|JView v1.0 and JView Pro v1.0||- by David Seldon|
ntil recently OS/2 users had few good alternatives in the low to medium end market for graphics viewing, conversion and manipulation. PMView was one notable exception to this and more or less the only tool that satisfied the needs of the more than casual user. At the first of this month though a shareware program previously called JoeView was reborn as two separate applications (JView v1.0 and JView Pro v1.0 by Crunch Products) and changed the face of the OS/2 graphics market.
I have had a few weeks to play with the release versions of both JView v1.0 and JView Pro v1.0. Mainly this review focuses on JView Pro since it is a superset of the standard JView (it contains all JView's functionality plus some additional abilities including paint features--yes I said paint features!). Where there are differences in the two I've attempted to point them out.
The first time you run JView you will see a reminder that all menus are accessed by clicking the right button on your mouse--there are no file menus or button bars across the top of the window in JView. This gives you a little more room if you are working with large images and if you prefer, you can also turn the title bar off for maximum viewing area.
On top of this, JView Pro adds many "extras", such as image transformations (GIF 6.9k), advanced color manipulation and reduction (GIF 8k), and screen capture, similar to features found in less expensive products such as PMView. But JView Pro goes much further than any other low or medium scale competitor in the OS/2 market. Its major strength is, of course, its painting and drawing abilities.
In this dialog, the user can customize any of the drawing or color tools. For drawing tools there are: AirBrush; Pencil; FloodFill; Clone; Chalk; Rectangles, Ellipses and Freehand (filled or unfilled, for selecting areas or drawing); and a Stamp tool (a quick-clone) and Magic Wand (for selection). For color tools: Adjust Color; Black & White Conversion; Blur & Sharpen; Color; Emboss; Erase; Gradient; Grayscale Conversion; Replace Color; Use Pattern; and Shadow. All the tools are extremely configurable.
The color tools are used in conjunction with the drawing tools; for example, using the emboss tool with the text tool will print embossed (or engraved!) text on your picture. This makes the Paint Kit in JView Pro extremely powerful. In short, JView Pro gives users most of the power and abilities of some more higher end products.
Readers should note that while the Paint Kit (including the Magic Wand) is not included with the base JView product, a Magic Wand selection tool is available in both versions in the Selection menu.
Also, the drawing tools could be improved beyond their "very useful" status to "excellent" by the addition of at least a limited Anti-Aliasing capability. As it is, circles, text and other non-square objects drawn to a picture will have fairly bad "jaggies".
The program occasionally crashed on the test machine but this may have been due to flaky video drivers and was not overly common. Also, the interface sometimes seemed unintuitive. For example, it is impossible to save an image while the Paint Kit is open.
Other than this, the only problem I had with JView Pro (and JView) was its prehistoric graphics. The default image, program icon and the buttons on the tool bars look like they were drawn by my five year old nephew. You would think that a program meant for graphics manipulation and titled "Pro" would attempt to put a better face on things. Of course, this is just cosmetics.
letter to the editor.
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