If you're part of that army of frustrated users stuck in no-man's land between integrated software suites that don't work the way you want, and favourite stand-alone applications that don't work well together, take a look at Softblox's SmartPad Pro.
SmartPad Pro lets you "roll your own" software suite, linking your favourite mix of Windows-based applications together with a system of look-alike, work-alike SmartPads that provide as much integration and customisation as you're likely to want. SmartPad Pro is much more than just another tool pad utility. It is designed for the corporate world, in which you can use it to develop standardised office environments that provide workers with a familiar look and feel, from PC to PC and from application to application.
Although using SmartPad is not a job for novices, you'll be surprised by how easy it is to create basic, yet sophisticated SmartPads. SmartPad Pro's intuitive, logically organised screens help you literally point and shoot your way through nearly the entire process. You can choose from SmartPad Pro's extensive collection of predesigned buttons or build your own from scratch.
You can easily add button icons from SmartPad Pro's icon library, borrow them from other Windows applications, "shoot" them with the built-in capture utility, or design your own with the included Icon Editor. You can configure your SmartPads with multiple tabbed pages, each with its own assortment of buttons; adjust the layout and size of the buttons; and attach your SmartPads to fixed positions on application windows or let them float free. It's simple to add a title bar, change colours, include macro tools, and much, much more.
Defining SmartPad functions is nearly as easy. Each button can perform one of SmartPad Pro's seven Action Types. Although you can edit Action commands manually, SmartPad Pro provides plenty of point-and-shoot assistance. For example, one of its innovative techniques is the Drop Back function, which you can use to define Menu Commands Actions. Drop Back lets you capture a temporary copy of any of the current application's menus and then lets you simply go through the desired process on this captured menu while SmartPad Pro records each step. You can use the recorded Action as is, or, with a little manual editing, use SmartPad Pro's @ functions to add such extras as interactive prompts and default selections.
You can also add new functions to your software's own menus. SmartPad Pro's Menu Trigger can run any of the seven Action Types before, after, or in place of any of the original options, all without modifying the application's source code.
SmartPad Pro's powerful SmartScript is specifically designed for integrating and coordinating stand-alone software. This Visual Basic-like language offers more than 400 commands and functions, including both DDE and OLE 2.0 operations. It can reach into your stand-alone applications to control and monitor their operations, and then retrieve the results and send them off to other applications.
The Bottom Line: Very Good
SmartPad Pro, version 3.5
SmartPad Pro offers a first-rate solution to users who need custom software suites for the office and are not satisfied with what is on the market.
Pros: Easy to use; impressive array of functions and options; powerful script language.
Cons: Not for novices; advanced features require programming skills.
Price: $995 for SmartPad Pro; $125 for SmartPad Desktop (the run-time module).
Platforms: Windows 3.1x, Windows 95
Triangle Software International Pty Ltd
Tel: (02) 9955 7660
Fax: (02) 9955 7687
info: http://www.soft blox.com