The reason for Object Desktop's tremendous success has a lot to do what Object Desktop accomplishes: in essence, Object Desktop provides the features that end users, corporate users, and reviewers have been asking for in OS/2 for a very long time. As one reviewer put it, "Object Desktop is like a third-party upgrade to OS/2."
Because Stardock uses IBM's SOM and Workplace Shell object classes, Object Desktop is not version dependent. When new versions of OS/2 are introduced to the market, Object Desktop will automatically inherit those new features and extend them as well.
While Object Desktop has been a tremendous success in the end user OS/2 market, corporate users have asked for features whose benefit are readily apparent. Features such as the ability to secure the desktop, read virtually any type of file format, robust backup, training cost reductions, and so on. To this end, Stardock began the project code-named "Milamber" (which many net users have heard discussed) which would address these needs. Object Desktop Professional is the result of this effort.
Object Desktop Professional integrates document viewing into the base operating system. Hundreds of file formats are now recognized automatically when you double click an object on the desktop. Using Object Desktop Professional, computer users will no longer have to worry whether they have Word Perfect 5.1 on their system when someone gives them a disk full of documents. Presenters will no longer have to worry whether the presentation they give is in PowerPoint or Freelance. Object Desktop Professional doesn't just support a few of the most common file types, it supports hundreds of file types from databases, word processors, spread sheets, internet, graphics, presentation packages, and more. The basic rule of thumb is, if the format has ever had an installed base of more than 50,000 users, it's probably supported.Object Security
Both IS managers and end users often find it necessary to secure and protect their desktops. Object Security offers an impressive array of features that allow administrators to prevent custom desktop environments from tampering. Object Security can keep icons from being moved, deleted, changed, etc. IS managers in particular will like the ability to "keep their users from messing up their system." Any end user that shares his or her system with others will also appreciate the ability of securing and protecting their desktop.
Desktop Backup Advisor
One of the more anticipated features of Object Desktop Professional is the Desktop Backup Advisor which can perform two important functions.
First, It allows users to quickly and easily manage, backup, and restore packaged desktops. Having a ôwizard-likeö user interface, the desktop backup advisor is very easy to work with. Users and/or IS managers can easily package and distribute desktops across the enterprise using the Desktop Backup Advisor which uses Stardock s advanced Object Packaging technology. Corporations looking to deploy a standard desktop will find the Desktop Backup Advisor an essential tool to this end.
One test site has used the Desktop Backup Advisor to deploy a standardized desktop with three variations -- one for technical users, one for their end users, and one for managers. When a new machine goes on the network, they open the Desktop Backup Advisor, choose the desktop they want and it unpackages it.
Secondly, it completely repairs OS/2 INI files. The most common cause of system instability and performance loss are damaged INI files (os2.ini, os2sys.ini). Over time, OS/2 INI files collect a great deal of unused 'junk' that can slow OS/2 down and make odd behavior creep in. While INI repair programs go far to help the situation, there is no replacement to being able to totally cleanse the INI files without losing user customizations. The desktop backup advisor, simply by restoring a desktop, completely cleanses the INI file and ignores all the damaged and unused data. The net result is that a system that has used the desktop backup advisor behaves like a freshly installed OS/2 system without losing any of their class registrations, customizations, or their desktop.
The beauty of the Desktop Backup Advisor is that it itself is a tool used to backup and restore your desktops but the very fact that when you use the tool it cleans your INI files almost sounds too good to be true but it s not.. ôI have seen 486 systems that were crawling and would have weird errors pop up on a daily basis get a big performance boost and become rock solid simply by using the desktop backup advisor. It s a lot easier than reinstalling OS/2 from scratch and a lot cheaper than buying a new machine.
The Object Advisor is possibly the most innovative feature of Object Desktop Professional. This advanced technology is intended to address the huge costs associated with training and re-training end users in corporations that have any amount of turnover. The Object Advisor feature allows corporations to develop custom computer based training materials that display when a user doesn't understand how to perform desktop operations. The on-line help technology provided with Object Advisor is authored with industry standard Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which allows for leveraging next generation internet/intranet technologies in a corporate environment, including new internet features such as JAVA. It truly demonstrates the benefits of the web/internet in a way that anyone can appreciate.
Here are some typical usage scenarios for Object Advisor:
After a while, the end user is stuck once again, and determines that their host connection to the corporate mainframe isn't working. The user reads information provided in the "3270 Connection" object, and after realizing there are still too many questions to begin work, submits a problem report over the corporation's internal intranet by filling out a "web" form that is linked to every help object on the desktop. Immediately, a corporate help desk is notified of the problem and can resolve the problem with a simple phone call.
In the future, as JAVA becomes more successful, JAVA applets can be embedded in an object advisor to create truly interactive training materials through live application interaction.
Object Desktop Professional provides advisors for most of the default OS/2 objects. Stardock Systems indends that third parties will create advisors for their program objects when they are installed on the desktop. To this end, Stardock is committed to making Object Advisors available on multiple platforms such as Windows NT, Unix, Windows95, as time goes on in order to standardize this revolutionary technology.Object Navigator 2.0
Object Navigator Professional not only is a powerful and intuitive file manager that can see long file names on FAT, works with OS/2's associations (and is the only commercial OS/2 file manager available that does that), makes working with multiple drives easy, but now, in Object Desktop Professional, users can quickly and easily view virtually any type of file.
Object Navigator Professional allows users to open of a "View Pane" that is part of Object Navigator Professional. When the user double clicks on a file (any file) it will read it, interpret it and display it. Whether it's an Excel95 spreadsheet, an TIFF graphics files, a Power Point for Macintosh presentation, or even a Windows 3.1 DLL. Object Navigator will read and display it in a flash. The view pane's performance is quite impressive. Within a second, users can jump from file to file and it displays that file with all the appropriate formatting, embedded graphics, etc.
Object Navigator Professional works very well with compressed files such as PKZIP (.ZIP) files. It can view a ZIP file even faster than Object Desktop's own Object Archives by trading off the folder metaphor for raw speed. Users who have a large library of documents, graphics, etc. in ZIP files can now quickly browse them and view the files they want saving many megabytes of disk storage.Object Inspector
Anyone trying to manage an OS/2 desktop knows the difficulty of working with Workplace Shell objects. Finding out an object's "low level" settings can be frustrating and time consuming. Network managers spend countless hours setting up workstations so that they are easily used but standardized to a corporate reference point. Object Inspector provides the tool to make these chores easy.
To discover any object's "under-the-cover" properties, simply load the Object Inspector and Workplace Shell objects are instantly displayed and presented in an easily manageable form. Users can even create REXX or RC scripts to regenerate objects across an enterprise.
Enhanced Folder 2.0
More to be added shortly...
(Ability to go to any folder on a system from the current window view, makes OS/2's environment a step above what will eventually be in Windows NT 5.0)
Control Center 2.0
More to be added shortly...
(Layouts which will allow you to automatically position programs in certain virtual desktops).
OS/2 User Interface Enhancements
More to be added shortly...
(A new loook, increased ease of use in getting around the desktop and more)
Stardock's New OS/2 Object Class Library
Under the hood, Object Desktop 2.0 represents Stardock's new state of the art object oriented technology. The features have been further broken up into componentized form to increase performance and compatibility for OS/2 today and far intot he future.