DISCLAIMER: On request, Peter Nielsen has donated a copy of PMView for use at EDM/2. Nonetheless, this review is exactly as it would have been if he hadn't. We are honest people here, you know.
Ever since PMView appeared a few years back, it has virtually dominated the graphics viewer segment of the OS/2 application market. It improved on its competitors by having an ultra-clean interface, well laid-out menus, a full set of features, and by being incredibly robust. I cannot recall it ever crashing, and I have used it for a long time. Here is a look at the 1.00 release of this excellent graphics viewer.
From you first start PMView, the cleanness and thoughtfulness of the interface immediately strikes you. Looking through the menus is a no-brainer, and finding features is usually accomplished on the first or second try. Here is a look at PMView with a familiar image loaded:
PMView has a number of features that really stand out, including several interface adornments. One of the most visible features is the way PMView includes a thumbnail image with each picture (optionally configurable to not do this), which shows up in the File Open and File Close dialogs. In addition to this, PMView can set the icon of each image you load to a miniature version of the actual image itself. These features are a god-send when you have a directory full of images, and need to open a very specific one, whose name you may not remember. Just use the File Open dialog, and you can visually browse through them. You can also manually choose the desired size of each thumbnail, from 32x32 to 224x224! The ones in this screenshot are 80x80.
PMView includes a full complement of image manipulation features, such as cropping, palette editing, colour reduction, filtering, mirroring, sizing (both with and without interpolation), brightness adjustment, contrast adjustment, and so on. In addition to this, a number of viewing options exist, such as zooming, and viewing images in a slideshow. I use ColorWorks which has a minimum image size of 100x100, so when I create a small image, I finish it off by cropping with PMView.
PMview also includes very slick screen capture functionality. I can't count the number of times I have used this feature, especially with respect to web page design and image manipulation. The screenshots in this article were created by running two instances of PMView, by the way.
I can't start to count the number of file formats that PMView supports. It supports all the standard ones, such as GIF, JPG, BMP (Windows and OS/2), PCX, and so on, but also some more esoteric formats, such as the image used by OS/2 upon bootup, icons, and more. Suffice it to say that I have not yet encountered an image format that PMView did not handle. It converts transparently between them all, of course.
PMView supports both TWAIN and STI TWAIN drivers, and has an acquire menu item which becomes usable when you have these installed.
There are so many small options and features that I could spend 10,000 words trying to cover them all, but I think that I have covered the more important ones here, so I will stop now.
Things I would like
As wonderful as PMView is, there are a few features that I feel would make it even better. This is pure nitpicking, however, since the feature set is already so strong. Here they are, in order of importance to me:
- Support for the creation of animated GIFs from individual GIFs (this would get me one step closer to removing NT from my computer). PMView currently lets you view these files, but not create them.
- An improved method of choosing the background and transparent colours of GIFs, such as letting you click around on the actual image until you are satisfied.
- A way of clicking on the image with the palette loaded, and have the pixel that was clicked on choose which colour is selected on the palette. Sometimes I want to manually manipulate a specific area on the image, but don't know which colour corresponds to this area.
- A way of choosing an area to base a colour reduction on, like PhotoShop. This would let me choose an area which is representative of the most important part of the image, and then use this for the histogram for choosing which colours to drop when colour reducing.
- A button in the three file dialogs to let you synchronize the load and save directories. This should work both ways, ie. when I am in the File Open dialog, I should be able to click on a button to switch immediately to the same directory as the File Save dialog is on.
- Support for loading multiple files into the same instance of PMView, and a Window menu to let you choose between the images. Running multiple instances of PMView is a snap, but this feature would be very handy sometimes.
PMView is without doubt one of the finest applications I have ever used, of any type, on any platform. It is very sharply focused, and it does what it purports to do admirably well. It just doesn't give you any surprises, but is supremely functional. Lots of attention to detail, respect for the user, and a very uncluttered and attractive interface set a very high aim for other application developers to follow. The robustness of this application is incredible. There are a few small things that I wish for, but overall, I cannot justify not giving this application the highest mark possible. If you need a graphics viewer with an incredible feature set, you need PMView. Someone should give Peter Nielsen a high-paying job developing OS/2 applications for a living, so that we may keep him forever. This guy knows interface design.
Overall Rating: 5 of 5.
PMView can be ordered through BMT Micro. For more ways of purchasing PMView, download the zip file and read the documentation.