Contents | < Browse | Browse >

==  Results: The Workbench Wish List Survey       By:  Katherine Nelson  ==

Well, here it is.  What everyone...well... a lot of people have been
waiting for! (:))

               The Results of the Workbench Wish List Survey

Please note: Although I am only going to list suggestions that received
more than one vote (or this article would be just way too huge, and it's
big as it is...), ALL suggestions from all 92 people answering the survey
will be sent to the new Amiga company as soon as it exists.

The largest number of votes that any one suggestion got was 57.  The
scaling used to show reader preference will therefore be based on a percent
of 57.  The most popular suggestion will have a vote of 100%, and so on.

In case of a tied number of votes, the suggestions are in random order, so
don't think I didn't like your vote. :)

  %                               Suggestion
-----  --------------------------------------------------------------------

100.0  Better appearance through *included* icons and backdrops.  (These
       include different pictures, more elaborate patterns, etc.)

 79.0  8+ color Workbench standard (preferably 16+) with icons using this
       many colors

 75.4  Allow users to add (easily) Menus, Submenus, Items to Menus, and

 49.1  User-definable Docks and AppIcons (such as ToolManager, NeXT, etc.)

 49.1  Make all of Workbench as configuable as MUI applications are, with
       user-defined gadget look/size, font prefs for different
       applications, etc.

 47.4  Icon and Backdrop (esp. Icon) colors should not be dependent on the
       position of the color in the WB palette.  They should color-guess if
       the actual color isn't available (like NewIcons system)

 43.9  Menus should be (or have an option to be) popup and sticky (like

 42.1  Retargetable Graphics

 31.6  More unix like AmigaDOS shell, but with scroll bar, file name
       completion, *-type wildcards, mouse-controlled copy and paste (like

 31.6  Real memory protection and error checking that could be disabled if

 26.3  Drop down or Popup menus instead of cycle gadgets (like CycleToMenu)

 22.8  Easy to use Virtual Memory - You just tell it how much you want, and
       it handles the rest (like Macintosh)

 22.8  Include datatypes for iff, dr2d, smus, faxx, wav, voc, snd, tga,
       tiff, raw, fli/flc, epsf, mpeg, pict, jpeg, gif, html, anim, pcx,
       avi, cdxl, au, avi, bmp, postscript fonts, 3d objects (from
       Imagine, etc.)

 22.8  Full-featured ARexx port for Workbench, especially including the
       ability to open drawers automatically

 22.8  Fully multitasking, multithreaded Workbench  [I'm surprised more
       people didn't vote for this]

 19.3  Include a print spooler w/drag and drop and ability to rearrange
       order of printing or cancel

 17.5  Better Icon Editor (like Iconian) with ability to cut, copy, and
       paste brushes, and ability to scale down pictures into icons

 15.8  Add more pens to intuition (i.e. Inactive Window Title Bars,
       Inactive Window Titles, Action Gadget Backround) and ability to
       assign any color in the palette to them

 15.8  Have a menu or a list brought up by hotkey of all running screens
       and hidden windows, and be able to jump to one by selecting it or to
       quit it

 15.8  Interlaced (possibly animated) pointer for non-AGA machines and AGA
       machines, hires pointer, and an animated and easy to edit

 15.8  Rescale sliders, window borders, and gadgets according to aspect
       ratio of the screen resolution, so the vertical bars are not 2X as
       big as the horizontal ones on interlaced machines

 15.8  More printer drivers should be included, that run the printers at
       full dpi, and have better color printer support

 14.8  The Workbench should look like NeXT machines

 14.0  Have more default icons, incl.  for different datatypes, and an easy
       way to change them

 14.0  Animated requesters/user messages with the ability for programmers
       to add their own animations for within their programs, and for user
       to change the animations in the Workbench ones

 14.0  Better font sensitivity in Workbench and included utilities

 14.0  More of a 3d and beveled look for windows (like Sysihack at the
       least) and shadows behind windows

 14.0  An "undelete" command, disk/hard drive repair/optimize/defragment
       program (DiskSalv or DiskDoctor as a start)

 14.0  Be able to bring windows to the front by just clicking on them once,
       or as an option only, Sun Mouse abilities

 12.3  The 8 colors of an 8 color Workbench should not be changed to the
       upper four and lower four when the # of colors are increased.  This
       makes the icons look weird.

 12.3  Drag and drop capability from Workbench to application, between
       applications, and from an application to the Workbench

 12.3  Create a trashcan that sits on the Workbench and really deletes when
       an option is selected from the menu (as a failsafe) (like on the

 12.3  No more Topaz-8! [!!!]

 12.3  Greater HotKey support, and ability to navigate all of Workbench and
       most programs with keyboard only (like in Windows)

 12.3  Use PFS file system, and have ability to boot from PFS disks (1.8%
       specifically do not want PFS)

 12.3  Use the "Help" key in Workbench to demonstrate/explain basic
       operations and to have an AmigaGuide tour of the system.  (There
       would be different Help modules that could be deleted if unnecessary
       to save space)

 12.3  Built-in support for a middle mouse button, giving it a user-defined
       action (shift-select, cycle screens/windows, rename a file)

 12.3  Voice recognition software if audio digitizing equipment is present

 12.3  Be able to change all colors of the Workbench in the palette
       preferences, not just 8

 12.3  Standard multifilesystem where a PC disk could still be accessed by
       calling DF0:, Mac disks the same way (Like multifilesystem)..  Only
       one icon per disk

 10.5  Bring back the speach tool, but new and improved, perhaps with other
       languages supported

 10.5  Font support of Postscript and TrueType fonts.  Also, datatypes so
       they could be viewed in their entirety in MultiView

 10.5  Ability to play sound effects or execute a program at specified
       system and/or time events, perhaps with ability to pick randomly
       from a short list

 10.5  Be able to iconify all screens and windows (perhaps have another
       gadget on the window border/screen title bar)

 10.5  No isometric icons

 10.5  Whether by software or by hardware, the disk drive SHOULD NOT CLICK.
       [I'm surprised more people didn't suggest this, too...]

  8.8  Be able to resize windows from any side, not just the right-bottom

  8.8  Built-in system support for CD, Syquest, and Tape Backup drives

  8.8  Full Postscript

  8.8  Include a clock w/out window borders (like TinyClock) that could
       also be configured to only have a digital readout on the title bar,
       could be set to always be front/back, could be iconified, and could
       have a separate time from the system clock

  8.8  Disk cache

  8.8  Calculator improvement - fractions, degrees, radians, trig, convert
       between bases, percent

  8.8  PhotoCD reader or datatype for PhotoCDs

  8.8  Visual clipboard (like Mac) w/ability to cut/paste pictures, sound,
       and text

  7.0  Include reqtools.library and other shareware libraries as standard,
       or create/improve sytem libraries so they are not necessary

  7.0  Make the Workbench more object oriented (Similar to NeXTStep but
       more real-time and with a more responsive user interface)

  7.0  Ability to quit WB and have all commodities, etc. automatically
       quit.  If a project/document is not savved, have a requester ask you
       if you wish to save before closing...  (Software shutdown)

  7.0  When "Insert Volume X" requester appears, have ability (through the
       requester) to assign that volume to a directory

  7.0  Easy to set up Multi-User File System

  7.0  Ability to show a specified or random picture shown at bootup (make
       the Amiga logo as the shipped default)

  7.0  A single control panel to cover all commodiites/hacks (with ability
       to add) to make configuring the look of your Workbench easier

  7.0  Automatic activation of screens after Amiga-M

  7.0  Better text viewer that uses scroll bars instead of space bar, etc.

  7.0  Bring back the phrase "Guru Meditation" (with a message, not a
       number), unless memory protection is enabled, and then find
       somewhere else to put it

  7.0  Have ESC translate to Cancel and RETURN to OK when using any

  7.0  Ability to boot up and have selected windows already be open for you

  7.0  More screenmodes/resolutions that are compatible with VGA/SVGA
       monitors and the IBM world (800X600, 1024X768, 1280X1024)

  7.0  A priority manager and task remover that can also list open screens,
       open windows, what exactly is loaded into memory (like ARTM, except
       without the occaisional computer crash when a task is removed)

  7.0  Popup menus like MagicMenu, except the menus would be specific to
       what the pointer is hovering over, and perhaps even different shapes
       for each type of object it points to (Intelligent Pointer)

  7.0  Switch from AmigaGuide to HTML (more standard, more "information
       superhighway"ish, more colorful w/inline pictures

  7.0  Scalable icons for different screen modes/sizes (icons for an
       interlaced Workbench look wrong on an non-interlaced Workbench

  7.0  Be able to open-parent-while-closing-child and the reverse, perhaps
       reusing the same window

  5.3  Keep the OS small, don't add pretty surface features

  5.3  Have ability to make the background color of the icons clear, so the
       backdrop shows through

  5.3  All icons should be the same size

  5.3  Have a public screen commodity (create/manage/remove public screens,
       force applications either to own screens, or to open on the

  5.3  More Gadtools gadgets and improve gadtools scaling

  5.3  Ability to have inline graphics in AmigaGuides

  5.3  HotKeys for window actions (close, zoon, etc.)

  5.3  Add an option somewhere in prefs to show either directories or files
       first in file requesters

  5.3  When you click "Cancel", have it really cancel on the first time,
       instead of having 5 more requesters

  5.3  The mouse should not "hang" in MultiView when it is loading a node
       in an AmigaGuide file

  5.3  Overall speed of MultiView needs to be increased

  5.3  Include better fonts

  5.3  Datatypes should support editing (when text, AmigaGuide, HTML, etc.)
       read and write operations so they could convert any file format into
       any other file format (of the same general type, like graphics,
       sound, etc.)

  5.3  Workbench should not load a default icon for each file in a window
       if they are being viewed by name

  5.3  Be able to view as small icons, date, etc. (see Mac Sys7), and let
       programmers be able to incorporate these views in file requesters in
       their own programs

  5.3  Give all programs easy access to datatypes

  5.3  Have an option for an automatic "Update" in all Windows, especially
       Ram Disk

  5.3  Inside the standard file requester have the ability to delete or
       create drawers

  5.3  Allow different patterns in each window (store pattern name in the
       .info file)

  5.3  Allow users to give Workbench border a simple pattern or at least
       change its color

  5.3  Have a better information panel like SwazInfo

  5.3  Ability to kill or automatically kill a frozen program

  5.3  Ability to have icons in a different location than the program (like
       aliases on the mac)

  5.3  Allow users to cut and paste from anywhere to anywhere else, esp.
       between string gadgets (like NeXT)

  5.3  A "move" command!  [Come on, it's about time for one...]

  5.3  Make "dir" faster and more useful, esp.  for PC people new to the

  5.3  Automatic snapshot of icons, windows

  5.3  Complete and total mouse emulation by keyboard (in all programs),
       using the keypad for directions

  3.5  Animated/calculated backdrops (like xfishtank)

  3.5  A standard C++ fontend and developers' package for AmigaDOS, so the
       programmer can use constructors and destructors & have the compiler
       keep track of unlocking/closing/deallocating/etc... Also, this would
       introduce real inheritance, for extensions like task vs. process

  3.5  More thorough documentation on the supported CD-ROM drive system

  3.5  Entire window should not update when only one icon is moved

  3.5  All included programs should be consistant with some sort of User
       Interface Standard, but HDBackup is not.

  3.5  Allow windows to be placed partially "off screen" to save space on
       the desktop

  3.5  Font editor (like TypeSmith)

  3.5  Include parnet software and cable for networking between Amigas

  3.5  Software multiprocessor support (Dictate tasks to certain

  3.5  Bring back AmigaBasic with compiler and AGA support, and new manual 

  3.5  Workbench support for math co-processors (speed up re-mapping)

  3.5  Include a lot of Amiga logo stuff: backdrop, screensaver module,
       etc. (and .8svx of slogan)

  3.5  Include how-to video and easy manual for 1st time users, but also
       something more in-depth for experienced ones

  3.5  Left-handed mouse capability

  3.5  Support for Icons without text (even with null string, WB still adds
       font height into placement calculations)  Also have ability for icon
       text to be different than the name of the program (tooltype?)

  3.5  Ability to run other machines' OS's.  (Not just Windows NT, please)

  3.5  Shell and Window borders should be slimmer

  3.5  If a directory is moved by dragging the icon into another directory,
       have a requester to confirm this action, so it's not an accident

  3.5  Have a prefs GUI for devices to be mounted (would move them to/from
       Storage), assigns to be made at startup, Monitors to be supported
       (also moves them), and things to be put into WBStartup and commands
       in User-Startup (for people who don't like to edit scripts)

  3.5  Some sort of tree view, like explorer in Win '95 or in OS/2

  3.5  Included screengrabber

  3.5  Allow a window to be shown only by its title bar (look at Mac

  3.5  Ability to read Mac disks built in (we can already read IBM disks,
       why not go all out?)

  3.5  Have the size of a drawer listed in "view by name", where like the
       Mac, it just updates the size as it calculates it, instead of
       delaying showing the drawers by calculating it first

  3.5  In view by name, have the small Mac triangle gadgets at the drawers
       to get the tree effect

  3.5  Memory and disk space shown in K

  3.5  Have a multiple format command that will prompt user after each
       format if he/shek would like to format another

  3.5  When opening parent, have a menu or submenu for all parent drawers
       of the current window so you can skip over some

  3.5  Have a "close all windows" option

  3.5  Have a "Tools" menu shared on all public screens

  3.5  Ability to copy/move/manipulate only the icon files while in Workbench

  3.5  Ability to determine free disk space before transferring data (save
       the time/trouble of trying if there's no room)

  3.5  Enable icon names to wrap around to 2 lines if they are long

  3.5  Be able to snapshot the ram disk icon

  3.5  Improve the clean-up command to place icons close to their original
       position in the window, instead of moving them all over the place

  3.5  If default icons are being used, have icon file read once and re-use
       as necessary instead of multiple reads.  (Put default icons into
       ram: as an option?)

  3.5  If you don't have enough ram to open a new application/document, the
       system should check to see which applications are running that you
       are not currently using, and give you the option to close one or
       more of them to free up enough memory.

  3.5  Have the ability to clean up in an alphabetized order, or a
       drawers-first order.

  3.5  When using Copy, have a progress indicator (a bar, preferably)

  3.5  Have a special alert when formating a hard drive

  3.5  Have some sort of "lock" so selected files can't be deleted

  3.5  Some type of uninstall program that gets rid of libraries/fonts/etc.
       that programs leave behind even after they're deleted 

  3.5  Better pointer editor

  3.5  Should be able to recognize printer errors more quickly (such as

  3.5  Include well-done standard mouse pointers, such as the I-beam text
       cursor, etc. for all programs to use

  3.5  Support for non-paletted (15/16/24 bit) or semi-paletted (HAM6/8)
       Workbench screens.

  3.5  When using datatypes to display a picture, and picture has more
       colors than can currently be displayed, dither colors to make it as
       close as possible.

  3.5  Allow the information displayed on the title bar to be configurable,
       i.e., user can choose to show 1 or more of: date, memory, time, #
       screens open, cpu usage, cps rate for downloading, etc.

  3.5  Shared libraries that simulate GUI calls for other OS's by calling
       Intuition.  (XWindows, System 7, and MS-Windows libraries) (Would
       ease porting of applications)

  3.5  Have the position in the window update as the scroll bar is dragged,
       not after

  3.5  Borderless icons..if we want borders, we'll draw them

  3.5  Be able to force a public screen to be displayed in a window on the

  3.5  Standard drivers for back-up systems or removeable media

  3.5  Full system support of 24-bit graphics (this graphics capability should
       be standard on all Amigas)

  3.5  Nicer looking prefs GUI.

  3.5  Full-featured "find file" from desktop, where drawers and windows are
       opened for you to get to the file

  3.5  A decent, standard palette for each color level for the Workbench.
       Perhaps have Grey, Faded, Normal, and Bright versions.

A few (a very few) of the comments that I received are mentioned here.
These were picked semi-randomly from groups of similar comments.  One
person's name was lost when the message was forwarded from Jason Compton to
myself, so I apologize in advance for not being able to give full credit
for his/her statement...

"The Amiga GUI is the most intuitive and easy to use GUI out there...
however there are dozens of little things about it that keep sticking their
heads up.  Maybe a life long Amiga user would have gotten used to it.  But
I've only had my A4000/030 for just over 1 year.  Before that I was an avid
MS-Windows user..."   -- David Zvekic

"....dealers have their workbenches set up in the worst possible ways.
[i.e. - 4 colors, ugly icons, clicking drive, etc...]  If I didn't see an
Amiga at a friends house FIRST before seeing it at the store, I probably
never would have bought one."   -- David Zvekic

"I want to be able to use any application with my keyboard, without using
my mouse.  Microsoft Windows meets this requirement.  Don't ask me to
install third party packages like MUI for keyboarding."  -- Quang Ngo

"...they should take a good close look at the Silicon Graphics equivalent
to the workbench on their newest OS.  It used drag drop, multiple view
modes, and exceeds the well done solution used currently on the Mac."
-- Ralph Vinciguerra

"Make the upgrade available swiftly and cheaply, no more than $50-$100.
Seriously.  Most people won't fully develop for the new OS if hardly anyone
has it."  -- Paul Nolan

"...Ii think improvements should be made in improving the functionality and
performance speed of the workbench, and not in pretty wallpaper.  Every
effort should be made to improve speed and ease of use.  Looks is of minor
concern."  -- Rene Beekman

"The style guides and RKM manuals should be updated, improved...and
ENFORCED!  By this I don't mean that programmers should have to get some
sort of license to publish software for the amiga, that would make
development unattractive.  Perhaps instead, a glowing sticker with the
words 'Amiga Approved Software' should be offered to developers who release
a package that conforms to system standards..."  -- Maureen Erin Siddall

"One of the main concerns of current and future computer owners is the
availability of software, it is therefore in the company's best interest to
encourage the proliferation of PD, shareware and commercial software
development.  One way to achieve this is to offer programming tools,
documentation and examples either as freeware or at minimal cost to the
average programmer.

I would also concentrate on better application development rather than
creating an enormous operating system. Though this may impede software
development time, a smaller OS offers several other advantages such as:

  o   The programming learning curve would be shortened because of its
      relative simplicity.
  o   Applications would not be bogged down by the OS consuming resources.
  o   Minimized risk of compounded errors as would be induced by a large
  o   Less resource requirements (ie. less processor time, hard drive space
      and RAM consumed etc.).

....In the end it should be as easy to use as a Mac and yet should still remain
as appealing to hackers, coders, demo-makers, artists, game-players, video-
makers and hardware enthusiasts as every model has been since the original
A1000."  -- Jean-Pierre LeBel

"A good idea would be to make a...set of icons, using the NewIcons
system, but with non-isometric graphics. (this does not impose 2d look)
Graphists should have a look [at] NeXTSTEP icons."  -- Jean-Alexis

"...just like OS/2 Warp has Internet support, so should Workbench.  I 
know that future (or current) versions of WB have network drivers, but with 
Internet becoming more important, the Workbench should support it.  This 
Internet support should include those who need dial up SLIP/PPP access as 
well as direct LAN hookup.  If not part of the OS, CEI should contract
someone to make an integrated Internet package.  It is very difficult to
get all the current software to work in unison.  I wish there was a
"Internet in a Box" for the Amiga."  -- <name lost in mail forwarding>

" In PC-Windows common resolution used for screen display is 800x600 in 256
or with better GFX cards 16.7 mil.  colors.  Of course, much utilities
support 16.7 mil.  colors.  Also it is not unlikely seeing pictures in
1024x768 or 1024x1024.  In AMIGA-WB default icons are adapted to be used in
640x256 and when you switch in INTERLACE they look horribly ugly !  It
would be the best to make it at least 640x512 (same size of pixels in X and
Y aspect).  But the higher resolution and higher number of colors-the
better.  Look at MAC-system 7.x.  It also works in very high resolution as
default.  It is important to keep the speed even when working in higher
resolutions." -- Zvonko Tesic

"I'd also like to remind everyone...that adding "more" to Workbench isn't
necessarily better.  While it is in need of an upgrade, one mustn't forget
that its speed, flexibility and ease of use are probably its best features
(along with low overhead multitasking, of course...).  :)" -- Ken Pierce

And finally a statement that speaks for most of us, I'm sure:

"My other wish to Your Wish List is that there would BE the new Workbench.
And the new Amiga.  That's even more important than my first wish."
 -- Sebastian Witkowski

Next issue I will outline what COULD be the "Perfect Workbench", on the
basis of the letters I received and the experience I had for 1 1/2 years in
the jungle of selling PC and Macintosh software, and hearing their
complaints and praises...

Also included will be the list of the most-often used Shareware or PD

See elsewhere in the magazine for the beginning of a LIMITED Hardware Wish
List survey...  I don't know if I could do something like this again.  :)