A traditional 'MAKE' program is a tool for programmers of large
programs to help them with the job of compilation. Basically, MAKE
uses a `makefile' to tell it about a program, and how each file of
the program depends on others. After editing a number of files, MAKE
looks at the makefile and then at the edited source, discovers what
is out of date and re-compiles and re-links as necessary. Thus the
programmer does not have to type lots of commands after editing.
JackMake is not that sort of program what it does is simply run each
program in a list you prepare. While it could be used for the
production of a single source file program, it is not really aimed
at the programmer but is perfect for performing frequently done, and
possibly complicated, command sequences. You can specify a command
line to give to the program if desired. If you do a lot of switching
between programs, such as between a spreadsheet and a graphing
utility, you can use JackMake to do the tedious bit for you.
Preparing a new command list is very easy. First, select the menu
option to clear the current list, then select 'Add a file' (also on
a ctrl key), and this gives a modified file selector, which enables
you to 'show' JackMake where the program resides. The program does
not have to be in any particular folder or disk drive. After
selection the command is shown ina window. This is then repeated for
each program in the sequence. To add a command line, you must click
on the command in the window, select a menu option, and then fill in
a (quite small) line in a dialog. A nice feature is a button which
says 'file selector'.
Clicking this reveals the file selector and allows
you to select a data file for the command line. Unfortunately, using
this deletes any command entered so far, so you can only use it once
per command line. I would have preferred to be automatically offered
a command line for each command added. The parameters are not shown
in the window, and JackMake takes no consideration of the command
type when running it, not clearing the screen prior to running a TOS
Once the list is prepared (you can save lists for
re-use), you can choose a few aspects about its use. You can specify
how many times the list will be
repeated, or have it repeat forever. You can also determine whether
it will show you a dialog informing you of actions it is about to
take. This dialog gives three options: Okay (run the program), Skip,
and Stop. If you have selected to not have the dialog and also the
repeat forever option, it is still possible to interrupt the
sequence with a key combination as JackMake loads the next program.
The manual, laudably printed on re-cycled paper (with
two page explanation), is not particularly comprehensible. Along
with the confusion of calling itself a 'MAKE' utility and then not
actually being a true `MAKE', I had a struggle understanding quite
what the purpose of the program was, or how to use it and was only
enlightened once I ran the program itself. Fortunately, once you
understand what it is trying to do, JackMake is good in use, so the
manual is not too much of a hindrance — more a drawback to selling
Other niggles with the program include bad spelling
and also non-standard dialogs. For instance, the `Preferences'
dialog does not have OKAY and Cancel buttons — you have to click on
the dialog title to exit!
Overall, this program could save you a lot of time if
you often run a sequence of programs repeatedly (especially from
different folders), otherwise it would
appear to have no particular use.