[guispeak] EdSharp 3.0 and FileDir 3.6 released

  • From: Jamal Mazrui <empower@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: GUISpeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, ProgrammingBlind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Program-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, UAccess-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 3 Mar 2009 17:42:52 -0500 (EST)

EdSharp, an editor, and FileDir, a file manager, are free, open source
applications that are feature-competitive with most commercial
equivalents.  Unlike such alternatives, they incorporate screen reader
usability as an integral part of their designs.  Below are the latest
improvements, tested under Windows XP and Vista.


 EdSharp 3.0

When saving text to a file, EdSharp now checks whether any character has a
Unicode number greater than 255, which means that more than one byte is
needed to represent it.  If so, the file is saved with a UTF-8 encoding,
the most common form of Unicode for storing files on disk.  Otherwise, the
default encoding of the computer is used, e.g., Latin 1.

Several enhancements are designed to increase the efficiency of managing
indentation with a screen reader.  The need is motivated by coding in the
Python language.  Although a friendly language in other ways, its
"significant white space requirement" is inherently challenging to
nonvisual users.  Indentation is a recommended style in most programming
languages, but in Python, it is required for the code to run.  Other
languages, moreover, often have utilities for automatically reformatting
code according to common conventions.  In Python, a change in indentation
denotes the end of a code block rather than a keyword like EndIf, or a }
symbol.  Thus, when reading normally by line with a screen reader, the
structure of code is not indicated.  Instead, one often has to check the
indentation to clarify logical understanding.

The EdSharp commands to find a matching right brace, left brace, or to
check brace balance have been reassigned from key combinations with the B
key to ones with bracket keys:  Control+Shift+RightBracket,
Control+Shift+LeftBracket, and Alt+Shift+RightBracket, respectively.  To
eliminate key conflicts, the EdSharp installer includes a checkbox to
remove previous settings, which is checked by default.

You can now press Control+B to go to the next code block, or
Control+Shift+B to go to the previous one.  A block is defined as lines
with the same or greater indentation/nesting.  Control+I and
Control+Shift+I have a similar purpose, but they move to the next or
previous change in indentation, so they stop at nested blocks.  EdSharp
skips blank or commented lines with these commands.

Thus, Control+I will stop at a nested block, whereas Control+B will not,
since it continues past lines with greater indentation.  For example, if
the cursor is inside a loop block, then Control+I will go to the line at
the closing of the loop where a lower level of indentation resumes.  In
Ruby, this would be the line with the word "end".  In Python, it would be
the first line of code following the loop, since the change in
indentation, itself, indicates the end of the loop.

The related query commands, Alt+B and Alt+I, help you understand code
groupings without moving the cursor.  They are examples of a new EdSharp
feature where a key can have an alternate action if pressed twice in a row
without moving the cursor.  Alt+B says the rest of the current block,
beginning at the current line.  When toggled with a second press, it says
the whole block, including lines prior to the current one, if any.  Alt+I
says the indentation level of the current line.  When toggled, it reads
the text of the preceding line with less indentation, which is typically
the statement that introduced the current block, e.g., an if, for, or
while statement.  These commands are best learned by experimenting with
familiar code.

Use the Infer Indent command, Alt+RightBracket, to hear what indent unit
the current document seems to be using.  EdSharp looks at the first line
that starts with a space or tab character.  If this key is pressed again
without moving the cursor, that sequence of space or tab characters is
configured as EdSharp's IndentUnit setting.  This makes it easy to use the
same indentation style as a file you have opened.

Other keys with alternate actions spell a message when pressed a second
time.  These include Say Open Windows (Shift+F4), Selected Text
(Shift+Space), Chunk (Shift+Backspace), Path (Alt+P), and Clipboard

FileDir 3.6

The unzip-related commands have been transformed into broader, unarchive
commands that work with almost any archive format, including .rar, .tar,
.gz, .bz2, .chm, .cab, and .wepm (a Window-Eyes script package that is the
same format as .cab).  FileDir does this with the free 7Zip utility behind
the scenes, which is also available independently at

Although any archive may be viewed or extracted, it is still the case that
only a zip archive may be created or modified.

The What command, invoked with a question mark, now says the number of
items in an archive or subfolder before saying their names.  As before,
the Output Text command, Shift+O, converts other file formats to text.  It
now does this with an updated conversion tool (GetText.exe).

Inquire Differences, Alt+Shift+I, is a new command for comparing files in
two folders.  The current folder is considered the source.  You are
prompted for a target folder.  FileDir generates a report in structured
text format and prompts you for where to save it.  The default name is
Report.txt in the current folder.  The report contains three sections:
common target files, missing target files, and additional target files.
The first section lists target file names that also exist in the source
folder, and indicates whether each is newer, older, or current (a time
stamp comparison), as well whether it is larger, smaller, or equal (a size
comparison).  The second section lists file names that are missing in the
target folder.  The third section lists additional file names found in the
target folder.

For maximum functionality of FileDir under Windows Vista, you may wish to
configure it to "run as administrator."  One way of doing this is by
modifying the FileDir shortcut on the desktop.  Press Alt+Enter to open
its properties, choose the Advanced button, and mark the checkbox to
require administrative priviledges.  Otherwise, for example, the ability
to view or change files under the directory tree
C:\Program Files
will be considerably restricted.

** To leave the list, click on the immediately-following link:-
** [mailto:guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx?subject=unsubscribe]
** If this link doesn't work then send a message to:
** guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
** and in the Subject line type
** unsubscribe
** For other list commands such as vacation mode, click on the
** immediately-following link:-
** [mailto:guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx?subject=faq]
** or send a message, to
** guispeak-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the Subject:- faq

Other related posts:

  • » [guispeak] EdSharp 3.0 and FileDir 3.6 released - Jamal Mazrui