Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tiger and MacJournal 3.1

Now that Tiger has been released, a few more details about Tiger support in MacJournal 3.1 can be revealed. In addition to the 200 "big" features advertised for Tiger, there are a plethora of smaller features in the OS that apps can take advantage of quickly. One of the first things MacJournal supported was multiple selections ranges. If you hold the Command key you can select multiple discontinuous ranges of text in MacJournal (and any other Cocoa text program). Some changes had to be made to support this any time that I got that selected range of text. Instead of just one range I had to consider many ranges. In the case of most of the text cleanup commands the length of one range was changed as well. But I'm happy to say that everything should just work as expected with multiple selection ranges: text cleanup, strikethrough, and everything else should work. While 3.1 was billed as the "Tiger-compatible" release, most of these things will work all the way back to MacJournal 2.6 (which shows you how long Tiger has been in development). For some extra fun hold the Option key while you drag for some square selection!

One fix that 3.1 brings is a few tweaks for Resolution Independent UI. This is a feature in Tiger that is not exposed in any user UI. It's there for developers to update their applications for the future. With this you can scale any application that you launch on your system to an arbitrary amount. For example you can make any application run 2 times larger than normal, which might be handy on that 30-inch display that we all have. MacJournal 3.1 should operate just as well under these conditions.

A suggestion that I get a lot regards what happens when you drag an entry or a journal onto your Desktop (or any other folder in the Finder). In Panther and before it would create this lame text clipping of the text in whatever you dragged. This was, well, enormously lame. Thankfully, the support exists in Tiger to create a real Rich Text file at the destination that you can actually use.

Another popular suggestion is page numbering while printing. Once again Apple has helped out here and there is now an option in the MacJournal pane in the print window for enabling page numbering.

Tiger also supports Tables and similar things in text views. TextEdit can to Tables and Lists all by itself. MacJournal can access these features as well, but the menu items weren't put in until after localization had finished. I will add them for 3.1.1 but you can add them right now in English using a Hidden Preference.

What is not there is syncing or Spotlight. Spotlight is nasty because it needs a distinct file for each searchable datum. Since MacJournal stores all of its data in one file, there's no way to separate each entry for Spotlight. How, you may ask, do Safari and Address Book handle this, since they put all of their data in a single file as well? Safari and Address Book also maintain a separate listing of small files for each datum. Check out your Caches folder if you want to see them. This is essentially what MacJournal will have to do. While not trivial, it might be easier than syncing at this point so I might work on that now and release a small update containing that functionality.