Sql*Perl Plus, E Editor, and JFM File Manager for Linux and Windows, Oh My!

(Finally) Announcing the official release of three of my all-time favorite Perl/Tk applications in both Linux and Windows versions!  These three programs are like old friends to me since I wrote them years ago and have been using them both on and off the job and improving them for years now.  They have made my work much easier and now I’ve finally had the time to actually get them ready for use by others.  They are:  “Sql*Perl Plus” – an all-purpose “Swiss Army knife” database manipulation and report-generating tool; “E Editor” – an all-purpose full-screen, full-color context-highlighting text and code editor and viewer; and JFM4 Filemanager – an all-in-one file-manager, application launcher, shell, and *FTP client for managing files, launching applications and shell commands with many unique features.  I wrote all three of these tools to improve my daily workflow and meet specific needs that were not being fully and efficiently met by other tools available to me at the time, and when I found myself just needing “something extra and unique”, and, because I could! 😀 They each allowed me to hone my programming skills in different ways and learn new techniques.
Each started out as something relatively simple, designed to meet a need, but all quickly mushroomed into much larger and more capable tools as needs arose and changed.  The most liberating thing about writing and using them is that I know that whenever I think up a new need, use, or feature, I can add it.  I have decided to finally bundle each up in both a Linux/Unix tarball and create an easy-to-run Windows installable executable (using the very handy and free Inno Setup Wizard), along with all the requisite bugfixes, touchups, tweaks, and documentation polishing, in the hope that others may find one or more of them useful.  They are all fully open-source and released under the GNU public license, though I retain all copyright to the source code.  You are free to use and modify the code as permitted under that license.  However, I make no warrantees explicit or implied, thus you use this code solely at your own risk. You can download these and other open-source software I’ve created here at my software download page and / or on my CPAN page.
Sql*Perl Plus is the oldest of the three having just turned 20 this month.  It started out as a work request to make an in-house multi-database GUI tool similar to Oracle’s Sql*Plus(tm) tool.  The goal was to create SQL queries and simple reports using a GUI tool and a mouse to save a lot of typing.  Later, I added the ability to create formatted reports, and even M$-Excel spreadsheets which lead me to create the String::PictureFormat CPAN module.  I also added the ability to query database tables and generate M$-Excel spreadsheets, XML-formatted output, and DBD::Sprite tables.  This led to creating the ability to load database tables with data from M$-Excel spreadsheets as well.  Later still came the ability to auto-generate Perl scripts from queries both for batch-loading data into tables (the generated scripts can be used repeatedly as scheduled batch jobs), and for repeatedly generating reports on a scheduled basis or as-needed.  The tool can aid greatly in the creation of just the right query and formatting template for whatever the input data format is expected to be and / or the desired report layout.
E Editor provides a full-featured, but simple to use desktop application development environment, particularly for Perl development as it provides optional language-specific code syntax highlighting for dozens of different languages and markup, easy search and replace including via Perl regular expressions, a one-button Perl compile / syntax check feature and the ability to highlight code snippets and apply Perl’s eval() function to it.  There’s also named bookmarking, auto-backup on startup capability, quick temporary backup capability, Perl, C, and HTML structure insertion, reformatting, indenting, tab or space indents, choice of wrapping, fonts, colors, tagging, split-screen, and multi-tab/open files, custom configuration, etc.  Using a simple symlink, a “read-only” “viewer” version can be created in Linux/Unix using the same program executable.  I created “E” after moving from the DOS world to Linux/Unix back in the mid ’90s and having to give up my trusty full-featured, full-color “shareware” DOS editor “PC-Write“(tm) for the cryptic over-nerdy “vi” of Unix.
JFM4 is much more recent.  This started out with me wanting a graphical Norton Commander-ish filemanager with split-screen capability for easily copying and moving files about with options for more than one application-association with given file types / extensions (including directories), an enhanced command-line and command-repeat for quick shell commands (like I had on DOS with my handy “WinDOS Executive” (named after the old Windows MS-Dos Executive) I wrote for MS-DOS for the same reasons back in the ’80s.  The “something extras” I wanted was the aformentioned multi-app file assocation via a right-click popup menu (most filemanagers only offer one per file type, and with us Perl-ers are so used to “there being more than one way”), including a default (double-click) action, a separate “multi-file” association popup menu for invoking programs that can take multiple files at once / or loop to apply a program / command to all selected files, and a similar association menu for directories too that can invoke your choice of programs that can open entire directories at once like Audacious(tm).  It also has an “Action menu” of frequently-applied actions that can be performed on selected files, or just stand-alone, such as mounting frequently-used filesystems.  Another unique feature in the Action menu is one can have commands like “diff” gui-tools that can take two files, say, for comparisen.  I can select a file from the top panel and one from the bottom, select “tkdiff” from the action menu, and quickly compare the two files.  I can also craft shell commands with parameter placeholders and select files to process with the parameters being replaced with the selected and matching files in a loop.  It saves all typed-in commands, along with frequently-visited directories, and remote-host connections for quick, one-click reactivation.  There’s even a custom drop-down menu and text field to enter custom file-selection groupings, such as “Music”, “Perl”, etc.; and Perl regular-expression patterns for reducing the list of files shown in the file panels. There’s also multiple-tabs for having more than two directories and / or remote-connections open at once.  It also uses my “Net::xFTP” module to allow mounting file-systems on remote hosts as if they were local, allowing nearly all these features to be performed on remote files too!  This obsoleted another program I had previously written as a GUI wrapper to Net::xFTP called Ptkftp.  Later, to add a little eye-candy, I created the CPAN module “Tk::HMListbox” to allow for a column of tiny file-type icons to be displayed next to each file and directory.  While JFM4 does work on a limited basis on Windows and I’n not hesitant to use it on those rare occasions that I’m forced to work (“with one hand tied behind my back”) on Windows, it’s really designed to be a Linux/Unix tool, but it also comes with the install wizard for Windows.  It still could use some more work, features, and testing on that platform, however.

“JFM File Manager” screenshot; Feb. 3, 2016;  image by (©:2016) me.

“E Editor” screenshot; Feb. 3, 2016;  image by (©:2016) me.

“Sql*Perl Plus” screenshot; Feb. 3, 2016;  image by (©:2016) me.
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  1. […] to me.  After moving to Linux, I ended up writing my own full-color text editor named “E Editor” taking many ideas from this one and adding language-specific syntax-colorizaton, […]

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