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AuthorTopic: .info ... was it so much a good idea?  (Read 4586 times)

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Offline psxphill

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2010, 11:45:48 AM »
Quote from: LoadWB;572185
.info is not synonymous with .lnk. In fact, .info has more in common with .pif than .lnk. .lnk are pointers to files in other locations.

Neither pif or lnk are that good a match. However .lnk files allow you to have icons on your desktop that specify an .exe and flags for a document, which is similar(ish) to .info.
Neither .lnk or .info are a good solution for documents.
.info is good for registry style information, though I can't remember if running from the shell picks them up.
People want to move documents between machines, the majority don't care that they can specify the coordinates of every one of their thousands of documents.
While it's annoying when a windows app steals a file extension you use for something else, encoding the type of file in the name is not a bad idea. It has to be stored somewhere & we are still reliant on 70's file system designs.
Windows also doesn't just support one open method. You can specify different programs for viewing, editing & printing (plus whatever you can think of).
My prediction is that .xml will eventually take over.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 11:46:05 AM by psxphill »

Offline Trev

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2010, 06:09:25 PM »
My prediction is that .xml will eventually take over.

Not in any meaningful way. Too many companies own patents on generic uses of XML.

Offline Trev

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2010, 08:41:38 PM »

It was a brilliant idea, and a similar (but more advanced) idea can be found in both nextstep and MacOSX with their bundles/packages respectively.

I was thinking about this a bit this morning, and Windows 7 provides an easy way to emulate the basic launch behavior of Mac OS bundles. Create a directory, e.g. MyApp (or My App--spaces are OK), and put all of your application's goodies in that directory:


In MyApp, create a Desktop.ini text file with the following contents:


You can add additional Desktop.ini values to further customize shell behavior. Strings in Desktop.ini can be localized. You can also set the read-only and system attributes on the Desktop.ini file to hide the file under Windows Explorer's default view settings, but it's not necessary.

Set the read-only attribute on the MyApp directory.

Add the following values to the registry (no snarky comments from the registry naysayers) ("@" is the key's default value):



@="Run" Note: This can be localized.


Where is of type REG_EXPAND_SZ and equal to:

rundll32.exe shell32.dll,ShellExec_RunDLL "%1\MyApp.exe"

You can any value you want in place of "MyAppBundle." Apple-style identifiers, e.g. com.Spacely.Sprocket, work just as well. It's nothing more than a unique text identifier.

The default action on the MyApp directory is now "Run," which runs MyApp.exe. The directory can be moved anywhere, and as a long as you've obeyed Windows guidelines for local execution and use of side-by-side components, everything will work just fine.

A more generalized approach to bundles could treat all directories with the .app extension as special, using shell extensions to manage behavior in ways mostly identical to Mac OS bundles. This approach would work on earlier versions of Windows.

(My primary reason for writing this was to have something useful show up when folks search for CanUseForDirectory, which is only very briefly mentioned in the Windows SDK documentation. The only Windows component on my system that makes use of CanUseForDirectory is Windows Backup and Restore.)


Questions re: Mac OS X bundles (which are complex and weighed down by legacy options--just like Windows--despite Apple's marketing hyperbole):

What happens to file type associations when a bundle is deleted? Does the operating system unregister associations automatically?

Are orphaned preferences files automatically removed, or are they left in place to be picked up again if the bundle is ever reinstalled?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 09:11:10 PM by Trev »

Offline Belial6

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2010, 10:16:15 PM »
The registry is actually a good idea implemented poorely.  It could easily be fixed.  All MS would need to do is have a batch import/export so that all settings are edited and preserved in local human readable configuration files.  This makes maintaining configurations easier.

Using a database for running is more efficent from an execution standpoint, so a simple command could verify and rebuild the registry from the configuration files.

Windows runs an indexer anyway, so it could even keep it's database up to date in near real time.

Offline Trev

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2010, 10:39:05 PM »
Applications are free to control their own settings any way they like. .NET applications typically use local XML configuration files. (That bodes well for psxphill's prediction, but I suspect the OOXML lawsuit brought by i4i will only force Microsoft further away from standards, not closer to them. The lawsuit potentially affects all XML document implementations, including ODF. Standardization does not exempt users from patent claims.) EDIT: Of course, having well documented local configuration practices doesn't stop lazy, idiot developers from plowing over system-level settings.

Current versions of Windows support transaction-based changes to the registry, and it's a fairly simple process to perform bulk operations. A crude implementation might use 'regedit /e ...' to export and 'regedit /s ...' to import. If you wanted to use XML, you could write a fairly simple XSL transform to convert a registry-like XML schema to a normalized regedit file and vice versa.

Changes to the registry are written to a log before being committed, and most registry corruption is actually caused by disk faults, not a deficiency in the registry design. I'm not saying there aren't flaws, but most registry problems aren't effected by what most people seem to think are common sense root causes.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 10:43:11 PM by Trev »

Offline scuzzb494

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #50 on: July 28, 2010, 11:30:28 PM »
Quote from: sim085;571859
Something that personally annoys me in Workbench is that it requires .info file to display an icon and determine which program to use to open a target file. I always found the Windows way of doing more natural; that is that file extensions are used to determine the type of file.

However I am really intrested to know what others thing about it and if anyone favours the use of .info files over the use of file extentions.

You have seriously got to be kidding. You obviously haven`t used an Amiga very much. Windows icons are useless to the extreme and give very little control. If there is one thing I hate about Windows its the lack of functionality and customisation of the icon. The Amiga gives you so many options in respect of both the look and functionality of the icon. Thank goodness for the info file. It is so important to the way the Amiga functions.

Offline persia

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #51 on: July 28, 2010, 11:33:11 PM »
Microsoft is the only company that tries to maintain a central repository for all system settings (aka the Registry), most other systems maintain them through multiple config files that are easier to check.  You don't have to store everything in one place to control everything from one place.

That being said, what percentage of Mac users (for example) ever check their plist files or even know what the plist files are?

What we\'re witnessing is the sad, lonely crowing of that last, doomed cock.

Offline Trev

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2010, 12:05:50 AM »
Most other systems are based on System V or BSD, and aside from the top-level etc directory sharing a common name, it's a free for all. I'm not convinced that's a strength. :-P

EDIT: Microsoft's biggest mistake regarding the registry, I think, was adding "serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly" to every knowledge base article with even a hint of registry. This is going to blow my point, but I'm reminded of a sign at Yosemite National Park that warns people against entering pools above the falls because "you WILL go over the falls, and you WILL die." Duh.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 12:17:56 AM by Trev »

Offline Franko

Re: .info ... was it so much a good idea?
« Reply #53 on: July 31, 2010, 05:31:56 PM »
as the years roll on by, you realize that you can never have enough .info :)

(am I missing the point here...) :insane: