What is this file? That’s a good question when it comes to these Apple II files which often have pretty cryptic names, such as “Mmgrdosinst.” Earlier this month, file catalogs were added to show the contents of ShrinkIt archives and disk images, but that only helps a little. Having a screenshot of what the program looks like is a much more valuable asset.
To that end, exactly 10,657 screenshots are now available for 4,668 8-bit Apple II programs in Mac GUI Vault. Files with screenshots will have anywhere from 1 to 4 screenshots.
The entire process was automated from start to finish, using AppleScript and Gerard Putter’s Virtual ][ emulator. In fact, Mr. Putter’s emulator was the only choice, as it was the only scriptable emulator. A series of sophisticated algorithms sifted through 21,000 candidate screenshots to eliminate exact duplicates, near duplicates, and other low-quality screenshots to return only the best possible screenshots for each program.
Special thanks goes to the afore-mentioned Mr. Putter for his assistance in the process. Any one interested in a detailed description of the process and algorithms used could read this blog entry.