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Use with caution.
These public beta programs contain new fixes and new features that haven't been fully tested. I need you to tell me if you find any problems with these program or even if the changes listed work as you expect.

joejoe Mar-08-14 12:44 AM CST

Research Project

I had an interesting email about a batch text file editor. The user was looking for something similar to how Rename Master worked. Since RM is just an automated text editor that happens to only edit the names of files; it wouldn't be too far fetched to create a new program from it.

I'm creating a "Research Project" for this idea. This project, however, may never leave the idea phase.

The first step is to see if there's any real demand for it. Text editing is a very old concept and has many tools that are both manual and automated for doing such tasks. The program would have to be unique or a much better version of an existing program. The program, like RM, would be a graphical tool that executes steps of a script on individual text items.

The next step is to define who the target user is. Very technical user already know about and rely on many text tools. The target user might be someone that wants the convenience, without having to be a programmer to perform a redundant task.

The third step is to create a prototype. The prototype could be a copy of RM's code, gutted to use only the common parts.

Currently, I'm stuck at step 1. Batch search and replace tools seem to be plentiful. I imagine this is by-far the most popular task for batch text editing. If true, this would make the my idea a very niche program. So, I've no real clear "yes" answer to the question "is there a demand?". I know I could make something unique, but even I can't remember the last time I needed to do editing that couldn't be handled by existing text tools.

I might be able to rationalize making a "Text Robot" instead that can also be used in a batch mode; possible by a secondary tool. It would have to also perform tasks that can't be done with current search-and-replace or macro routines: conditional editing, moving, converting.

Either way, I'm still in the idea phase.

joejoe Feb-15-14 6:21 PM CST

Just Fixes

Good ideas appear in bursts. Usually one idea will be the start for a string of changes. If you've taken a look at the Plans and Ideas page, there are no plans and a few of very low priority ideas. The current goal for the next updates of ArsClip and Rename Master are almost purely fixes for bugs and other issues.

The only new feature is a bust. The "mousewheel" feature added to ArsClip is an interesting experiment, but it's not really useful. The only usable scenario is when the popup is not under the mouse and spacebar is used to select an item. Maybe mouseup and mousedown could be used the same way that middle click is used as a configurable action. This isn't intuitive, but may be a nice power-user feature.

For now, I'm only thinking about ideas that will fix/improve already existing features. For example, it was very easy to accidentally close a submenu trying to move the mouse to the new exposed submenu. To fix this, a delay was added before closing the submenu and selecting a new hovered item.

joejoe Oct-20-13 7:43 PM CDT

Better Situational Defaults

ArsClip ultimately is a collections of hacks and dirty tricks. It provides many features that aren't possible in Windows, so these tricks are needed. For example, the program can simulate a CLTR+V keystroke in almost all windows to trigger a paste. This fails for UAC protected windows and for the Command Prompt.

The program is being updated to be less intrusive and to automatically work around known issues. Since the popup now displays a "Clipboard Only" message when pasting into problem programs, it doesn't need show as many warning dialogs. ArsClip will now only display a single warning per-program, per-session. For the Command Prompt (cmd.exe), no warning dialog is shown when displaying the popup. ArsClip will also default to Clipboard Only mode for this program, unless Mimic Typing is already used by default or in the per-program settings.

Explorer is also a known problem. Since the popup requires keyboard focus by default, Explorer removes edit boxes for filenames and removes the text box for the breadcrumb address bar when it loses focus. ArsClip has been updated to when this situation. The "fix" is to use a compatibility mode. The reasoning is that it seems better to present a limited functionality popup than to make the popup non-functional in this case.

Explorer compatibility modes activates when two criteria are met. First, it detects if the name of the foreground window is "explorer.exe". Second, it detects that the control with keyboard focus is likely an edit control. When in this mode, the popup does not receive focus. As a side effect, shortcut keys are not assigned and keyboard focus remains in Explorer. Also, if you want to close the popup without pasting a clip, the Cancel button must be pressed. Clicking on another program (changing focus) doesn't affect the popup in this mode.

Technically, this compatibility mode is the same as configuring the popup to not use shortcut keys. This settings behavior had been updated to act as it did in much older versions. I'll be looking into more "dirty tricks" to make compatibility mode less restricted.

joejoe Oct-13-13 8:57 PM CDT

More Clipboard Bar

There were some Clipboard Bar features not quite ready for the last release. Something I learned when dogfooding the Clipboard Bar is that it is can annoying to have it blocking part of the screen. A workaround is to make the bar small, but this limits the functionality.

The Clipboard Bar now has a visibility settings. When idle, the window can be set to be transparent. This makes it less intrusive when using a full screen window (like a video) and doesn't obscure parts of the current foreground program. The bar becomes fully visible when the mouse enters the window.

Similarly, using a small Clipboard Bar means toggling the Toolbar will make the current clip almost unreadable. The fix for this is to grow or shrink the entire window when toggling the Toolbar's visibility.

joejoe Oct-11-13 1:01 AM CDT

ArsClip Known Bugs

For the recent lucky version 13 of ArsClip, these following bugs are currently known:

(Misc)
- icon load issue or "Bitmap image is not valid" error

I've not reproduced this error myself, but a converted clip can sometimes have an invalid icon. Once I get one of these clips sent to me, I'll be able to work around this issue.

(Removed Clips)
- cache issue after reindexing

The listed items can sometimes show old cached data after the queue size is changed.

(Clipboard Bar)
- visibility issues

I've worked around an issue when the Clipboard Bar can sometimes re-shown when another window is shown.

joejoe Oct-09-13 7:15 PM CDT

Roadmap

ArsClip

I'll be waiting a few days to address any important bugs before beginning on more new features. There were too many features for the Clipboard Bar for a single release. These features will be implemented first in the next Public Beta.

Rename Master

I'm planning on releasing the current small beta as a maintenance release soon. The plans for this program are currently sparse.

joejoe Oct-08-13 4:02 PM CDT

ArsClip Status

I was planning on releasing v4.13 last week. I've one last issue that I need to address before that happens. There's a bug in Windows where an always-on-top window stops working after showing a full screen program a few time. I was able to finally replicate his behavior using Task Manager and showing a Youtube video full screen 3 times, so even MS programs are affected.

I've had more Clipboard Bar feedback in the last 2 weeks than I've had in years. The only problem is that there's too much to fit into a single release.

joejoe Sep-19-13 9:37 PM CDT

More Format Stuff

Storing the icon in the clip file proved to be more efficient and less complicated than the current icon cache system. So, it's now officially part of the format.

Unicode clips (plaintext clips) now use less resources with the new format. The old format always had two versions of every clip, even when the plaintext version was identical to the original clip. The new format allows for getting rid of this duplication in file and in memory.

I've not made up my mind about compressing in-memory large clips. With the default settings, most users won't trigger the code. Those working in large clips (graphics editors and office type programs) and change the settings aren't likely running on a system that's starved for memory. It's a very small group of users that would benefit for the setting. The code also has some unresolved issues, so I'll likely be delaying this feature for the next version.

This beta version will soon enter feature freeze.

joejoe Sep-19-13 12:50 AM CDT

Dogfooding 5

Using the Clipboard Bar as a popup trigger, I've been running into an old problem: submenus near the edge of the screen. When the popup shifts make room for the submenu, it's basically impossible to keep the submenu open when moving the mouse. I've updated this behavior so that doesn't happen by using a small dead space on the submenu.

At this point, this is the last of the planned changes for the Clipboard Bar. The only thing left on my list is to redo some of the icons on the toolbar.

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I've been putting it off for a long time, but the file format for saving clips needed a complete rework. Adding features to the file over the years made it complicated and scattered. The newer format makes it easier to cache extra data and optionally load only the most important data. This means the program has to do less work to prepare a clip to display on the popup. The net result is much less file access required.

The problem with this change is that it effects 3 parts of the program. The Popup Clips, Removed Clips, and some Permanent Clips use this format. To make things invisible, the program will load the old data and then save it in the new format. Currently, the Permanent Clips are not converted but do use the new format for newly added. This will likely be changed in the next beta. I'm not a fan of such large-scale changes, but the benefits are worth it in this case.

The new clip format also has reserved spots for icons. I've not made up my mind if I'm going to replace the icon cache scheme in place. The current scheme works well and is nicely optimized for efficiency. I'll surely test the idea out before I make any final decision.

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