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The Unofficial XaAES Page
Index Introduction Input devices Menus Scroll lists GEM windows System interface Appendix

Chapter 6 - The Unofficial XaAES Documentation 6. System interface

6.1 The XaAES menu
XaAES will install its own GEM menu bar, just like e.g. your replacement desktop will. Through this menu bar you will be able to launch programs even if you are in total lack of a desktop. One thing that you may find different compared to old MultiTOS or N.AES is the fold down menu containing the list of running processes. In N.AES there was a more direct (and probably better) approach where the list was displayed right below the accessories at all times. There is also an info window which will reveal some program credits as well as information on your XaAES version.
Menu title: XaAES
About XaAES... - Opens up the info/credits window
- Folds down list with open AES applications.
  The list is split in 2 sections:
  • XaAES itself plus desk accessories
  • All other AES applications

Menu title: Process
Launch... - Opens up the file selector, allowing you to select a binary to run
Launch desk
-Launch the desktop program defined in XAAES.CNF.
Task manager
- Opens up the task manager (See 6.4)
System log
- Opens a window containing a system log and environmental settings
Quit all app
- Termination of all open applications
  (See 6.4)
Quit XaAES
- Will close down XaAES
  (See 6.4)

6.2 Information windows
6.2.1 About..
This window contains program credits as well as some binary specific information. Within the scrolling list you will find a list of people who has contributed to XaAES as well as information regarding distribution of XaAES. Details about the currently running XaAES binary are listed at the bottom of the window. There you will find the XaAES version number, compile date and also which CPU it was compiled for.

6.2.2 System log
This is a multi purpose window. It will allow you to see a list of previous error messages as well as a list of your current environmental settings. The list is using a threaded approach, so you can expand/collapse either of the Alerts and Environment threads depending on which that you wish to pay closer attention to. The button can be pressed if you wish to empty the error message log. As for the bomb icon at the bottom left corner – Its purpose is a well hidden secret so far..

6.3 File selector
Any application that deals with saving or loading of files has to provide a way for the user to select the path as well as the name of the file. The solution is called the file selector, which in essence is a windowed dialog with a directory listing inside. XaAES’ file selector is built-into the system so you don’t have to install any additional software. In fact, since the previously “standard” way of installing external file selectors involves some very nasty programming tricks you may perhaps find that XaAES does not allow those to work. The reason for this is that FreeMiNT/XaAES main developers are convinced that it is in the best interest of the platform to stay out of unclean solutions in the future. It has however been reported that some have managed to get external selectors like e.g. Boxkite to work to some degree, but this is not recommended.
There are a couple of things that can be configured in the file selector and the most outstanding feature is the ability to switch between a normal, “flat” view of a directory and a threaded “tree” view: (Also see
chapter 4)
NOTE: The file selector can be resized in real time. Using the mouse to grab the lower right corner of the outer border and then drag the window to the desired size.

The file selector utilizes 3 popup menus, which are accessed via the windows own menu bar:
-Drive letter menu
  • Use this menu to change to another drive unit
  • Note that you can use the key combo ALT + <Drive letter> to switch directly to the desired drive unit without opening the popup menu.
-File extension mask menu
  • Use this menu to apply a certain extension mask to the directory listing
-File selector configuration menu
  • Real time build directories means that the directory structure will be drawn while being scanned. Normal behaviour is waiting until dir has been scanned, then draw all in one go.
  • Tree view means that the directory listing is shown as a threaded “tree like” view. (See chapter 4)
  • Sorting options allows you to specify what criteria to adjust the sort results to.

6.4 Taskmanager
Accessed either via the XaAES menu bar or via the key combo CTRL+ALT+L, the task manager of XaAES will present a list of the currently running processes. After highlighting a process you can either:
  • Terminate it cleanly using the trashcan icon
  • Kill it with brute force using the skull icon
  • Put it to sleep using the bed icon
  • Wake it up using the alarm bell icon
This window also offers you some other features which can be accessed through a set of buttons at the bottom of the task manager:
Quit all app - Termination of all open application (with the exception for processes that has been configured not to be included)
Quit XaAES - Will close down XaAES, but if XaAES is started directly from MINT.CNF then expect a reboot instead.
Reboot - Triggers a warm reset
Cold - Triggers a cold reset
Change resolution - Opens up the dialog for changing resolution (See 6.6.1)

6.5 Control center
(Not yet implemented in XaAES)
6.6 System dialogs
6.6.1 Resolution change
XaAES introduces a resolution switcher that can be called either from task manager or via the keyboard shortcut CTRL+ALT+R. If you select a resolution from this dialog the AES will be restarted (just restarted, not reloaded!) using the default resolution for the selected colour depth. After a resolution change all external files with the exceptions of the ADI-modules are however re-read from disk. This means that if you have altered the XaAES configuration file or changed window widgets (or some other XaAES resource) you can simply trigger a resolution change to restart the AES in order to make your changes take effect. If you have installed a new kernel module binary you must however exit the AES completely.
The resolution change dialog may look different depending on what hardware XaAES is run at. By using this approach XaAES can present a more precise support for the various graphics hardware available. In the picture to the right you can see what the dialog will look like on all setups that utilize the Nova VDI.
On an Atari Falcon the resolution switcher will appear as shown on the picture to the right
In order to put the resolution switcher to good use you should install a software package that allows you to create default resolutions for each colour depth. There are at least 2 options that should work here, Screenblaster and Centscreen. At least the latter is known to work even with Falcons that have an accelerated bus/board.
6.6.2 Screen capture
In conjunction with a screenshot module (XAAESNAP.PRG, a standalone binary) XaAES offers an easy and flexible way to take pictures of screen contents. To control the module there is a dedicated XaAES dialog that can be accessed through the key combination CTRL+ALT+D. It is important that the screenshot module is already running at this time. In future versions XaAES will probably launch it itself, when required.
The dialog offers 3 ways to decide which area to take a screenshot of:
Block - Select a rectangular area with the mouse, then save screenshot of this area
Full screen - Save a screenshot of the full screen
Top window - Save a screenshot of the top window only


The screenshot module currently supports colour depths ranging from 1-24 bits and will save the screenshot in TGA (Targa) format. The file will be saved to FreeMiNT’s ramdisk, in u:\ram\. The generated files will be named ‘snap_xxx.tga' where xxx is a number from 0 to 999. Existing screenshot files will never be overwritten unless you happen to take more than 1000.


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