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XWorkplace - future of WPS
TITLE: XWorkplace - future of WPS
DATE: 2002-02-14 10:37:29
AUTHOR: Ulrich Moeller
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This is an inverview with Ulrich Moeller, the author of famous the WarpIN and
Please, tell some words about yourself. Why are you using OS/2 (or eCS)?
Probably because I started programming on it and it's a
very nice environment for that. I initially started OS/2
with version 2.1 back in the days where people were still
stuck with Windows 3.1. I bought OS/2 2.1 because I wanted
a stable Windows and I was curious. Then I got to know its
advantages and after a few years started programming more
These days I am mainly using OS/2 because I'm used to it
and I haven't found anything substantially better. Of
course there's things you can't do on OS/2, but I can't
live with Linux on a regular basis, and Windows I still
don't like for too many reasons to list.
Are you optimistic about OS/2 (eCS) future?
Well, it depends on what you mean with "OS/2". IBM has said
that OS/2 will not be supported in the future, so I guess
that is not the road to follow. I sure hope though that eCS
will be able to keep the fire burning for quite some time
to come and maybe even attract new users. I do not think
though that the times will come back where OS/2 was in a
position to rule the world. Windows has won the OS wars,
and I don't think anyone can change that anymore. Linux
won't change that either. Both eCS and Linux will be
alternatives for those people who know they don't want to
use Windows for whatever reason, and I think that's quite
something already. I know I have my reasons not to use
Windows, and I believe in choice.
So, let's get closer to XWorkplace - what is it?
It's a a very feature-rich enhancer for OS/2's Workplace
Shell. It replaces many WPS classes to enhance them and fix
WPS bugs. There's really too many features to list in just
two phrases, but mainly XWorkplace is for making the WPS
XWorkplace is quite similar to Object Desktop in many ways.
It's got some features that OD doesn't have, and vice
versa. But XWorkplace is completely open source, so anyone
can look at it and contribute.
What are the most important features of XWorkplace?
There are so many... I guess everyone has his or her own
favorites. I couldn't live without the object hotkeys any
more (where you can assign a hotkey to any object as if you
had double-clicked on it), or the folder status bars, which
show me info on the objects that are currently selected.
Then there's better folder sorting and better associations
of data files with program objects. Plus I use PageMage a
lot, which is the name of the virtual desktops manager in
XWorkplace, and the mouse enhancements such as sliding
focus and sliding menus. And the XCenter, of course. And
the enhanced shutdown... You can see that XWorkplace has a
lot of things, obviously, that are hard to name in just one
Do you use all of XWorkplace features on your machine?
Most of them, yes. Basically most of what is in XWorkplace
was something I wanted to have myself.
Are there any add-ons for XWorkplace?
Yes. Some people have already written add-on widgets for
the XCenter. The XCenter supports plug-in DLLs, so everyone
who is missing a certain widget type for the XCenter can
write one without having to go into the details of the
You said, that you fixed some WPS errors, did IBM help you somehow?
Not really. But I didn't expect them to. The things I found
out I found out through a lot of testing and experimenting.
A lot of things that are happening in XWorkplace do not use
official interfaces. The problem with the WPS is that it
was originally very well designed but it's pretty much
impossible to write more complex WPS classes without going
to the undocumented stuff, unfortunately.
GPL. Why? Did it help you?
Because I wanted people to look at my code and tell me what
I could do better. I haven't learned programming in
University or anything, so I thought maybe I could learn
something from other people. In addition, people have
joined the project and contributed not only bugfixes, but
also completely new features. Quite a number of things in
XWorkplace have been programmed by people other than me.
Most importantly, Martin Lafaix and Paul Ratcliffe
send me things quite regularly. This wouldn't happen if
XWorkplace wasn't open source.
Essentially, all the above are arguments in favor of open
source in general. The GPL is just one out of many
open-source licences, but it just fit best for my purposes
because it protected my work best. I still think it was a
good idea to use the GPL, even though I can't quite
understand many of the ideological arguments over it in the
If you want to read more about this, I have written an
article in OS/2 eZine about this a while ago. It's here (I hope the link
still works). If you ask me, all OS/2 freeware developers
should release their sources under some open-source licence.
They have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain -- and the
community will profit too.
I've heard about 'eWorkplace', what is it?
It's a special XWorkplace that will come with eComStation.
It will have fewer options in order to make it less
complicated for non-power users, and a couple of
special things that are unique to eComStation too.
"eWorkplace" was just a project name for the moment,
the final product will probably be called something else.
But essentially it will be a special XWorkplace just for
So, it will be integrated into eComStation. What about WarpIN?
We are presently working on WarpIN so that it will fully
support CID and other things that are required for full
WarpIN support in eComStation. The plan is that eventually
everything in eCS will be installed through WarpIN, but
there's some work left to be done for that to function
correctly. There will be a command-line version of WarpIN
that will take all the arguments on the command line and
then fully install everything.
What are your plans on developing XWorkplace?
Actually, I don't know. I decide this day by day when I sit
down to program. Of course there's still things to be
fixed, especially with the new features that were added
with V0.9.16. But I guess ultimately my goal will be to
replace the whole Workplace Shell. There's a lot of good
ideas in it, but some things cannot be easily replaced
without rewriting the whole thing.
Are there any planned release dates? When should we wait for 1.0.0?
I know I should really be doing a feature freeze and fix
the remaining bugs, but then that is not very much fun so I
keep adding new features and release another 0.9.x version.
Bugfixing is boring. But I have the framework now to kick
out certain features individually so maybe 1.0.0 will come
Do you plan to integrate (and continue their life) some other projects into XWorkplace (like, PageMage)?
Well PageMage was originally a separate program, but the
author (Carlos Ugarte) had no more time to work on it, so
he released the sources under the GPL. That's where I
started. By now lots of things have been rewritten, so the
PageMage in XWorkplace really doesn't have that much common
code with the original program any more.
By now I am quite reluctant to integrate any more software
into XWorkplace. With PageMage I found out that this can be
a lot of work, and sometimes it's easier to just rewrite
something than to try to get used to some other
programmer's way of thinking. Of course this doesn't apply
to little things that just do one feature and nothing else,
but integrating another complete project will be quite a
So there are no plans currently to integrate any other
How can people (I mean - non-programmers) help this project?
In many ways. For one, people can translate, if they don't
care for programming. You can get the sources from CVS, and
you don't have to be a programmer to create an XWorkplace
for your language. Also people can report problems so that
the thing can be improved by someone else. Finally --
people can submit bugfixes if they have found something
awkward in the code, or add completely new features if they
are missing something. If you want to help, just drop me a
mail, and I'll see what I can do.
Which way users can report bugs?
There are two mailing lists for XWorkplace at
yahoogroups.com (xworkplace-user and xworkplace-dev).
The recommended way to report bugs is thru the xworkplace-user
group because then everyone who has the same problem can
know that the problem is being worked on. Otherwise I will
have to reply to everyone personally which is much more
Thank you for your attention. Keep up good work.
Screen-shots are from xworkplace.org
Xwokrplace is going to replace WPS, but authors forgot to include features of WPS into Xcenter (and they were included in Control Center) - object widget is not a wps object - you cannot drop things on it and right-click opens it (like in Warpcenter) - but it should diplsey WPS pop-up menu...
|frank garcia |
cuando Xwokrplace tenga un manejo de archivos zip como la que tiene object desktop , unos buenos salvapantallas basados en la tecnologia flash que por sierto ya esta soportada por os/2, la capacidad de dar antialising a las font e iconos. sera la aplicacion impresindible de todo usuario de os/2 y Ecomstation
|Mark Mellin |
As always, Thanks Ulrich - I seriously doubt that I'd still be using OS/2 (Warp-4) if it wasn't for your/our XWorkplace...
|Yusuke Yoshioka |
We thank you very much Ulrich and all of stuffs.
But, from v0-9-16 on, XWorkplace has not been
recognize DBCS charactors correctly...
All of us who live in DBCS counrtries looking forward
to XWP v1.0 which works well on DBCS environments.
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