Xit 2.3

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Written by Carsten Whimster

Introduction

The WPS is still very unique in the world of OSes, and it gives OS/2 fantastic capabilites that other operating systems can only as of yet dream of. The ability for any dedicated programmer to change the interface without hooking dangerously into internal structures of the operating system can only be done here. WpsNps and Xit were two of the first serious utilities that showed this capability off in a serious way. Both of these utilities have become essential on my desktop, each in their own way. Here I take a closer look at Xit 2.3.

Xit 2.3

Xit is a WPS add-on which integrates fairly seamlessly with your existing desktop, modifying only the behaviour that you allow it to. There are several extensive settings and options dialogs for you to customize it in exactly the way you want, while leaving out the options you don't care for, or have taken care of already in other ways. Here is a screen shot of the main options dialog:

Xit1.gif

Here you can see how buttons are configured for adding onto various windows. Some actions are only appropriate to regular windows, others to folders. Here is a shot of a folder, showing off the new buttons added by Xit:

Xit2.gif

By the way, the "Enable titlebar buttons" checkbox seems to be non-functional, at least on my system. I just noticed that it was turned off as I was doing this review.

The leftmost of the right-hand buttons is my own version of the rollup button bitmap. Xit has the nice feature of allowing you to put a bitmap in its directory with the correct name, for use on the buttons. I immediately took advantage of this by designing my own three buttons. The rollup button is essential when you are running many programs with windows covering most of your desktop, which probably has happened to every single developer out there. Just click on it, and the window is reduced to the size of its titlebar, until you click on it again, when it resumes its original size. Great for finding stuff without having to use the window list. The next one is for opening the parent folder, and the third one is for sorting the folder's contents alphabetically. The last three are standard Merlin 4.0 buttons, of course. There are too many options to list here for buttons, but pick up Xit, and you will find a list of everything in the help file.

The other lifesaver feature for me is the little clock that Xit can add to the corner of the desktop. Here is the dialog which allows you to configure this particular option, as well as a shot of the clock:

Xit3.gif

Xit4.gif

The rollup/down button is also configured here. In general the layout is fairly clean, but I do occasionally have trouble with finding where a certain option is configured. The dialogs are not very well labelled sometimes, having names like "More titlebar options" and "More options" from the main options dialog. I can understand that it is difficult to come up with appropriate names for the numerous features in Xit, but it should be possible to improve on the above names.

Some of the most noteworthy options are:

  • add extra buttons to windows
  • add extra buttons to folders
  • add a clock to the desktop or titlebar
  • rollup windows
  • add rmb menus to VIO windows
  • raise window under mouse button, a-la X-windows
  • reconfigure keystrokes
  • bypass shutdown confirmation (YES!)
  • disable Xit for any applications that cause trouble

And much much more...

Summary

Xit is an excellent little utility, and the depth of functionality can best be appreciated by downloading it and trying it out. The added buttons to the titlebar, the desktop clock, the menus for VIO windows, the extra folder functionality, it all just works. The only complaint I have is that the organization is a little lacking in the configuration dialogs, and that the default button bitmaps are not too spiffy, but this is not too big a deal.

Overall Rating: 4 1/2 of 5.

Information

Xit can be ordered in various language versions, and in a multitude of ways, from numerous sites. Grab the zip file from the site below, and read the file readme.xit for more information.

Xit 2.3
Price: $25 US or CDN
CodeSmith
RR 1, S-2, C-23
Fernie, BC
Canada V0B 1M0
E-mail: mshill@elkvalley.net
Home Page: http://www.bmtmicro.com/bmtmicro/