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%% C.S.A. Review: ARexx Guide 2.0a By: Thomas Voirol %%
ARexxGuide is an extensive hypertext document in AmigaGuide format
on the ARexx programming language.
Do not confuse it with the South West Amiga Group's similarly named
"Introduction To ARexx". This is an entirely different beast.
Name: Robin Evans
Address: 1020 Seneca #405
Seattle, WA 98101-2720
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org on Internet
R.EVANS6 on GEnie
email@example.com on Internet
Availability: ARexxGuide can be obtained from many local BBSs and
the Aminet ftp sites (util/rexx directory).
ARexxGuide is shareware. This means it is freely distributable, but
if you find it useful, the author asks you to register. The shareware fee
is $15 (US).
Registration can be done from within ARexxGuide. A script asks you
a few questions about your configuration and then assembles a text file
which you can print out and mail in with the fee.
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
Each ARexxGuide file is smaller than 75KB, so no extra RAM
should be necessary.
A hard disk or a high density disk drive is recommended,
since a complete installation requires about 1 MB of disk
AmigaOS 2.04 or later is required.
It might work with AmigaDOS 1.3, however, if you have ARexx
and AmigaGuide or an equivalent of the latter like Hyper.
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
Amiga 3000T, 2MB Chip RAM, 16MB Fast RAM
Kickstart 40.68, Workbench 40.42
Picasso II Graphics Board
Installation is a simple copy operation which can be done from
Workbench. No Assigns or Path additions are necessary. If you invoke
ARexxGuide from ToolManager or the likes, you should set the current
directory to the one where ARexxGuide resides.
ARexxGuide starts with a nicely detailed, clearly arranged, main
panel. From here you jump directly to the relevant chapters. Several entry
points are given; that is, if you want to find a particular piece of
information, there are usually several different "paths" that will lead you
If you are an ARexx beginner, you can browse through the Guide
starting with the Introduction. The document turns out to be a complete
course in ARexx, at the end of which you will be able to write programs. No
prior knowledge of the language is necessary. Even a small history of Rexx
The seasoned ARexx programmer also will find ARexxGuide to be an
invaluable on-line reference. The reference part of this documentation is
divided logically into the chapters "Basic Elements", "Instructions",
"Functions", "Operators", "Commands" and "Error Codes".
ARexxGuide uses the hypertext capabilities of AmigaGuide
extensively. This makes for a very lucid tree structure. You practically
never have to read more than one or two pages of text, and almost every
technical term is cross-referenced through a hypertext link. Finally,
ARexxGuide encompasses a very thorough index which is the fastest way to
look up the syntax and arguments of a command whose name you already know.
All pages show the path by which they can be reached in the window's
drag bar. On the bottom of each page, the Previous, Next and Contents links
are displayed. All this makes navigating really easy.
Distributed with the regular ARexxGuide is a requester version that,
according to the author, will display term definition references in a
requester window instead of jumping to the glossary. The requester version
requires Nico Francois' reqtools.library and Rafael D'Halleweyn's
rexxreqtools.library. However, since that Guide works properly only with V34
of the AmigaGuide utility, I could not try it out.
Since ARexxGuide IS documentation, there is not too much to say
about this part ;^). Nevertheless, all the necessary meta-information (i.e.,
Distribution, Author, Registration and others) is there and easily
I like and appreciate the enormous amount of work and care the
author has put into ARexxGuide. It is very thoroughly detailed and provides
almost all knowledge relevant to ARexx. I have not been able to spot any
mistakes so far.
DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS
Dislikes I have to find yet.
COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
The only product I know that is comparable to ARexxGuide is the
aforementioned "Introduction To ARexx" by the South West Amiga Group. While
being a nice tutorial also, it lacks in the reference field and is not as
None found. There obviously were some in the example scripts of the
2.0 release which have been fixed in 2.0a.
Besides releasing the bug-fixed version 2.0a, the author has provided
a 50KB patch archive to upgrade an existing ARexxGuide 2.0 installation.
Users of slower modems will be thankful that they don't have to download a
whole new version.
I rate this product 10 stars out of 10. Honest. Robin Evans has
provided us with an indispensable on-line help for ARexx where Commodore
neglected to do so.
The $15 shareware fee is fair compensation for the incredible amount
of time and dedication the author has put into this documentation. I
encourage all ARexx programmers, seasoned or aspiring, to test this fine
product and by all means send the shareware fee to Mr. Evans.
REVIEW AUTHOR'S BACKGROUND
I program in REXX for a living on IBM mainframe computers running
under MVS/ESA, and I use IBM's very comprehensive TSO/E REXX documentation
on a daily basis.
Copyright 1994 Thomas M. Voirol. All rights reserved.
Thomas M. Voirol firstname.lastname@example.org
Badenerstrasse 363 email@example.com
+41 1 400 16 42
| Thomas M. Voirol | | _ // Zurich, Switzerland |
| Certified Amiga Magician | | X/isual Magic Digital Arts |
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