Jun 012018
 

And then say “Ta, Fred!” for Tamarc!

Astute observers of how our beloved RISC OS user interface works will have noticed that clicking with Select on the Switcher icon – aka the Task Manager, at the far right of the icon bar – does one thing, while an Adjust click on it does… the very same thing.

In both cases, by default, they open the Tasks window, which shows you how memory is allocated, which applications are running and so on.

This consistent behaviour is entirely inconsistent with the way the Adjust mouse button is normally used – it generally performs a related or similar action to Select, but not the very same one. For example, if you click on a menu item with Select, that click is acted upon and the menu closed – whereas if you do so with Adjust, the click is acted on and the menu remains open.

There are a number of people, therefore, who ponder a simple question: Why can’t an Adjust click on the Switcher icon do something useful – something different to a Select click, rather than exactly the same thing – such as open Configure?

This makes a lot of sense, and back in 2011 Will Ling put together a simple module – QuickConfig – to do exactly that, while others have suggested source changes so that the facility is baked right into the OS. However, it remains an unofficial option and not a part of official builds of RISC OS; when a patch was submitted by Fred Graute in August 2015 to RISC OS Open Ltd to make Adjust open Configure, it was rejected. A number of reasons were given for that rejection1, along with some speculation on what an Adjust click could instead be used for – such as perform an action that the user could specify.

With that in mind, Fred has since written a module called Tamarc (short for Task Manager Right Click), that performs a very simple operation: It looks for clicks with the Adjust button on the Switcher icon, and when one occurs it runs an Obey file to carry out a user-specified action.

By default, that action is to run Configure.

Fred has also included another handy module inside the application directory that holds Tamarc. That module is called TestACS, and it checks to see if any of the keyboard modifiers – Alt, Ctrl, Shift – are pressed, with the result of the test being placed in a couple of system variables. These system variables can be read from Obey files – so providing an easy way to perform different actions from an Obey file depending on which modifier was pressed, if any.

This means the Obey file used by Tamarc can be much more versatile than just opening Configure if Adjust is clicked – it could be set up to vary that action if one of the modifier keys is pressed at the same time.

Both Tamarc and TestACS have been released by Fred under the three clause BSD licence, and their sources are included in the download.

!ReadMe

  1. One of those reasons was that there are already four ways to run Configure, but I can only think of three – and one of those isn’t something users should be doing anyway because it involves delving inside Boot. (A possible fourth method does springs to mind, but that also involves messing around in Boot to make it possible in the first place.)