Tool tests on the fast track

Tool Tips

Article from Issue 183/2016

We tested Mtools 2.3, PasDoc 0.14.0, SMTube 15.8.0, Jq 1.5, Pen 0.30.0, and PingChecker 15.8.16.

Mtools 2.3

Testing multicast connections


License: Public Domain

Alternatives: Mz, Netsniff-ng

Multicast connections are used to send data from a single sender to a group of receivers at the same time. This technology is mainly used in multimedia applications – for example, distributing live streams. Two tools, msend and mreceive, allow users to perform simple tests.

To check the sender, call msend. The tool then uses the default network interface in the IPv4 address range to send UDP packets on port 4444 at intervals of one second. At the receiving end, you need to call mreceive – again without any options – to listen to packets in the same IPv4 range on port 4444. To send or receive the data on a specific interface, you need to define this at the command line using -i; mreceive will also take multiple interfaces if needed.

By default, msend sets the TTL of the packets to 1, thus causing the first router to drop them and keeping them on the local network. Admins who need to test multiple routers on large networks can increase this value using -t.

(3 Stars) Mtools provides two practical helpers for testing multicast connections. It loses points for a lack of IPv6 support.

PasDoc 0.14.0

Pascal source code documentation


License: GPLv2

Alternatives: None

Documenting their own source code is a pesky task for many developers. PasDoc relieves part of this burden for Pascal and Delphi programmers. It works its way through the units and uses the comments, functions, and object classes to generate clear-cut API documentation.

The project website has versions of the tool, which is written in Pascal, for Windows, OS  X, and Linux. The tarball with the Linux version includes both a command-line tool and a graphical variant. You can use the partitions on the left-hand side to decide which directories and files PasDoc should include in the documentation. Optionally, the tool adds headers and footers to the documentation and even checks the spelling.

PasDoc generates documents in LaTeX and HTML format. To modify the layout of the HTML files, the program uses CSS files, which the user can define. The roadmap includes XML support for future versions.

(5 Stars) The command-line variant is excellent for larger projects, giving programmers the ability to update program manuals automatically.

SMTube 15.8.0

YouTube browser and client


License: GPLv2

Alternatives: Minitube, Gtk YouTube Viewer

The SMTube video browser and player is part of the SMPlayer front end. It comes with a clear-cut user interface for finding YouTube movies, filtering the list of results, and playing movies.

When first launched, SMTube lists movies that are popular with other users; later, the tool will show you the category you most recently selected. The client supports 13 additional categories (e.g., animation, news, sports, science, and technology). To play movies, SMTube relies on SMPlayer by default. You can use the configuration dialog to set up an alternative player, such as MPlayer or VLC.

In contrast to earlier SMTube versions, you no longer download movies directly in the client, but via a detour. You need to specify a tool such as uGet or Youtube-dl in the configuration. The reason for these changes is that the video platform itself changes frequently.

(4 Stars) The YouTube client for the Linux desktop leaves nothing to be desired. Because YouTube regularly changes its interfaces, readers should choose the latest SMTube version to ensure full viewing pleasure.

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