, and the one problem that I did find, got fixed. I am not sure if I will install it, when I do my "permanent" install, but I will definitely need to think about it.

Quote
and when you increase the resolution of the screen the icons and text get smaller and smaller.

That is partly true, but you are much better off using a resolution that matches the dot pattern of your screen (assuming it is not an old CRT type). Then, go to System Setup-> Screen-> DPI tab, and increase the size of things on the screen (that is what it is in Panorama, SNAP should be similar). If you reduce the screen resolution, they do get bigger, but that gives you the jagged edges, and fuzzy characters, that you see in your screen shot. The dots just don't line up properly.
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Martin Iturbide on April 20, 2017, 07:57:28 pm
Hi Rich.

It is good that the component is going to be included on ArcaOS and had been bug-tested/optimized, but it would be desirable to have something integrated to XWorkplace SOM objects (I guess it is the folder class object) and that can be also included on that project.

I will ask Lewis if there can be a chance to include that project has part of XWorkplace instead of being a separate close source project, but I will have to wait until he releases ArcaOS, I guess he is very busy on this days.

Regards
Title: Re: eCo Software Runtime Packages - benefits???
Post by: Andy Willis on April 21, 2017, 06:07:35 am
Hi Rich.

It is good that the component is going to be included on ArcaOS and had been bug-tested/optimized, but it would be desirable to have something integrated to XWorkplace SOM objects (I guess it is the folder class object) and that can be also included on that project.

I will ask Lewis if there can be a chance to include that project has part of XWorkplace instead of being a separate close source project, but I will have to wait until he releases ArcaOS, I guess he is very busy on this days.

Regards
This is just a guess based on Rich's comment but I suspect that to add it to xworkplace would require someone to write an implementation from scratch as I think the code belongs to eCo and is licensed by Arca Noae and not owned (again this is just how I read it).