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Software News : Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Posted by djrikki on 2011/5/17 7:45:06 (1293 reads) News by the same author
Software News

Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released ( Give Jack a home on your Workbench )

Now available for download at OS4Depot.net (check the upload queue).



Concieved, Designed and Developed by Richard Lake ( rikki.lake@ntlworld.com ) (2011).

1. What is Jack? - "All about Jack"
2. Installation - "Wherever"
3. Requirements - "System friendly"
4. Features - "Jam-packed"
5. Keyboard Shortcuts - "Everyone loves 'em"
6. Command line - "Add the power of Jack to your Applications"
7. Known Bugs and Limitations - "Sad, but true..."
8. Future releases - "Much more in-store..."
9. Legals - "Boring"


1. What is Jack?

Jack is many things, Jack could be described as an advanced feature-laden ASL file-
requester replacement, it could also be described as a fantastic standalone program
that makes common tasks so much easier.


2. Installation

Thanks to the APPDIR system Jack can be installed wherever you want. Although I do
suggest you copy the Jack folder and all its contents to the system utilities drawer.

Please remember to call APPDIR:Jack in your future scripts and AmigaOS application calls.


3. Requirements

Jack is very system friendly, if you don't have something installed, fine, Jack will disable
associated features. Nonetheless as a minimum Jack requires AISS installed. I
highly recommend you install at least version 4.11 as this was used at the time of

If you want to fully enjoy Jack as intended you should install Martin 'Mason' Merz's Push4Dock.

Wget is an optinal install, but highly-recommended, both Wget and Push4Dock can be found os4depot.net.


4. Features

* Comprehensive AmigaOS App-Store*

* Quick access to AmigaOS Preferences

* Screen snapshoter

* Fully-featured Image Editor, includes Batch-image processing

* Speedy access to all your connected devices

* Support for Push4Dock - quick access to your Documents, Images, Music and more...

* Unique Slideshow mode for viewing your image directories

* Basic file-management, Make New Drawer, Delete, Rename and Add Comment

* Open your files in Helper Applications

* HTTP support for downloading files to a directory before Opening

* Jack can be called entirely from the command line, in this mode it will act as a
modern file requester that retains all the above features.

* App-Store, with the current version of Jack you can see and download any of the Recent
uploads that are available on OS4Depot. In a subsequent version this whole interface
will be upgraded and you will be able to download anything that appears on OS4Depot
directly from within Jack.


5. Keyboard Shortcuts


ESC - Close / Cancel operation

Main Window

p - Parent
n - Make New Drawer
r - Rename
d - Delete
c - Add Comment
a - Select All (multi-file select mode only)
z - Select None (multi-file select mode only)
f - Jack standalone option, change type of files listed
x - Send selected files/drawers to archive
s - If directory contains any images, switch to Slideshow mode
e - Open certain files in helper application
i - Brings up information on selected files/drawers
o - Operates the Open/Save button (available in Jack commad line mode only)
F1 - App-Store
F2 - Open AmigaOS Preferences
F3 - Screen Capture


UP / DOWN - Move up and down the Lister
PAGEUP/PAGEDOWN - Move in bigger steps up and down the Lister
HOME - Jump to top of Lister
End - Jump to bottom of Lister

The scroll wheel on your mouse is also supported.

Image Editor

g - Image to Grey
i - Invert Colours of Image
l - Rotate Image left / 90deg anti-clockwise
r - Rotate Image right / 90deg clockwise
s - Open image save options
u - Revert Image
h - Flip image horizontally
v - Flip image vertically
t - Tint Colour
y - Change tint value
a - Resize image to actual size (if smaller than the window)
f - Resize image to fit

Paging Arrows

When you seeing Paging Arrows on screen you can make use of the keyboard.

Image Saving

b - Select to Save as BMP
g - Select to Save as GIF
i - Select to Save as IFF
j - Select to Save as JPEG
p - Select to Save as PNG
s - Save image(s)
a - Save image or a batch of images under a new name/prefix. In batch-image mode
you also enter the start incremental value of the batch.
a - Add comment to the image(s)
r - Opens the Image Resize window

Image Resize before Save

UP / DOWN arrows on keyboard to scroll through default resize options

w - Set width
h - Set height

URL Opener

n -If installed, open the URL in NetSurf
w - If installed, open the URL in OWB
t - If installed, open the URL in Timberwolf (option currently disabled til TW gets a command line)
d - Download the given URL to the current directory
u - Use the currently selected option


6. Command line

You can call up Jack's selection of arguments at any time from the shell simply by typing
APPDIR:Jack -help to list all the features.

DON'T FORGET to look at the example scripts in the 'For Your AmiDock' drawer for example
usage. Jack can also hande multi-file selections, selected files are simply line delimited.

It should be quite straightforward to parse through the file in your own AmigaOS applications;
alas I do not know how to parse through such a file using Amiga Shell. commands.


The following command line arguments are supported in this version.

Mandatory argument: -o Output selected items from directory view to a text file

-t [window title] (If blank, defaults to Select a File(s) or Select a Drawer, depending on -a parameter.
-a [Open|Save|Drawer] (Ask user to select a file to Open or Save, or select a destination drawer. Defaults to Open File.
-f [filtergroup] (Defaults to #FILTER_NONE, see below for available Filter Groups.)
-m (Allow the user to select multiple files, do not use this with -a Drawer)
-v [volumename] (Specify default volume shown in the lister - Defaults to DH1:)
-p [pathname] (Specify default drawer from volume specified in -v. Blank by default)
-help (Show this command line help)

Filter Groups available:


The default filter is #FILTER_NONE which shows all files in a directory; excluding .info files.

NOTE 1: To find out which ile extensions belong to which Filter Group open Jack as normal and click on the Filter icon.
NOTE 2: You can only choose one Filter Group.
NOTE 3: #FILTER_INFO will show drawers and .info files to the user, nothing else.

Example use 1: jack -t "Select an image" -a File -f #FILTER_IMAGE -v Images: -o ENV:programname_filesSelected
(open jack, filter by images, ask for a single file, start in Images: assign if available).

Example use 2: jack -t "Select a drawer" -a Drawer -f #FILTER_DIRS -v DH1: -o ENV:programname_drawerSelected
(opn jack, filter by drawer, ask for a drawer, start in DH1:)
Example use 3: jack -t "Select audio file(s) to open" -f #FILTER_SOUND -a File -m -v DH1: -o ENV:programname_filesSelected)
(open jack, filter by audio files, let the user select multiple files if they wish, start in DH1:)

Custom Filter Group:

If your application cannot read/does not support all file extensions of a Filter Group you will need to specify a custom filter so only
those files are shown in the directory view. Here is the correct way to do this, please note: you must specify at least 2 file extensions
Example: jack -t "Select an image" -a File -f "bmp|gif" -v Images -o ENV:progranname_itemselected.

Do NOT include a leading dot before each extension name just separate them with bars. Jack can support file extensions up to 7 characters in length.


7. Known Bugs / Limitations

* Sometimes in post-image processing the image isn't scaled correctly and obscures the 'Finish button'.
* Scroll bar cannot be moved yet. hahaha yes I know.
* There will be no warning if you try and download a URL onto a write-only device - simply don't do it stupid!


8. Future releases

* Overhaul the current App-Store to give a more complete solution including yes, making the window larger.
* Locale/language support hopefully
* Add Watermark feature to the Image Editor, come pre-load with common watermarks eg, Copyright/Protected/Demo Version,
Beta Version and of course ability to add your own Watermark.
* Keep Aspect Ratio is currently hidden/disabled in the Image Editor, have this complete and working.
* Info button, get this working with multiple file selections to show totals etc... round bytes up to KB, MB and GBs.
* Rename button, add support for batch renaming files or directories.
* Improve PageUp/PageDown in lister
* Have a working, moving scrollbar!
* Configuration Eidtor, specify your own Helper application, eg. Open a text document in something else than NotePad.
* Integrated Find/Search button


9. Legals

Well am not very good at the legals, all I can say is I consider Jack to be DONATIONWARE, donations are of course accepted by paypal to

The icons that appear in Jack are part of the AISS set currently maintained Martin 'Mason' Merz. Any other imagery that may appear are
copyright of their respective owners.

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Author Thread
Published: 2011/5/17 8:18  Updated: 2011/5/17 8:19
Quite a regular
Joined: 10/14/2008
From: France
Comments: 647
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released

Interesting software development (based on the screenshot only)

Don't know that you are also a developper, djrikki
Published: 2011/5/17 8:29  Updated: 2011/5/17 8:29
Home away from home
Joined: 11/30/2006
From: Norway
Comments: 2470
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Think i'll test this one out a bit.
Published: 2011/5/17 10:21  Updated: 2011/5/17 10:54
Quite a regular
Joined: 05/16/2010
From: Grimsby, UK
Comments: 950
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Mods, please replace screenshots with:


Can't edit the post myself, says Errors in the top corner.... forgot I had bandwidth on my own site.. its geting eaten away fast!

Jack: New version in OS4Depot upload queue, some people had startup problems.

[Edit: Removed invalid request to OS4Depot uploaders]
Published: 2011/5/17 10:51  Updated: 2011/5/17 10:51
Supreme Council
Joined: 11/16/2006
From: Sweden
Comments: 3159
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released


Do NOT include the program name in the os4depot description field.

Random third party programs does not dictate what the OS4Depot fields are used for.

Read more about the OS4Depot readme fields here
Published: 2011/5/17 11:24  Updated: 2011/5/17 11:42
Quite a regular
Joined: 05/16/2010
From: Grimsby, UK
Comments: 950
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Sorry Orgin, what I meant was some people's descriptions are like:

Word Me Up XXL - Fun game
Gimp - Art package for AmiCygnix
Timberwolf - Great modern browser
QT 4.7 SDK For AmigaOS native

Which surely is good practice to include the name.
Published: 2011/5/17 18:11  Updated: 2011/5/17 18:22
Quite a regular
Joined: 05/16/2010
From: Grimsby, UK
Comments: 950
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Latest build: http://www.amigaos.net/Jack.lha

Once its stablished I'll upload to OS4Depot again, but not before.

Please hold down a SHIFT key whilst starting Jack for the first time if you have installed a previous version.

Please keep bug reports coming, especially start up problems.

Push4Dock users; It is important that you DON'T move the Home Directory and all its contents from the root of DH1: as Jack is paired against the current Beta version of Push4Dock. If Mason adds support for DH0: or any other partition and I'll this support accordingly in a future version. But for now please leave the directories the Push4Dock installer creates in place.

Published: 2011/5/17 22:28  Updated: 2011/5/17 22:28
Home away from home
Joined: 05/19/2007
From: England
Comments: 3552
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Going by the "bung loads of unrelated functionality into the Kitchen Sink" mentality, the strange name, and the non-functioning image links (didn't see your post immediately) I had to check it wasn't 1st April

From the screenshots, I'm guessing it was written using Hollywood?

EDIT: I suppose I am still worried that there doesn't seem a clear purpose to your program, so it's not clear who should download it, nor why. Might be better to separate functionality into several distinct programs, and give them meaningful names. IMHO of course
Published: 2011/5/18 11:24  Updated: 2011/5/18 11:24
Quite a regular
Joined: 05/16/2010
From: Grimsby, UK
Comments: 950
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Replied to same post on AW. =p
Published: 2011/5/18 12:09  Updated: 2011/5/18 12:09
Home away from home
Joined: 05/19/2007
From: England
Comments: 3552
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Replying to your AW.net post here...

I would have thought the name was a clear giveaway as to what it is for?

Jack, does many things, get it? Jack of all trades.

I did eventually work out the name on my own. However, that does not mean being "a jack of all trades" is a good thing for a program:

As i already said, because your program has no CLEAR purpose, it is not obvious who should download it, nor why. If the user has to read a mile long readme to find out what it does, rather than guess from the name, then I am betting that 95% of people will simply not bother to read the readme, and therefore you will loose 95% of your potential audience.

1. Jack is a basic common file manager.
2. It can open files using a Helper application (currently non-configurable)
3. It has a great suite of common image editing functions, something like Preview on the Mac. It can do screen capturing too, just like Preview.
4. Quick access to System Preferences.
5. It has a proof-of-concept App-store that will be expanded upon.
6. Jack supports Push4Dock, common locations for your documents, music and images, its only a matter of time before Push4Dock or something closely similar is integrated into the default AmigaOS installation - just wait and see.

7. And check this out, It can be called from scripts, other applications using command line arguments. The 'skin' of the program will change to a file requester with dedicated OK and Cancel buttons.

While this is a help, and should be at the top of the ReadMe, it does not solve the underlying problem that you are requiring the user to read far too much before they will have any idea what the program does or why they should be interested in it.

But the fix is extremely simple! Just separate the functionality of Jack into several distinct programs, and give them clear meaningful names.
Published: 2011/5/19 14:37  Updated: 2011/5/19 14:37
Quite a regular
Joined: 05/16/2010
From: Grimsby, UK
Comments: 950
 Re: Jack for AmigaOS - 0.99 Beta released
Jack v1.0 Released on OS4Depot, sat in the upload queue.

SCREENSHOT: View an entire volume in the newly improved slideshow mode.

Changes since 0.99 Beta:

* Send to Archive should now be available to everyone that has LHA installed.

* Downloads via HTTPS: Thanks to Kas1e's recent submission of Wget onto OS4Depot it now possible to download from
a secure server. (NOT TESTED AS YET).

* View as Slideshow: It is now possible to view the whole volume in slideshow mode, meaning you can navigate in
and out of drawers.

* App-Store and System Preferences are no longer accessible in file requester mode as requested.

* Info Window: If you select a single drawer, information is now shown about its contents.

* Info Window: Filesize is now shown in Bytes, or rounded into KB, MB, GB or TB.

* Lots of fixes in the detection of third-party software tools and other programs.

* Image Editor: The window can now be resized at will.

* Tooltips have been added to the Main Window and the Image Editor.

* When a Device Group is selected Jack will now refresh the device list. In other words if you insert a USB
or CD you can select the Device Group again and it will appear.

* Device Group - Optical: Units that begin with CD and now ICD are put into this Device Group.

* Device Group - Samba: Units that begin with SMBFS are placed in this Device Group.

* Device Group - USB: Units that begin with USB are placed in this Device Group.

* Device Group - Hard Disks: All other Units appear in this Device Group.

You can of course click the directory path and enter the device, volume name or an assignment by hand for access
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