Tuesday, January 03, 2006

MacJournal 4.0d5

Welcome to the fifth developmental release of MacJournal 4! There are a few new features and a fair amount of cleanup in a lot of areas. The last release's new blogging architecture will probably trump anything new this time around, but it's a good release nonetheless. Probably the biggest addition is the support for audio recording. It's not pretty, it's not configurable, and it's not even entirely functional, but it works well enough to try for now. Just in case, audio recordings won't stick around between launches. This is to ensure the final solution won't conflict with the current one.

There is also a change to searching so the results are presented in a flat list instead of a hierarchical one in the Journals drawer. This one might be controversial, so please let me know what you think.

In the realm of smaller changes, there are more drag and drop improvements, tied in with Services improvements as well. This releases also marks the departure of the venerable Blogger and LiveJournal sheets. Farewell, old friends! We knew you well.

Changes in this release:
- Audio Recording is partially implemented. Get there from the View menu. Recordings will not be saved across launches until things mature a bit.
- Search for entries will now show a flat list of results in the Journals drawer instead of the normal hierarchical result.
- You can drag entries onto other entries to append the text.
- You can drag text/entries onto the dock icon to append it to an entry or create a new entry with it.
- You can now selectively strip styles out of incoming text from Services
- Exporting journals to HTML as one-file-per-entry will now convert the internal MacJournal links to relative links to the other entry's exported file (if that entry is being exported).
- In addition to FTP, an iDisk (yours or someone else's) is now a possible location for attachments when sending to a blog.
- The character count is shown alongside the word count now.
- Improved handling of slow data locations, like putting your data file on an iDisk. The app should not hang while it is saving to disk anymore.
- I also added a way to show the font previews in the font toolbar item (which is hidden and disabled by default).
- Added "Copy URL to Entry" to Edit menu
- Hitting return on an empty list line will end the list (like Word)
- Added a search category for Labels in the Search toolbar item.
- Fixed a variety of crashes, quirks, and behavioral oddities in a number of places.

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.