Skip to main content

Does VIEW Spell the End for List?

In my last post I talked about the need to replace LIST in Take Command v13. (So that I could implement even a fraction of the new feature requests that had been piling up for LIST over the last few releases.)

The more I experimented with the V File Viewer, the more convinced I became that it was the solution to the problem of how to update LIST (without spending so much time on it that I would be unable to implement any other new features!). I contacted Charles Prineas (the author of V), and we quickly worked out a licensing arrangement. (A side benefit for Charles was that the translators for Take Command have been translating the originally all-English V menus and dialogs to a variety of other languages.) Charles created a version of V that removed the file management routines, retaining only the core file viewer code.

I decided to keep LIST intact in its current version (though probably fated to never be significantly upgraded) in order to minimize any disruptions to existing aliases and batch files. Since there are a number of Take Command users who were already using V.EXE, I needed another name that wouldn’t conflict with either LIST or V. I settled on VIEW.

I wanted to minimize the learning curve in switching from LIST to VIEW. V and LIST have similar (but not identical) options, so the first step was to write a wrapper to parser the VIEW command line, translate any options, and then call V. V displays files in a GUI window, while LIST displays them in a console window (converted to a GUI window if you’re running TCC in a Take Command tab window). To minimize the effect of switching to a separate GUI window, I added the option to resize and relocate the V window in the current TCC tab window. Then the V help file was edited and inserted into the Take Command help file as chapters in the VIEW section.

VIEW supports all of the LIST options (except for /H, which is an obsolete leftover from the 4DOS days), and adds hundreds of new ones. (For a full list, see the VIEW online help.)

The end result is IMHO the best file viewer available for Windows, integrated with the best command processor (and tabbed windows environment) available for Windows. I’m excited by the addition of VIEW to Take Command, and both Charles and I are looking forward to integrating them more fully and extending VIEW’s capabilities even further.