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The Original Pluto help files plus extras

This page up to date on: 28 May 2020

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FILE: external-boxes

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

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

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

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".


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 [1]. 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.

[1] Selection->Copy-to-box from the article list menu, or Shift-F6, or
Shift-Click the Archive/Move button.

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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.

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