"File As File Is" Utility

Monday May 17th 1999 by Leonard Smith

"File As File Is" Utility

  • 1 - Introduction
  • 2 - Keyboard commands
  • 3 - General comments
  • 1 - Introduction


    I started writing File As File Is (FaFi) in mid '96. Initially all I wanted to achieve was to get real world programming experience for the Win32 platform. Suffice to say, I've gotten a little carried away and what you see attached with this file is the result of that effort.

    At this point I need to make an important point. At no stage did I have any intention of competing with or replacing the standard Windows Explorer. What I can say is that I came from the good ol' days of Xtree Gold and Norton Commander. When I first started working with the new Explorer interface it was hate at first sight. This lead to the first requirement for FaFi, a screen layout that may be configured for either a tree view or a list view, the latter to allow for displaying two folder locations side by side.

    The second requirement was for a MDI window style. This allows the user to have multiple windows open, each configurable to one's own preference. Like so many things the best way to learn about these options is simply to play with the different layouts.

    The list-list view combination is also used when comparing folders and other options present on the 'File' and 'Tools' menu. These options are grayed out when the layout is not appropriate for the task.

    The third requirement was the fun stuff - remote data transfer and file handling. A great excuse for digging into all things tcp/ip and RS232. With every man and his dog (mine's a Border Collie named Jade) doing Internet stuff acquiring a greater knowledge of socket communication is also very important for the CV.

    All this talk of the Internet reminds me - Normally FaFi is used in a 'point to point' mode i.e. you need to be able to ping the remote machine to allow a FaFi to FaFi connection. If you're stuck behind a company firewall or proxy server you'll need 'Foxy' to connect to another machine on the internet. This is a small utility application that acts a router for the FaFi protocol.

    I had considered including modem dialup for FaFi, but Windows ships with dialup networking and RAS support. When configured appropriately it allows for remote dialup and inclusion into the local network. Select the option that statically allocates the machine dialing in an IP address and then simply use the TCP/IP facility as before.

    2 - Keyboard commands

    Function Keys

  • F1 = Help
  • F2 = Rename
  • F4 = Edit
  • F5 = Refresh (See also Ctrl+F5)
  • F6 = Move Across (Available with a independant panes)
  • F7 = New Folder
  • F8 = Copy Across (Available with a independant panes)
  • F9 = New File
  • F10 = Open with
  • Miscellaneous

  • Esc = Cancel drag and drop if in progress
  • Tab = Switch between panes
  • Backspace = Navigate up folder tree (See also Alt and Ctrl+Backspace)
  • Ins = Select focus item
  • Pause = Interrupts the list view initialisation.
  • Enter = List view : File item - launch application or its association
  • Control Keys

  • Ctrl+A = Select all
  • Ctrl+B = Opens bookmark dialog
  • Ctrl+C = Copy current selection to the internal clipboard
  • Ctrl+D = Toggle pane dependant status. This setting applies only to a list view - tree view combination and will ensure that the one follows the other.
  • Ctrl+E = Sort by date
  • Ctrl+G = Go to item
  • Ctrl+H = Show history dialog
  • Ctrl+I = Invert selection
  • Ctrl+J = Sets left pane path to be the same as right pane path
  • Ctrl+K = Sets right pane path to be the same as left pane path
  • Ctrl+L = Divide the splitter window into 1/3 : 2/3 areas
  • Ctrl+M = Center splitter
  • Ctrl+N = Sort by name
  • Ctrl+P = Show tcp/ip link dialog
  • Ctrl+R = Divide the splitter window into 2/3 : 1/3 areas
  • Ctrl+S = Show Rs232 configuration dialog
  • Ctrl+T = Show Select some dialog
  • Ctrl+U = Swap panes
  • Ctrl+V = Paste the internal clipboard content to the active path
  • Ctrl+W = Show transfer progress dialogs (if present and hidden)
  • Ctrl+X = Cut current selection to the internal clipboard
  • Ctrl+Y = Sort by type
  • Ctrl+Z = Sort by size

  • Ctrl+Ins = Copy current selection to the internal clipboard
  • Ctrl+Home = Navigate to the top of list view
  • Ctrl+F4 = Closes the current active child window
  • Ctrl+Tab = NB !! Switches between open child windows. Especially useful when child windows are maximised
  • Ctrl+F5 = Refresh the current path
  • Ctrl+Backspace = To next path in history list
  • Ctrl+Number(n) = Open tree brances n levels deep
  • Shift Keys

  • Shift+Delete = Cut current selection to the internal clipboard
  • Shift+Ins = Paste the internal clipboard content to the active path
  • Shift+Number(n) = Close tree brances so that only n levels are visible
  • Alt keys

  • Alt+F1 = Select left pane path location
  • Alt+F1 = Select right pane path location

  • Alt+Backspace = To previous path in history list
  • Alt+Number = Navigate to bookmark location (if configured)

  • Alt+R = Open a command prompt window in the current path (if supported)
  • Drag and Drop

  • Left mouse drag = Move
  • Right mouse drag = Copy
  • Note : For left handed mouse configuration the reverse applies

    3 - General comments

    a - Speed concerns ? Remember that List Views are a lot faster than tree views.

    b - Configure child windows with any combination of Tree Views and list views to your taste. My favourite is to have 3 maximised child windows - one list view only, on list view - tree View combination and one tree view only. Remember to use Ctrl+Tab to switch between windows.

    c - All settings (paths, windows sizes, bookmarks etc) are stored in the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SorryWare\File As File Is. Should something go wrong with the startup process delete this entry. Alternatively to avoid losing preconfigured bookmarks delete all but the bookmark entry. This has the same effect.

    d - The default server socket port number may be changed with a commandline argument of -Number (ex. swFileM -4343)

    e - If Notepad is not your favourite editor (just kidding) : FaFi will attempt to launch an editor called "Editor.exe" located within the same folder as the FaFi executable before selecting "Notepad".

    f - Tired of selecting Yes, yes... when deleting or copying files. When dropping files onto the delete cross (main toolbar) or the drive icons (drive toolbar) NO confirmation dialogs are displayed.

    Have fun.
    Call me... (especially if you have some code to stick in !)


    Ps. Please, no hate mail if there's bugs. A stern word will suffice...

    Download source - 473 KB

    Download application - 311 KB

    Date Last Updated: May 17, 1999

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