Review of GUI3000
Shawn M. Gordon
As a long time System Manager type person, I have always found
that standard clean up/maintenaince of a system can be very
tedious, even with a fine tool such as MPEX from VESOFT.
Basically you look around for old or large files, or files that
have fishy names like “TEMP” or “PURGEME”. Check their
creators, dates and contents, and then maybe ask someone if it’s
ok to purge. If you don’t do this at least on a weekly basis
for most systems, you will quickly be overrun by junk files.
I have always wanted to have a product that gave you most of the
features of file selection that MPEX has, but with a visual
interface so I didn’t have to keep printing off lists of things,
and typing a bunch of commands. I have even started writing a
couple of them myself in frustration, but never finished them
enough to sell. I have looked at a few products over the years
that addressed these issues, but none of them were quit what I
wanted, or they were slow.
This all brings us to the subject of this months review,
GUI3000, a Client/Server utility for managing and viewing your
HP 3000 files and databases. I ran the host software under both
5.0 and 5.5 of MPE/iX, and the client software under Windows 3.1
and Windows 95, with both 8 and 16 meg of RAM.
GUI3000 basically gives you three different functions, the first
is the ‘Explorer’. The Explorer gives you what is in essence,
the same as FILEMGR for Windows for the HP 3000, see figure 1
for an example. You are able to drill through Accounts and
Groups on the left, and if you double click on a Group the files
within the Group will appear on the right. Every option seems
to have been considered for speed, for example, until you
actually double click on a group, the files won’t display. If
you delete a file from the list, the software removes it from
the current grid, it doesn’t re-download the list from the host.
This is critical if you are working on a lot of files. There
are options on the menu bar to refresh every type of object,
Account, Group, Files.
If you click on the Graph tool you can get different types of
graphs on your disk space consumption. You can either view the
Accounts, or the Groups within an account. Figure 2 has an
example of the Groups being graphed in the SMGA account. I like
the fact that GUI3000 represents disk usage in megabytes by
default, you can change it to sectors, but those aren’t as
Within the Explorer you can do standard things like, delete,
rename, copy a file. If you right click on a file you get a
little popup menu that gives you a variety of options. One of
the most useful is the ability to get, and change, file
characteristic information. As you can see from the three
panels in Figure 3, you can view pretty much anything you could
possibly hope to know about a file. The right click menu also
gives you an option to ‘Quick View’ the file, which will display
the first 50 or so lines, and it is very quick. Or to view the
whole file. I was amazed at how quickly this worked, even with
very large files. The combination of file characteristics
panels, and the ability to view the file give you everything you
need to know to be able to delete a file. The only problem is
if you view the file before you check the characteristics of it,
you will update the access date and time on the file label.
The second major function, and one of my favorites, is the
Database Explorer. Figure 4 shows an example of using the DE to
open view the sets in a database. You will notice that every
conceivable parameter regarding the data sets is displayed, some
of the items were cut off in the screen snapshot, but you even
have all the information regarding DDX that you could want. The
only problem is that the percent increase field is displaying an
incorrect value. You can sort the dataset list just by clicking
on the ‘DataSet Name’ column, every time you click it changes
from ascending to descending sequence, you can use a menu option
to get back to the original sequence as it exists in the
Now what’s really neat in the DE is to click on a dataset and
view the data item list, figure 5. As you can see, each data
item is clearly laid out with all it’s information, including
what datasets they might link to, and if they are a sort item.
You even have the byte reference if you need to be able to
access things via byte reference. By clicking on an item you
will get that little popup list that you see. This tells you
all the sets that this item occurs in, and what type of dataset
it is. You can see the graphic that shows the entries vs.
capacity. This is much easier to navigate through than QUERY.
As a matter of fact, you can get graphs for just about
everything, and the graphing tool is pretty powerful, you can
change between all sorts of graph types, bar, line, scattergram,
One of the features I got added was the ability to have the File
Explorer lanuch the Database Explorer, if the file you right
clicked on was a database file. You will have an additional
menu item that will let you select the DE if the file is of type
PRIV. You will have to supply the password for the database,
but at least you don’t have to physically type in the database
name. This one feature of linking the two sections really
opened things up for me, and made the product sing.
When I originally received GUI3000 the only file selection you
could do was simple MPE style wildcards. I managed to talk Pete
into adding almost all the file attributes you can think of.
Figure 6 shows an example of all the different selection
criteria that you can make use of. This again brought GUI3000
up a huge notch in it’s usability as a system managers tool.
The final option is the UTILITY menu item, see figure 7,
basically just let’s you execute any MPE command that you want.
This won’t let you interact with a program, but things like
DISCFREE, SHOWJOB, etc., work just fine. GUI3000 will then save
these commands that you have issued so that they will be
available in a pick list later so that you don’t have to re-type
them. You can also go and manually add commands to the list in
the SETUP section. The only downside to this is that if you
manually execute the same command more than once, without using
the pick list, then the command will be added multiple times to
the command list. Eventually you could have a hundred SHOWJOB
commands show up in there. It seems the only way to clean these
out at the moment is to modify the INI file for the program.
Usability (also installation)
The client software takes about 1meg of disk space in it’s
little directory, but it loads up a number of interface controls
and DLL’s into the WINDOWS/SYSTEM directory that take an unknown
amount of space. Most of the files in WINDOWS/SYSTEM are
probably already there.
The host based software consists of three programs and a job
stream. The software likes to be put in PUB.SYS so that it will
have SM capability. The programs take less than 400k bytes on
the HP side.
The installation I pulled down included files to either upload
via FTP, or to use Reflection from WRQ. It’s really a piece of
cake to install. Probably your biggest problem is going to be
finding out what the IP address of your HP is.
The program was very realiable, I didn’t get any of those nasty
GPF’s that seem to plague so many Windows applications. My only
real complaint here was that if GUI3000 didn’t like something
that you had done, or input was invalid, it would exit. They
cleaned it up a bit during the review so that it will try to
stay in the program more, but there are still instances where it
will just exit, instead of giving you another chance to try
This thing is a screamer. I have never used a Client/Server
product for the HP that could transfer data at this rate, and I
have used a few. I was absolutly blown away by the performance
on the Client side, the CPU impact on the HP is almost
impossible to measure it is so insignificant.
Supportability (including Doc)
Believe it or not, but considering that Pete is in England, my
support via e-mail has been extraordinary. Virtually every
complaint and suggestion were implemented in the product either
the same day, or the next day. I also received periodic updates
as enhancements were made.
The printed documentation is non-existant. There are a couple
of README type files for installation, and enhancemtns/bug
fixes. However there is a full Windows complient hypertext
on-line help system. The product is so easy to use that this
works just fine. I actually had to go back and check to see if
there was documentation after I started writing the review
because I never needed to look at anything.
As usual I am going to start with the nit-picking. I think
GUI3000 needs a few more tweaks in terms of group and account
maintenance. Being able to drag a group from one place to
another, should copy all the files in the group. You should
also be able to delete groups and accounts from the file
manager. In general the drag and drop in GUI3000 is still a bit
With that said, I must say that I ABSOLUTLY LOVE THIS PRODUCT.
I cannot say this strongly enough. It’s fast, really fast, easy
to use, has pretty much everything I want, and it just keeps
getting better. The product is dirt cheap in my opinion as
well. I just can’t imagine any System Manager that has a
network not wanting this product. It’s easy to pull a demo off
of the net, so you might as well check it out. The new version
coming out very shortly (by mid April) will contain support for
HFS as well as the ability to do drag and drop file copies
between CPU’s by using FTP. This is my new “must have” utility
for the end of the century.
GUI3000 version 1.1.0
6 Beamont Dr.
BL3 4RZ England
Phone (44) 01204-657497
Fax (44) 01204-657497
Email: email@example.com or 100721,1666
1 user license $230
2-50 user license $320
unlimited user license $400
support is 15%, and a surcharge of 7.5% if paid in U.S. dollars.
Right to copy is 50% of licence price. Support includes phone
and email support, and well as product enhancements