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Alive 11
Zview Beta 6
You will probably remember a recent issue of Alive,  where we first featured
zView.  It started off quietly enough as a simple image browser,  but it set
itself  as  outstanding from the rest with version 2.  Who could ignore  the
thumbnail  gallery,  a feature rarely seen on Atari,  and possibly unique on
There  have been steady and non-flashy improvements since  then.  Originally
designed  as  a  Mint application,  the shakiness with Magic  was  cured  in
version  3.  More  image formats have been added too.  Now it is not just  a
choice between gif and jpg, but we can also show also tga, bmp, png, (x)img,
and even the very Atari specific neo and pi1.

Now it is time to take another look in these pages,  we're at the next major
step forward at the v6 beta.  zView has now got a .pdf viewer built in! This
is  available  elsewhere (Porthos),  and as been promised with 'MyPDF',  but
this is the first freeware interpretation of it.

At  the  same time,  zView has gained some more graphics formats.  These now
include  Godpaint,  at least one of the two versions,  and animated gif file

There has been a major freshen-up for the program icons and a new look.  The
shared graphics library also freshens up related programs like zWeather.

The  first major test of the beta 6 and my new revision 6 '060 was with  the
PDF viewer.

We decided to hit it with a multi-page document. The example I had loaded in
and  displays it perfectly well.  You can either click on the document links
to  change the page,  or else move the pages a step at a time with the arrow
buttons  at  the top.  Responsiveness is fair even on a 256 colour  extended
screen mode display,  which is probably not the most optimised in the world.
This  will be worth checking again with a graphics card add-on,  either  the
CTPCI or Supervidel.0

I'd  judge  PDF viewing to be a roaring success,  and a  welcome  additional
capability.   The  addition  of Godpaint ("By the Reservoir Dogs",  as Zorro
puts it) is interesting,  there seem to be two variants of godpaint file, in
accordance  with the number of program versions,  and zView only  recognises
one  of these.  Smurf has this partial recognition in common too. Maybe Pink
can  release a tool to convert the 'old' or 'wrong' Godpaint files,  to  the
one which works with these programs?

There  is  also now has a zoom feature for pictures,  with the controls  for
this on the image window when displaying a picture.

The  general  responsiveness was boosted in line with my recent  revision  6
processor  uplift.  I  also  found  that the  differences  between  256  and
truecolour  were  very pronounced,  with truecolour being a lot  quicker  in
rendering thumbnails and loading pics.  Clearly zView will benefit from some
sort  of graphics booster when it is available.  (It could be interesting to
see how zView performs on Hades or something like Aranym with a third  party
graphics card not subject to the Videl's limitations.)

zView  is  a rare and welcome example of modern TOS  software  catering  for
higher  end  Atari's  and  offering  facilities  not  usually  seen  on  tos
compatibles.  I would hope there is still more to come,  as the Ethernat and
CTlink are coming into view as actual products.  The next stage is to add on
the previously discussed USB support, to enable direct connection to digital
cameras  and  other  devices.  Maybe zView will gain some  image  correction
features, so blurring the line between a simple image browser, and something
CiH for Alive! Mag, Oct '05
Alive 11