The Original Pluto help files plus extras
This page up to date on: 28 May 2020
From: Jonathan Duddington
Subject: External Boxes Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 00:50 Source: docs External Boxes are a means of keeping archives of articles outside of Pluto. You can attach them temporarily to Pluto when you want to read or update an archive. An External Box archive consists of a separate RISC_OS directory containing article files and their own index. Only when the External Box is attached to (opened into) Pluto is the index combined with Pluto's main article index. The External Box directory can be located anywhere that's accessible from your computer. You can have any number of External Box archives. Up to four can be opened into Pluto at any time. When the External Box is opened in Pluto, you can read its articles and move them to and from other Pluto Boxes. Creating An External Box Create an empty RISC_OS directory and drag it onto Pluto's Boxes List window. Pluto will ask you whether you want to create a new External Box. If so, it will create articles files and their index inside the directory. The new Box will appear at the top of Pluto's Boxes List. Initially it has the same name as the RISC_OS Directory, but you can change the Box name from the Box Edit dialogue ("Edit details of box" from the Boxes List menu) in the usual way. Moving Articles When an External Box has been opened into Pluto, you can move articles between it and other Boxes by using "Move to Box" from either an article list menu or from the Article Viewer menu (or F6, or click the Archive/Move button). Moving a large number of articles from an article list may take some time. ESCAPE will stop the move operation part way through. If you have a very large number of articles stored within Pluto, then note that moving them to an External Box involves copying and will result in two copies of each in Pluto's index (even though one will not be visible). The original articles still take up space in Pluto's index until Articles->Compact_All is done from Pluto's iconbar menu. This may be an issue if Pluto's Wimp slot is near the 28 MBytes limit for RISC_OS 3 and 4 versions. Opening an External Box You can open an External Box into Pluto by dragging its RISC_OS Directory onto Pluto's Boxes List window. Or you can double-click the RISC_OS Directory. It contains a !Run file which causes the External Box to be loaded automatically into Pluto, provided the directory name starts with a ! character (i.e. it's a RISC_OS application directory). An External Box can be closed (detached from Pluto) by using "Close external box" from the Boxes List menu. External Box Details "Edit details of box" from the Boxes List menu (or adjust-double-click on the Box name in the Boxes List window) opens the External Box edit dialogue. Most of the options are the same as those for ordinary Boxes (change name, sorting type, etc). Note that if you are going to make the External Box directory read-only (either by setting its RISC_OS Access to "protected" or by keeping it on a read-only filing system such as a CD-ROM), then tick the "Leave Unread" option. This will prevent Pluto trying and failing to change Unread articles to Read status. The "Also Open" option The "Also open" options allow you to specify additional articles to display when you open this Box. For example, if the External Box is an archive of old messages from a newsgroup or mailing list, then you might want to automatically include the more recent messages which have been accumulating in another Pluto Box. If you set the "Also open - Box" field then that additional Box will be opened together with this one. If you set the "Also open -Source" field then any messages from that Source (i.e. a specified Newsgroup or Mailing List) from ANY of Pluto's regular Boxes will also be included. If BOTH the "Also open - Box" and "Also open - Source" fields are set then only articles from the specified Box which are ALSO from the specified Source will be included. Deleting Articles When articles are removed from an External Box, either by deleting them or by moving them to another Box, this leaves a deleted space in the Box's article files. Unlike its regular Boxes, Pluto (currently) does not automatically compact articles files in External Boxes to recover this "garbage" space. You can see how much garbage there is in an External Box by using the "Info" option from the Boxes List menu. "Compact external box" from the Boxes List menu allows you to perform a compact operation manually. You should do this after removing a large number of articles from an External Box. External Box Directories Pluto does not remember the location of External Box directories, so when they are not attached to Pluto you can move and copy them as you wish. If the Directory name begins with a ! character, then double-click on its RISC_OS Directory icon will automatically open it into Pluto. You can make a read-only archive and protect against accidental deletions and changes. After an External Box directory has been created, and the required articles moved into it, you can use the RISC_OS Filer menu to set the directory and its contents to "protected". Caution Keep backup copies of your External Box directories in case of disc faults or program error. If you are moving a large number of articles into or out of an External box, it is safer to do a Copy . When that's complete, check that the articles have been copied successfully and can be read OK. Then you can delete the originals. As an additional precaution you can make backup copies of the External Box directory and Pluto's !Pluto.Articles directory before copying large numbers of articles.  Selection->Copy-to-box from the article list menu, or Shift-F6, or Shift-Click the Archive/Move button.
Please note that Pluto is supplied with a more comprehensive and up-to-date StrongHelp manual than these text files. Select Help… in Pluto’s iconbar menu.