Sunday, January 22, 2006

MacJournal 4.0a1

Download here

Welcome to MacJournal 4! This is the first alpha release. MacJournal 4 is now feature complete. All the features that are planned for release are now included in some fashion (although they may be changed a bit before beta). The goal is to get MacJournal 4 out in March and we need to get to localization started in February. Between now and beta there will be a lot of small tweaks to get things ready to be locked down for the release. I doubt I'll be able to resist a few small additions but nothing is for sure.

This release brings a full implementation for audio recording. It seems to only work on Tiger right now but I'm hoping to get it working on Panther before the final release. There is also a new "Quick Note" feature: set a key equivalent in the preferences and then use it in any application to make a quick note in any existing entry or create a new one.

Changes in this release:
- Added Movable Type as a real protocol type. If you have a MT blog, you'll want to reconfigure your blog settings.
- Added a special appearance for checkboxes in Full Screen mode
- Fixed a problem copying an entry URL to someplace only plain text is accepted.
- Added new recording UI, including meters.
- Added exporting of recordings in a journal to a podcast.
- Added importing of existing podcasts into a journal.
- Hold the Option key when clicking a checkbox to entry a "mixed" state.
- Tabbing with the insertion point next to a list item will take that list item with the tab.
- Fixed a bug with time zones when sending an entry to an Atom blog.
- iPod Notes export (essentially just text exporting but with internal links handled in the iPod Notes format)

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
- All-new blogging architecture
- New per-item attributes
• background color
• label
• sorting
• entry template
• editable
• blog server
- A real implementation of tabs
- Audio recording
- 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.

(By the way, the change-made-at-the-last-minute prize this time goes to "drag and drop in the recording bar." Congrats!)