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Bars & Pipes Professional: Customizing Your Environment

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Overview

In this chapter, we'll learn how to customize your Bars&Pipes Professional environment, so that it automatically sets up the system to your liking. We'll also discuss the disk files that Bars&Pipes Professional uses to keep track of your preferences.

The Environment Preferences

In the Main menu, the Environment.., option in the Preferences menu opens the Environment Preferences requester. This requester controls various aspects of Bars&Pipes Professional's appearance as well as some memory-saving options:

Interlace Screen
Select the Interlace Screen option to double the vertical resolution of the Bars&Pipes Professional environment.
Use Workbench Pointer
If you'd rather use the Workbench mouse pointer instead of the Bars&Pipes Professional saxophone, enable Use Workbench Pointer.
Exploding Windows
The Exploding Windows option causes windows to open with an expanding rectangle and close with a contracting rectangle.
Windows To Front
Normally, use the standard Window To Front/Back button on the top right of each window to bring a window to the front If you'd like any window to come immediately to the front no matter where you click in it, select Windows To Front.
Save Icons
Bars&Pipes Professional will only create an icon for a song file if the Save Icons option is enabled.
WB 2.0 File Requester
If you're running Bars&Pipes Professional under Workbench 2.0 or later, you may optionally use the Workbench file requester for selecting files.
Double Width Screen/Double Height Screen
Under Workbench 2.0, Bars&Pipes Professional can display its screen at double width and/or double height, providing much more room to drag and place windows. When in this mode, certain hotkeys make navigating this huge screen easier:
The Alt key, in conjunction with the arrow keys moves the screen by one screenful. The window icons always appear in the current screen for easy access.
Holding the Shift key causes the currently active window to move into the new view area. Hold down both the Shift and Alt keys while pressing the arrow keys.
These features can make it seem like Bars&Pipes Professional is four screen instead of one! For instance, you could open Mix Maestro in one quadrant, the Track window in another, and still have two full screens for other windows. Keep in mind, however, that open windows consume CPU and memory resources
68000 Optimization
If you are running Bars&Pipes on an Amiga using a 68000 processor, such as the A500 or A2000, setting this option will enable Bars&Pipes to run slightly more efficiently.
Workbench Screen Mode
Also under Workbench 2.0, Bars&Pipes Professional can adopt the current screen mode used by Workbench. This is particularly useful with the new AGA chipset machines (the Amiga 4000 and 1200) because it provides an automatic method for supporting the new graphic modes.
Close Workbench
To save memory, Bars&Pipes Professional can attempt to close Workbench. This only succeeds if no programs have windows open in Workbench.
Disable Undo Buffer
When the Bars&Pipes Professional sequencer records a Track, it automatically backs up the entire performance in an Undo buffer. Although this provides an easy way to recover from a poor recording, it doubles the memory provided for MIDI events. Disable the Undo buffer to double the number of notes you can record in low memory situations.
Use Grey Scale
Bars&Pipes Professional normally displays in eight colors. Use Grey Scale halves the color count to only four, saving graphics memory.
Disable Fast Refresh
Bars&Pipes Professional's windows keep their images intact, even when behind other windows. This results in very fast refresh, but eats memory. Disable Fast Refresh saves memory because it no longer stores hidden imagery, but the drawing time can become painfully slow.
Save
Select the Save button to implement the changes and permanently save your choices in the "Bars&Pipes Professional.info" file. Whether run Bars&Pipes Professional from its icon or the Shell, the program still looks at the "Bars&Pipes Professional.info" file for these preferences. If the .info does not exist, Bars&Pipes Professional chooses its default preferences.
Use
To use the changes without making them permanent, select Use.

The Support Drawer and Support Files

Bars&Pipes Professional must keep its control files in a support directory: If a drawer named "Support" exists within the same directory as the Bars&Pipes Professional drawer, Bars&Pipes Professional places its support files there.

If there is no drawer named "Support" located within the same directory, Bars&Pipes Professional places the support files in the S: directory. This is the same directory that contains your startup-sequence.)

  • TIP * If you are using Bars&Pipes Professional without a hard drive and want to boot with a Workbench disk, create a Support drawer on your Bars&Pipes Professional program disk Then move the files, Tools, Accessories, and BPPDirs from the & directory on your WorkBench disk to the Support drawer created on your program disk.

The Tools File

Bars&Pipes Professional uses the Tools file when customizing your environment. This text file contains the names and path names of the Tools currently loaded in the ToolBox. Bars&Pipes Professional updates the Tools file whenever you Install or Remove a Tool in the ToolBox.

The Accessories File

Bars&Pipes Professional also uses the Accessories file when customizing your environment. This text file contains the names and path names of the Accessories loaded in the Accessories window.

Bars&Pipes Professional updates the Accessories file whenever you Install or Remove an Accessory

BPPDirs

The BPPDirs file, another environment file, is a binary file that contains the path names of files that you load and save, such as Song files, Patch Lists, and Chords.

Whenever you load or save a file, Bars&Pipes Professional refers to the Bppdirs file to determine the last place you loaded or saved a similar type of file. Bars& Pipes Professional then directs the file requester to this location.

When you change directories with the file requester and select Load or Save, Bars&Pipes Professional looks to the new directory. Bars&Pipes Professional updates the BPPDirs file whenever you exit Bars&Pipes Professional.

Settings in Song Files

Bars&Pipes Professional saves many settings in each individual Song file, including which windows are open and closed, the color palette as defined by the True Colors Accessory, the position of window icons, Patch Lists, Chords, Scales, Rhythms, Metronome settings, Tool Trays, the ToolPad, Tools in PipeLines, the status of Thru faucets, MIDI channel selectors, the status of Edit windows and all other musical information.

Creating a Preset Environment With New.song

If you prefer a particular configuration of Tools, Tracks, Tempos, etc., you can set your preferences, then save them as a Song,. This way, you'll have a preset environment each time you begin a new Song.

To do so, first set up your Tracks, MIDI channels, Tool placements, etc., and then use the Save As Default command found in the Song menu. This saves your settings to a file called "New.song." Each time you run Bars&Pipes Professional or select New from the Song menu, Bars&Pipes Professional automatically loads this file.

Tip
When you load another Song, Bars&Pipes Professional overrides your "New" settings with those in the currently loaded file. To impose your new environment on old Song files, load your old Song. Then make a Group out of all of the Tracks contained in the old Song file. Next, save the Group to disk and select New from the Song menu. After you delete all the Tracks in the New Song, load in the Group!