UNIVERSAL ITEM SELECTOR
A Must-Have Utility Gets Even Better
BY DAVID PLOTKIN
Editor's Note: In the October 1990 issue of START we inadvertently omitted the second page of our Universal Item Selector III review. We reprint it here in its entirety and apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused our readers.
Universal Item Selector is probably one of the most utilized products ever
developed for the ST. It is an invaluable substitute for the inadequate
file selector native to the ST's operating system. Not only is UIS easier
to use, it increases the functionality of the machine. UIS III gives you
more and I wouldn't be without it.
|Universal Item Selector III
Application and Design
512K, any rez
A must-have utility that's
through Universal Item Selector Ill. A special
option lets you show 36 files on screen at
Installing UIS Ill
UIS III goes into your AUTO folder. It is then summoned - super-ceding the default selector box -whenever your programs call for a file selector. The package also includes a version of US that you can install as a desk accessory. This accessory is compatible with Codehead's MultiDesk. UIS III, itself, is compatible with virtually all ST software, though it must he installed before Codehead's Maxifile in the AUTO folder for some of Maxifile's functions to work properly.
The Visual Difference
At first, UIS III looks like any other selector box. It presents the files in a scrollable box, with the usual selection and directory lines. This is, however, where the similarities end.
First, you can modify the file mask. A mask is the criteria a file must meet for it to appear in the scrollable box. This mask is normally *.*. With UIS III, you can drag a file to the top shaded bar to change the mask to match your file. You can also place a file on the selection line and double-click on the name or extension to change it to an asterisk. The contents of the selection line can then he dragged to the shaded bar. So, you can set a file mask without ever typing a single character.
Other new options involve the directory line. Backing out the directory path is as simple as double-clicking on the directory you want. Say, for example, you have a path such as D:WORDFLAIR/DOCUMENTS/LETTERS, and you want to back out to D:WORDFLAIR. All you do is double-click on WORDFLAIR in the directory line. You can also back out to the root directory by clicking on the drive letter.
UIS III also supports Quickpath, a system that lets you set up 10 paths, which you activate with the mouse or function key. Select a Quickpath to place that path on the directory line and jump to it instantly.
UIS III adds two wide modes to the body of the selector box. The first shows all the information for the standard 12 files, plus their time and date; the other shows 36 files. The font size can be varied as well, providing 64 file names (in the 36 mode) on a color monitor and 128 filenames on a monochrome screen. These can be somewhat hard to read, but are very useful for multi-file operations.
To select a file, click on it. To select multiple files, you can [Shift]-click on each file, lasso a group, or hold the right button and left-click on each file. As you add files to the selection group, the total number of bytes is shown at the bottom of the file-selector box.
Selector adds a
Move, Copy or Delete a file by dragging it to the appropriate button. You can also put a mask (such as "*.DOC") on the selection line and drag that to the button for the function you want to use. In this mode, even Rename works, which lets you change the extension or name of all files that meet the selection-line criteria. For copying, you can turn off the Name Conflict warning.
Besides the normal file-selector functions, UIS III lets you create a folder, format a disk (which offers sub-options), retrieve information on a file or folders, change the attributes of a file and touch the file to update its time/date stamp to the current time and date.
You can print the current directory, print a directory that includes the highlighted files/folders only, or print the contents of a file. When printing the contents of a file, you can choose to print to the printer or show the file on the screen, scrolling either line by line or one screen at a time. There is even a search function to locate displaced files.
You can move the selector box around the screen, just like a regular GEM window. And UIS III provides a cold or warm reset function consistent with TOS 1.1.
The Universal Item Selector III is an indispensable utility. With its many enhancements over earlier versions, it is well worth the price, and the upgrade policy ($5 with UIS II) is more than fair. The small manual is excellent and a great improvement over earlier versions. This is one of those pieces of software that, once you've tried it, you don't know how you ever lived without it.
Contributing Editor David Plotkin is a chemical engineer for Chevron U.S.A.