|Orange Hill Workplace Solutions||- by Ron P. Lamb|
OHWS includes six utilities (GIF, 10.8k), 450 true OS/2 icons, an icon manager, and a set of folder and icon starter templates that add flash to your Desktop and make you more productive using OS/2. This product contains so much that this review covers only the major pieces of it in an attempt to give an overall picture of what OHWS can provide for you.
I found using OHWS's Program Portfolio Editor and viewer to create, modify, and delete program portfolios both easy and intuitive. Adding objects to the portfolios is as easy as selecting the object you want added and pressing the add button. The program objects don't even need to be in the same folder, drive, or location. Once I added my objects, I was able to launch the object, start a second instance of that object, open the object's settings notebook, create a shadow of the object, and apply an icon from the icon library. I found many actions just a mouse click away.
In addition to the viewer and editor, OHWS includes a utility, "All available programs", that lists all program objects on your system. This is by far the fastest way I have seen to get a list of all the objects on a system. In doing some simple testing, I was able list about 400 objects within 2 to 3 seconds. All actions available to program portfolios can be performed using this utility.
I discovered that one of the many uses of program portfolios is grouping reference books. For example, on my Desktop I have created three program portfolios to store my PM, REXX, and C reference guides. After creating these portfolios, I was able to remove a number of objects from the Desktop and organize them into categories such as Games, Home applications, and Development and Research.
Another use I found for this feature was to store all my program objects needed for a particular project. Then when I was working on a particular project I did not need to keep searching for programs that could span across numerous folders. Once quickly set up, everything I needed was right on the Desktop (GIF, 15.1k), including my most heavily used reference books (cool). Though this can be accomplished using shadows, I find the program portfolio uses less space, is easier to access, and provides more functionality.
Though I found OHWS's folder portfolios a great productivity tool, there are a few areas where I would like to see some enhancements. First, I would like the ability to issue a REXX command script when starting my OS/2 command sessions. Second, currently the space analysis only works on local drives. I would like to see this expanded to include network and floppy media. Finally, I would like to see a portfolio that combines the folder and program portfolios into one portfolio -- a "Super" portfolio.
When adding icons from the Icon Library, both the open and closed views of the icon are added to the object. Where appropriate, the closed view often reflects the nature of the open view. For example, the lamp icon shows the lamp lit when opened and off when closed.
To apply icons to multiple objects in a folder automatically, OHWS provides a Scheme editor. Creating a scheme is as easy as dropping a folder onto the Icon Central icon and selecting an icon for each file specification. For example, all files beginning with OCT could automatically have a pumpkin as their icon and all objects containing NOV could have the Thanksgiving turkey. Once a scheme is created, the Scheme editor's options provide a way to manually or automatically apply icons to the main folder or the main folder and its sub-folders. Updates can even be performed across a series of folders. I found this feature to be a wonderful companion to the already powerful OS/2 file association feature.
Though I found the icon utilities exceptional and well done, I found myself occasionally wishing for more icon categories. In the future, I would like to see more developer-related icons and some for the insurance and banking industry. Maybe there could even be a bonus or plus pack of icons. OHWS does provide a the ability to add your own icons, and although this is a welcome feature, it does have a limitation of not allowing you to select both an open and closed view (open view only). Providing this functionality would be a nice addition to an already full bag of goodies.
If you are moving from Warp 3.0 to Warp 4.0, you will find the default system objects have moved. With the SpeedBar, finding the new location of the CD player or seeing the new version of the MACAW movie is only a few mouse clicks away. I found that the SpeedBar works with both Warp 3 and 4 flawlessly.
Now for the real kicker: the SpeedBar includes an easy way of accessing program and folder portfolios by allowing any portfolio to be added to the SpeedBar. I found adding my portfolios to be very simple. Anybody who has forgotten where the REXX or C++ programmers reference books are and has had to search for them would understand how cool it would be to have your reference books sitting on a menu on your Desktop. Definitely a great feature.
Since using the product for the last year and a half, I don't know how I did without it. It has allowed me to clean up my once cluttered Desktop and has increased my productivity using OS/2. This product offers a lot for the developer, power user, and even the person who is just simply wanting to become more productive. If you are looking for a bag of tricks that makes you more productive, is highly reliable, and will not intrude into your OS/2 system, OHWS is the product for you.
A limited version of Orange Hill Workplace Solutions is included in Warp 4 application sampler CD and I highly recommend anybody who has not already purchased the product to try it. The version included in CD application sampler is a functional version, but has limits on the number of portfolios you can create and the number of icons included in the library. Also, not all components are included, but the version is definitely usable and if you feel the need for more, the upgrade is only a phone call away.
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