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May 1999

WarpZip v2.2

By Mark Dodel - madodel@ptd.net

Since the internet has become the lifeline for application software in the OS/2 world, most of us are all to familiar with the compressed file archive. Most OS/2 oriented distributions now come via electronic download, and to save on bandwidth these files are compressed. The most widely used format is Zip. There are others as well, but it is the rare occasion I have to deal with an RAR file or ARC or LH or God forbid a GTAR. So mostly I worry about dealing with Zip files.

Until recently I have relied on FileStar/2 to deal with the ever increasing number of Zip files on my system. It works fairly well, but has it's limitations. You can view the contents of a zip file, and you can create and update Zip files, but I just never seem to quite get it right. I have to remember to change the switches. And for some reason it has a tough time with some Zip files, refusing to display them or unzip them even though I think the file is complete and should work. This prompted me to look for some help.

Since Wayne Swanson (the developer of WarpZip) was just then getting involved with VOICE, I thought I'd check out his WarpZip utility. I've been using it ever since, especially for times when FileStar/2 couldn't seem to handle a particular file, or for things which were cumbersome doing with FileStar/2 in the past.


No real requirements listed, but there is a comment in the Readme and the help file suggesting the installation of WarpZip on an HPFS drive for best results. "There are still a couple of issues with installation on FAT drives, namely, viewing files that are archived in subdirectories."


The current version comes as a self-extracting Zip which will run the WarpZip install program when you execute it. The file is ~900k and can be obtained from most OS/2 archive sites including http://www.bmtmicro.com as well as Wayne's new web-site - http://www.pillarsoft.net. I moved the downloaded file into a temp install directory and ran it. Since it cleans up after itself you can't run it from the final directory. It didn't find my existing version of WarpZip and prefilled the space with "C:\WarpZip" instead. Simple enough to change it, but it would have been nice if it used the existing directory. Next it asks where it should place it's DLL's, and requires a directory in your LIBPATH and shows you a list of existing directories. The same for Help files which have to be listed in the HELP environment variable in your CONFIG.SYS file. Finally it reviews all the things the install is about to do, giving you the opportunity to go back, or select "Finish" to complete the installation or "Cancel" to abort the install. The installer then cleans up any temporary files it created doing the install. The install creates a WarpZip object to run the main program. In addition there is an install.cmd, a removeWZ.cmd and WZPrep.exe which I will describe later. One thing that would add a slight improvement to this installer would be a title bar so you could move it to somewhere other then the center of the screen. That is not a big deal though for a window that is only to be used to install the software.


Documentation consists of online help via the warpzip.hlp file which explains how WarpZip works and goes into quite some detail on how to configure and use WarpZip. There is a sort of fly over help in WarpZip itself, where a status line at the bottom of the screen displays a description of the area/button you have your mouse over, but no help available when configuring the Download Preprocessor. For that you have to select the help page from the Help index, conveniently titled 'Download Preprocessor". :-)

Zipping along at Warp speed:

After you install WarpZip, you need to enter some basic configuration information into the settings and set up the standard paths and viewer/browser information. you can also enter the drive letters that you want WarpZip to ignore in it's file/drive directory. The paths to Zip.exe and Unzipsfx.exe need to either be in your CONFIG.SYS path statement or you can enter them into the settings fields on the Path tab in the settings notebook. WarpZip defaults to using it's internal text and graphic viewer but you can customize this on the Viewer settings tab. For the security conscious you can enter your anti-virus application and parameters in the Antivirus tab settings and WarpZip can then run a virus scan on a zipped archive file when selected (Ctrl+S). Just about every function has a short cut key combination to access it for those who are mouse challenged.

Above is the main WarpZip window. Across the top is a toolbar of frequently used functions. The right frame is a Drive/Directory tree for selecting the current directory and also the Target/Source directories for creating new archives. WarpZip is very WPS aware. When you double click on a directory it will open the folder for it. You can then drag and drop a zipped archive or an OS/2 packed file on the right side frame. And you will get the following menu of options:

You can queue a series of zipped files, open the first archive, add files, or create a new archive using the dragged file(s). OK so it allows you to do drag and drop zipping and unzipping, what else does it do for you? Well for starters, it allows you to test unzipping an archived file. Select Test Run from the Action menu (or Alt-r) and WarpZip will create a new folder with the contents unzipped. Big deal you say. The neat thing is that when it does this a new tool bar button called Cleanup appears. When you are done looking at/playing with the unzipped files, hit Cleanup and the test folder is removed and so is the Clean up button. This is very slick and ideal for installing new apps that come in zip file packages. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of temporary install directories scattered all about my drives. WarpZip makes installing these apps a breeze now.

Another Geewhiz attribute of WarpZip is the PillarShift bar. That is the thin horizontal line below the Left and Right window frames and above the target directory entry field. Tap anywhere on that line and the frame split will move to where you have pointed with the mouse.

OK, what else does WarpZip have up it's sleeve? It can selectively run an integrity test on the selected zipped files (Alt-t). This will show you if there is a problem with the archive. You can use the built in Grep function to search selected archive(s) for specified text or parts of text. There is also a search function which will locate archived files (zipped or OS/2 packed files) in selected directory/sub-directory and then you can run a Grep against the search output list, or select an archive to work with.

One of the really neat features of WarpZip is the Download PreProcessor mentioned above. You configure your Web Browser to use the WarpZip PreProcessor for Zipped downloads. This allows you to configure the PreProcessor to download zipped archives to a specific directory, and queue them for processing when you open WarpZip.

In addition you can select to test the download archives for integrity and if you have an anti-virus program you can configure WarpZip to check the zipped files for virii. If you have ever downloaded something using Netscape, only to find out later that you didn't get the whole file, you will appreciate the integrity check, shown below, here shown using the builtin viewer. If you have another editor you prefer you can change WarpZip to use any external viewer in the Settings.


WarpZip is almost a file manager. It includes the ability to create new folders, select favorite folders, perform searches, rename archives, delete archives. But it is limited to working with archives. If you find yourself doing a lot of that, then you will most likely appreciate the WPS features of this GUI shell for InfoZip. The added features like Grep and the Download PreProcessor with it's integrity and virus checking make this OS/2 native app a handy tool. If you are looking for a backup tool to backup files/partitions to DASD¹ WarpZip will work, but Pillarsoft has another new app called DTB (DeskTop Backup that may be a better choice since it is designed as a backup tool.

Well worth the registration fee of $29. As shareware WarpZip is available on a try before you buy basis.

WarpZip v2.2 - From PillarSoft, Available from BMTMicro $29 Registration Fee - http://www.bmtmicro.com/catalog/warpzip.html

¹ DASD is Direct Access Storage Device, and encompasses Hard Drives, Removable drives(Zip, Jaz, Sparq, Orb drives), CDR/W drives and any other direct access drives (as opposed to sequential access devices like tape drives).

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