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 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.
joejoe Jul-20-14 5:12 PM CDT
The 'Send To' issue with Rename Master
RM has had a long know issue with using the 'Send To' Explorer option to receive a list of files. The biggest issue is that there is a 2K character limit to this list. A long list of file and/or files in a long path can easily exceed this limit. The second issue is that Windows doesn't send the list in the correct order.
Two changes were made long ago to work around this issue. The first change was to add file drag-and-drop. A list of file can be dropped from Explorer onto RM. This works, but drag-drop between programs never really caught on in Windows. The result is that most users don't know it exists and it's not easy to perform.
The second change made was an optional addon for Explorer. It interacts with Explorer directly to detect when multiple files are selected and add a "Rename Master" context menu item. This also worked, but is very complicated and limited to 32 bit Explorer. Since the cost to create 64 bit programs is prohibitive, this option is dead in the water.
A third change has been made to RM that should be better. A new Edit menu command has been added that detects files on the clipboard. So, after selecting a group of files, the files are copied by the user instead of using 'Send To' or performing a cumbersome drag. This still requires manually clicking an Edit menu item, but it is discoverable - unlike drag-and-drop.
joejoe Jul-17-14 8:16 PM CDT
Great ArsClip Feedback
The Beta users have been doing a great job with the feedback. Official releases usually get 1 comment per 1000 downloads. Beta releases are only download 100 times at most, but generate 30 times more feedback. I'll comment on some of the recent feedback below.
Keystrokes, advanced users love them. The popup is designed to be both mouse friendly and keyboard friendly, so I'm making it easier to interact with the Clip Menu with arrow keys. In the next Beta, CTRL+Left will open the Clip Menu and Left/Right will also close it. In usage, it feels natural and intuitive to those that are used to arrow key navigation. The Configuration window will be updated to show the new keystrokes.
Editing clips with keystrokes on the popup has been improved by updated moving and deleting. Using Shift+Up/Down will move a clip, similar to how clips can be dragged. Deleting multiple clips is easier because the hover is now replaced after a delete.
The Keystrokes actions are pretty much the same as the Custom Menus. I'll likely update the settings so that the keystrokes can also execute a Custom Menu macro.
joejoe Jul-15-14 8:08 PM CDT
The Clip Menu
The Clip Menu for ArsClip is now getting some much needed attention. This window has always been a bit strange. Showing a context style menu on a popup that itself behaves like a context menu is an abnormal relationship in Windows. The benefit of being able to execute commands directly on a Popup Clip outweighs how unintuitive the menu may be.
There's some inconsistent behavior with this menu that needs to be addressed. Now that there are Custom Menu items, the width of the menu must be able grow to fit longer caption. The shortcut keys on the menu are hard-coded, but there still needs to be a shortcut key for Custom Menus that doesn't conflict with existing keys. The arrow keys need to function for navigation and Space/Enter need to be the same as a click. Ideally, this menu probably deserves a complete re-write, but I think these changes will suffice for now.
I've received some feedback about Custom Menus. To answer the questions publicly, below are some other examples that show more tasks. Custom Menu macros can do almost every task that you can do manually with the Popup. This includes changing pasting methods, keeping the popup open, simulating keystrokes, and so on.
This macro places the clip on the clipboard and runs a Google search with the contents of the clipboard.
This macro keeps the popup open, places the current clip on the clipboard, and moves the clip to the top of the list. This is useful to run before existing Permanent Clip/Macros that expect text to be already on the clipboard.
This macro performs a paste using the same rules as the popup, but keeps the popup open. This action can also be performed using the Keystrokes / Clicks settings, but a Custom Menu is mouse friendly.
joejoe Jul-15-14 2:40 AM CDT
ArsClip Beta Interrupted
There was a bug in v4.18 that was important enough to address quickly. The [Clipboard Monitoring>History] settings weren't being saved, caused by the work done on the Configuration window. Version 4.19 has been released and beta v4.20 has been uploaded.
The Clip Menu (the menu shown when right-clicking a Popup Clip) contains some useful features, but most aren't used often. The current Public Beta adds settings to remove any of the standard Clip Menu items, to reduce clutter.
There is one item that's been on the "Plans and Ideas" page for a long time. The idea is to run Custom Menus (macros) on the Clip Menu. The current Public Beta implements this advanced feature. Those already familiar with Permanent Clips/Macros (ie. advanced users) are the target audience.
The current existing commands that can be used for referencing Popup Clips are:
[Insert>Popup Clip as Plaintext],
[Popup Clips>Delete Clip],
[Popup Clips>Move Clip],
[Popup Clips>Place Clip on Clipboard].
All of these commands use an index number to reference a specific clip. For the new Custom Menus to work, it required adding a way to replaces this index number with a variable.
There are 3 spots for Custom Menus on the new settings page, each set up with an example macro. These macros are almost identical to Permanent Clip/Macros and use the same edit window. The 3 examples are specifically designed to show the new variable command and how it works with the existing Popup Clip commands.
The overall all goal of this feature is to add a very specific type of paste automation to the program.
joejoe Jul-09-14 6:53 PM CDT
The Next ArsClip Beta
Explorer Compatibility Mode was added to the popup a few versions ago. The idea is to automatically use a limited mode that works around the textbox highlighting issues in Explorer and it's load/save dialogs.
In the current Public Beta, there are two issues addressed in this mode. First, a header is added to the popup that should explain why the Popup looks different. Second, the popup will now detect outside left mouse clicks and hide the popup in this mode. Most users are trained to just "click elsewhere" to close a context menu, so this mode will behave more like normal.
A new Permanent Group header has been added when showing Permanent Clips. This header on the Popup solves two problems. It labels which group of clips is being shown and allows for a quick location to switch groups. It is designed to be small and mouse friendly, so there is no shortcut key for this location. The Home/End keys now exist for keyboard users to perform the same task.
joejoe Jul-04-14 4:29 PM CDT
ArsClip Feature Freeze
No more new features are being added to the Public Beta of ArsClip v4.18. The program is being prepared for an official release, loosely scheduled for next week.
Big thanks to all the beta testers for their feedback and bug reporting.
joejoe Jul-03-14 12:42 AM CDT
Just Add an Option 3
Unfortunately, the Configuration window for ArsClip will never be easy. The reason for this is simple: 100+ options is not trivial to present. I'm OK with users not being able to remember where an option is located, when there are so many. That many options requires navigation. This doesn't mean there is no room for improvement.
In the previous Beta, the most important features required 1 to 2 clicks to access, while the more advanced or less used features required 2 to 4 clicks. In the most recent Public Beta, no option requires more than 3 clicks to access. The Tree View has been re-organized so that any category can be navigated in 2 clicks or less -- a flatter tree.
Three different Configuration Modes have been added to the window. These modes perform certain tasks better than the others. One mode is designed to help learn the program, one is designed for navigation and access to advanced features, and the third mode is designed for the quickest navigation by showing everything.
'Basic' mode removes all but the most important collapsible panels. This mode shows as little information as possible and all options can be navigated to in 2 clicks or less. It is designed for learning.
'Standard' mode is the default mode. The most important options can be navigated using 2 clicks or less, and all other options require at most 3 clicks. All panels but the most important are collapsed by default, instead of removed. It is designed for navigation, while still allowing access to all features.
'Expand All' mode is an advanced mode, but all options can be navigated to using 1 click. All tree categories and all collapsible panels are already expanded. Many of the panels will require scrolling, but the mouse wheel is supported. This mode is designed for quickly looking at every option available in the program - no matter the importance.
Besides some minor tweaks to appearance, this should be the last of the changes to the Configuration window.
joejoe Jun-26-14 1:53 AM CDT
Just Add an Option 2
As discussed in an earlier post, the idea of categorizing options by importance was introduced. In the current Public Beta of ArsClip, the configuration windows has been reworked to do this.
Some option pages are now split into collapsible panels. The main panel displays the more important settings and an option description of the feature. All other panels are collapsed by default and either contain less important features or more advanced. The Tree control also already does a similar job by placing the most important categories at root menus and less important categories as child menus.
One benefit is easier navigation and learning overall, but the sacrifice is that some options are harder to discover. It turns out the sacrifice is actually an improvement. All options were harder to discover before the change, because so many were shown per page. It's fine if non-important features are hidden and more advanced users should have no problem finding the advanced options.
A second benefit is that adding options doesn't add so much clutter. The options are already split into smaller chunks, so more options won't be detrimental. While the previous design of making "automatic features first" will still be used, falling back to a configuration option isn't a problem either.