Well people, 1.4 is in beta and what is to follow is my evaluation/commentary/criticisms. IMHO it is an excellent upgrade from a Workbench user's point of view and DESERVES to be called 2.0.
Workbench 1.4 is distributed with a set of disks:
First off, you cannot run the beta (at least as far as I have seen) unless you have 2 MB of RAM that start at $200000. KickIt loads Kickstart into RAM then you get the Workbench 1.4 prompt (a nifty animation, they have kept the checkmark!) After booting 1.4, an amazing thing becomes evident... IT'S 3D!!!!!!!!! Hide your NeXTs and OS/2 1.2—Workbench is 3D and it is NICE!
That's right... as 3D as four colors will get you. This applies to all utilities, programs and windows. You can have up to a 16-color Workbench, but it does not enhance the 3D-ness at all.
Windows have a solid border along all edges. All standard gadgets (close, Front-to-Back, Back-to-Front and Resize) are now white squares. The Front-to-Back gadgets now have new functions. The left gadget will:
THAT'S RIGHT... BUILT-IN ICONIFICATION! Now let's hope Commodore gave us a place to define a custom image for iconification.
All other things are 3D-ish. Workbench icons 'depress' themselves when selected, unselected windows are 3D-beveled with a curious slider gadget that's on all windows including the Shell. You can have 16-color icons and PATTERNED BACKDROPS (using 16 colors). Currently, you have backdrops for the Workbench and for windows. I would like to see a backdrop for pull down menus as well.
You now have options to "Show All" icon files and you can View them by Icon, Name, Date, and Size. You can fully manipulate files by name as well, (ie. you can pick up filename, drop it in a window that has icons and BOOOOOM!! you have moved it and the icon appears in the window! SMART OS eh?) You select group files by just pressing the LMB and dragging the outline window and you have just selected a group of files to act upon. This works with filenames in a window as well.
Here is a list of menu strips from Workbench 1.4:
Workbench Window Icons Tools --------- ------ ----- ----- Backdrop New Drawer Open Reset WB Execute Cmd Open Parent Copy Redraw All Close Update Remove (other apps can Update All Select Contents Info be added here) Last Error Clean Up Snapshot Version Snapshot >>> Windows UnSnapshot Quit Contents Leave Out Show >>> Only Icons Put Away All Files Delete View By >>> Icon Format Disk Name Empty Trash Date Size
The CLI has one MAJOR enhancement. It has 24 commands built in (Resident lists them as INTERNAL). This was done for:
They are as follows:
Prompt, CD, Stack, Why, Skip, Quit, Path, If, Fault, FailAt, Else, Ask, Resident, Echo, EndShell, EndCli, Lab, EndSkip, EndIf, GetEnv, Get, SetEnv, Alias, Set
As far as I can tell, not much has changed as far as script language goes. And I have no idea how we are going to add new commands that are called the same as the INTERNAL command (resident says--"resident can't remove XXXXXXX") But then again, I didn't get any docs. :-)
Since this is BETA it is assumed no new features will be added. Noticeably absent were:
One interesting thing... if you have 1.3 in ROM and 1.4 Kickstart in a file you can dual-boot (shades of OS/2). Nice for use with incompatible programs.
Regular boot (1.3 Workbench same as usual)
KickIt boot (1.4 Workbench with RAM-based Kickstart)
Now if Commodore would distribute 1.4 as a file. (RIGGGHHHTTT!!!!! SnowBall in HELL's chance).
When you run a program like KDVIII you will get a green requester saying:
"Something is intercepting XXXXXXX "--- DoIO, Trackdisk
" At address $XXXXXX" --- An address
Not too bad...
This is a "recoverable alert" it is an informative, no-memory needed requester. A "dead_end alert" is red and means "uh oh your system is in serious trouble its going to crash!"
You also get requesters for things a program needs but are not there, like:
"Please insert disk with libs/arp.library" -- When using programs that need the arp.library.
Requesters can now have the following booleans:
Included on the Extras disk is what seems to be a HD backup utility, called BRUShell. I don't have a hard drive, so I couldn't test it; looks a lot like Quarterback. Not related to hard disks but useful nonetheless is the fact that FFS is available on floppies and you can now boot in any drive other than DF0: (DLII Escape FSC booted and got to the "Hit Fire to Play" then froze—oh well).