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Main »» Interviews

Interview with AmiStart author Darius Brewka (31-May-2003)  Popular
(Read 8082 times)
Update: A native version for AmigaOS4 is being worked on. Screenshot

1) MikeB: Please introduce yourself to our readers. What is your job, age and where do you come from?

I'm a 31 year old and my job is to do nothing for the foreseeable future, not for real though, I dropped my study some weeks ago but I hope to continue/finish it nevertheless in the near future. I live in a "big" town in Germany named Braunschweig, near to the "Eintracht Stadium".

2) MikeB: What kind of study were you following?


3) MikeB: Can you tell us what kind of a program AmiStart is and why you decided to develop this utility? What features provides your program to let it stand out compared to similar Amiga programs?

I began AS as a simple Program launcher in 1998??, cannot remember it exactly, as I saw StartMenu2 it was a very useful Tool, but very limited and complicated to configure and also I hate to start a separate configuration Tools.

The main reason was that most StartBars..., are very powerful, but very ugly designed (very limited colors...). In the late 1999 I dropped AmiStart because I sold my Computer equipment, this was not against Amiga, it was more against Computers in general. In late 1999 I restarted the development of AS just to have some fun, but this time on my brothers Wintel PC using WinUAE. I won't compare it to other "StartBars", but i will give some features of AmiStart:

- background support
- truetype font support
- transparency support (limited throught some system limitations)
AmiStart - Click for a larger version- easy to configure (ok it's my own view)
- nearly full drag&drop support.
- built-in filesystem operations
- built-in support for irregular "button" bars (shapes), the SongPlayer skin
is such an "shape".
- additional tools for the "TaskBar"
- new Menus could be added on the fly with the included SDK or with the
- visual tools could be added to the TaskBar with the included Tools SDK,
some examples are a simple Magnifier, a Clock and a Memory Meter.
- arexx port to add/change Items on the Fly.
- nearly full keyboard support
and many more

4) MikeB: Personally I believe one of the most important advantage of AmigaOS is its modularity, which allows OS components to be replaced by a huge scala of 3rd party alternative solutions and so do you intend to support AmigaOS4 and/or other OS projects like AROS and MorphOS? And what are your other future plans for AmiStart?

I like AmigaOS, but I cannot say that I will support AmigaOS4/Morphos or AROS native in the near future, the simple reason was, that I have to buy my own Computer only to develop AmiStart (the WintelPC was only used to do this job), I think it's not worth to spend 600 Euros only for this.

I have done some extensions to AS, no big deals, also a very big limitation, AmiStart wont run on low-color machines anymore. Without cgx or P96 AS won�t run, you need at least a 65536 Color Screen. AS should be now runnable on MOS.

5) MikeB: Would you allow other developers to port AmiStart to these new operating systems or to release the source code in the future?

This is a very problematic issue. First of all the source is not commented (>20K lines)! and very badly programmed. Sometimes I wonder how parts could work! and why they work in all! I think as long as AOS4.0 and Morphos are able to emulate the 68k code there is no need for a native Version.

Perhaps I'll find someone who can port AS to AOS4.0 or MOS later, but first I have to restructure the code.

6) MikeB: What would the ideal application launcher be like in your opinion? And do you prefer StartMenus in comparison to Docks or other application launching utilities?

The ideal launcher is a short tool which allows you to easily launch Apps, fast, small without any aditional "trash", so AmiStart isn't an ideal Tool for this job. AmiStart moves to become a Visual Launcher over the last couple of months, most people didn't ask: "Could you add functional features" but instead asked: "could you add more colors.....", or "could you add some FX".

7) MikeB: AmigaOS4 will come supplied with an advanced docking tool called AmiDock. What is your opinion with regard to its announced feature list? [info - click here] (i.e. active/interactive content, customization options, plug-ins, etc)

Personaly I couldn't say anything against or for AmiDock for the reason that I have never used it. I use AmigaOS3.1.

I think anyone has his or her�s preferences, someone likes to move through normal WB Drawers, others like Docks and I prefer Windows like StartMenus coz of the very small amount of Space on the Display. I won't say AS is the Best, it's pretty with the right configuration, and it has many AmiDock features (active/interactive content = tools, customizing and plugins = tools, modules)

8) MikeB: One new enhancement for AmigaOS4 is its new application.libary [info - click here], a library which allows applications to register information with the system and permit other programs including AmiDock to take advantage of this information (i.e. adding them to AmiDock's main dock to provide TaskBar-like access). What is your opinion with regard to this new library and could this be useful for future versions of AmiStart?

As said before I could not say if I will add native OS4 support, it sounds nice but I'm not able to say it.

9) MikeB: Why are you developing software for AmigaOS? What makes the OS special in your opinion?

It's fun to program for AmigaOS, much more so than for the confuse Windows issue. I won't earn money so why not develop AmigaOS Apps!

Thanks a lot for answering my questions. - MikeB
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