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Features of eComStation

Graphical User Interface

Object oriented Graphical User Interface

All icons in the folders and on the eCS Desktop are called "Objects" in eCS terminology. An object is not just a picture but actually the real file on the hard disk or a dynamic representation of it. In fact, an object is nothing else than a connection between data and a certain action. When you double click on a spreadsheet file then it is, for instance, opened in a spreadsheet program which is associated with that file. But at the same time also other programs might be associated with your spreadsheet file. In eCS objects are organized in so called "Classes", just like the fauna is organized into classes based on the properties of certain groups of animals. Actually a class in OS/2 and eCS is a way of organizing objects based upon their behaviour and layout. All objects of the same class have identical properties. When the class is derived from a higher class, these objects get ('inherit') the properties of that higher class. That's why a program object doesn't behave the same as a folder object, but both have an icon by which you can recognize the object.

Because in eCS everything is based on objects and the variable properties of those, we speak of an "Object oriented" graphical desktop. Whenever you want to change the properties of an object, you simply click on it with the right mouse button and select "Properties" from the context menu. The window with the coloured tabs that will pop up gives you a lot of possibilities to alter properties or to add new properties to the object.

Drag and drop

Drag and drop is very important for an efficient use of the system in a graphical working environment. Better than in any other operating system you can use drag and drop without limits within eComStation. Within eComStation every action you can think of can be done by using drag and drop. Some examples:

  • document open, create, copy, move, delete ...
  • open a web site in your browser
  • give a window another background colour
  • change the font of text
  • change the colour scheme of your Desktop
  • improve and underline cells within spreadsheets
  • copy text, save, move...
  • change the country settings for your system
  • compose MP3 play lists
  • change context menus of objects and define file associations
So called 'Palettes' are typical for eComStation. These can be described as containers containing objects from which you can transfer the characteristics to other objects just by using drag and drop. Out of the box eComStation contains a number of standard Palettes, but a user may also create new Palettes. See the picture below for some examples of eComStation Palettes.

(Click for larger image)


Templates are typical WorkPlace Shell objects by which the user can easily create new objects by using drag and drop. You can use templates to create data files (e.g. a standard letter), but also to create program objects, new palettes or any kind of other object.

(Click for larger image)

Templates are both elegant and logical within the 'data-centric' oriented desktop of eComStation. In contrast to most (office) applications for Windows, templates are not limited to only one specific application within eComStation, but are available system wide and to all programs. eComStation delivers a large range of standard templates for about every application, but the user can make new template objects without restrictions as well.

Command Line Interface (CLI)


Some people don't fancy graphical user interfaces and prefer to use the operating system by typing commands, because this might give more options in some cases or just because it is a lot faster and allows using command scripts (batch files).

eComStation has this option as well of course, and more, you can even modify eComStation in a way that the graphical user interface is deactivated (temporarily) and work with only a command prompt to control the system. On RAM memory constrained systems this is quite often a very useful option.

The default command line interface of eComStation, abbreviated to CLI , is the so called command processor 'CMD.EXE'. You can run this in a window as well as in a full screen session, just which you prefer. This program has its limitations though, especially when you compare it to some CLIs that are in use on Linux.

(Click for larger image)

Fortunately there is a good alternative for CMD.EXE, called '4OS2', by which eComStation users can also enjoy the pure power of a good command shell, like Linux users. You can download '4OS2' for free at JP Software - Downloads.



The programming language REXX is included in eComStation. This language existed before eComStation itself and is also available on other platforms like AIX, Windows, Linux and on IBM mainframes. The real power of REXX shows by its ease of use on one side and by its range of very powerful programming language options on the other side. REXX is extremely useful to automate certain tasks by using simple text, called a script, but you can use REXX also for complex, extensive programs with a graphical user interface.

WPS integration

The possibilities of REXX are nowhere used better than with eComStation. 'REXX/2' is extended with a lot of special functions with which the properties of WorkPlace Shell objects can be fully used and controlled.
As an example, the following REXX function creates a folder on the eCS Desktop with the name "OS/2 users group" including the settings that it should contain small icons which are organized in multiple columns. The "F" option tells REXX that the command should not be executed if the folder already exists.

RC=SysCreateObject('WPFolder', ,
'OS/2 users group', '', ,ICONVIEW=FLOWED,MIN, ,F)

Extensive REXX documentation is standard with eComStation!

eComStation kernel


eComStation uses, like Unix, so called 'pre-emptive' multitasking, which gives the user the opportunity to execute multiple different tasks at the same time on the PC. Within eComStation it is also possible to adjust the multitasking by setting various parameters to values which match the specific application requirements.


In contrast to for instance Linux, eComStation offers standard support for 'multi-threading'. Multithreading is a very efficient way of using computer resources for a single application (process), by executing multiple application sub-tasks simultaneously. Multi-threaded programs are mostly showing a very good responsiveness.

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