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OS/2 2.0 Guide to the Work Place Shell. Good intro to the Object Oriented paragdim of WPS. Lots of usefull info. .
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OS/2 2.0 Guide to the Work Place Shell. Good intro to the Object Oriented paragdim of WPS. Lots of usefull info. .
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Contents of the WPSGUIDE.TXT file

The Unofficial Guide to the Workplace Shell
by Jeff Cohen (last revised February 14, 1992)
Internet: [email protected]

You just installed OS/2 2.0 6.177, the Limited Availability release.
You noticed there was something a little different about the title
bars during the graphical portion of the installation, but as the
system comes up for the first time it hits you: Toto, I have a
feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. Everything looks different, and
you can't get anything to work anymore. You desperately want to click
your ruby slippers three times and wish to go back home to the old
OS/2. Or, you're a long time Windows user and you can't make any
sense of what you see. In any case, you become convinced IBM has lost
its mind.

You are the victim of a paradigm shift. It is not your imagination;
the new Workplace Shell (WPS) really does operate on completely
different principles.

This guide is for you, the new, bewildered owner of OS/2 2.0. When
you've finished reading this, you should be able to find your way in
the new world of WPS. If you're not one of these people, don't stop
reading. You went through the effort of acquiring and reading this to
find out what all the fuss was about, and I hope you won't be

But first, the obligatory disclaimer: the information within is
correct to the best of my knowledge (and I do use the WPS on a daily
basis), but do not depend on it being 100% correct. It is not in any
way "official" nor does it represent any commitment on the part of

-- Quickie info for first time WPS user.

The first time, just after system installation, WPS takes a LONG LONG
time to come up. You'll see a blank screen with continuous disk
activity. It's normal for this to take as long as 15 minutes. After
this first-time initialization is complete, startups will go
significantly faster (but could still be considered somewhat slow).

Try to forget what you learned from Windows or previous versions of
OS/2. Old habits more likely than not will have to change. If you're
too impatient to read the rest of this document, here's a quick
rundown on Things You Should Know:

* Left mouse button for selection, right button for manipulation.

* Click on icons and empty spaces with right mouse button to bring
up pop-up menus.

* Do not move objects to the Startup folder. The prefered way is
to create shadows (which see) and put them in Startup instead.

* ALWAYS DO A SHUTDOWN. Click on empty spot of desktop with right
mouse button, and select Shutdown from pop-up menu.

* Do not be too proud to take the tutorial. It will come up
automatically after the installation completes.

* Immediately shutdown right after taking the tutorial. This
appears to avoid some problems with WPS later on.

* It is best to explicitly close folders after modifying them in
some fashion, prior to shuting down.

* Minimized windows will vanish -- no icon will appear. The icon
used to open the window in the first place will bring it back.
This is a result of the new paradigm (which see).

* The swap file will grow unpleasantly large. Make sure it resides
on a partition with enough free space (more than 15mb if

* You'll stumble across more WPS bugs than you'd like to, but most
are quite minor. Performance is still being worked on (and there
are some areas which definitely need work).

If you should crash the shell, all is not necessarily lost. There's a
"dead-man switch" in the system that restarts the WPS process if it
dies. More info on this later on.

-- The new paradigm.

The paradigm has shifted from application- to object-orientation. The
old Desktop Manager was application-oriented. First you selected and
launched an application, then from within the application selected the
file you wanted to work on. All the Desktop Manager knows about are
applications. The Windows Program Manager worked likewise.

With WPS, everything is an object. Each file, each folder, even the
desktop itself is an object. To do something with an object, you
select it and ask WPS what you can do with it, and then select one of
the options presented. Naturally, there are different types of
objects, each with its own set of properties and available actions.

For example, to edit a file under the old paradigm, you found the
editor application, launched it, then asked the editor to open the
desired file. With WPS, you find the file you want to edit, bring up
its pop-menu listing the available operations, and select the editing
operation. The file will be an icon in a folder; there is great
flexibility in organizing your desktop so that the relevant files will
be "at your fingertips."

For another example, consider the "exit" entry normally found in the
File menu. CUA '91 applications do not have it. It makes sense to
exit an application, but not an object. What you can do is close a
view of an object. If opening the view launched an application in the
first place, then closing it will exit the associated application --
but this takes place "under the covers." The user need not be
concerned with it. Indeed, depending on the object type, opening a
view might NOT launch an application (for example, folder objects).

The WPS replaces not only the Desktop Manager, but also the Control
Panel, the Print Manager, and the File Manager.

The Control Panel functions are replaced by a collection of objects,
one for each aspect of the system that can be customized (mouse,
keyboard, colors, etc.). You'll find that the new shell offers far
more flexibility in customizing the system.

The Print Manager functions are replaced by printer objects, which
serve the function previously provided by print queues. A printer
object is a type of container object, and contains objects to be

WARNING: be sure to install a default printer during system
installation, otherwise there won't be a way to install additional
printers later on.

The File Manager's functions are now provided directly by the WPS
itself. Each directory is a WPS folder, and every folder is a file
system directory. There is great flexibility in how a folder is
displayed. Each file is an icon in the folder. File Manager type
operations may be performed on a file via it's settings notebook
(which see).

The WPS is the implementation of the Common User Access (CUA) '91
standard. The older OS/2 shell, the Desktop Manger (and the Windows
3.0 shell too), followed the older CUA '89 standard. The goal of the
new CUA standard is to make computers even easier for the average
person to use. IBM recently announced CUA '91 and its manuals can now
be ordered:

SC34-4289 SAA CUA Guide to User Interface Design
SC34-4290 SAA CUA Advanced Interface Design Reference

I recommend reading them, especially if you intend to develop
applications for OS/2 2.0. A warning is in order: while reading the
CUA '91 manuals will provide useful insight into how WPS works from
the user's perspective, there are still significant areas of
deviation. By release, WPS should conform more closely to the CUA
standard, but it will still have significant deviations. I'll try to
point these out.

-- What can you do with mice?

The selection button (SB) is normally the left mouse button, or button
1. To select an object, click on its icon with the SB. To select a
folder that's open, you may also click within it on an empty part. To
select the desktop, click on an empty part of that.

An object's icon will show it's selected by being surrounded by a grey
backdrop; this is known as selection emphasis.

Mutiple objects can be selected simultaneously. Clicking the SB while
holding down the control key, or CTRL-SB, toggles the selection state
of an icon.

A marquee selection also selects a group of objectss. While pressing
the SB, drag out an area of a folder. An rectangular outline
highlights the area while the SB is pressed. As icons fall in or out
of the highlighted area, their selection status changes (visibly).

A swipe is another way to select a group of objects. After selecting
a single object by clicking its icon, *without* releasing the mouse
button drag the mouse and touch the other objects you wish to select.
If you accidentally select an object, you can deselect it later via

Each folder has its own set of currently selected objects, independent
of any other folder.

The above actually applies to all container objects, of which a folder
is a sub-type. Another example of a container object is a printer
object. Workplace applications will typically define their own
types of container objects.

The manipulation button (MB) is normally the right mouse button, or
button 2. There are various flavors of manipulations: move, copy,
pop-up menu, and shadow creation. Move, copy, and shadow creation are
collectively known as direct manipulation. Using the pop-menu is
considered to be an indirect form of manipulation.

A move is the simplest manipulation of them all. Just point the mouse
at a currently selected object, press the MB, drag it to where you
want to drop it, and finally release the MB. If other objects were
also selected within the same folder, they too will participate in the
move. While the drag is taking place, the mouse pointer will show the
icons of the object(s) being moved.

The mouse pointer also indicates where it's legal to end the drag.
Where it's illegal, the pointer includes the international "do not
enter" sign. Nothing will happen when terminating a drag to an
illegal spot. Where it is legal, the receiving object (and there must
be one for it to be legal) is highlighted by having a box drawn around
it. When the receiver's an open view, the box is drawn just inside
its window's borders.

What happens when the drag completes depends on where you drop the
objects. If you move them to a different spot within the same folder,
their new location is remembered. You may also move them to some spot
in a different folder, or you may drop them on another object.

When you drop objects on another object, the resulting action depends
on the objects involved. If you drop an object on the Shredder, for
example, the object will be destroyed. Drop it on a printer object,
and the object will somehow generate output to be printed. Drop it on
a folder object (its icon, not an open window), and the objects will
be moved to the folder. Application-defined objects can naturally
display rich semantics when dropped on one another.

A copy differs from a move in that the selected objects remain in
their original location. To copy instead of move, hold down the
control key when you complete the drag. While control is pressed, the
icons displayed as part of the mouse pointer take on a faded

A shadow differs from a copy in that a link to the original object,
rather than a duplicate object, is made. Shadows are explained in
more detail later on. Press shift in addition to control when
completing the drag. The mouse pointer reflects this by drawing a
line connecting itself to the original object(s).

The operation is not determined until the drag is complete. Only then
will the state of the shift and control keys determine what is done.
However, the appearance of the mouse pointer will always reflect the
current state of these keys. This type of immediate visual feedback
is major feature of both the WPS and CUA '91. If you wish to cancel
the operation, hit ESC before releasing the mouse button.

Again, in the above, everywhere you see "folder" you can substitute
any type of container object. Folders are used because they are the
most common type of container object, and so make a good example.

A minor bug: if an object is moved only slightly or back onto itself,
an error may be flagged or the "do not enter" sign will be displayed;
the WPS thinks you're trying to drag an object onto itself.

Every object has a pop-up menu, with which you can indirectly
manipulate it. The contents of this menu obviously depend on the type
of object. The menu will only contain actions that are currently
applicable; you'll never see "disabled" entries. Click on a selected
object with the MB to pop up a menu.

The pop-up menu for one selected object applies to ALL currently
selected objects within the folder. All selected objects will perform
the chosen action. Not surprisingly, the menu will contain only those
actions common to all the selected objects.

A container object's pop-up menu can be accessed from an open view
(window) on the object. Click on an "empty" spot with the MB within
the window or on the mini-icon in the left part of the title bar.
Container objects include, of course, folders and the desktop
(although the desktop does not have a visible title bar).

In case you're wondering, the desktop really is an object and does
have an icon that can be "manipulated." As a homework assignment, try
to find where this icon makes its home. The answer will be provided
in the section on the desktop object.

There are other things you can do with mouse buttons. Double-clicking
an object's icon with the SB will open a view of the object. For a
program object, this means executing the program. A folder object
opens a window revealing a view of its contents.

An object's name may be changed by clicking on either the text
associated with its icon or in the title bar of one of its views.
Click with button 1 while pressing the ALT key. The text will turn
into an entry field which you can edit in the usual fashion. You may
insert a newline if you wish, but the results aren't very pleasing.
To terminate the editing operation, click on the icon (if you were
editing the icon's descriptive name) or somewhere else in the window
(if you were editing a title bar). What you're really editing is the
object's name, and when you're finished all occurances of that name on
the display will be updated. If you decide you don't want to change
the name after all, hit the ESC key to cancel the operation.

To an extent, mouse button mappings are configurable. Go to the
System Setup folder (within the OS/2 System folder), open the Mouse
object, select the Mappings page in the notebook, and make the desired
changes. They'll take effect immediately. There is a shorthand for
the above sort of directions: OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Mouse ->

-- Objects and views.

An object is represented by its icon. Manipulating the icon
manipulates the object. The icon reflects the status of the object,
whether it's selected (grey backdrop), has an open view (cross-hatched
backdrop), is pointed at by the keyboard cursor (box outline), or some
combination of the three.

An object's icon may be visible in several places on the display
simultaneously. The folder containing the object may have several
views open simultaneously; each view will show the icon. Or, the
object may have shadows. A shadow may reside in a different folder,
but in any case is visually indistinguishable from the real object.
All instances of an object's icon, be they shadow or not, will show
the same open emphasis. They all represent the same object, and any
of them may be used to manipulate it.

Objects contain data, state, or other types of information. Objects
provide views on this information. A view takes the form of a window
on the display. An object may provided several types of views. For
example, a folder provides three different types of views of its
contents plus another view on its settings. An object's icon shows
in-use or open emphasis while a view is open.

There are two ways of opening a view. The simplest is to double-click
the icon with the SB. When more than one type of view is available,
the default type is opened. The other way is to bring up the pop-up
menu and click on the arrow button for "Open". This will bring up a
cascading menu showing the types of views you may open.

A given view may not be open multiple times simultaneously. (Note:
this is not CUA compliant.) If you try to open a view which already
has an open instance, the currently open instance will instead be
surfaced to the top of the desktop. This is important to remember, as
there are no longer any minimized application icons.

Again, objects are what the user sees, not applications. Depending on
the object type, opening a view may launch an application (if it isn't
already running), but this takes place under the covers. For other
types of objects, particularly those that come with WPS, opening a
view does not launch an application, nor even (necessarily) create a
new process.

That having been said, there is one case where opening a view *does*
explicitly launch an application: program objects. These objects
*are* applications, and serve the same purpose as the old Desktop
Manager group entries or Windows PIFs. However, only one instance of
an application can be launched from a particular program object. If
you need multiple instances, you need to make multiple program objects
for the application.

One almost universally available view is "Settings", usually a
notebook control. A notebook control, new for 2.0, is like a
multiple-page dialog box. The Settings view is also a resizable

You'll notice that settings notebooks generally do not have a Save or
OK button. Changes take effect *immediately* (whenever it makes sense
to do so). Hence, these buttons are unnecessary. This, too, is part
of CUA '91. An Undo button is still available. To dismiss a settings
notebook, close it as you would any other window via the system menu.

-- Object pop-up menus.

The actions listed in an object's pop-up menu are obviously dependent
on its type, but there are some common to most objects.

But first a note on cascading menus. You'll notice that there are two
types of arrows marking a cascading menu, a flat arrow and a button
arrow. The button arrow is new for 2.0. You must click the button
arrow to bring up the cascading menu. If you click elsewhere (on the
text), the cascading menu will not come up; instead the default
(checkmarked) action in the cascading menu will be performed. Which
action is the default can be set in the object's settings notebook
(but, alas, only rarely in 6.177).

Always first is "Open ->", which was described in the previous

Also universally present is "Help ->". A cascading menu will present
the usual help choices, Help index, General help, Using help, and
Product information.

"Window ->", usually present (but only) on open views, will cascade to
show the standard system menu choices, Restore, Move, Size, Minimize,
Maximize, Close, and Window List.

"Create another" will create a new object of the same type. This
object will be "empty", with the precise meaning of "empty" dependent
on the object's type. The effect is the same as if you used one of
the templates available for the object's type.

"Delete..." will delete the object. It's equivalent to dragging the
object to the shredder.

"Move..." and "Copy..." perform the same functions as dragging an
object with the mouse (with or without holding down control as
appropriate), but do it via a dialog box. The dialog box allows you
to specify the destination of the (new) object.

"Create shadow..." performs the same function as CTRL-SHIFT-MB, but
with a dialog box (as above). Shadows will be covered later.

"Close" is always last, and will only appear on open views.

The above operations apply to just about any kind of object, though
there are exceptions. Some object types allow customization of the
menu. To do so, open the Settings view and select the "Menu" page.

The pop-up menu for an open view mixes view-specific and
object-specific operations. This can sometimes be confusing, and is
a CUA violation.

-- Object types.

There aren't that many predefined object types that come with WPS.
New object types can be defined by Workplace Applications, but of
course there aren't any (yet). The beta toolkit that supports 6.177
will allow you to develop such applications.

There are four major object types you'll encounter: programs, data
files, printers, and folders. As in other object-oriented systems,
specialized types can be defined which inherit and modify the behavior
of these major types. For example, the desktop is a special type of
folder. This is relevant only to the application developer, however;
users cannot define new object types. Every object is an instance
of some type.

---- Programs.

A program object is equivalent to an entry in the old Desktop
Manager's group window or to a Windows PIF. A program object is not
the program itself, but a reference to it. A program object has two
views, Settings and Program. Opening the Program view either lauches
the application or surfaces it to the top of the desktop, depending on
whether it's already running.

The Settings view brings up a notebook that is similar in content to
the old Properties dialog box of the Desktop Manager. In it, you can
set the program's name, the location of the executable file (COM, EXE,
CMD, or BAT), the working directory to use, the starting parameters,
whether it's full-screen or windowed, DOS or OS/2, or a full-screen
Windows session, and the icon to use. If the application uses PM,
you will not be permitted to select the session type.

It is no longer possible to have an application start out minimized or
maximized. It's not clear whether this will be changed. The only way
to mark a program object as auto-start at system initialization is to
place a shadow of it in the Startup folder (which see) or to have it
running when you perform a system shutdown.

For a DOS or Windows application, you can also bring up a dialog box
which customizes the DOS box environment. There are about 40 separate
parameters you can tweak. They can be grouped into the following
categories: keyboard, memory, mouse, printer timeout, video, and
"other." The memory settings allow great control over conventional,
EMS, XMS, and DPMI memory usage.

When a program object is for a DOS application, and the application is
currently running, an extra operation appears on its pop-up menu
allowing you to switch between windowed and full-screen modes. The
ALT-HOME key also performs a switch.

A program object may also be associated with data objects via the
Associations page in the program object's settings notebook. This
permits the program object to be listed as an "open" option in the
pop-up menus of all qualifying data objects.

An example: the way the system is shipped, the Enhanced Editor is
not associated with any data files, unlike the System Editor. Here's
how you remedy this oversight:

1. Open Productivity folder.
2. Locate Enhanced Editor object.
3. Open Settings view, using pop-up menu.
4. Go to the Associations page.
5. Select desired file types using upper pair of list boxes.
6. Select desired file name patterns using lower pair.

There is one small catch: by default a file has no file type. Until
it's assigned one, it cannot be associated via file type. To set the
file type, do the following:

1. Locate the data file's icon.
2. Open Settings view, using pop-up menu.
3. Go to Type page.
4. Select desired file type.

To repeat, a program object is NOT the program itself. In particular,
shredding a program object will not delete the program. You can also
have as many program objects for a single program as you like, each
with different startup parameters, etc...

---- Data files.

A data file represents a real file in the file system. If you shred
its icon, you WILL delete the file.

The pop-up menu for a file contains an additional operation, "Print
->". The cascade menu allows you to specify which printer to use, if
the current default printer is not appropriate.

The only view normally available to a data file is the Settings view.
There are four pages in the settings notebook: Type, Menu, File, and

The Type page allows you to declare the type of data stored in the
file. Possible choices include C Code, Bitmap, and OS/2 Commands.
The type, along with the file name's extension, determine what other
views may be available.

The Menu page allows customization of the pop-up menu. You may add
additional entries to the "open" submenu, or create new submenus.

The File pages (there are three of them) provide the information that
used to be provided by the old File Manager: descriptive and physical
names; created, modified, and last accessed time and dates; data and
extended attribute sizes; attribute flags; subject, comments, key
phrases, and history information. Some of these cannot be provided
for files residing on a FAT file system.

The difference between descriptive and physical names is important.
The descriptive name is what appears with the icon. The physical
name is the actual name known to the file system. The two need not be
the same. A big advantage: long, descriptive file names can be used
even without HPFS.

There is some possibility for confusion, however. Nothing stops two
objects in the same folder from having the same descriptive name, even
though they must have unique physical names. Indeed, all you have to
do to create this situation is copy an object via CTRL-SB. The copy
will have the same descriptive name, but the physical name will be
slightly different.

You cannot directly change the physical name using WPS. Changing the
descriptive name will also change the physical name, but not
necessarily to what you expect. WPS will choose a physical name
that's as close as possible to the descriptive name, given the
limitations of the file system and subject to the restriction that it
differ from any other physical file name in the same directory. In
general, expect to be unpleasantly surprised when altering descriptive
names or moving/copying files using WPS. This will be improved by GA.

The General page provides several functions common to virtually all
object types, and can be found in all settings notebooks. It will
only be described here in detail. This page empowers you to change
the object's descriptive name, to mark the object as a template, and
to view and edit the object's current icon. There are still a few
problems with customizing icons. (Non-file-system objects do not
have physical names, only descriptive names.)

A data file might really be an executable program. The settings
notebook for an executable contains additional pages also present in
a program object: Program, Session and Association. See program
objects for a description of these pages.

---- Printers.

A printer object is like a queue in the old Print Manager. Each
object is associated with a specific physical printer, setup for
specific characteristics. A default printer object is created for you
during installation. For brevity's sake, "printer objects" will be
refered to as just "printers." "Physical printer" will be used when
the distinction is necessary.

The pop-up menu for a printer has two unique operations: "Change
status" and "Set default". Change status allows you to hold all the
jobs in the queue, to prevent them from printing yet. Set default
selects which printer is used when one is not specifically selected.

A printer has three views: Settings, Icon, and Detail.

In the Icon View, each job in the queue is displayed as an icon. A
pop-up menu may be brought up for an icon in the usual fashion.
Through this menu, you can hold, release, or delete the job.

In the Detail view, each job in the queue is displayed as a line of
textual information. A pop-up menu is still available, by clicking
on a line.

The Settings view is a notebook with 6 pages: View, Printer driver,
Output, Queue options, Print options, and General.

The View page determines the default view that comes up when
double-clicking the printer, and the printer's physical name.

The Printer driver page shows the set of installed printer drivers
(and which one is used by this printer), and allows you to bring up
the Job properties dialog box for the driver. All icons you see on
this page are true objects. They have a pop-up menu, and they can be
dragged onto either printer objects or the shredder.

The Output page selects to which serial or parallel port the printer
is attached, or whether output is to be directed to a file. The
ports you see, serial and parallel, are true objects. The ports
currently assigned to a printer (any printer) show in-use emphasis.
They also have pop-up menus and a settings view. The settings view
for a parallel port allows you to set the timeout value, and the
settings for a serial port allows you to set that and also the baud
rate, parity, and other serial port type stuff.

The Queue options page mainly selects the queue driver. All icons you
see on this page are true objects. They have a pop-up menu, and they
can be dragged onto either printer objects or the shredder.

The Print options page specifies a separator file (used to provide a
separator page between print jobs), and when during the day this
printer may print (remember: logical, not physical printer).

A file may be printed by dragging and dropping it on a printer.

It's not obvious how to install a new printer, especially one that
requires a new printer driver to be installed. Here's the procedure:

1. Open Templates folder.
2. Drag Printer from folder to desktop.

A dialog box pops up automatically.

3. Enter name and printer port.
4. Push "Create another" button.

The new printer will appear (most likely) way off the screen (a bug),
causing a scroll bar to appear on the right side of the desktop. A
desktop "Arrange" can cure this.

5. Open Settings view of new printer.
6. Go to the Printer driver page.
7. From the upper box, select the desired printer driver.

If you're installing a new printer, you won't find its driver in step
7 above. You must first install it: bring up the pop-up menu for any
existing driver, and select "Install..." to get an installation

If the new printer requires a new queue driver as well, go to the
Queue options page, bring up the pop-up menu for any of the listed
queue drivers, and select "Install..." to get an installation dialog.

---- Folders.

Every folder corresponds to a directory in the file system. The
desktop is a special type of folder, and in reality is \DESKTOP.
The top-level folders on the desktop are subdirectories of this

A folder may contain any kind of object. Objects which are data files
are real files residing in the file system directory corresponding to
the folder. Other types of objects, known as abstract objects, are
stored in the OS2.INI file. There are also transient objects, whose
storage is the responsibility of the application which defines them.

Some information about a folder is also kept in OS2.INI; other
information is stored in the extended attributes of the folder's

The pop-up menu for folders contains three unique operations:
Find..., Select ->, and Arrange.

Find will search the folder, and optionally any sub-folders, for
objects meeting selected criteria. It will create a new folder on the
desktop, called "Find Results", which contains shadows of all objects
found. Shadows are yet to be covered, but you may safely shred this
folder without destroying your objects. Only the first 32 objects
found will be shadowed in the results folder.

Select will give you the option of selecting or deselecting all
objects in the folder.

Arrange will neatly arrange all the icons in the folder's window.
There is a minimum icon spacing, but icons will always be spaced far
enough apart so that their names don't overlap.

A folder's view will not be automatically updated when a file is
created or destroyed by asynchronous means (such as via a command line
in an OS/2 window). The "Refresh" operation in the pop-up menu will
correct for this. This is a temporary restriction in 6.177.

A variant of the folder is a "work area". A folder becomes a work
area by the checking of a settings notebook's File page option.
A work area is identical to a folder except: when a work area is
minimized, all objects contained within it are also minimized; when a
work area is restored, all objects within it also have their open
views restored; when a work area is closed, all objects contained
within are closed; when the work area is subsequently re-opened, all
objects within it which were open at the time the work area was last
closed automatically re-open. The usefulness of work areas is

A folder has four different views: Icon, Tree, Details, and Settings.
Any or all may be open simultaneously. Some of the settings are
specific to a view; these are described under the appropriate view.
The title bar of an open view is of the form, "object name - view

------ Icon view.

This is the default view. Each object is an icon, which may be
positioned at any arbitrary position within the window.

The View page of the settings notebook allows you to customize the
icon view's format, icon display, and font.

There are three formats:

* Non-grid (default). Icons can appear at any arbitrary position
within the window. Similar to Windows Program Manager groups.

* Non-flowed. A single column of icons, with the names to the right
of their respective icons. Similar to Desktop Manager groups.

* Flowed. Multiple columns of icons, with names to the right.
Similar to the DOS 5 shell, if icons are suppressed.

The icon size and font can be indepently customized for each of the
three formats. Any font and point size may be selected. Icons may
either be normal (default) or small size. In flowed and non-flowed
modes, icons can be suppressed altogether.

------ Tree view.

The tree view shows the contents as a directory tree, similar in
fashion to what the old File Manager did. The folder is at the root
of the tree. Subtrees can be collapsed or expanded. The icon and
name for each folder (subdirectory) is displayed. The pop-up menu for
these folders may be accessed in the normal fashion, allowing you to
open or manipulate them.

The View page of the settings notebook allows you to customize the
tree view's format, icon display, and font. The icon display and
font are customized as for the icon view. The format may be either
"lines" or "no lines". In lined mode, the tree structure is
emphasized with the drawing of lines.

------ Details view.

The details view uses one line for each object. The view is split
vertically into two panes. The left pane shows the object's icon and
descriptive name. The right pane gives details on the object. The
boundary between the panes is adjustable.

The View page of the settings notebook allows you to customize the
details' display. You can select the font and which details get
displayed. The details displayed may be based on the object's type.
This doesn't quite work right in 6.177.

The pop-up menu for an object within the details view may be brought
up in the usual fashion, by clicking on the icon or anywhere else on
the detail line.

------ Settings.

In addition to the View page, described above, there are six other
pages in the settings notebook: Include, Backround, Menu, File, and

The Include page allows you to select which objects will be displayed
in the views. Selection criteria include the object's type and name.

The Backround page selects the backround for the views. You can
either select a color or a bitmap image. Minor bug: by default, only
C:\OS2\BITMAP is searched for bitmaps, even if OS/2 was installed on
a different partition.

The Menu page allows customization of the pop-up menu. You may add
additional entries to the "open" submenu, or create entirely new

The File pages (there are three of them), provide the information that
used to be provided by the old File Manager: descriptive and physical
names; created, modified, and last accessed time and dates; data and
extended attribute sizes; attribute flags; subject, comments, key
phrases, and history information. Some of these cannot be provided
for files residing on a FAT file system.

-- Miscellaneous topics.

---- Shadows.

Shadows are aliases for objects. A shadow is identical to the object
it shadows in all respects, except one: deleting a shadow does not
affect the object it shadows. Deleting an object causes the deletion
of all its shadows.

There can be confusion, as there's no visual distinction between
objects and their shadows. However, there is a distinction in the
pop-up menu. A shadow has an additional operation, "Original ->".
The submenu has three operations, Locate, Copy..., and Delete....

The Locate operation will cause selection of the original object. If
necessary, its containing folder will be opened or resurfaced so that
it's visible.

The Copy... operation brings up a copy dialog box for the original
object. The effect is as if you selected Copy... for the original

The Delete... operation deletes the original object, and all shadows
of it. The effect is as if you dragged the original object to the

Shadows are not CUA '91 compliant, and is a major area of deviation.
CUA '91 has reflections, not shadows. The difference is that there is
NO difference between all reflections of an object, while with shadows
there is a distinction between an object and a shadow. In UNIX-speak,
an object is an i-node, a reflection is a file system link, and a
shadow is a symbolic link. (When I think of a good non-UNIX analogy,
I'll include it).

---- Window List.

The Window List replaces the old Task List. It has an entry for each
object that's in use or PM application that's running. When an object
has views, those views are listed indented under the object itself.

A pop-up menu can be brought up on a Window List entry by clicking
with the MB. This menu allows you to bring up help information,
surface the view or application, or to hide or close (terminate) it.

Note that several entries can be selected simultaneously, and that
the pop-up menu will apply to *all* selected entries, and *only*
selected entries.

The Window List can be brought up via any window's system menu, by
typing CTRL-ESC, or by clicking both MB and SB on an empty spot on the

---- Minimized windows.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. An icon no longer appears when you
minimize a window. Why? Because otherwise you'd have two icons for
the same object with completely different properties. Non-gurus have
difficulty dealing with this, so CUA '91 abolished minimized icons.

So how do you bring back a minimized window?

* Use the Window List.

* Double-click on the object's icon.

Method two works because, unlike before, it doesn't start an
application if it's already running. You can tell if its running
because, if it is, its icon will display in-use emphasis
(cross-hatched backround).

However, you can bring back minimized icons using the System object
to change the relevant system setting. The icons will go to the
bottom of the screen as usual, but will have a box drawn around each
icon, thus distinguishing them from objects.

Actually, CUA prefers use of the term "hide" to "minimized" if no
minimized icon is to appear. WPS does not consistently do this.

---- WPS restarts.

If the WPS process crashes and burns, a new one will be started. In
previous versions of OS/2, if the Desktop Manager died you had little
choice but to reboot. Now, you may be able to continue from a WPS
crash as if nothing happened.

It's a little disconcerting when it happens. All windows belonging to
WPS will close. Non-WPS processes and applications are oblivious to
what's going on, but you won't be able to interact with them until WPS
is running again.

WARNING: you may need to hit RETURN to get WPS restarted.

After all traces of the old WPS process have been cleaned up, the
system starts up a new WPS process. The new process will act as if
the system just booted, meaning that anything in the Startup folder
will be opened again, even if it survived the WPS crash.

WARNING: all processes and applications which do survive the WPS
crash will find their connection to WPS objects severed. You'll no
longer be able to surface them by double-clicking their icon, for
example. Indeed the icon won't show open emphasis, and
double-clicking it opens a new instance.

---- Alternative shells.

No, you can't go back to the old Desktop Manager. But there *are*
alternatives to using the Workplace Shell if you find it unacceptable
for whatever reasons.

The simplest alternative is to run without a graphical user interface
at all. There's no law that says you must run Presentation Manager.
Indeed, when you boot the OS/2 installation disk, you are booting OS/2
sans PM.

To eliminate PM and WPS, replace PMSHELL.EXE with CMD.EXE in the
PROTSHELL statement in the CONFIG.SYS file. The system will come up
with a single full-screen session. You will not be able to start
other sessions, meaning you cannot run DOS and Windows applications.
Nor can you start PM or WPS applications. The START command will
refuse to work, but DETACH will work. However, you'll be rewarded
with snappy response times and a miniscule swap file.

You can bring up PM and WPS at any time by executing PMSHELL from the
command line. Once you do this, however, you lose access to the
original full-screen session; even though it's still running, you
cannot go back to it.

There's no way to do a proper shutdown either. If you're using
lazy-writes, on either FAT or HPFS, the best you can do is to
CTRL-ALT-DEL. This command to reboot is caught by the kernel, which
permits the file systems to flush their buffers before allowing the
reboot to take place.

But what if you still want PM, DOS sessions, and all the rest? No
problem. Any PM program may be used as a shell instead of WPS. In
CONFIG.SYS, there is a line which looks like this:


Replace PMSHELL.EXE with the PM program you want to use instead as the
shell (but do NOT replace it in the PROTSHELL statement). You can use
CMD.EXE here as well. Indeed, let's assume you do so...

When the system comes up, you'll see a single windowed OS/2 command
session on the PM desktop and nothing else. The window will have the
title, "Workplace Shell", for some strange reason. You can launch PM
applications, DOS sessions or applications, Windows applications, and
other OS/2 command sessions via the START command. Some other points
worth noting:

* The Window List can only be accessed by either CTRL-ESC or the
System Menu of a window.

* The original windowed OS/2 command session and the Window List
will always be behind every other window on the desktop, even
when they have the focus.

* There's no way to do a proper shutdown. CTRL-ALT-DEL is the only

* If you exit the original windowed OS/2 command session, it will be
restarted (just like WPS gets restarted when it crashes).

* Clicking on a window will not bring it up to the top of the
z-order, even though it does receive the focus.

This last unfortunate fact of life is due to the fact that the WPS
now controls when a window is brought to the top of the display; any
alternate shell must therefore provide the same function to be really
usable. Notice how bringing up a pop-up menu on a folder, or an
object within a folder, when that folder is partially obscured, does
not resurface the folder.

-- Supplied objects.

OS/2 2.0 comes with many objects. The major objects are described in
the following sections. The descriptive path for each object is
provided, starting from the desktop.

This information is current as of 6.177. Needless to say, future
betas, never mind the released product, are subject to change.

---- Desktop

The desktop is a special kind of folder. What you see occupying the
entire display is its icon view. You can also open the tree and
details view of the desktop if you wish; these will appear as normal

The desktop's pop-up menu has additional operations in it not present
for normal folders: Lockup now, and Shutdown. It lacks Window ->.

Shutdown performs a system shutdown.

WARNING: you *must* perform a shutdown to save the state of the WPS,
regardless of whether you're using FAT or HPFS file systems. The only
way to save the state of a folder is to close it, and the only way to
close the desktop is to perform a shutdown. If you do not, you may
lose icons and other nasty things might occur.

The desktop is not just a folder, but also a work area. Hence
closing the desktop, via Shutdown, closes everything else
automatically, and arranges for them to open again when the system

Lockup now will lock up the system until a password is entered. Note:
if too many erroneous passwords are entered trying to unlock the
system, WPS will complain and refuse any further attempt to enter a
password. Nice idea, but with a disasterous implication: you can't
do a shutdown. A bug.

The settings notebook for the desktop has 3 additional pages under
Lockup. It allows the specification of automatic lockup, and how many
minutes of keyboard idleness before it engages, what bitmap to display
when locking up the system, and the password required to unlock. If
you do not specify a password before locking up manually, WPS will ask
for one.

---- Information

A folder containing the OS/2 Command Reference, REXX information, OS/2
Tutorial, and Glossary. The first two use the familiar VIEW command,
and are very similar to their OS/2 1.3 counterparts. The Glossary is
the same type of object as the Master Index, described below.

---- Master Index

An index object scans the help files in the directory specified by an
environment variable, collects their indexes, merges them together,
and displays them. The Glossary object uses the GLOSSARY variable,
while Master Index uses HELP. The settings notebook specifies the
environment variable used by the object.

The only other view is List. It brings up a notebook, displaying
the merged index, with tabs for each letter A through Z. You can also
scroll through the list.

Double-clicking on an index entry brings up a new window, which shows
the desired topic from the appropriate help file. Embedded hyperlinks
within the help text work as usual.

You may use the Search topics button or menu operation to locate a
subset of the index entries containing a desired string.

---- Shredder

Any object dragged to the shredder will be destroyed. If a folder is
dragged to the shredder, all subfolders will be destroyed also.

By default, a confirmation will be requested for each folder and
object destroyed. There are system options to disable these
confirmations (see System object).

OS/2 now has an undelete capability. It is activited by the setting
of the DELDIR environment variable, which is not set by default.
Files can be retrieved via the UNDELETE command in a command window.
See the command reference for more information.

This undelete capability is provided by the file system itself, and
not by the Shredder or WPS. Only files can be undeleted, not other
kinds of objects.

The shredder will refuse to shred itself via drag and drop. There is
no way to destroy any extra shredders you may create. Other types of
objects may also refuse to be destroyed. There is no way to destroy
them either in this release.

---- Templates

Templates is a special type of folder. It always contains at least
one template for every object type (known to WPS) that has defined a

To create a new instance of an object type, drag its template from
this folder to where you want the new object to reside. Either a
"move" or a "copy" will work; in either case the template remains
where it is.

Note: Workplace Applications are expected to provide templates for
any object types they define.

If the template is for a program or printer, the new object's settings
notebook will open immediately.

Any object can be turned into a template. Bring up the settings
notebook, turn to the General page, and check "template". The icon
displayed will change: the normal icon will be shown reduced in size
against a "tear-off pad" backround. Any object created from a
template will inherit the settings of the template (except for the
template attribute itself, naturally).

---- OS/2 System

A folder whose sole purpose is to contain other useful folders.

---- OS/2 System -> Command Prompts

A folder containing program objects for creating command prompts,
of either the DOS or OS/2 variety, windowed or full-screen, or to
bring up a full-screen Windows session with the Program Manager

If you want multiple sessions of a given type, you have two choices.

* Make multiple copies of the object, one for each potential session.

* Use the START command from a command prompt. No object can be
associated with the resulting session.

The DOS settings for the Windows Full-Screen session have not been
optimized -- they are the default DOS box settings. You want to
increase the number of file handles to at least 30, and eliminate XMS
and EMS memory (reduces system load and swap file size). By default,
you have 3mb of DPMI memory; this is what the Windows session will
use. You may wish to increase this number.

---- OS/2 System -> Startup

A special folder, whose contents are opened upon the starting up of
the Workplace Shell.

To use, create a shadow of the relevant objects and place them here.
Good candidates are the System Clock, Pulse, and an OS/2 windowed
session. Always use a shadow, do not move or copy.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup

A folder containing objects which perform useful system setup

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Spooler

The Spooler specifies whether spooling takes place and if so in which
directory the queues are kept.

The pop-up menu allows you to enable or disable spooling.

The settings notebook allows you to specify the spool path (default

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Color Palette

The Color Palette object permits you to customize the colors of
various things via drag and drop.

There are two views, Settings and Palette. The settings view only
contains a General page. The palette view is a window with a bunch of
circles, each a different solid color. You can edit the color of a

Now, try this: drag a non-white circle and drop it on the backround
of a folder. You guessed it: the backround color of the folder will
change. To change the icon text color instead, hold down the CTRL
key while dropping.

Unfortunately, there aren't too many things which understand having a
color dropped on them.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Font Palette

The Font Palette object permits you to customize the fonts of various
things via drag and drop, and to install new fonts or delete unwanted

There are two views, Settings and Palette. The settings view only
contains a General page. The palette view is a window with a bunch of
boxes, each with the name and size of a font. You can edit the font

Now, try this: first select a font then drag and drop it on some icon
text or a window title bar.

Unfortunately, not too many things understand having a font dropped on

To add or delete fonts, you must first bring up the edit font dialog
box. Note: any newly installed fonts will not be recognized by the
font palette itself, even though they are usable by everyone else

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Scheme Palette

The Scheme Palette object allows you to customize various aspects of
a window's appearance, including such components as:

* Border width, both horizontally and vertically.

* Border color, both active and inactive.

* Title bar colors, both active and inactive.

* Static text colors, forground and backround.

* Menu colors.

* Window colors.

* Help colors.

* Button colors.

* 3D hilight colors.

and more! 37 customizable colors altogether.

There are two views, Settings and Palette. The settings view only
contains a General page. The palette view is a window with a
collection of schemes.

As with the Font and Color palettes, the Scheme palette already comes
with predefined schemes. To apply a scheme to a window, simply drag
and drop. To apply a scheme to *all* windows, drag and drop to the
desktop while pressing the ALT key; however, any window to which a
scheme has been explicitly applied will not adopt the new scheme.

You may edit a scheme. A dialog box will graphically show all the
components of a window. You may select a component by either using
the drop-down list box and "Edit Color..." button on the right. Or,
you may click the MB button directly on a component, popping up a
menu of the components in the vicinity of the click. Select a
component from the menu to edit it.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Country

The Country object allows you to customize the system for
international conventions. It only has a settings view, with five
pages: Country, Time, Date, Numbers, and General.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> System

The System object allows you to customize the behavior of certain
aspects of the system. It only has a settings view, with four pages:
Confirmations, Window, Print screen, Logo and General.

The Confirmations page allows you to enable or disable the
confirmation dialogs you get when you attempt to shred folders and

The Window page allows you to enable or disable the animation that
occurs when a window is opened or closed, to specify how minimized
windows are to be handled, and to specify what happens when opening a
view of an object that already exists. The default is to resurface
the view, but you have the option of creating a new view instead
(which is what OS/2 1.3 would do).

WARNING: do not use the minimized window viewer (the middle of the
three options). It has too many problems in 6.177.

The Print screen page enables the PRINT SCREEN key for printing open
windows or even the entire screen. To use, first place the cursor
over the window you wish to print (or over an empty spot of the
desktop to print the entire screen) before hitting PRINT SCREEN.

The Logo page allows you to specify how long applications should
display their product information window when they start up, or
prevent them from displaying it at all.

Changes in settings take effect immediately.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Sound

The Sound object allows you to enable or disable the warning beep.
It only has a settings views.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Migrate Applications

The Migrate Applications program object runs the same program you saw
during installation which locates and migrates DOS and Windows
programs on your hard disk.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Device Driver Install

This is a program object for the device driver installation program.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Mouse

The Mouse object allows you to customize the behavior of the mouse.
It only has a settings view, which has four pages: Timing, Setup,
Mappings, and General.

The Timing page allows you to set the double click interval and the
tracking speed. Changes take effect immediately. Indeed, the mouse's
tracking speed will actually change as you manipulate the slider
control for the tracking speed.

The Setup page permits you to configure the mouse for right- or
left-handed people.

The Mappings page allows you to define which combination of mouse
buttons, single/double clicking, and shift/control/alt keys perform
selected functions. Right now, you can configure which button
performs drags (default MB), which displays pop-up menus
(single-click MB), and which edits icon and title text (ALT-SB).

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Selective Install

This is a program object for the graphical installation program you
used to install OS/2. You can use it to install features you didn't
install initially. One small hitch: it will ask for almost all the
disks to be inserted, even when there's nothing to be loaded from a
particular disk.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Keyboard

The Keyboard object allows you to customize the keyboard configuration
of the system. It only has a settings view, which has four pages:
Timing, Mappings, Special Needs, and General.

The Timing page allows you to customize the repeat rate, repeat delay
rate, and cursor blink rate using slider controls. A test box is

The Mappings page provides keyboard equivalents to certain mouse
operations. Only two mappings are provided in 6.177. Displaying
pop-menus is by default SHIFT-F10, editing title text is SHIFT-F1.

The Special Needs page allows configuring the system for use by people
who have special requirements. For example, if you cannot press
several keys simultaneously, such as shift and a letter, you can set
things up so that you don't have to. Four different slider controls
are provided.

---- OS/2 System -> System Setup -> System Clock

The System Clock object displays the current time, and can also change
it. Its settings notebook has four pages: View, Alarm, Date/Time,
and General.

The View page determine the appearence of the clock. You can select
digital or analog, time only/date only/both, and hide/show title bar.
For analog mode, you can select hour marks, minute marks, and a second

The Alarm page allows you to set an alarm. You can specify both a
time and date when the alarm will sound, and whether you'll get an
audio alarm or message box.

The Date/Time page allows you to change the system date and time. The
hours, minutes, seconds, month, day, and year are alterable via spin
controls. The current date and time is always displayed (the controls
are updated literally every second).

After customizing the view, and positioning and sizing the view to
taste, I recommend closing the clock to save the settings.

Note: when the title bar is supressed, the clock cannot be moved or
closed via the menu. Also, if you maximize it, you cannot restore it
to its original size other than to manually resize it.

WARNING: the clock has a nasty habit of "disappearing." Usually,
what has happened is that it has moved to another directory, usually
the root directory of your A: drive.

---- OS/2 System -> Drives

The Drives object is a type of container object. When you open it, it
sort of looks like a folder in that there is a disk object for each
logical drive in the system. The first time you open it after each
boot of the system, the contents will be updated to reflect the
logical drives currently known to OS/2.

Drives has the same views and setting notebook as a normal folder.
Its pop-up menu has an additional operation, Create Partition...,
which brings up FDISKPM.

The individual disk objects are another variant of container object.
Again, there are the four different views, but the settings view lacks
all pages except for General and has a new Details page.

The Details page shows the disk's file system type, volume label,
volume serial number, total allocation units, available allocation
units, bytes in each allocation unit, totals bytes on disk, and
available bytes on disk.

The pop-up menu for a disk object has additional operations not found
on a folder: Check disk and Format disk. Check disk will run a PM
version of CHKDSK, which draws a pretty pie chart showing how the
disk is being used.

If you wish, you can make copies of the disk objects and put them
elsewhere. A disk object for the A: drive is put on the desktop by
default during installation.

WARNING: Drives performance is known to be bad (sometimes very bad),
especially with regard to tree views. It's being worked on.

---- OS/2 System -> Games

OS/2 comes with games! What is the world coming to!

I'll just briefly describe them here:

OS/2 Chess, which features fancy graphics and the ability to play
someone across a LAN. You cannot play against the computer; the AI
code is still under development.

Jigsaw, which allows you to turn a bitmap into a jigsaw puzzle.
Remember, use the MB to grab the pieces and move them.

Cat and Mouse, which is not present in 6.177 except for a
useless program object.

Scramble, get 15 pieces in a 4x4 matrix in the proper order.


Solitaire - Klondike.

---- OS/2 System -> Productivity

There are about two dozen productivity applets: Picture Viewer,
Clipboard Viewer, Database, Data Update, Sticky Pad, Spreadsheet, Tune
Editor, To-Do List, To-Do List Archive, Monthly Planner, Activities
List, Daily Planner, Planner Archive, Calendar, Alarms, Note Pad,
Calculator, PM Chart, Pulse, Icon Editor, Seek and Scan Files,
Enhanced Editor, and PM Terminal.

The To-Do List, Planner stuff, and a few others are tied together.

Pulse displays a graph showing the CPU load of the system.

Icon Editor can also edit (and create) cursors and bitmaps.

The Enhanced Editor is far better than the old System Editor. Try it.
One caveat: it splits lines longer than 255 characters (important
with some CONFIG.SYS).


The End.

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