Major Update to Halloran's Astrology for Windows Software

Halloran Software in Los Angeles, California has completed a four-year project to come out with a new version 3 of its classic Astrology for Windows program. There have been many changes to computers since Halloran first spun off Astrology for Windows in 1994 from its 1992 program AstrolDeluxe for Windows. Astrology for Windows filled the same public domain astrology calculation niche in Windows as the earlier ASTROL96 program did in DOS. The Astrology for Windows program offered unlimited horoscope chart calculation to any user as a freeware program, while providing more functionality to users who registered it like a shareware program for $26.50. Developers like Halloran Software embraced Windows because its built-in printer support eliminated the need for programs to bundle a large library of printer drivers just to print graphics, such as circular horoscope charts.

In 1994, Windows meant Windows 3.1, which was a 16-bit operating system. So Astrology for Windows was a 16-bit program. When Microsoft came out with the 32-bit Windows 95, they wisely provided a 16-bit subsystem so that 16-bit Windows programs would still run. The only drawback for 16-bit programs arose with USB port printers, as opposed to parallel port printers. Fortunately, with Windows XP, Microsoft improved the 16-bit subsystem support for USB port printers. So the 16-bit Astrology for Windows was able to have a long run under Windows XP. The program even continued to run on 32-bit Vista; however, when customers started purchasing 64-bit processor computers, the writing was on the wall. 64-bit machines are not able to run 16-bit programs.

Why did Halloran wait so long to start creating a 32-bit version of its popular freeware/shareware program? A big reason had to do with the success of an internationalization technique that was built into the original Astrology for Windows program. Unlike its parent, AstrolDeluxe for Windows, Astrology for Windows reads all of its captions and messages from an external asttext.ini file. Offered free registrations, computer hobbyists in countries around the world soon translated that file and enabled Astrology for Windows to be installed in 15 world languages. All these languages meant that it was easier for the programmer to add new features in English-only to the more advanced AstrolDeluxe program, which has evolved to version 8.2. But Astrology for Windows became frozen in time.

The missing program features that beginners most needed were interpretations and atlas time zone histories. Royalty-free solutions for a public domain program have taken four years to develop. A good astrology writer will take a year to create a quality interpretation set of over 600 delineations and expects to be paid royalties -- impossible for a public domain program. Halloran's solution for version 3 is the 40-page Classic British Astro Report. Version 3 also adds the new 9,000 city Yellow Book Atlas with time zone histories back to World War II.


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Last modified on December 13, 2012.

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