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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 Aug-13-14 7:38 PM CDT

Rename Variables 3

A recent request was made to describe what all those "?n02? things are in a help file. Help files are a crutch for bad program interfaces. Placing "help" directly in the interactive program is much more useful. The real problem, however, is that meta-variables aren't handled well in the program.

If done well, the user shouldn't have to know anything about those variables. The current Public Beta gets another step close to this goal. Variables are now displayed using friendly names. Variables still use the same syntax behind the scenes, so backwards compatibility is maintained with existing scripts. But, the program hides the details better. The process is now the opposite of what was done in the previous beta: a tooltip hint on hover now shows the old data and the formatting and the textbox shows the friendly name.

To complete the illusion, variables now require using prompts to format the output of the metadata represented. This means that the prompts and windows used need to be polished up. Many of these windows haven't been updated in a very long time. For example, the program has to advertise better how to find filetype specific variable tags. The Filelist improves this process by showing when a clicked file can contains tags that are usable by the program. The Advanced Insert window now gives a help message for a better way deal with file specific tags. By default, these old pages on the Advaned Insert window are now hidden under help prompts, but clicking a 'Show' button reveals the previous interface. The old settings remains accessible just to help in the transition process.

joejoe Aug-10-14 12:17 AM CDT

Rename Variables 2

The current Public Beta of Rename Master contains the changes mentioned in the post below.

Meta-variables are now very visually distinct by using a background color, an underline, and a different font. The underline helps cue that the item can be clicked and might make it easy to discover the new hover mechanic. When hovered, a friendly name is shown using a tooltip hint. When clicked, a variable is automatically highlighted and a context menu is shown for editing.

Textboxes now will automatically grow and shrink when dealing with a long text. This should help with overall readability and editing, for those dealing with multiple variables or long strings.

These "simple" changes took a lot of work, but the improvement in usability was worth it. Ultimately, the user should need to know very little about meta-variables. This goal requires that the program do all the work for inserting, rendering, and editing variables. This version is closer to that goal.

joejoe Aug-08-14 6:59 PM CDT

Rename Variables

Variables in Rename Master are being worked on for the next beta. The goal is the make them easier to read and identify.

The first step, shown in the example screencap, is to change the visuals to distinguish them from literal text. The program automatically detects a variable like "?n02?" and formats it by trimming of the question marks and changing the font style.

The second step will be to change the text into something friendly. This will require some research, since there's no straight forward way to do this.

joejoe Aug-07-14 9:08 PM CDT

Preparing v4.20 for Release Part 2

This will be delayed until next week, after things settle down from the last RM release.

joejoe Aug-06-14 11:11 PM CDT

Mea Culpa

Rename Master has had a problem that's probably existed for a decade. When processing a long list of files, it's possible to click on things that will cause problems. The majority of the time, the program finishes too fast for this to be discovered. This situation is something that has just never been tested. The current official release only fixes part of the problem.

For the next Public Beta, this is being addressed. Certain features will be disabled when refreshing the fileslist and the entire form will be disabled from input during a Rename operation. The program will also show a progress dialog when a rename operation may requires some time to finish.

The auto-preview function will work smarter by being easy to interrupt. This makes it much more compatible with large sets of files. Most features will remain accessible during this process. By default, auto-preview will attempt to start again once it detects a pause in user input.


EDIT: I had to rush a quick-fix for a critical sorting bug. These changes are in the current official version.

joejoe Aug-03-14 3:14 PM CDT

Preparing v4.20 for Release

The beta is now in feature freeze. No new features will be added and a preliminary changelog has been created.

The changes for this version are the new Clip Menu and expanded Macro support. The bug fixes are thankfully uninteresting. While the audience for the changes are mostly geared towards advanced/hardcore users, there are some niceties for getting started.

The Custom Menu list is not empty by default. Three example macros are already added to the list that show how to: edit the Popup Clip list, format a clip for pasting, and perform actions while keeping the Popup open. The 'New' button also supports creating more pre-defined macros, like 'Append Clipboard' and 'Google'. The idea is to support common routines by default and to allow advanced users to customize their own routines.

joejoe Jul-31-14 9:09 PM CDT

Another Good DIY Example

I've had requests before from users wanting to combine several clips into one. My usual course of action was to point them to the Permanent Clip/Macros or to the 'Paste Selected Text' window. Both methods are OK to do if you only perform the task infrequently.

The Popup is the main menu of the program, so it makes sense to be able to use it for these tasks. With the Custom Menu macros, the following is now possible to use to append a clip to the current clipboard:

[STAYOPEN][CLIPBOARDONLY][INDEX=$i][CLIPBRD][POPUPITEM=$i]

NOTE: This macro does not work in Test 11, but is fixed for the next test version.

This is what it looks like in action. The fourth command inserts the state of the clipboard as plaintext, before starting the macro. The last command inserts the Popup Clip state as plain text, before starting the macro.

The program automatically combines text and insert commands when the insert command is known before running the macro. The "Current Clipboard" insert command is not eligible, since it's value is volatile. All other commands under the "insert" menu are eligible.

Conversely, keystrokes commands always ensure that text before and after the command are pasted as separate clips.

joejoe Jul-27-14 6:41 PM CDT

More Do It Yourself

I just had a very interesting email about ArsClip interacting with other programs, scripts, and batch files. To help support this better, I'll be adding some new macro commands. To pass data between ArsClip and another program, using the Clipboard is the most logical choice. There, however, needs to be some helper commands added to make this work more universally.

Currently, [RUN][ENDRUN] command supports using "Insert" commands between these two tags, but the data may not be safe to use as a command line argument. A command to save the clipboard to a text file will be added. This also solves the problem of sending data to a program that can't access the clipboard. Example:

[TOTEXTFILE="c:\path\name.txt"][RUN]notepad.exe c:\path\name.txt[ENDRUN]

A new Wait command will solve the synchronization problem. When the target script/program saves its data to the clipboard, this will be used as a signal for ArsClip to continue executing its macro. For example, there's a CLIP command prompt function in Windows that can pipe data from a file or program to the clipboard. This means it will be trivial receive data from batch commands:

[RUN]cmd.exe /c dir *.ini | CLIP[ENDRUN][WAITFORCLIP=2000]Files Found:[CLIPBRDCURRENT]

Edit: Here's a screen capture of the above macro.

It everything works out, script languages like PowerShell and JavaScript should be usable to extend ArsClip Macros. Both are already part of most Windows operating systems.

joejoe Jul-23-14 11:09 PM CDT

About the New Macro Features

ArsClip receives a lot of requests for features that won't be added to the program. Besides ideas that don't fit the scope of the program; complicated features that very few users will use aren't likely to be added. Similarly, features that are too difficult to explain and conceptualized aren't implemented.

There's a loophole, however, for these type of feature requests: "do it yourself". If the idea is still a good one, it will usually be supported indirectly as a new or updated macro command. ArsClip is designed to be a generic tool, so this flexibility is crucial to supporting the varied ways the program can be used.

The new Per-Program macro feature is based on previously "rejected" user requests, some of which are over a year old. For example, many users are forced to deal with strange and antiquated programs. Some of the programs require data pasted in all caps, some require special keystrokes to accept a paste, some require no linefeeds in the text, and so on. These niche ideas would never be implemented directly as Configuration options, but using a macro to do it is a natural fit. Having a way to execute the macro automatically for a program was the final piece of this puzzle.

Macro commands will likely remain in continual development for all the reasons listed above. As new requests come in, it will be adapted for flexibility.

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