The New Kermit 95 Dialer

Most recent update: 4 June 2002

A brief overview of the changes in Kermit 95's graphical Dialer for Kermit 95 1.1.21 and 2.0. The form and mechanics of adding and editing Dialer connections have changed since version 1.1.20; this page explains the changes.

CONTENTS

  Background
  Summary of Changes
  The SSH Settings Page
  The FTP Settings Page
  The GUI Settings Page


Background

The Kermit 95 Dialer offers a graphical user interface for defining and managing connections. It is a separate program from Kermit 95 itself. When you launch a connection from the Dialer, it creates a script (plain-text command file) for Kermit 95, and starts Kermit 95 with instructions to execute the script. The script contains commands that correspond to each of your selections on each of the pages of the notebook for the connection you are launching.

When Kermit 95 was first written in 1995, our aim was to make it portable to different operating systems, primarily Microsoft Windows and IBM OS/2. This was relatively easy in Kermit 95 itself (K95.EXE), because we have decades of experience in writing portable text-mode software. But the Dialer is a GUI program, and GUI programs are not portable across operating systems. In those days, however, when portability was still a widely held value, companies made GUI development tools that could generate the same GUI program for different operating systems. One such tool was Zinc, which we chose for the Dialer, allowing us to create a single Dialer for Windows and OS/2, and opening the possibility for someday porting it to Macintosh, X, and other graphical environments, as well as semi-graphical environments such as curses and SMS.

But after OS/2 disappeared from the landscape and Macintosh receded into its niche, portable GUI builders became less important and Zinc disappeared from the scene.

Meanwhile, the Windows underpinnings of the Dialer's Connection Notebook model have run out of steam, at least in Windows 9x, which provides only 64K for all Graphical Display Interface (GDI) resources shared by all the applications loaded at any one time. The Dialer in K95 1.1.20 required 23K. This amount is simply not available on most Windows 9x systems with a typical mix of applications running, let alone the increased amount required by K95 1.1.21's new features. Thus the Dialer had to be reorganized before the new SSH and GUI settings pages could be added.


Summary of Changes

The new Dialer no longer has connection notebooks or Add, Edit, Clone, or Remove buttons on the Toolbar. The underlying structure is still the same -- each connection has all the properties formerly listed in the notebook. But now each notebook page is a separate dialog (a notebook containing many dialogs requires many times more GUI resources than a single dialog), and there is a new Connections item on the main menu bar.

The Connections menu contains four items: Add, Edit, Clone, and Remove, which were formerly Toolbar buttons, of which the first three behave somewhat differently from before:

The "Add...