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Icon Operation

  1. I have a graphics card and/or RTG software installed. When I open a window with a lot of icons, a large amount of CHIP RAM is used. Why is that, and how can I avoid it?
  2. I don't have a graphics card. Can I render the icons in FAST RAM anyway?
  3. What does "LoadWB SIMPLEGELS" do?
  4. Why doesn't Directory Opus 5 display the new OS 3.5 icons?
  5. What are the programs in the "Converter-Scripts" directory for?
  6. Is there a way to make "DefIcons" work with OS 3.5?
  7. Ever since I began using DefIcons44/TweakWB, my ENV: has grown really big due to the large number of def_xxx.info files--can't I reduce the memory usage somehow?
  8. The Animated Icon from Boing Bag 1 doesn't work here; any ideas?
  9. I'm using a 16-bit (65,536 colors) Workbench screen, yet the new icon editor of OS 3.5 uses its own screen instead of the Workbench; why?
  10. How does the "Start from" ARexx cycle gadget option work in the icon information window?

1.
Q: I have a graphics card and/or RTG software installed. When I open a window with a lot of icons, a large amount of CHIP RAM is used. Why is that, and how can I avoid it?
A: By default (and for compatibility reasons), OS 3.5 uses CHIP RAM for the new icon system. It is possible to use FAST RAM--the option is built into the OS--but in order to flick the switch, you need a 3rd party tool, e.g. WBC or WBCtrl (in the "Contributions" drawer of the OS 3.5 CD, although a more recent version is available from Aminet).
2.
Q: I don't have a graphics card. Can I render the icons in FAST RAM anyway?
A: Yes. If you have an AGA Amiga, install "FBlit" and you can use WBCtrl--it is aware of the FBlit patch as of v1.3 (from Aminet, not from the CD)--and your icons will then use FAST RAM. Here's the "how to" in short:

Add the following to your S-S after the "Assign ENV: [etc.]" line:

   FBlit
   WBCtrl IMT=ICONFAST

Note: If you're using v3.56e of FBlit, you can skip the next step. Read the FBlit docs and configure it properly.

Add "SIMPLEGELS" to the LoadWB command, so that the last two lines look like this:

   LoadWB SIMPLEGELS
   EndCLI

[John Wasilewski]

3.
Q: What does "LoadWB SIMPLEGELS" do?
A: It reverts the system to the old OS 3.1 style of selecting and dragging icons, which is solid icons and positioning one at a time. The new OS 3.5 way is greyed or dotty icons, and positioning all at once. On my A1200T, SIMPLEGELS prevents the 300K Chip RAM loss when using FBlit and WBCtrl on AGA. [Michael Rye] Note: Robin Hueskes reported his system (using a BVisionPPC with CGX4) was very unstable until he used the "SIMPLEGELS" option, so if you are experiencing problems you might give it a try, even if you're using a graphics card.
4.
Q: Why doesn't Directory Opus 5 display the new OS 3.5 icons?
A: The OS 3.5 icon format is unique to previous icon formats, and it is not the NewIcons format either. You need to download the update patch for Directory Opus from GPSoftware's website.
5.
Q: What are the programs in the "Converter-Scripts" directory for?
A: These tools were not intended to be on the OS 3.5 CD, but Olaf Barthel provided us with the following answer:
  • ClockIcon: Tests a new AppIcon feature: in v44, workbench.library allows the owner of an AppIcon to render the icon image itself. This allows for a clock display to be updated in an AppIcon image (n.b.: check out the new tool "AnimatedIcon" from Boing Bag 1)
  • CondenseIcon: This reads an icon, drops the planar icon image and any associated NewIcons tool types and writes the icon back to disk. This will result in space savings.
  • Convert8ColorIcons: This reads an 8 colour image, attaches a default 8 colour palette to it and writes it back to disk.
  • ConvertMagicWBIcons: This reads a MagicWB icon and writes it back to disk in the new v44 icon.library format (including the matching palette).
  • ConvertNewIcons: This reads a NewIcons format icon and writes it back to disk in the new V44 icon.library format.
  • GlowIconImage: This reads image files, applies the glow effect and writes the result to disk as a V44 format icon.
  • ImageToIcon: This reads an image file and writes it to disk as a v44 format icon.
  • LayoutIcon: This tests the new v44 icon.library LayoutIconA() code.
  • StripIcons: This reads an icon, removes the NewIcons tooltypes or the v44 palette information and writes it back to disk.
6.
Q: Is there a way to make "DefIcons" work with OS 3.5?
A: You can use "DefIcons44" (from Aminet). Its the replacement for OS 3.5, comes with a prefs editor, and is yet another useful tool by Stephan Rupprecht.
7.
Q: Ever since I began using DefIcons44/TweakWB, my ENV: has grown really big due to the large number of def_xxx.info files--can't I reduce the memory usage somehow?
A1: Optimize the icons using Stephan Rupprecht's "CondenseIcon" (from Aminet). It can remove the old planar image from the icon, convert any NewIcons "tooltype image" into an OS 3.5 image, and save an optimized result. That can reduce the size of icons up to 50%. CondenseIcon can enter directories recursively, so you can convert A LOT of icons in one go (highly recommended for your HDD's as well, unless you intend to switch back to OS3.1).
A2: Install HappyENV (from Aminet). It copies files from ENVARC: to ENV: only when they are actually requested by an application, speeding up booting, and saving some RAM as well, as it is optimized for very small files.
A3: Remove default icons you really don't need ("def_tar" etc. might be a good candidate).
A4: Occasionally browse through ENVARC:. Often there's a lot of old config files still there from programs you've deleted a long time ago.
A5: Instead of HappyENV, you can use "HDEnv" to use the full ENV: functionality from a HDD.
A6: Create a directory "Prefs/Env-Icons" and move all the def-icons to this directory. Add "Assign ENV: SYS:Prefs/Env-Icons ADD" to your U-S, and your def-icons can be used but will never use any RAM (better than the HappyENV solution). [Vit Sindlar]
8.
Q: The Animated Icon from Boing Bag 1 doesn't work here, any ideas?
A1: If you're using Directory Opus 5 in Workbench Replacement Mode, the Animated Icon program doesn't work. Try with a genuine Workbench (Directory Opus users hold Shift while booting to skip LoadDB and start the original WB).
A2: Check your gif.datatype and make sure you're using the original OS 3.5 version; remove the gifanim.datatype if you have it installed.
9.
Q: I'm using a 16-bit (65,536 colors) Workbench screen, yet the new icon editor of OS 3.5 uses its own screen instead of the Workbench; why?
A: You don't have enough free pens. IconEdit v44 requires 64 free pens (32 for the normal, 32 for the selected "glowing" image). Reduce the precision (quality) of both the icon and the backdrop rendering from "best" to "good" (you won't notice any real difference). That will usually free enough pens for IconEdit. Note: the same measure has to be taken if you can't open an application on Workbench, e.g. the PiP viewer of PicassoIV, etc.
10.
Q: How does the "Start from" ARexx cycle gadget option work in the icon information window?
A:

[quoting Olaf Barthel]: To support ARexx execution, too, I have added another one of these special tool types called "REXX". The "CLI" and "REXX" tool types are mutually exclusive. When a "REXX" type tool or project icon is double-clicked, it will bring up the familiar "Execute command" requester, placing the name of the file in the command line string gadget. Note: the CLI-type projects are handled differently; their default tool is placed on the command line first. With the REXX type projects the default tool is ignored, since ARexx is more or less their "default" default tool.

The info window now sports a new switch "Prompt for input:", to be used for Shell programs and ARexx scripts. This switch corresponds to the new "DONOTPROMPT" tool type which will keep Workbench from showing the "Enter command and arguments" requester when a Shell program or ARexx script is to be executed. If the switch is in effect, Workbench will execute the command just as if the user had simply hit "OK" in the requester.

This new switch has several benefits. For example, you can now write an ARexx script to rebind the keyboard shortcuts and menus and drop it into the WBStartup drawer. Workbench will quietly execute it (provided, of course, that the RexxMast program was started first) instead of prompting for additional command arguments which may not be needed in the first place.