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Re: Hallucination or possibility?

** Reply to note from Wolfgang Bechstein  on Wed,
31 Jan 2001 09:09:18 +0900

> The XyShell that Robert describes actually sounds less enticing to me
> than most of the above solutions, because (I assume) you would shell
> OUT of XyWrite, do your thing, and then return to it. Why should I
> want to do that, when I can have a plethora of things (including Xy)
> going on at the same time?

Valid point.  But you don't quite "shell OUT of XyWrite, do your
thing, and then return"; actually, you issue commands to the system
within XyWrite, and then *you* are done -- XyShell goes out and does
ITS thing, then returns.  Often the "thing" that XyShell does operates
in background, so you can keep working in XyWrite seamlessly.

XyShell doesn't replace anything, it simply supplements, or offers
alternative methods.  Let's say, for example, that you use PostScript
to view (WYSIWYG) XyWrite documents and print them.  It is convenient
to be able to do that with a single XyWrite command or keystroke, and
then automatically return to XyWrite after viewing/printing -- a LOT
easier than doing it manually.  And you can add functionality, e.g. by
rendering the document into a DSC .PS document so that when viewing
it, you can randomly look at any page.

It really depends where you tend to "spend time".  If you find
yourself primarily staring at XyWrite, then it often is just easier to
issue system commands from the CMline, than to manually switch to the
desktop and commence clicking.  Let's say you want to edit documents
with long filenames in XyWrite, or get directories of them, or
manipulate them in any way.  XyShell lets you do that (presently,
under OS/2; soon, under Windows).  Getting system clipboard text into
(or out of) XyWrite is a manual pain in the neck usually; with
XyShell, it is seamless and single-keystroke.

I would say, in general, that if you run XyWrite in a window on the
desktop, XyShell will be less useful than if you run it full-screen
(as I always do).  Even so, things like the SETTIME utility built-in
to U2 (and run in conjunction with XyShell) offer a painless way to
set your system clock that will be easier (and far faster) than any
alternative method.

At present, and contributing to my unwillingness to release this
thing generally, is the absence of lots of polished "sample" programs
that users can run hands-off.  XyShell is really intended as a
do-it-yourself tool for XPL programmers:  invent whatever you need.
Overcome much of XyWrite's increasing isolation or "apartness" from the
OS.  It's a philosophical idea, as much as anything.  People who have
been using it under OS/2 can tell you how it creeps up on you, and
becomes indispensable.

But I ain't selling anything!  (And I do regret that IBM charges
money for Win32 Rexx, because I'm 100% committed to free software and
open source.)  I wrote this for myself, and if nobody else uses it, I
could care less.  Everything we do, U2 and everything else, is offered
to the public (*if* it is offered to the public, and most of it isn't,
because too painful to support) as a courtesy.  We write this stuff
because we use it ourselves -- no other reason.


Robert Holmgren