Our story begins in the Year or our Lord 803...
And the cry went out from Liberty BASIC users across the Land; yea, across the world, even: "We desire that our programming creations would look like programs created by other languages. We want a single executable instead of numerous dlls and token files." And Carl the Creator replied, "I shall not encumber mine favorite creation with the stuff of frivolity. Besides, you don't really need it, do you?"
The cries continued unheeded. The teeming masses of Lbers wept bitterly.
Then a knight in recently polished armour, known only by the moniker TronDoc, perambulated into the virtual town. TronDoc heard the people's cries and said, "I shall slay this evil dragon with a third-party workaround, the Holy Executable Creator!" The people were having tea at the time and failed to hear his brave declaration, so the knight stalked out of the town in a huff.
That night, the knight sat down before his trusted PC. He began the slow, arduous process of forging link by link the Holy Executable Creator. He worried that people might shorten the name to "HECTor" or some such nonsense, so he called the holy artifact "theWrap." The anvil upon which he smythed theWrap into existence was called iBasic, an insignificant language that DID compile programs into single executables. TronDoc toiled for 1,061 days to finish "theWrap,v and when he was done, he wrote a detailed help file and decided to sell it for one dollar, which was equivalent to the average person's lifetime wages.
TronDoc buffed his armour (it had oxidized during his quest for the Holy Executable Creator) and walked back to town (he had traded his white stallion for a copy of iBasic) where he loudly declared: "Hear ye! Hear ye, o fair programmers of LB Land! Today, your joy is restored! I bring to you the ability to turn your folder full of Liberty BASIC runtime DLLs and associated resource files into single executables! I give you... (long, dramatic pause) theWrap!...
The cicadas quietly chirped and a flock of pigeons flew dramatically overhead (making TronDoc quietly curse them for adding at least an hour to tonight's armour-polishing time). The people of LB Land stood in the streets. They stared at Knight TronDoc with a single thought in their minds: "Huh?" So the brave knight stomped out in frustration. At the edge of town he took off his silver-and-white-splotched armour, dug a hole about three feet deep, and within it he buried the armour and Holy Executable Creator for all time. He placed a triangular piece of flagstone over the spot to hide the evidence of his work. "Serves those thankless idiots right," he said to no one in particular. "I'm going into real estate." TheWrap was buried forever.
Or so he thought...
Fast forward 1,200 years to 2002.
Joe was puttering about in his garden one evening, wondering where on earth he was going to dig the footing for his new water fountain. Not really the technical sort, he had already tried to place the fountain in several spots in the yard, only to have it come crashing down on his petunias or bayberry bushes. His neighbor, Alyce, suggested that he pour a concrete footing to give it a bit of stability.
He found the perfect spot. "Have to move this triangular bit of flagstone, though," he thought. Two hours and four band-aids later, Joe sat inside of a three-foot hole holding a small tarnished chest. "Hello, what's this?" he said. After much effort he finally broke the rusty hairpin out of the locking mechanism and opened the box to reveal... a CD labeled "theWrap." Joe had never been particularly careful about installing programs on his PC, so he dashed in and popped in the CD to "see what would happen."
After reading the help file (Joe happened to be one of the world's experts in Medieval programming languages), he knew he had something special. Joe wanted to be true to the desires of Knight TronDoc. So he adopted the online name "TronDoc," updated the help file into modern English, and made theWrap available to Liberty BASIC programmers at it's original price of $1.
Now the review:
TheWrap is an impressive tool that help Liberty BASIC programmers create single executables from their LB runtimes and resource files.
How it works:
TheWrap takes a set of source files in a directory and its subdirectories and places them in a single file with an EXE extension. When the user runs the single EXE, the files are extracted to the local directory, used, and then are deleted when the user closes the program. Files created by your internal program are not deleted.
What you do:
1. Place all of your runtime files into a single project directory.
2. Place you resource files (wavs, bitmaps, data, etc.) into that same directory or a subdirectory in that folder.
3. Start TheWrap. Each step of creating the final executable is placed on a single window. After one step in the process is complete, the next button it highlighted.
4. Select the project directory.
5. Give your single executable a name. This name MUST be different from what you call the LB runtime EXE.
6. Select the icon for your single executable. The icon MUST be 32 x 32 pixels, 16 colors and 766 bytes.
7. Select the internal executable you want to run upon "unwrapping." For us, this is the Liberty BASIC runtime EXE.
8. If your program requires some kind of argument or data file, select this next.
9. Click on WrapIT and theWrap creates a single executable on theWrap's directory.
Now you can test your creation. DO NOT test it in the project directory! Testing it in the project directory will delete your source files.
In my test, theWrap took resource files that occupied 3.49MB and created a single executable that was 3.76MB. In addition, the zipped resource files occupied 1.69MB while the the zipped theWrap executable was 1.90MB.
TheWrap unpacked and executed the resource files with no noticeable delay. The program also closed instantly. If I have the folder open that contains the wrapped executable, I see the files as they are unwrapped and they are available to the user to be copied or viewed as long as the program is open.
TheWrap is a great tool for making your programs look and feel more professional. If you don't really need tight security and don't mind a little weight being added to your final program, the theWrap is for you! Go ahead and register the thing, too... It's only $1 (or the foreign equivalent).
You may download the demo version of theWrap for free at Joe Block's (aka TronDoc) web site. The demo version limits you to wrapping 25 files, but it is otherwise fully functional. The registered version wraps up to 200 files (more that most of us will ever need).
Get theWrap and some examples of Liberty BASIC wrapped projects here: