August 4, 2005

SharpE Releases version .6 of shell replacement

silentpyjamas writes "SharpEnvironment: What's in the Blue Box?

The SharpE team is proud to announce the public release of beta build .6 of its popular SharpEnvironment shell replacement for Windows 2000/2003/XP. Since the previous release in January the team has been busy nurturing it and now we invite you to come and play. A visit to the new site at http://sharpe-shell.org/ with its colorful menu graphics that mimic the program's component icons, is a good start but there's more fun to be had when you're playing with the blocks.

This ambitious build features transparent components, an improved theme manager, and an integrated documentation system. SharpE's aim has always been to make using Windows a more stable, enjoyable experience and this release is a step closer to desktop nirvana. SharpE's triple-threat approach: theming, utility, and customization, makes it a dynamic and robust application, and one that works for all levels of users. Not just a theming program, it's a complete operating environment that harmonizes OS and user beautifully. With SharpE's enormous potential, every user's desktop can be as unique as his fingerprint.

Upon loading it closes the explorer process and replaces the Windows desktop though normal Windows operations may be easily restored if necessary. Each component is configurable, from location, to display, to visibility. Everything is managed by SharpCore which also hosts and controls a library of services like hotkeys and a memory manager.

SharpDesk's powerful Theme Manager makes crafting a luxurious desktop a delight. Every pixel of visible space can somehow be personalized, and the export feature makes masterpieces easy to share. A single theme can be customized in dozens of ways with realtime wallpaper effects, icon sets, color schemes, even custom menu content. Dynamic Desktop Objects can be saved and loaded as sets, providing the user with the means to keep their important desktop folders and icons constant between themes.

SharpBar is a package of goodies all to itself, with its array of tools and toys. Included are system monitors, an rss reader, WinAmp controls, and a command line. Plugins can be saved as sets and switched on-the-fly, putting a world of utility behind a few mouse clicks.

Taking up the mantle of the taskbar and system tray are SharpTask and SharpTray, which are immediately recognizable for new users. SharpTray adds a twist to the proceedings with its "Invisible Icons" function and SharpTask makes available a quicklaunch bar and "Shell Folders" button for convenient access to the Control Panel.

It seems a desktop can never have enough space. SharpVWM rectifies this problem by providing up to 8 virtual desktop windows with intuitive switching between desktops.

The feather in SharpE's cap for this release is SharpDocs, the onboard documentation system. SharpDocs is a virtual bible of every component and service contained within SharpE, and is accessible from anywhere within the program. Though this is SharpDocs' first public appearance, it's a firecracker of potential. The hallmark of this component is that the user can create his own documentation which can be shared with and edited by the community at large.

So many surprises in such a small package and there is more still to be had. SharpEnvironment is further extensible with user-created plugins and extensions. With its sleek interface, myriad configuration options, and a battery of extras, this is one new toy that doesn't lose its shine. Come on, open the blue box.

Silentpyjamas
Official SharpE Cheerleader and Mascot
silentpyjamas@sharpe-shell.org

SharpEnvironment
Coded in Delphi 6
Requires Windows 2000/2003/XP
Released under LGPL
http://www.sharpe-shell.org/
http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/sharpe/"

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