Last week we quietly slipped out a new download called Shell Extensions (Beta) on the GeoStudio 2012 Downloads page. I hope that eventually this functionality will be merged into our regular GeoStudio setup so that everyone gets it automatically, but for now you have to download and install it separately if you want the extra features.
What Are Shell Extensions?
“Shell Extensions” help Windows do nice things with a particular kind of file (.gsz files in our case), like showing thumbnails, previews, searching, and so on.
If you just install GeoStudio 2012 and NOT the shell extensions, you get some basic integration that we all just expect to work. (Though sometimes we don’t realize how much effort it took a programmer to make it “just work”!)
Icons: Gsz files get a nice icon.
Open: Double-click a gsz file, or right-click and choose Open, and it opens in the GeoStudio.
Open With: If you have 2007 and 2012 both installed on the same computer, you can right-click a gsz file and choose the Open with menu and you can choose to open the file with whichever version of GeoStudio you want.
New GeoStudio Document: Right-click in a folder and choose the New menu, then GeoStudio Document, and you get a new blank gsz file (using whatever template you’ve selected as your default).
Now download and install the shell extensions. (Go ahead, I’ll wait for you). This is what you get:
File properties: Windows Explorer will display several properties of the gsz file, including:
- Authors: the person who first created the file
- Last saved by: the person who last saved the file
- File version: the file format version (beginning to be more useful now that we support saving as older file formats, but also helpful so you know whether to open the file with 2007 or 2012, for example)
- Tool version: the version of GeoStudio that saved the file
- Revision number: incremented every time the file is saved–useful for making sure two people are looking at the same version of the file.
- Title: the “title” of the document
- Comments: the document’s comment field.
The properties are displayed in various places, mostly in Windows Explorer. For example:
Select any gsz file and the summary pane (at the bottom of the window) will display many of these properties.
In “Details View” you can add properties as new columns.
In “Content View” the author and version are shown.
Right-click a gsz file and choose Properties, then go to the Details tab to see them all.
Many of these properties can be seen and/or edited in GeoStudio by going to KeyIn Analyses and selecting the root item.
Searching: Use Windows Explorer or the Start button to search for gsz files using any of those properties (e.g., “author: nate” to find files I’ve created) or search for text from the contents of the gsz (e.g., “slip surface projection”). The searchable contents of gsz files include the file comments, analysis comments, and names of any objects (analyses, materials, boundary conditions, etc).
Thumbnails: Windows Explorer will show a thumbnail of the gsz file when it has enough room.
Preview: Open the Preview pane and select a gsz file to see a preview of it. (The preview is the same as the thumbnail, only larger.)
Microsoft Outlook will even preview gsz file attachments.
Works for GeoStudio 2007 Too!
You don’t need to have GeoStudio 2012 installed to make use of the shell extensions. You can see properties, preview, search, all that good stuff, with any gsz file, no matter the version.
Looking for Testers
The shell extensions are still in beta because it’s difficult to anticipate all the different operating systems, hardware, languages, combinations of GeoStudio versions, security policies, and many other variables that affect how they work in real life. I’d love to hear from you! If you can spare a couple of minutes, please install them (there’s the link again!) and leave a comment about your experience or any suggestions to improve them.