Retrostep: Retro Goodies
  So you're wondering what retro can do? Take the time to go through this (badly written) list of goodies...

Something isn't working?

Fire up !about (also available via Ctrl-Alt-F1 => "Info") and select "Log Entries". You'll find that retrostep is very talkative.

If you're only interested in error messages, Right click in the text box and select "Toggle Noise" from the context menu.

Write to the log file via bang command.

  !log [i] Theme is using blue mode.

Try out different versions.

Want to or need to try out different binaries with the same configuration? Find possible bugs in you theme or module?

Place retro binaries in any directory of your choice, then define $LitestepDir$ in your step.rc!

  LitestepDir "c:\litestep\"

Run commands during step.rc parsing.

You can run commands while step.rc is being parsed

  IF not (WinNT and WinVer.Major >= 5)
    exec !log [i] Theme $ThemeName$ looks best with Win2000+

  IF not t_quiet
    exec notepad $ThemeDir$readme.txt
Note that exec commands are executed before modules are loaded so you can only run built in bang commands and external executables.

Change your Theme without editing step.rc.

You can temporarily change your theme by passing arguments to !recycle

  !recycle $LitestepDir$themes\try-theme\step.rc

Recycle without loading any modules.

You can recycle and skip modules from loading by passing arguments to !recycle

  !recycle -noloadmodules

!recycle arguments affect one session.

The next recycle will behave as normal. The !recycle arguments are also the same as the retro.exe command line arguments.  But if options are given on the command line, they stay in effect until retro is restarted.

This way you can try out a theme and restore to your previous theme without editing any configuration files. This can be a blessing when the theme you're trying out is broken.

Systrays work under explorer.

But retro can only show icons of certain apps if they are where started after retro.

Define $LitestepDir$.

You can tell retro which directory to use as $LitestepDir$. You are thus free to install retro anywhere you want, and put your modules and themes where you set $LitestepDir$ to.

step.rc Example:
  LitestepDir "c:\litestep\" 

Run commands from Retro.

Retro includes a simple built-in command console to run programs and execute bang commands.

Press Ctrl-Alt-F1, then choose "Tools" => "Command Console"

Verbose Logging.

Want to know exactly what happens during startup?

Press Ctrl-Alt-F1 then choose "Tools" => "View Log File" to see the log file with full details including time of events.

Log File too noisy?

Go to !about box, chose "Log Entries", right click text box containing log messages and choose "Toggle Noise" from the context menu.

Need to create automatic filenames?

Try the following command from a command console
  notepad c:\note$date$.txt 

Retro seems to be hung (not responding)?

Press Ctrl-Alt-F1 (or Ctrl-Alt-F2), then choose "Tools" => "Emergency" => "Recover From Hang" to bring it back to life.

Retro is modular.

The PNG image loader, Information Console (!about), and systray code are in separated DLLs.

The built-in loaders can also be replaced by external DLLs which automatically apply effects to all images. For example, converting them all to grayscal or giving them a bumped texture. However such a DLL is yet to be coded as it's just an experimental provision...

Copy information from !about box.

The Information Console (!about) allows you copy all information it displays to the clipboard, and provides a context menu (right click) that allows you execute simple bang commands, reload and unload modules.

View your active step.rc.

The !about box shows you your active step.rc configuration. This takes INCLUDE and IF sections into consideration and shows configuration exactly as they are where parsed.

The !about box shows you all built-in variables.

The !about box shows loaded modules and step.rc location of LoadModule lines and of the step.rc information. This can be toggled on and off using the context menu.

Compile Retrostep Yourself!

You can compile th source code with Microsoft Visual C++ compiler, as well as the freely available compliers from
Borland and the Mingw. Retrostep is probably the only open source windows shell replacement that doesn't not require Microsoft's compiler.

Clean up bang command names.

Dislike characters like '-' and '_' in bang commands? Use the step.rc command
  exec !bang.setfilter "-_" 
and those characters are ignored in bang commands.  
You can also try the following
  exec !bang.setfilter "-_" "."
To replace the characters '-' and '_' with '.'. If you want to do something silly, you can try
  exec !bang.setfilter "-_" "_-"
to swap the characters...
Don't worry. The original names still work.

Note that "-_" is only example. You can use any characters you like. Even alphanumeric charachters if you know what you are doing. Replacing up to 15 characters is supported.

Note that this must be done in step.rc using a command like:
  exec !bang.setfilter "_-"
This feature is only available via step.rc with versions and later..

Want to compile retro?

Just drop to the command line, change to the directory where you have the source code, and type
  make visible
This will compile the sources and open up an explore window.

    Before doing this, you need to install the freely available Cygwin tools and Borland compiler, then the type the command ./configure
    Detailed instructions can be found in the source distribution of retrostep in the file ./doc/compile.txt

You can programm in 'C'?

If you can programmer in 'C', there are a couple of interesting things waiting to be done. Download the sources and search for "TODO:". You can't? What about JavaScript?

Extending Retro using JavaScript is being considered... If you want to see this, please file a bug report at the project page stating your reasons why you think this should be done. Don't do in anonymously though...

General Notes

The !about box context menu only contains non text related functions such as "reload module" when nothing was selected before right clicking.

Retro dynamically finds a recovery hot-key for the Recovery Menu. It is Ctrl-Alt-F1 by default, but if Ctrl-Alt-F1 doesn't work, try Ctrl-Alt-F2 to get the recovery menu, then try.  Retro also tries to register a secondary Recovery Menu hot-key by trying Ctrl-Alt-F12, Ctrl-Alt-F11, Ctrl-Alt-F10, ...

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