Monday, November 28, 2005

MacJournal 4.0d4

Welcome to MacJournal 4! This is the fourth developmental release. The biggest thing going on here is the all-new blogging system. The old stuff has been thrown out (or will be eventually) in favor of a much more integrated approach. Now you can configure many different blog servers of all different kinds and associate them with journals (or even entries) to which to send entries automatically. There is now support for the MetaWeblog and Atom protocols. MetaWeblog is great for talking to WordPress and Movable Type, and Atom is great for talking to Blogger. LiveJournal support has been rewritten as well. The configuration process should be fairly easy: all you need is the URL to your blog, not the URL to some obscure XML-RPC endpoint. MacJournal will do all it can to figure out the details for you based on the front page URL. Please let me know of any failures in this area and be sure to include the URL that you tried. In addition, the entries will remember details about how it was sent to the server and will only update the entry the next time you send it there, instead of creating a new post. There is now support for sending images to an FTP server and including those images in the blog entry. There is also limited support for downloading entries from the server. Some of the protocols do this better than others though. It turns out Atom- and LiveJournal-based servers handle the best. The Blogger and MetaWeblog API don’t really have facilities for this (MetaWeblog descends from Blogger). Keep in mind though that blogs are now handled by the Atom protocol, so this isn’t a problem there. Also, there is also support for creating entries based on an Atom feed found at the site (regular RSS might be added in the future).

Note: This blogging stuff is still very new and can change a lot as I improve it. For this reason you not should expect that blog configurations will carry through to the final release, or even to the next developmental release.

Other changes in this release:
- Performance improvements for the Individual Files backup
- Cleanup option for e-mail quotes
- Appearance tweaks to Full Screen mode: the cursor is larger to make it easier to see and selected text will look better.
- Added a new Full Screen preference to disable editing if you just want to read it.
- Full Screen mode also now has a Find panel. Use Command-F to get at it.
- The Full Screen prefs now have controls for the margins.
- You can now auto-complete keywords in the Inspector as you type them
- Ordered and unordered lists in HTML form in imported text files are now converted (along with bolds and italics as before).
- You can now import text clippings.
- The list in the drawer will now have a soft background color if a search is in progress (this is a little experimental).
- Click and hold the Browse toolbar item to show a history of entries that you've been to.
- A few crash fixes and a few other behavioral fixes.

Keep in mind that this is developmental software: there are probably bugs lurking somewhere that could cause crashes and/or data loss. MacJournal 4 has a lot of new data being stored and I can't guarantee the future of that. I may need to change how it is stored and I can't guarantee that everything will work. That being said, it works pretty well for me in normal usage. You should definitely read the Version History to see what is new. Here are the top-tier things:

- New Inspector for manipulating attributes of entries and journals
- New per-object attributes
• background color
• label
• sorting
• entry template
• editable
- All-new blogging architecture
- A real implementation of tabs
- Links, smileys, and words are recognized as you type now (not just when you save), including a live word count field.
- AppleScript support
- Improved Full Screen mode

But that's just the really top stuff; there is a lot of good stuff (not just bug fixes) in the Version History. It will do you well to read it. The Preferences as been reorganized and split up and will continue to change. I added a few new panes and I think there's one too many now. Expect to see lots of change there.

The good news with all the new data types (like labels and background colors) is that the recently released 3.2 supports them insofar as it won't discard them when saving the data. So you can add labels in 4.0, go back to 3.2 for a while, and when you come back to 4.0 the labels will still be there. The exception here is per-journal sorting: this was added after 3.2 was released and will be lost if you save your data with 3.2.

MacJournal no longer supports Jaguar. At this point, it might not support Panther either. Development is being done on Tiger and there might be some lurking bugs on Panther that will be weeded out later.

Reporting Bugs

This is a developmental release so things are still very much in flux. For that reason, reporting bugs isn't as important as normal. There are a lot of areas that are still changing a lot and will continue to change for some time. Some new icons are temporary and will be replaced later. I would appreciate comments about the general direction of the release though.