NewWave is a personal productivity software tool from Hewlett Packard. First developed in circa 1988 NW was undoubtedly influenced by Xerox's work on Star at PARC as were other similar systems including Keyfile, Metaphor (subsequently bought by IBM Corp.), Apple's Mac, NeXT's Step (recently bought by Apple), and Xerox's ViewPoint and Rooms. NW was adopted by NCR who extended it and called it Rhapsody.
NW runs as a MS Windows 3.x application but some users are running it under
Windows NT and 95. It consists of 3 major elements:
This is the main user interface with the NW window represenring the user's desk. The above image is a snapshot of the author's own desktop - it's rather crowded! There is a folder open and also the AOL Press application that is being used to create these web pages.
Icons represent one of 3 object types:
Tools are invoked by either double clicking or dragging a data object onto them. Applications that do not normally create data files (objects) are best set up as tools. Any Windows application can be set up as a tool simply by dragging its executable from the Windows file manager.
Data is manipulated by drag and drop (e.g. drag WP document icon onto a printer tool or onto a folder). Applications are started by double-clicking on the object. Data icons have the same icon picture as in the Windows program manager but can be positioned anywhere on the desk. Menus provide access to infrequently used facilities. These include DOS application execution, user settings, cut/copy/paste edit functions (instead of quick keys), agent task execution.
Containers are opened by double clicking but it is possible to place data objects and other folder objects into a container simply by dragging a data object onto them. A powerful feature is the ability to place a single data object in more than one folder. NW calls this sharing - see below.
The OM creates, stores and retrieves ones data. Every object has a 32 character name and properties which include its type (application name), date created and amended, created and amended author, and free text description. Master template objects can be created (e.g. company fax sheet) and selected when an object is created
Objects can be shared. That is, a single
physical object can be stored in one or more containers. Actually, its the
icon that is replicated - the data only exists once. This is useful
for 2 situations.
With OLE compliant applications, NW OM keeps track of objects stored as embedded objects.
Objects can be exchanged between users either by exporting to floppy, sending them via e-mail, or by depositing them in a shared filing cabinet. Objects in a shared filing cabinet can be checked in and out.
NW provides a tool for searching for objects by part name and by type. This avoids users, especially those with a large number of objects, the need to remember an object's location (i.e. folder).
Agent Tasks are objects containing a scripting language for automating regular tasks. Simple tasks can be created by macro recording but more complex tasks need to be hand written. There is a user interface for creating dialogue boxes with push buttons, selection lists and data entry fields. Agent Tasks work both at the desk top level and within applications. Some applications support the agent scripting language but other applications are driven by initiating menu commands or keystrokes.
Agent tasks can be invoked manually, at single or regular pre-set times and dates (using a calendar), or automatically by event (e.g. when a folder is opened).
The example on the right is the beginning of a script to scan share prices in an Excel spreadsheet and then to use a modem to send a pager message if any share prices have moved more than a specified amount. This agent task would typically be preceeded by another task that each day retrieved the share prices for a portfolio and then updated the said spreadsheet.
Most, if not all, Windows applications should work with NW. A few applications
provide enhanced NW support, particularly in terms of agent scripting language
and object level manipulation. Additionally there are 3rd party productivity
tools specifically written for NW such as:
Various other shareware tools, agent scripts etc. are available from the NW Forum on CompuServe.
On installation NW will optionally search out application programs and data and bring them into NW. From then on individual application programs and data can be imported by simply by dragging the file from the File Manager window onto the NW desktop or via menu commands. A Bridge Builder tool provides advanced customisation. Most DOS applications can be added to a list using a simple menu dialogue.
Technically NW can run on a 286 with 2MB extended memory, 10MB hard disk and an EGA screen. Windows 3.0, 3.11, or WFWG is required. MS-DOS 3.2, PC-DOS 3.2, DR_DOS 5.0 or greater. NW is currently at version 4.5. Some users have installed it with Windows 95 and NT but HP does not intend to support these configurations.
The author successfully used NW for 5 years (3 of these on a 386DX with 4 MB memory and VGA screen). It has been extremely reliable and no data has been lost. There is user support from the CompuServe NewWave forum.
Objects are physically stored in normal DOS/Windows directories using NW generated 8 character names, so normal backup and recovery software can be used.
HP no longer sells, develops or supports NW. The stated reason is that Windows 95 requires major changes to NW but some people believe that HP does not wish to antagonise Microsoft. MS has for many years been developing an equivalent system called Cairo, but whose delivery has again slipped to 1998 or even beyond. HP participates in the OMG and is believed to have offered the NW Object Manager to the group. OMG aims to develop a specification for a industry wide standard data repository. Again MS promotes a rival specification.
The final version was 4.5. NW and originally cost under £100 per user but version 4.12 has recently been seen on offer for as little as £15. A sad end for an excellent concept and product.
Read how TSB Trust Company used NewWave for its market driven End User Interface Office System.
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