D-Fend Reloaded (DOSBox frontend)

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D-Fend Reloaded (DOSBox frontend)

Postby Alexander » 2007-12-29 @ 22:52

Hi everybody,

I have used D-Fend for nearly a year but then the development of D-Fend was stopped. Additionally D-Fend had some things I did not like (index files, absolute pathes). In my games database there are over 200 game records (with D-Fend profiles). So I decided to write a new frontend which can read the D-Fend profiles, has all features of good old D-Fend and even looks like D-Fend.

If you are interessted in D-Fend Reloaded you can find it here:
http://dfendreloaded.sourceforge.net/

The main features of D-Fend Reloaded are:
  • 100% D-Fend compatible, all features of D-Fend
  • Vista compatible (can use a subfolder of the user directory for config files but also can act like D-Fend and use the program folder)
  • Complete games can be transfered or deleted (not only the profile)
  • Building EXE-installers to transfer games (this requires NSIS)
  • Portable operation mode to run from USB-Sticks
  • Language support (at the moment english and german are included)
  • Installer contains DOSBox and DOSBox language files (one installation and everything is ready)
  • Open source


You can find a complete feature list here:
http://dfendreloaded.sourceforge.net/Features.html

I you like D-Fend Reloaded and want to help me, you can write language files (other than english and german) or find some nicer icons.

Image

(Edit to change the topic name of the thread.)
Last edited by Alexander on 2008-9-18 @ 16:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2007-12-30 @ 16:13

Looks good, looks good. I'm downloading as I type.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby rcblanke » 2007-12-30 @ 17:55

Hi Alexander, welcome to Vogons.

Very impressive work you're showing, really impressive indeed. While I haven't got much time to look at it in depth at the moment, a lot of working hours must have gone into this, and I think a lot of DOSBox users will appreciate your effort!

Still, I have this burning question that I would like to ask: why? Please don't get me wrong, I think your work is really great and the frontend already looks very mature just for this first release, but still, why did you choose to build your own tool instead of joining forces with another frontend? Did you obtain (parts of) the original D-Fend codebase maybe?

Keep up the good work!

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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2007-12-30 @ 21:25

OK, I took a look at it, and it's a good program. Still, I feel I should give you some feedback...

My main quip is with the Profile Editor, when you add a new game. A new window then appears with a lot of things to be configured. They are the same options that D-Fend or DBGL present as an assistant, I know, but I think this could make the newbies a bit confused, even more so now that there are only two languages available. Could you replace the window with an assistant, and limit the fields to be filled by the user even more?

Also, I couldn't help but notice that some minor items on the menus are still untranslated from German when using the English language setting.

Don't feel taken back if my comments sound too negative. It's great to have yet another frontend for DOSBox (I've been trying GR-lida recently) available. Right now I'm a happy user of DBGL, but it's nice to know there are other alternatives.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby avatar_58 » 2007-12-31 @ 15:07

Now heres an idea I can get behind, as a fan of D-fend. As Neville states though you might want to have an assitant for newbies (such as d-fend had) with the option of disabling it for advanced users.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2008-1-01 @ 00:09

...And count me in for a Spanish translation.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Alexander » 2008-1-02 @ 00:46

Hi Ronald,

Why I have written D-Fend Reloaded

Yes I know, there are some other very good frondends. But with non of them I could do some special things I wanted to: I have built a DOS games CD with some games from Abandonia etc. for some friends of mine. I used D-Fend and some own configuration programs for adding and deinstalling games. After installing D-Fend one can start one of the NSIS game package installers from the CD to add games to the D-Fend list (game files, profile, etc.). And with another external tool games can be deinstalled (complete game not only the profile).

After D-Fend was stopped I decided to write a frondend for DOSBox with this features directly included. Now I can make games installer packages directly from my D-Fend Reloaded games list. 5 friends of mine have got my new DOS games DVD as a christmas present. With D-Fend Reloaded not only the installation process from my DOS games DVD is easy, also the creation process for me is quite easy.

So I have written D-Fend Reloaded mostly for my own private DOS games DVD. But I thought may be some other people are interessted in D-Fend Reloaded so I released it one sourceforge.

As programming language I would have prefered something plattform independed (like Java) but I do not know much about Java. But I am quite good in Delphi. So D-Fend Reloaded is a Delphi program (like D-Fend was).

Connection to original D-Fend

No, I do not have a single line of the D-Fend code. All I have is the DFend.exe. My D-Fend Reloaded is a complete rewrite.

Because D-Fend needed index files and used absolute pathes (and I hated both because it made my extra config programs for my DOS games DVD more complicated) I am not too sad I didn't have the original source of D-Fend.

Complex profile editor

I know that the profile editor is not perfect user friendly. In this first version I just wanted to copy the D-Fend profile editor item by item. For the next version I will think about a better way to arrange the config options.

D-Fend Reloaded 0.1.1 has an assitant for adding games. The menu item "Add with wizard... (F3)" in the profile menu will open this assitant. Because I have only few toolbar icon files I have not created a toolbar button for the assistant. In the next version I will try to find a way to make the assistant easyer to find for beginners without forcing advanced users to use it. (May be configable "Add" toolbar button.)

Untranslated menu items

@Neville: On a quick look I haven't found any untranslated menu items. Can you tell me where you have seend untranslated items ? My be the hotkeys aren't translated ? ("Strg+Enter" instead of "Ctrl+Return" and so on) I am choosing the hotkes via the Delphi data type TShortcut and don't know how TShortcut is translated to a String. I think (hope) that Windows it self is doing this job. Because I have only a german Windows version I don't know how it looks like in an english version. If the hotkeys are wrong labeled in the english version, I will try to fix it some how in the next version.

Spanish translation

@Neville: If you want to make a spanish language file I will be very happy and will thank you very much !

And of cource anybody who contributs something to D-Fend Reloaded will be mentioned the in program info dialog.

Plans for the next version

My main plans for the next version are:
  • Better profile editor
  • Multi record editor (selecting some profiles and setting all of them to genre "Jump'n'Run" for example)
  • Using my 300 games profile list for a kind of "complete auto setup" (copy the new game to a folder and tell only the folder name to D-Fend Reloaded and it will find out by itself which game it is and what settings it needs). But this is only a pre-alpha-idea and I will still have to think a lot about this.


Because I don't know how much time I will have in the next month, I don't know when this features will be ready but the development of D-Fend Reloaded goes on.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby collector » 2008-1-02 @ 04:14

Something that I would ask for is a standardization for importing and exporting of profiles in XML. Ronald is working on something for DBGL and I think that Erik is agreeable for D.O.G. It would be nice if all major frontends used the same standard.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2008-1-02 @ 09:49

Here is the only untranslated item I could find, besides keyboard shortcuts:

Image

As for the Spanish translation, all I have to do is to edit the LANG file, right? I'll see if I can get a working SPANISH.LANG for today.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2008-1-02 @ 11:34

Alright, I've translated into Spanish everything I could translate from the LANG file. Many values still show English words, though, and the keyboard shorcuts are still in German.

Image

Consider this a BETA, as it hasn't been tested throughly. You may reproduce it and distribute it freely.

EDIT: Now, this is annoying. I'm polishing some stuff from my LANG file, but for some reason the changes aren't visible, even if I've switched the LANG files a few times and restarted the program. Any ideas?

EDIT 2: Wrong capture, corrected.
Attachments
D-Fend Reloaded - Traducción al castellano.zip
Spanish LANG file for D-Fend Reloaded.
(6.08 KiB) Downloaded 3036 times
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2008-1-02 @ 19:12

Found some more untranslated German... hope it helps.

Image Image
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Alexander » 2008-1-02 @ 23:00

XML support

I thing it would be a good idea to have a standardized XML file format for the profiles. I have worked with XML files in the past. If I have a specification of a XML format, I think I will be able to write some XML support in a few days.

Languages

Thank you very much Neville for the language file and for testing D-Fend Reloaded. I have fixed the untranslated menu items and have found a way to make shortcuts and message dialogs translateable. (This was a bit tricky because the the Delphi RTL functions are reading specific resource strings hardwired. Delphi wants me to use language DLL files. But with the help of some functions from the FastCode project I was able to direct these RTL calls to own functions.)

When you change the language or close the program the language strings will be copied back from memory to the ini file. Any changes in the active language file will be lost ! So it's not a good idea to change a language file while D-Fend Reloaded is running. The idea behind this write back system is to add missing fields in the ini files to give the author a hint what is missing.

I have added a [Author] section in the language file format. If you write your name in the "name=..." field of this section, it will appear in the program info dialog.

While correcting the missing language data I needed to add some new records to language file format. In the attachment you can find the current format for the language files. (About 20 oder 30 new language strings.)

Changelog

Here is what I have done so far:
  • [Fix] Missing translations for Shortcuts
  • The function of the add button in the toolbar is now configurable (normal add, add with wizard or popup menu for operation)
  • [Fix] After changing the program language the categorys list on the "default values" page of the setup dialog contained the values in the old and the new language.
  • New setup option: Start on Windows boot (default: off)
  • New setup option: Start minimized (default: off)
  • [Fix] Missing translations for menu items in the games list popup menu and the screenshots popup menu
  • [Fix] Missing translation of message dialog captions and buttons
  • The program info dialog shows the names of the authors of the language files.


I hope I will have enough time tomorrow to release a 0.1.2 version.
Attachments
D-Fend Reloaded English Language file.zip
Current file format for D-Fend Reloaded language files
(5.56 KiB) Downloaded 2818 times
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2008-1-02 @ 23:34

Alright, so this was why correcting the typos and stuff was driving me crazy. The program kept writing back the old values again and again. :sweatdrop:

I'll take a look at the new LANG file tomorrow, then *maybe* do another translation. I like things done well as much as the next one, but I'd rather do a more or less definitive job once the LANG files format is estable than keep doing rewrites for every version.

As for the current Spanish translation, I'dsay it's good enough to be in your next release, that is, if you plan to package other people's translations with your installer. Mark it as "beta" if you want to, but I don't think it has any major issues.
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Alexander » 2008-1-02 @ 23:59

Hi Neville,

I think my last post was a little bit unclear: I have not changed the complete format of the language files ! I have only added some records (for the message dialogs and the hotkeys). Your current spanish language file will of course work with the next version of D-Fend Reloaded. So there is no need to do your work again !

I am glad to have your permission to release D-Fend Reloaded with your language file. With your current language file only the hotkeys and message dialog buttons will appear in english. (Because the built in english language file is used for fallback.) If you want to add the last missing values some day, I would be happy. But even the current file looks very good and I thank you very much for it.

Sorry for any confusion with my last posting. (If you want me to, I can take your language file, add the new lines and mark them for you and post it here, so adding the last words is less work for you. Additionally the most new strings to translate are something like "PageUp" and "Ctrl+".)
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Neville » 2008-1-03 @ 00:10

Alright then: I'm not touching the new LANG file for the moment, but here you have the latest version of the one I already translated. I think I got most typos / innacuracies.
Attachments
Spanish.zip
Updated Spanish LANG file.
(5.84 KiB) Downloaded 1794 times
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Alexander » 2008-1-04 @ 20:24

Hi everybody,

I have just finished version 0.1.2 of D-Fend Reloaded. It's mainly a bugfix release (especially some language related bugs have been fixed).

Changes from Version 0.1.1 to version 0.1.2
  • [Fix] Missing translations for Shortcuts
  • The function of the add button in the toolbar is now configurable (normal add, add with wizard or popup menu for operation).
  • [Fix] After changing the program language the categorys list on the "default values" page of the setup dialog contained the values in the old and the new language.
  • New setup option: Start on Windows boot (default: off)
  • New setup option: Start minimized (default: off)
  • [Fix] Missing translations for menu items in the games list popup menu and the screenshots popup menu
  • [Fix] Missing translation of message dialog captions and buttons
  • The program info dialog shows the names of the authors of the language files.
  • The games list can now be sorted by any column just by clicking the column header.
  • Spanish language file (Thanks to Neville)

Download link

A installer package, a zip package and the sourcecode can be found as usual at
http://dfendreloaded.sourceforge.net/
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Banjo » 2008-1-07 @ 11:51

Alexander, I just wanted to say a HUGE thankyou for this project! I love DosBox, and next to that (ok, that and ScummVM), this is the best thing ever! Why? Because D-Fend was by far my favourite frontend, and I was sad to see it "die"... but now you're not just reviving it but making it so much better! So... thanks!

Anyway, I downloaded 1.2 today and have been playing around with it, and thought I'd mention a couple of things, not complaints but things that might help you in further development...

1) The only thing I can't get to run on it (that ran fine on the old D-Fend) is INN (even after setting serial1=modem)... not sure if it's just my mistake or a problem with the frontend's profile system (since INN is the only DOS game I have that goes online).

2) Can the joystick be set to "auto" in D-Fend Reloaded (like you can by editing DosBox config files), since I could only see options for various types or "none"... no "auto".

3) Noticed a couple of typos...
- "programoptions" instead of "program options" under File menu.
- "programfile" and "profilename" (spaces missing) in Profile Editor->Profile window.
- "Increase CPU Cykles" and "Decrease CPU Cykles" (cycles mis-spelled) in Profile Editor->Environment window.

4) I had to manually fix two errors in the optional "add-on" download pack after installing. Second Reality had the wrong Drive (under Drives) specified, and VGA Copy had the wrong location specified for its program file. Both ran fine after I changed these to the correct locations/directories.

5) Since there are icons for FreeDOS, 4DOS, Dos Navigator, VGA Copy and DosBox already in the download packages with the programs, why not have them auto-install too with the program itself (since this is possible, as I discovered making my own custom installers). If you do do this, if you like, I am happy to make you some icons for OpenGEM and Second Reality (since they don't have any icons at all right now).

Anyway, hope my testing helps... again, in NO way am I complaining, just trying to help you out in any way I can!

Thanks again for your hard work so far, and congrats on a great front end!

Cheers,
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby lightmaster » 2008-1-07 @ 14:46

Thanks Alexander! Second Reality profile!?! w-o-w !!
Image
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Alexander » 2008-1-08 @ 22:59

Hi Banjo,
thank you. Because D-Fend was my favourite frondend and I was sad to see it "die", too, I decided to write D-Fend Reloaded...

1.) More and better settings for modem and serial ports are already on top of my todo for the next version.

2.) I must have missed this value. But you can add it to the list manually: In the program settings dialog you can set up which values should be presented as default values (in the tab "Default values", category "Joystick"). (The next version D-Fend Reloaded will have the "auto" value from the beginning on.)

3.) Thank you, will be corrected.

4.)+5.) I will build a new demo package next weekend with this things fixed.

I have read a lot of postings from people having problems with some games respectively do not know the right settings for DOSBox. So my very far distance goal would be, that abandonded sites not only provide simple zip packages for the games but also some kind of packages with included DOSBox config files (like my installer packages...).
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Re: D-Fend Reloaded (new frondend)

Postby Banjo » 2008-1-09 @ 03:00

Hi Alexander,

Yes, I am thrilled to see D-Fend continuing in your capable hands! Definitely my favourite front end, and your version is already better!

I've already made a bunch of installers for all my favourite DosBox games and (apart from the afore-mentioned INN) they all work great. I used to make them manually (ie. using custom config files, multiple DosBox copies and Inno Installer) but using D-Fend Reloaded is MUCH easier and more efficient!

Since I often make custom icons for games that don't have them (especially old DOS ones), I made the attached for Second Reality... feel free to use it in your demo package if you want!

Most of all, though, keep up the great work! If there's anything I can do to help out (even just testing stuff), don't hesitate to say so.

Cheers,
Banjo
Attachments
Banjos_Second_Reaility_Icon.zip
Windows/D-Fend icon for Second Reality demo (made by Banjo)
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