Introduction and Overview
Thank you for purchasing Directory Opus 5. We believe you will
be impressed by its new power and features.
This manual has been designed to lead you through using Opus 5,
or allow you to quickly skip to chapters of interest. This chapter is
designed to tell you something about the concepts behind
Directory Opus 5. It will provide you with a general overview of
its operation, so you can start using the program immediately.
Even if you read nothing else in this manual, you should read this
chapter! Chapter two provides you with a simple introduction to
the Amiga filing system while the subsequent chapters discuss the
individual parts of the Directory Opus 5 system in more detail.
Directory Opus 5 - The Power of the Amiga Realised!
There are now many directory utilities for the Amiga, but nothing
like Directory Opus 5. Whatever program you used before, Opus 5
heralds a totally new generation of directory utilities. Directory
Opus 4 reached the effective limit of power and flexibility for a
static directory utility program. Opus 5 breaks out of the mould!
It uses the power of the Amiga in a way rarely seen before, giving
you the most powerful Amiga disk utility ever.
There are directory utilities, then there's Directory Opus 5!
Directory Opus 5 is the result of a total rethink on the nature of
directory utilities from authors who have been developing Amiga
software for many years. By using a strict object orientated design
methodology to harness the often hidden, multi-tasking power of
the Amiga Operating System, we have been able to create a totally
new program, which is much smarter than Opus 4 in the way it
delivers this new power and flexibility.
When used as a Workbench replacement, Opus 5 greatly enhances
your productivity since there is no need to keep swapping
between Workbench and your file manager. Opus provides a
seamless integration of file manager and Workbench functions.
Although Opus 5 is simple and easy to use, it still gives you an
extensive ability to configure the display and program operations
exactly as you desire. And, all this is done in full compliance with
the Amiga Style Guide principles.
Multitasking as it should be done!
Opus 5 is a fully multi-threaded, internally multitasking suite of
programs, which are called into operation when required. These
programs invisibly control the operation of each system object,
whether it be the visual display of a directory list, or a specific
action such as copying files. Each visible component of the Opus 5
display, whether the main backdrop window, a directory Lister, a
Button Bank, or other object, is actually controlled by an
independent program task which interacts with the other objects in
the system as required. Commands can pass instructions to source
and target objects to perform actions on demand, independently of
the other objects of the visual display.
So what does all this technical design talk mean to the user?
Simple! Opus 5 now has more power than ever before, but is even
easier to use!
No Waiting, No Delay
The object design concept, with its inherent multi-tasking, is what
actually gives Opus 5 its impressive power and makes it so fast
and efficient. Once you understand how Opus 5 works, you will
no longer need to wait while one action finishes before starting
another. For example, while de-archiving into one directory, there
is now no need to wait for this to finish before doing something
else. Once the action has been launched, you can immediately
open a new directory Lister and start performing other tasks, all
while the first task completes. Similarly, you can download a file
from a remote Internet site using the internal OpusFTP without
blocking other activities.
The power of Opus 5 is also demonstrated when editing any of the
Opus 5 objects or system configuration items. The configuration
items and actions of each object can be edited separately and
independently, while never blocking the actions of other objects.
So, while you are editing the commands attached to a set of
custom buttons in a button bank, you can still be performing jobs
with other component objects such as the file Listers.
It has been said in some quarters that the Amiga user does not
need all this "superfluous glitz" in a file manager. Some people
seem to think that the way we all did things back in the heady
days of 1988 with WB1.3 should be good enough for everyone. We
beg to differ! The Amiga has advanced and so have its developers.
We now know how to harness some of the machine's native
multitasking ability for our own uses.
Opus 5.5 adds even more configurability and user options to give
you the power to run the system just the way you require. No
longer are you, the Amiga user, confined to a simple twowindowed
display. Opus 5 uses the full potential of the Amiga OS
to provide rapid access to an unlimited number of directory
displays, button banks and icon/image banks. If the power of this
approach was not amply demonstrated in Opus 5, it is now even
more evident with Opus 5.5 and its in-built OpusFTP commands
which allow you to seamlessly access Internet sites just as if they
were local directories.
You may have to adjust your brain to new concepts, but the extra
productivity gained will be well worth it.
The Opus 5 Visual Display Objects
Opus 5 can be run with a myriad of different configurations for
almost every conceivable use. However, the essential nature of the
Opus 5 display consists of a few simple component windows and
- The Main Window is the parent window of the Opus 5 system.
It displays icons representing selected devices, Opus 5 groups
and any left out icons. This may be opened on any public
screen in your system including Workbench. It provides access
to all other objects in the Opus 5 system. If the main window is
opened on the Workbench Screen, Opus can be run in its most
powerful mode as a full Workbench replacement.
- Listers are independent windows which display lists of files
and directories. Have only one Lister open to view contents of
a disk or have as many as you desire. Each Lister may be a
source or destination for actions and you may have multiple
sources and multiple destinations if desired. Listers may show
the file list using either text or icons and you may optionally
have special toolbar for each Lister.
- Button Banks are windows which display custom action
buttons showing text or graphic images.
- Other independent windows are provided to allow you to
customise the visual display and procedural operations of
Directory Opus 5 and add or edit HotKeys, Scripts, Filetypes
and many other configurations. These aspects of the program
may be changed at any time while the program is performing
Apart from the Main Window, each of the above components is
actually the visual footprint of a completely separate program task,
which is invoked only when required. There can always be only
one Main Window, but, at any given time, you may have none or
any number of Listers and Button Banks in any configuration.
The Main Window
When you run Opus 5, the first component opened is the Opus 5
Main Window. This is the foundation object in the Opus 5 system.
From here, you can easily access all the volumes and directories in
your system, launch the other Opus 5 components, and, from the
menus, hot keys, and double left, right, and middle mouse button
clicks, you can create, edit and adjust Lister displays, Button
Banks, and other items which control the Opus 5 configuration
system. Initially, control over Opus 5 is provided by global menus
from this Main Window. These actions are fully explained later.
The Opus 5 Main Window is much more than just a simple place
holder window. The concept is very similar to that of the standard
Amiga Workbench window with which you are familiar. The
Opus 5 Main Window displays the disk and device icons for all the
volumes in your system. (You can also decide which icons not to
show.) Just like Workbench, you can 'leave out' your favourite
directories, files, and programs. Unlike Workbench, Opus
provides the concept of 'Program Groups' to help you organise your
favourite programs more easily. Opus 5 also supports full drag and
drop actions for all objects on the Opus Main Window.
One of the powerful options provided by the Opus 5 system is the
ability to use the Opus 5 Main Window as a complete Workbench
replacement - so you never need to run the Workbench program
itself! The Opus 5 main window provides all the functionality of
Workbench, but with the extra power of Opus 5.
The working heart of the Opus 5 system is the file Lister window.
This is used to display a list of directories and files in the order and
format you desire. Traditionally, one uses two Listers, one as a
source and one as a destination, when copying files between
directories. But, often only one Lister is required, for example,
when you wish to view and delete files from a specific directory.
On other occasions, you may wish to copy files to more than one
destination or compare files in multiple directories. Opus 5 gives
you the flexibility to use as few or as many Listers as you require
to get the job done.
As one of the axioms of Opus 5's object orientated design, file
Listers are designed to be dynamic. Do not consider them as the
old-style, static file display windows which you must leave open
and on screen all the time! Each Opus 5 Lister is a fully
independent program with its own in-built functionality. They
have been crafted to be transient objects, to be brought into
existence for the specific job in hand, then discarded.
Alternatively, if your application requires it, you can readily create
a dual or multi-Lister display, lock the Listers in place, and save
the complete configuration setup for use at a later time.
Lister Display Modes
A file Lister can show files in one of three modes, Icon Mode,
which displays icons just like Workbench, the more powerful
Name Mode, which provides a host of extra functionality, or the
new Icon Action Mode, which combines the ease of use of Icon
Mode with the power of Name Mode.
As well as the usual ability to select, display, and drag and drop
single or groups of files and directories, in Name Mode and Icon
Action Mode each Opus 5 Lister has a range of extra features
already built-in. These features include :-
- A status display showing information on the files in the
- A quick access toolbar of custom, icon-image style buttons,
each having separate actions for the left, middle and right mouse
- A custom pop-up command menu which by default provides
instant access to the main internal Opus 5 AmigaDOS commands
such as copy, delete, etc.
- A pop-up menu giving instant access to directory functions
and to the history of previously seen directories.
- A pop-up menu to switch the Lister's status quickly between
source or destination, between icon and file display, to lock the
Lister's status as desired, and other functions.
- A right mouse button pop-up menu which provides quick
access to basic Lister GUI functions such as iconify, snapshot, and
- In Name Mode only, the ability to customise the file display by
field, type, date, file type and other features. You can also
customise the font and colours used to display the different types
- In Icon Mode and Icon Action Mode the ability to display a
background pattern in the Lister Window.
Custom Button Banks
Just like earlier versions of Directory Opus, Directory Opus 5.5
provides you with the ability to create a bank of custom buttons
giving separate functionality to left, right, and middle mouse
button clicks. New for Opus 5.5 is the added ability to incorporate
a pop-up menu into any button. This allows you to group a larger
number of related functions in one place and select the specific one
required. Holding down the LMB on a button displays the full list
of commands attached to this button. Releasing the LMB over a
command brings this command to the top and makes it the default
As you may now have come to expect with Opus 5, a Button Bank
is not just limited to the traditional old style, static group of
buttons. With Opus 5, you can have as many Button Banks as you
wish. The banks can be of any dimensions which fit on the screen,
and the buttons can show either a text string or a graphical iconstyle
image. With Opus 5.5 you can customise the look of the
button banks and even select from a traditional Amiga style
window with full borders and scroll bars or a minimal button
display with horizontal or vertical drag bar.
Each button has the potential of executing an unlimited set of
instructions made up of any mix of AmigaDOS, Workbench,
ARexx, Script or internal Opus 5 commands. Additionally, each
button may have a separate set of actions invoked by a left, middle
or right mouse click, or the selection of an item from a pop-up
Again, as a result of the object design concept of Opus 5, the
custom buttons used in button banks are a special class of an
internal Opus Button Object. The same class of object is used for
the Lister toolbars, Lister Menus, custom User Menus, Scripts,
Hotkeys, and Filetype actions. This means that not only are
custom buttons fully interchangeable between different banks, but
buttons are fully interchangeable with toolbars buttons, menus,
hot keys, etc. So, as well as being able to edit multiple buttons
from different banks at the same time, you can even drag and drop
'buttons' between button banks, Lister toolbars and custom
Further, since the editing of button banks is independent of other
program operations, you can open, edit and save button banks at
any time. The extra flexibility provided by this approach greatly
enhances your productivity when creating your own buttons or
when editing existing sets.
User Defined Menus
You are not limited to custom buttons. Opus 5 also provides
several custom menu systems for you to use; the User Menus are
traditional Amiga style global menus available from the Main
Window title bar; the Lister Command Menu is a special set of
menus available from each file Lister; individual icon pop-up
menus may be customised via the Filetype system; and Buttons
within Button Banks can each have a pop-up menu of its own.
Opus 5.5 has the added ability to execute a specific function or
series of command scripts on certain events and actions. These
include starting and shutting down Opus, inserting disks, clicking
mouse buttons, opening Listers and many other actions. For
instance, whenever you insert a disk into the floppy drive, you can
easily tell Opus to play a sound file, open a new Lister and display
the disk contents.
Although you have always been able to attach a specific hot key to
any button or menu within Opus, Opus 5.5 has added a specific set
of user defined hot keys. The keys may be solely for use while
Opus is the active program or may be used as global system hot
keys. As with all other Opus functions, you may attach a
command or custom script to each hot key.
Through these menus, scripts and hot keys, Opus 5 provides the
user with the power to extend the basic operations of the program.
Each action is fully user definable and may be made to execute a
simple command or an unlimited set of instructions made up of
any mix of AmigaDOS, Workbench, ARexx, Script or internal Opus
Because Directory Opus 5 follows the Amiga Style Guide
recommendations as closely as possible, we have been able to
rationalise some of the excessive and now redundant configuration
options presented by some other programs.
However, Opus 5 still provides extensive user control over the
essential elements of the visual environment, plus gives control
over the operational behaviour of the Opus 5 command functions.
These settings are grouped into two independent requesters which
separately control the Environment and procedural Options.
From the Environment section you can save the complete layout of
a particular visual display. This includes not only the screen mode
and colour selections but also encompasses all the Listers and
button banks, their paths and screen positions. It is very easy to
tailor a custom display for a specific job.
Directory Opus has always provided you with shortcuts to access
specific paths within your system. With Opus 5.5 we have
improved the method and now provide you with a powerful
system to customise the visual display of any specific directory in
your Amiga. You can now define the Lister position, size and
display format for any directory and save these settings to be used
whenever you access this directory. You can also easily allocate a
specific hot key to bring up any specific directory on demand.
Automatic Recognition of Files
A very versatile feature of Directory Opus 5 is the ability to
recognise files by type using a system called Filetypes. With
Filetypes, you can configure Opus 5 to play animations when they
are double-clicked, to load a database program when you doubleclick
on a database file, or to uncompress an archived file when
you drag and drop it to a new directory.
Opus 5 comes with several pre-defined Filetypes for many of the
common types of files you may encounter on the Amiga. We also
provide a full Filetype editor where you may edit current Filetypes
and associated actions. It is relatively easy to teach Opus 5 to
recognise new types of files and provide commands to be executed
when you double-click, drag and drop, or apply special Opus 5
functions to such files.
New for Opus 5.5 is the 'Automatic Filetype Creator' which will
analyse unknown file formats for you and make the creation of
filetypes easier and faster.
Drag and Drop!
One of the many powerful features built in to Opus 5 is the
extensive use of the concept of 'drag and drop'. This is where you
highlight one or more items with the mouse, pick them up on the
mouse pointer, drag them to a new place, then release the mouse
button. When using Opus 5, if you are in doubt about how to
change or edit a button or function, try drag and drop first. You
will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to move objects and
edit buttons and commands using this concept.
A few specific examples of drag and drop are:-
- If the "Select Destination" requester appears you can drag
and drop the icon of a destination drive onto the window to
set the path.
- Within Function Editors, use drag and drop either to swap
function lines around within the one editor or to copy
function lines to another editor. If you hold down shift while
you drag a function line from one editor to another, the entire
function will be copied.
- Add files to a Program Group by simply dropping the
program icons onto the Program Group icon.
- Within the Menu Editors, you can simply drag and drop
menu items to move them to the required place.
Remember, when in doubt, try drag and drop!
Opus 5.5 adds many new pop-up "sticky" menus. Just press the
right mouse button over an icon or Lister title bar and you have
instant access to the most common functions. If enabled, these can
also be accessed in a Name mode Listers by clicking the right
mouse button over a file. The Opus Filetype system allows you to
add custom entries to these menus to be displayed according to the
type of file or icon selected.
Built-in FTP Support
Because of the object orientated nature of Opus 5's design, in Opus
5.5 we have been able to readily integrate a new FTP module as
part of the Opus system. Providing you have an active Internet
connection, you can now directly access directories on a remote
Internet site just as if they were on your local system. Most Opus
commands will function invisibly on the remote directory. For
example, not only can you copy files to and from a remote site but
you can even double-click on a remote picture file to view it
through the Opus viewer.
Long File Names
Because Directory Opus was designed to complement and enhance the Amiga OS, we have traditionally supported the normal Amiga filesystems (OFS and FFS). These filesystem have an in-built limit of 30 characters for length of the filename as defined from AmigaDOS programming guidelines. However, there are now some new, third party filesystems for both disk and CD which have added support for longer names. To support these we have rewritten the Opus file management routines to support filenames of up to 107 characters for all internal operations.
Since it is not possible for Opus to detect what the maximum file length supported by any given filesystem may be, you must define the maximum length in the Environment / Directories section. (See Environment.) By default the limit will be set at 30 characters but you may set this to any length up to the 107 limit.
We recommended that you do not set this limit higher than supported by your filesystem. If set too high you may encounter problems when copying files and it also will result in a considerable waste of memory and may slow operations of the program in general.
Setting the limit lower than used by the filesystem will result in Opus truncating the names to this length. (Note: you cannot set the length to less than 30 characters.)
Because of internal AmigaDOS requirements, there is a set limit of 256 characters for the directory plus filename combination, unless relative directories are used.
WARNING: We provide no guarantees for long filename support. Both we and the developers of such filesystems have tested Opus extensively with such long names and while there seems to be few problems, some artefacts have been observed depending on the specific filesystem and action being performed. Remember, since the Amiga was developed with a 30 character limit as the standard, some Amiga functions and some third party software can potentially crash your system when used with long filenames.
For example, the icon.library calls for GetDiskObject and PutDiskObject calls will fail if the filename (plus .info) is longer than 30 characters. There are others!
Opus will internally process files with long names but since it cannot detect the absolute limit imposed by a given filesystem, Opus does no filename translation when performing file operations. It is the responsibility of the user and the filesystem to truncate the file length as required. In some cases you may get errors when attempting to access files. In other cases involving a recursive copy of a complete directory structure, you may end up with files in the wrong place because the parent directory could not be created or the copy operation has failed because the name cannot be found. See also Environment
The program menu structure has been revised to improve readability and ease of use. The Settings menu has been revised as shown below.
The older Options and Environment menus have been combined into one Settings/Environment menu and new menus have been added to support Themes and the loading and saving of environments, which may be done from the separate menus or from the Environment editor itself. Save Layout is now a function in the Settings menu that lets you save the current layout on demand.
Some users suggested that our use of the generic name Snapshot' could be confusing depending on the specific context in which it was used. So, we have changed terminology of the word
throughout the whole program including various menus. We now explicitly tell you which objects you can snapshot.
In previous versions, Start Menus and Lister Menus could only have single items like traditional Amiga Menus. In Opus Magellan-II you can now have an extra level of sub-items. We have expanded the menu editor to support this. What were items and sub-items have been shifted one place to the left to allow an increased menu depth. See also Listers, Start Menus
All popup menus, including start menus, are now sticky even when the underlying window is not active. See also Start Menus
Group drawers have a new popup menu giving you the direct support for Cleanup and Snapshot of the group icons, the window or the complete group directly.
Cybergraphics Support and Graphics Cards
Cybergraphics RTG systems have improved support where the bitmap is non-standard. This provides greater display speed on Cybergraphics and other chunky screens and the new set of custom icon dragging routines gives much faster Icon dragging.
Opus now allocates the bitmaps for backdrop pictures as friend bitmaps of the screen. On machines with graphics cards this gives faster refreshing of the screen and the use of fast memory instead of chip memory. Note that this works with both the V43 24-bit datatype and the old picture.datatype. You can now have full 24 bit backdrops using the V43 datatype, rather than a dithered 256 colour image.
Screen to Front
You can now specify the NOSCREENTOFRONT parameter on the command line or in the icon tooltype when Opus is started. This tells Opus to not move its screen to the front of the display when it initialises.
Opus Magellan introduces a new concept to the Amiga - that of a Desktop Folder. The Desktop Folder provides a useful way to access temporary files quickly, and a place to store files that you refer to often.
The Desktop Folder is a special directory, usually defined as DOpus5:Desktop. Until now, the main window of Opus (the Desktop) has been the area where drive icons, groups and left-out
icons are displayed. With the addition of the Desktop Folder concept, any files that are located in the Desktop Folder are also displayed on the Opus main window or Desktop.
Desktop Folder icons displayed on the main window are different from traditional Amiga left-outs, because they are the actual file or directory itself, rather than just a reference to the file. Therefore, if you delete a file from the Desktop Folder, the actual file itself will be deleted. This requires some caution.
There are two main ways of copying files to the Desktop Folder.
- Use the Copy To function on the popup menu for files. Right-click a file, and move the mouse to the Copy To item. You will see a new option in the sub-menu - to Desktop. Selecting this will cause the file to be copied to the Desktop Folder. The new file will appear on the Opus main window as an icon.
- Drag a file (or directory) and drop it onto the main window. In the previous version of Opus, doing this would cause a temporary left-out to be created, and this is still the default action in Opus Magellan. However, in the Environment / Desktop section, there is a new flag called PopUp Enabled. If you turn this flag on, when you drop a file onto the desktop, a popup menu will appear giving you a choice of several actions. From this menu you can choose to create a left-out (like the original Amiga behaviour), or you can choose to copy or move the file to the desktop.
When the Desktop popup is enabled, the Default Action option allows you to choose the action to be performed by default when you drag a file to the desktop. If None is set (the default), then the
popup menu appears as normal. However, if you set Create Left- out, Move to Desktop or Copy to Desktop, then that action will be performed without a popup menu appearing. With a default action set in this way, access to the popup menu is still possible by holding down either shift key when you drop the file onto the desktop.
Remember, any files or directories in the Desktop Folder are displayed on the Opus main window as icons. They are in all respects normal files, and can be dragged to other windows to copy/move them, or double-clicked on to run them. You can also press the right button over them to bring up the file popup menu, where you can rename or delete them, etc.