Fast Forward Technologies/wsinfo

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WS — The Pick Programmer's Shell


Q: What is WS The Pick Programmer's Shell

A: If you have ever used a stacker, then you have an idea of what WS does for you. If you have ever used the "." (dot) command or the "+" command on the TCL command-line, if you have ever used the "STACK-ON" command, you have used a stacker. Stackers allow you to re-execute TCL commands without a great deal of extra typing. For example, instead of typing: ED BP TEST BASIC BP TEST RUN BP TEST over and over, with a stacker you can simply type them once and then re-execute any one of them by doing a .X3 or some similar very abbreviated command. This saves many keystrokes, and much frustration if you happen to normally make a lot of typing errors.


Q: Why did you feel it necessary to create another stacker? The ones that are out there work fine.

Traditional stackers have the following problems. 1) Stackers tend to fill-up with garbage commands like TIME and WHO that you probably will never want to re-execute, because its easier to retype them, then to find them in your stack listing. 2) The program I worked on an hour ago has already scrolled off the default 20-item listing and I have to scour the list to find it again. After doing a .L99 and seeing it in position 42, I then have to type .X42. By this time I could have just retyped RUN BP TEST. 3) Stackers tend to fill-up with mis-typed commands. After using a traditional stacker for ten minutes here is my stack: 1 ED BP TEST 2 RD BP TEST 3 ED BP TSET 4 EDBP TEST you get the point. 4) Stack depth is too limited. Consider a typical programmer, trying to edit ten or fifteen programs a day perhaps, along with compiling, running, editing data and typing other TCL commands and you find that the stacker provides no reference to what you did yesterday because that history is already gone, having scrolled off the end of the 99-item stack. Stackers are a step in the right direction, but its a baby step.

Q: Okay you have convinced me that traditional stackers are not very effective. Why should I try WS?

A: Consider the following features: 1) WS supports multiple stacks, with unlimited depth and intelligently manipulates them. 2) With the use of plug-ins, you can add your own stack systems to WS. Want a ToDo stack? Add it. Want a HostPath stack? Add it. Some plug-ins add stacks, some add features to your TCL environment that are WS-friendly. 3) WS has seperate stacks for program items, data items, TCL commands, and contact info keeping these elements seperate from each other and providing for each one with context-dependent commands and help. WS even has a stack for all the items you delete off the other stacks, just in case you want to get them back. 4) With its built-in Tutor, you can be up and running with WS in a very short time. 5) Get help at any time by typing the ? command. 6) And try the already released plug-in stack INSTALLER that allows you to use the stack as an Install creator, to create self-extracting installs for remote client sites. (Comes with Install.Builder and FFTZip and FFTUnzip.)

Q: Tell me more about how the stacks work. A: There are several stack commands that operate on any stack. Functions like insert a new stack item, append to a stack item, change a stack item, retrieve a stack item. These will be familiar to anyone who has used a stack before. Some of these do slightly different things depending on which stack you are using. For example, if you use the .I command to insert an item into the program stack it will ask you for a File and Item, however the TCL stack will ask for a Line, and the Contacts stack will give you a form to fill-out. In addition, each stack can have context-dependent commands and help. For the program stack these might be B for BASIC, or R for RUN. For the data stack these might be L for LIST, or MV for MVEditor (a plug-in command). Switch between stacks using the .S command. The built-in Tutor can help you with understanding all the commands. In addition, you will be informed about each version of the stack as it becomes available, and each plug-in that is available.

Q: Can you tell me more about the program stack? A: For programmer's WS has a Program stack. It keeps the programs isolated from the other stack entries. No more scouring over all those garbage TCL commands and typos to find the program you are looking for. You can retrieve an element of the stack by any part of its name (.GTEST will retrieve BP TEST or ABC.BP MYBIGTEST). One entry will suffice for any command on the program. You don't need a stack entry for ED BP TEST, BASIC BP TEST, RUN BP TEST, COPY BP TEST; these are all handled by the single entry BP TEST. Edit it by typing E, Compile by typing B, Run by typing R and so on. Output it to a HostPath location (non-Pick) with the HOSTPATH stack plug-in.

The WS stack is its own best advertisement. Why not download it today? Its only 350K.

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