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Issue 3.6


Profile: Picture Patrol

Issue: 3.6 (July/August 2005)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,204
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 3602
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Full text of article...

One of the best things about REALbasic is that it allows small developers to create unique products that larger companies would never bother with. Downloading pictures from newsgroups is not a problem Microsoft would ever tackle, yet it's a problem that needs solving.

Picture Patrol does only one thing and does it well: it batch downloads pictures from specified newsgroups. This means no more having to manually check your favorite newsgroups for new pictures or deal with newsreaders and decompression utilities.

You simply put in your news server information and choose the newsgroups you want Picture Patrol to monitor. You can specify how many articles and/or pictures the program downloads from each group before it moves to the next group in your list. As each picture is downloaded it is displayed in a large preview window; a series of smaller icons of previously downloaded pictures run across the top of the window. Unfortunately, these icons don't do anything: you cannot click on an icon to make it larger, find out the name of the file, or delete a picture you don't want.

One nice feature of Picture Patrol is that it saves downloaded pictures into their own folders, organized by newsgroup name and the date. Pictures with the same name are automatically renamed, but it'd be nice if it could actually do some content comparisons of the downloaded pictures and not save duplicates.

Perhaps the biggest limitation of the program is that it currently does not feature any kind of filtering: you must download all the pictures in a newsgroup. For a newsgroup on a narrow topic, you may not mind, but if you're only interested in a subset of the topic, or if the newsgroup tends to accumulate a lot of spam, this can mean a lot of unnecessary downloading. Fortunately, Brainchild has promised to add positive and negative filtering in a future version.

Overall this is an excellent program that does exactly what it promises and is a wonderful example of the quality of software that can be written in REALbasic.

End of article.