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Version 2.20 Released — Usability improvements


#1

This morning I released version 2.20, which contains a number of small changes that impact the ease of use of the software. A full list of these changes is on the Change Log page, and the new version can be downloaded from here.

To summarise the changes:

  • I’ve added full paragraph configuration for all new scenes and notes to the Settings dialog
  • Indicators have been added to make it clearer which scene you’re currently working on. This includes icon changes in the tree, as well as a restructured Title / Caption for the application which shows the name of the active scene and its parent.
  • A new Shortcuts page on the website lists key short cut keys in the software

There are a number of changes I’m working on that didn’t make this release, but I felt it was more important to get these improvements out there now rather than wait until all changes are completed.


#2

Great news! I’m downloading it now. (Or a few seconds from now…)

Thanks,

Allen


#3

Notes on v2.20, 2017-12-3.

1 New default para settings are great. Very helpful, since I like to use para indents with no extra leading for content, and just a bit of leading with no indents for notes.

2 Having the para settings available in Word Processing bar is also very helpful.

3 Very helpful to have the app title-bar showing 3 levels of naming. That said, I would love (perhaps as an option) to see the whole path to the current Scene. I have projects with deeply branching trees, and I suspect people using AS as an idea manager will end up with deep tree branches, too. The path display makes it significantly easier to use short, terse Scene naming. Also, the title bar is one of the few places that a long location string could actually fit.

4 The tiny check-mark indicating currently displayed text is helpful, too. On my huge screen it is indeed very tiny, but it will suffice. Now that it’s present, I’m wondering what context is indicated by the light blue background on the “last clicked” tree node. From a GUI perspective, when I glance at the tree, the first thing I notice is the blue-highlighted element, which almost always is unrelated to what I’m doing. This is because it’s left highlighted from perhaps half an hour ago when I last opened a Scene.

On a related note, it seems to me it would make sense for the current tab to be light blue. Or perhaps both.

I may be missing something, but I’m not sure in what context the tree node needs to remain highlighted. I suppose I can use it as a very temporary place-marker — that is, I might be moving blocks of text from hither and yon, all into one folder, so I would click on the destination folder to make it easier to find (in my large projects). [As I was writing this, the current blue node seems to have lost its highlighting — nothing is blue now, including the tree title. Puzzling.]

5 Creating new tabs to the right of current tab makes a lot of sense. I’m hoping the next release will support moving tabs around. The order in which I open them is almost never the order I want to see them in! Another very useful tool for this would be a button on the Project toolbar to “Auto-Arrange Tabs”. When toggled on, all tabs would rearrange to match their order in the Tree, and new ones would appear in their Tree positions. When toggled off, tabs could be freely arranged. So the user could toggle on and then off to set an initial tab order, and still have free positioning.

6 Ctrl-W will be handy, especially since I often have dozens of scenes open at one time. (I’ll be fixing up some continuity issue, and then I’ll want to return to just a few scenes currently being written.) I do like the tab management options in Google Chrome — Close Other Tabs, and Close Tabs to the Right. After a reorganization session, I could easily have 40 tabs open. There’s presently no way to close most (or even all) of them without a tedious amount of clicking. But Ctrl-W does let me effortlessly whack away lots of tabs, so it’s a good solution.

I just noticed that right-clicking on a tab selects it. If there’s a context menu for tabs in the future, it might be advisable to disable right-click-selection early on. I would expect a right-click menu for individual tabs will eventually be needed.

7 Help menu access to kybd shortcuts is most welcome!

8 Having the shortcuts online is useful. But in some environments I have to be off-line, so displaying help in a local RTF would be important. Also, in-app buttons that “unexpectedly” invoke a browser session and trigger a web page download can be a bit jarring — one expects app commands to apply to the app itself. They may also be disallowed in many work environments. And where WiFi isn’t available, or is painfully slow, they lead to a lot of distracting pauses and delays. If WiFi isn’t available, the user may just experience an unresponsive key-click, implying a bug, leading to support requests, bug reports, etc.

9 Find works in Current Tab context. Excellent! This was actually becoming a big problem for me. Now solved.

10 Para indent option removed. Yes.

11 Layout buttons always enabled: Good. Helpful.

12 I should have taken a screen shot before upgrading! I like the present colors, whatever they may have been before. (I still wish the Save disc-icon states were more visually distinctive. The app’s light blue is too similar in value to the greyed-out color. Perhaps the app’s logo-orange could work? “Not saved” is after all a kind of warning.)

Thanks for releasing all this ASAP. Much appreciated.

Allen


#4

That’s great. I just checked the site and saw the news. I’m going to download the new version and the shortcuts list right now. It’s quite late now, so everything else will be done tomorrow morning.

User manual will be changed and [most likely] available around mid week. :slight_smile:

Hans


#5

Thanks for the feedback Allen.

The blue highlight on the tree denotes the currently selected tree item. An item can be selected that is not currently active in the word processor. It’s useful to see this as if you were to click an add or delete button, it’s this seected tree item that is added to or deleted, not whichever item is being edited in the word processor.

Drag and drop / reordering of the open tabs is definitely on the list. Thanks for the other suggestions — especially around the tab context menu. These are the kind of details that will get filled in over time.

Thanks Hans.

The only new section in the Knowledge Base is the Shortcuts section, and there have been a few minor changes to the Word processor section where the new paragraph settings are mentioned.


#6

Ah, yes, of course – the insert buttons. I’m so habituated to the right-click that I forgot about them…

I look forward to the other forthcoming enhancements.

Thanks,

Allen


#7

An updated PDF manual is now available for this release on the Knowledge Base page. Thanks to Hans for putting this together and updating it.