Daniel Beardsmore, March 2000
Traditionally, operating systems only permit file types to be associated with one application each. For example, in Windows, .DOC files “belong” to Microsoft Word for Windows. Therefore, if you were to double-click on a .DOC file in File Manager or Windows Explorer, the file would be opened in Microsoft Word.
Sometimes it would be desirable for the operating system to ask the user exactly which program they would like to have files opened by. For example, you may wish to have .HTM files opened either under your web browser, your HTML editor or your web page editor. This would not be a particularly difficult function to implement, although it would require some re-design of probably all major operating systems. MacOS would require applications to have a secondary bundle to hold additional file association data, and Windows would require a redesign of the Registry software such that when new associations are made, they can co-exist alongside earlier associations of the same file type (but come on, you have to admit that the Registry sucks. IE 4, anyone?).
Either way, this functionality does not exist on any consumer operating system. That is where Many Apps comes in.
Many Apps provides a method whereby files can be associated’ to more than one program. The method is carried out by the following steps:
Many Apps will now be set up. You can now begin setting up multiple associations. Initially, you must associate file types with Many Apps.
From now onwards, when you open files of those types from File Manager or Windows Explorer you will be prompted by Many Apps to select which program with which to run the file. However, until you set up associations within Many Apps, you will be told that “No Many Apps associations currently exist for the given file type.” This stage associated files with Many Apps, but you must now tell Many Apps which programs you want available for each file type.
The next section of the readme details how to manage associations.
The Many Apps configuration window.
When you first start Many Apps, you will see that there are no file types in the file types box on the left. When you associated files with Many Apps, you did not create any internal associations. This you must do here, afterwards. For each association you want, you must press the left hand Add... button. You will be prompted first to give the extension of the file type, and then to provide the first application. Like in the main window, a brief help topic is provided in each dialog box.You will need to type in the application name, and select the application from the from the file browse area provided. Selecting Cancel in either of the two dialog boxes will cancel the operation.
At this stage, you will have one applications associated to the file type, as shown above. You can now use the right hand buttons to add new applications for the selected file type.
Now, when you double-click files of your selected file type, Many Apps will open, and you will be given a choice of which application to run, from the list that you have just created.
As well as adding file types and applications, you can also remove them. (Please see appendix of known issues for advice after reading this section.) It should be noted, though, that removing a file type does not disassociate the file type from Many Apps. You will need to go back into File Manager or Windows Explorer and change the association of the file type back to its original program or to nothing, if you no longer want the association to exist. You can also edit applications’ names and/or their choice of program file.
A further option is this: If you have two or more file types which always go together (such as .CPP and .H for C++), then you can take advantage of the shortcut for creating associations in Many Apps. Create the assocatiation and the applications for the first file type. (You may have decided that you wish to open the files in either C++ or Notepad.) Then, select Copy. Type the next extension from the list, and you will have a duplicate list of applications for the second file type. You can do the same for the remainder of the file types. (Please see appendix of known issues for advice after reading this section.)
It is hoped that the next release will see fixes to (almost) all of the above problems.
There may well be other bugs. Please report all bugs, suggestions and complaints to the author; his e-mail address is provided in the next section.
Many Apps was based upon a program of similar functionality called MPA (Multiple Program Association), written by Chris Brown. The reason for writing my own version of the program is that I changed my Windows shell from Program Manager to Wayfarer (by Iain Clifford Heath). However, I discovered that MPA did not run from a Wayfarer browser panel. I then discovered that the reason was really that MPA will not work unless File Manager is running. Hence my version. (However, Delphi will crash if Wayfarer is running, therefore I have had to return to Program Manager. Never mind.)
Many Apps was written by Daniel Beardsmore; he can be contacted at the following e-mail address: MacBeard66@hotmail.com. It was compiled with Borland’s Delphi 1, and is released as freeware. The gradient fill is courtesy of a custom Delphi component copyright © 1996, Dennis M. Passmore and Greg Lief. (Please note that you use this program at your own risk therefore I am not liable if it goes wrong and causes damage etc. etc.) If you want to know how to get rid of it, e-mail me.