Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We have an Icon Editor!

by on Tuesday, December 04, 2018
I am really excited to announce that Paul Bloedel has successfully built an AROS version of his Hollywood-based Icon Editor, which will be included in Icaros Desktop 2.2.5 under the "Utilities" drawer. This means that it will be available on both Live! and Light edition of the distribution, since I feel that a proper editor for icons should be part of the 'core utils' that an Amiganoid system should provide by default. Icon Editor is a quite advanced paint program, properly handling double-state Amiga icons with alpha channel, which allows us to create and modify .info files without requiring more programs to do that.
Icon Editor on AROS, final version
Porting this program had some nice and less nicer side effects. You should understand the bad news if you compare the "Painting Tool" window (in the screenshot above) with the same tool from the AmigaOS 4.1 version: you will notice that we have text buttons instead of graphical ones, and this is due to the fact that AROS Zune does not support the particular method that RapaGui and MUIBuilder (two popular Hollywood plugins for user interfaces) use to embed images into buttons. The discussion we had about this let me understand how MUI and Zune work in this context and (that's the nicer news...) I learnt how to embed images into LUA scripts. This was important to me, since I could finally update the "First run GUI selector program" the way I originally intended it:

Now you can choose your GUI clicking on the images directly

Yes, I know, any experienced coder would find it trivial to do. However I am a system administrator, not a developer, so please forgive my enthusiasm. However, embedding images is not only a style excercise, but it may bring other goodies to Icaros in the (hopefully near) future.

If you followed AROS and Amiga communities, you may have noticed my insisting requests for a C command that would modify AHI master volume. AROS does not have the 'mixer' commodity, nor it has a proper volume gadget on its workbench, but nothing should stop me to fill the gap once I had the proper tools. On the left, you can see my LUA based GUI: now I just need the C command to actually change volume. My dream would be turning it into a commodity but, well, that's really beyond my skills and, after all, I still have to make it work, first.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

First beta of Icaros 2.2.5 and other exciting news

by on Saturday, November 24, 2018
The first internal build of Icaros Desktop 2.2.5 is now available to beta testers, developers and supporters (patrons who are pledging $15 or more on Patreon), which include all the work done on Icaros in the last month. I kindly ask everyone who has got access to this beta for feedback: please test it deeply and report any problem you may find. As you can see from the following picture, the current beta of Icaros Desktop include some nice additions to the Magellan configuration. For instance, Icaros can now show its IP Address (and let user change it) and calculate MD5 sum for any file you need, with the option to copy it into the clipboard.

Obviously, they're not the only feature we added. Thanks to their respective authors, I could now add to the distribution RNO Effects 1.2, Protrekkr 2.5.4 (which fixes a incompatibility with native driver that has been reported for the older version) and the latest update to PlayCDDA, whose author sent me some days ago. We have also got an update to OWB with improved SSL compatibility and that seems more stable, when showing multimedia contents. And there is even more.

> Click here to grab your copy of the internal beta on Patreon

As you may know, one of my favourite activities is bugging authors of Amiga software and ask them for an AROS ports of their software. It happened some months ago with RNO Effects (and now we have an excellent batch image conversion / manipulation software), it happened in the latest days with the little Advice utility, but it also happened yesterday with Icon Editor, a very good application to create and modify icons, recently released for AmigaOS 4. Well, in less than 24 hours, its author Paul Bloedel sent me a working beta for AROS. Judge by yourself:

If you wish to support or encourage him, maybe with a PayPal donation, his address is revbloedel (at) gmail (dot) com. Obviously, this editor is not included in Icaros beta, but I sincerely hope I will be able to include it in the official release.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

I got more... "advice"!

by on Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Yesterday morning I installed a new test virual machine and, as usual, I needed to know its own IP address. So I opened the shell and gave the 'ifconfig -a' command to get it. I wondered if I could have something better than that, like a way to get the same information with two mouse clicks, and I implemented a "IP Address" option in Magellan's "Icaros" menu, which basically targeted ifconfig's oputput to a reader. Good. I had what I needed, with the only problem it was ugly and unpractical. It opened a fullscreen sized window to show few text lines. I had to change it.

So I decided that if I could output that window to a RequestChoice (RC) window it would have been fine. There were two problems, though: RC's output capabilities are quite limited and, unluckily, I simply could not use a command like

RequestChoice "IP Address" "`ifconfig -a`" "OK"

because the way ifconfig shows its output is not compatible with RC's exprectations. For instance, something like:

lo0: flags=9<UP,LOOPBACK> mtu 1536
    inet netmask 0xff000000
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast

would need to be cleaned of special tab characters (the ones before "inet" words) and all line feeds replaced by the *N code, so it would appear like this:

"lo0: flags=9<UP,LOOPBACK> mtu 1536*Ninet netmask 0xff000000*Nnet0: flags=822<BROADCAST,NOTRAILERS,SIMPLEX>*Ninet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast"

But how to get this done? The answer is, once more, an old cli utility called gsar, which I built for AROS many months ago. Gsar can search for control characters and replace them as I like, so in a nutshell I could write these lines of code

ifconfig -a >t:currIP
gsar -i -o -s:x09 -r:x20:x20 t:currIP >NIL:
gsar -i -o -s:x0a -r*N t:currIP >NIL:

and place them in a new script. These lines basically transform the output of 'ifconfig -a' into a text line which requestcoice can understand. In fact, the following line is:

RequestChoice "IP Address" "${t:currIP}" "Close" >nil:

Which  is exactly what I needed to get this:

the actual script on Icaros Desktop also includes a 'Change' button to open Prefs/Network

So, why did I got some "advice"? Because I discovered this on Aminet, a RequestChioce clone for AmigaOS 2+ which can use a text file as value for the BODY parameter. The archive on Aminet includes also the source in C but, due to my very very very limited skills, I could not even get it to build. With advice, the above script would have looked like:

ifconfig -a >t:currIP
Advice TITLE "IP Address" BODY t:currIP BUTTONTEXT "Close"

I posted this help request on AROS-EXEC, and I sincerely hope someone will help me bringing this to AROS, since it can be very useful with script someone immediately helped me, giving me the hints I needed to fix the original sources and let them compile under Icaros Desktop (I used AROS gcc version included in the distribution). So, thank you Cavemann, thank you Neil (and thank you Wawa), it's always a pleasure to interact with smart people like you! :-)

Advice for AROS, and modified source, will be posted on the Archives as soon as possible.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Basic introduction/tutorial video added to HostBridge page

by on Friday, November 09, 2018
If you still wonder what HostBridge can do, here is the answer!

I've added this introductory video-tutorial to the HostBridge page, so you can see how using Windows and Linux applications is easy, when Icaros Desktop is running in hosted mode!

By the way, starting with version 2.2.5, Icaros will include also a couple of double-state icon packs so you can associate HostBridge's scripts to proper icons with ease, even if you're running Linux (under Windows, HostBridge can extract icons from win32 executables, but new icons can help with 64bit ones).

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tutorial: creating 800+ double-state icons in less than 10 minutes

by on Wednesday, November 07, 2018
https://www.patreon.com/posts/22549568A new tutorial video is now available on Patreon. In this lesson, we will learn how to create double-state icons under Icaros Desktop 2.2.4 using just three tools: the RNO Effects program, the AROS shell, and a few commands in the right sequence. This tutorial explains how to apply specific graphic effects to a whole iconset through RNO's batch converter, and then how to compose dual-state PNG icons combining the result with original images. Improvements can be added with LunaPaint or ZunePaint, but this is not covered by the tutorial.

The video is accessible by patrons only. A pledge of $5 (or more, if you like) is required to unlock this content. Patrons will also be able to download the video in MP4 format, if they need to do that for compatibility reasons.

> Click here to see te video

Monday, November 5, 2018

Converting 800+ images in a single passage with Icaros 2.2.4

by on Monday, November 05, 2018
Early adopters of Icaros Desktop 2.2.4 might have noticed the addition of a brand new graphics program in Extras:Design. It's called RNO Effects and, in my humble opinion, it fills one of the longest missing holes in this department: batch conversion and procedural application of image effects. With this program, you can apply one or more effects to a whole set of images, no matter their size or their number. Just open RNO Effects, decide what to apply and where, and you're quickly done. Don't you believe it? I'm going to show you in the following video how quick and simple it has become, with this little great program, the formerly impossible task (at least on AROS, with cosy GUI-based applications) of converting 800 and more 128x128 PNG images into 64x64 pixel ones. And this is just an appetizer. I will try to show you something more useful in the next days. Stay tuned!