Sunday, November 28, 2004

MacJournal 2.7a1 is released

Welcome to the first alpha release of MacJournal 2.7! This release will (and already does) have a metric boatload of new features and changes. Some of the smaller fixes will be rolled into a smaller 2.6.1 release. Please please read through the Version History file to see what has changed. I know it's long but it's good to know what has changed if you're going to use an alpha release. For this release, this is how the different milestones will look:

Alpha: all features are in and functional. No known crashers. No features will be added afterwards.
Beta: all UI is frozen and localizations will begin to be updated. No known bugs.

This is an alpha release which means there might still be bugs lurking. A backup of your data will be made automatically, but whenever you use pre-release software (from any source) it's good to back up your important data.

Here are some of the larger changes and/or additions in 2.7a1:

- Nested journals. Drag a journal into another journal to put it inside the other one. This has been a long time in the making.
- Manual sorting of entries. Drag entries (or journals) around inside their journals to manually place them were you want them. Note that this disables sorting for every journal when you do this. Re-enable it in the Entry menu if you choose.
- Wiki links. Create links that link to other entries automatically by formatting it in the "wiki" style (Google for "wiki" for a full explanation). Short version: something like "CamelCase" in your entry text will become a link to an entry named "CamelCase" or "Camel Case" or even "Camel, Case!" in the same journal.
- Sort Lines, Change Case, Remove Line Breaks. New text clean-up options in the normal place.
- Copy As HTML. The same functionality found in exporting to HTML but without all the hassle of creating a file.
- Full Screen. View menu item, toolbar item, and the F8 key all bring the text area of the window full screen so you can concentrate just on the text, or make a presentation.
- Menu Item Reorganization. Moved some menu items to make the menus shorter and put things in the expected places.
- Bug Fixes. Bugs have been fixed. High priority fixes will be in 2.6.1. The crasher in "Multiple Spaces to Space" has been fixed here.

Those are just the big ones. There are smaller ones (like Smileys) that are also there. Please read the version history file! If you had the Hidden Preferences window enabled in 2.6 (via the "IncludeHiddenPreferencesMenuItem" preference) note that it has changed. You need to re-set the preference in the Terminal using the new key "IncludeHiddenPreferences" since the Hidden Prefs are now found in the actual Preferences window.

Reporting Bugs

Please let me know about any bugs you find in this release as soon as possible. Use the "Report A Bug" menu item in the Help menu to see a list of known issues for your current build (as they arise). You can also automatically create a new e-mail.

If MacJournal crashes on you, look for a crash log in ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter and include that in your report. If there's some funny behavior, try looking in the Console (in /Applications/Utilities/) and include any output related to MacJournal in your report. Please be specific about things that you are doing that aren't working out, whether it's a crash or a behavior that you don't like. Also, include what release of MacJournal you are using in your e-mail. I appreciate your feedback!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Alpha soon

I promise: alpha soon. I'm really behind in my e-mail, which always makes me feel bad. Plus Thanksgiving is coming up. I'll try to get it out before then so I can work on it over the break. It really is a solid release (it's actually beta or even final candidate quality), but all of the other things are getting in the way right now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Scheduling comes more into focus

The scheduling for the next update to MacJournal is starting to work itself out and I just wanted to let y'all know about it. But first, a word about 2.6.1: there will indeed be a MacJournal 2.6.1. The primary driver for this is a problem with "Multiple Spaces to Space" in the Clean Up menu. It can cause things to go a little wacky if used over large areas of text. So there's a few small things that will be fixed as well. No new features, just some good fixes. 2.6 was a fantastic release in terms of total amount of changes vs. bugs found after shipping. 2.6.1 should be out within two weeks; I have all the bugs fixed in 2.7 so it's just a matter of bringing those changes over to the 2.6 code base and integrating them in there.

Before we get to 2.7, I want to mention printing though. 2.6 corrected some printing appearance issues that people had been complaining about, but it appears to have to changed some other things. To me, it seems like you want the printed output to match the screen exactly and anything different is a bug. But apparently TextEdit prints stuff to A4 differently than I would have expected. It's kind of shrunken, except I don't know why or to what degree. So I'm kind of in a quandary here: I don't know what's really correct for the different paper sizes.

But anyway, back to the issue at hand. The first alpha of 2.7 should be finished this week. 2.7 has a much shorter schedule than 2.6, so the milestones will be defined a little bit differently this time around. The alpha milestone will represent "feature complete" in the traditional sense: all the expected features will be present and at least functional (if a little incorrect and/or buggy at times). This is what alpha typically means and this time I'll stick to it. There just isn't time in the schedule to keep adding things like I have in the past post-alpha. The good news is that there already has been a metric boatload of changes and 2.7 won't be lacking for good stuff. There are some things on the questionable side that may have to get cut (page numbering is the prime example there). There may only be one alpha depending on how it goes and beta might hit come start of December. Beta will mean that all the features are in and all bugs are squashed for the most part. It will mostly be for localization purposes; they will all need to get updated again (however it should be lighter than 2.6). Then hopefully 2.7 will get out the door before the end of the year. That's the plan anyway.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Progress Marches On

Yes dear friends, work on MacJournal 2.7 has begun in earnest. If you've noticed the recent changes that have gone in you can see a lot of nifty features have been added. As I've said in e-mail many a time, a lot of this was done in the 2.6 timeframe but was disabled for testing reasons. I just couldn't make sure everything was satisfactory for 2.6, so I postponed it. That was when I thought I was going to release 2.6 in July or August, but oh well. Nested journals, lists, Wiki links; it's all good now. A lot of hidden preferences have been "promoted" into the real preferences. In fact, I took the time to completely rewrite the Preferences window on Sunday. It's a lot more flexible now, which has allow me to integrate the Hidden Preferences window directly into it as a pane right alongside the others (but will still only show up if you have the hidden preference set for it).

Talking about the Hidden Preferences window, I discovered that a whole portion of it is busted in 2.6. The Drawers group in the "Syntax" tab wasn't hooked up at all to anything. So anything you do there won't matter at all. It's not a big deal; you can apply the same preferences from the Terminal (instructions here), but it's just unfortunate that the pleasant UI doesn't work. If I do a 2.6.1 I'll fix that, but at this point it's looking like that won't be needed. 2.7 will be out a lot quicker that 2.6 was, so it'll be okay.

Tonight I'll probably work on allowing journals to be empty. Right now you have to have at least one entry (or journal) in a journal at all times, but it would be nice to be able to have a completely empty journal. It's kind of expected, since you can have empty mailboxes in Mail. There are about a thousand other examples of empty containers in other applications too. I don't really remember why I did it in the first place.

(By the way, the little smiley faces that you've seen in my posts over the last few weeks actually come from MacJournal. I'm writing this inside MacJournal right now and will post from inside the app. There is a hidden preference in 2.6 to discover smiley and frowny faces and convert them to the Unicode characters you see above. This is now a standard feature in 2.7.)