The new beta6 can be downloaded from here.
This time I experiment with an “auto-clipboard” feature. The idea is that, as you edit the document, the software automatically stores some expressions into special (private) clipboard so that you can paste these expressions at some later time. The auto-clipboard can contain up to 3 expressions… Here is what gets automatically stored into the auto-clipboard:
- expressions you ‘placed-down’ either from the toolbox or from some other source. This way you don’t need to access the toolbox every time you want to place the same symbol that you placed just a moment ago. This feature is not completely new, but is now more elaborate.
- expressions you deleted using the backspace key or the delete key. This way you can just delete something (without using ctrl+x to cut it) and then paste it to some other place.
Note that this private auto-clipboard is a completely separate thing from the standard windows clipboard (Ctrl+X,C,V). To paste from the auto-clipboard, instead of the ‘Ctrl-V’ you need to use ‘Spacebar+comma’ (or alternatively the ‘Insert’ key) while the typing mode is active. When you hit the Spacebar+comma, the freshest expression from the auto-clipboard will be pasted – but if there is more than one expression stored in the clipboard, a semi-transparent menu will be also displayed where you can choose an alternative option (using a mouse, or using the keyboard down-arrow key).The menu is made semi-transparent not to distract you too much, and if you just continue to type it will go away. If you access the menu with the mouse or the ‘down-arrow’ key, it will become opaque.
In general, this is what I am trying to do:
- say that you want to type something like: sin(x+y)=0.5
- however you forgot to hit the enter key after the ‘y’ and so you typed something like: sin(x+y=0.5)
- so you hit the backspace key 4 times to delete the ‘=0.5′ part (the MoM stores this into the auto-clipboard)
- now you hit the enter key to exit the ‘sin(x+y)’ expression
- finally, you hit the Spacebar+comma to paste the ‘=0.5′ part from the auto-clipboard
The experiment is to see if this can be useful in practice. There are several obstacles… First, the Spacebar+comma is not an easy keystroke to remember (but is easy to type). Second, if you hit the backspace/delete key too many times (say, one keypress more than actually needed) the software will store more than you wanted into the auto-clipboard and you will have to re-edit this after you paste.
In this beta I also tried to make the software aware when monitor resolution (or orientation) is changed to redraw itself properly. I hope this will work…. And for sure, some bugs are exterminated.
Well, the new beta5 version can be downloaded from here (781k).
This beta is somewhat selfish because some features are implemented only because I wanted to have them.
- The keyboard-entry cursor stops blinking (and is pale-colored) when the software does not have the keyboard input focus. It happened to me many times too often to start typing into MoM just to realize that I am typing somewhere else.
- To start the typing mode (and to do some other mouse-click operations, like ‘place-down’) you must mouse-click quickly now. If the mouse-click lasts for more than cca 300ms the operation will not be performed…. Too many times I tried to move and object or to select it with my mouse, only to start the typing mode because I did not aim correctly.
- Similarly, you need a longer mouse-click, 100ms or longer, to paint a single point. (Note: the single-point painting is only possible with the line-drawing tool.) I guess that nobody uses this feature anyway so it is not a big drawback. On the other hand, I accidentally often mouse-clicked while holding the line-drawing tool and created many unwanted points all over my document. This is why I don’t like the touch-pad on my computer – it creates clicks when you only look at it.
- It is possible to select the “Auto-resize” toolbox size now: View -> Toolbox and context menu -> Auto-resize. This way the toolbox size will change as you resize the main window. I actually did not implement this for myself, but I thought it could be useful to some people.
- It is possible to draw horizontal and vertical lines even when you have rectangle or ellipse drawing tool selected: just draw a very thin rectangle/ellipse and it will be converted into a line. I think this could come handy sometimes because you don’t have to change the drawing tool so often.
- The “vertical-spacing-adjust” feature now respects the grid (if the snap-to-grid is enabled). If you don’t remember, the vertical-spacing-adjust feature is when you mouse click-and-drag at the vertical ruler to create/reduce spacing between document elements. Until now the grid was not respected and objects would ‘fall off grid’ if this feature was used while the snap-to-grid was enabled.
- For some time now it is possible to use the mouse for multiple pick-up operation. That is, it is possible to select more than one element of an equation by a simple mouse click-and-drag operation, and then to pick-up the selected elements by a mouse click. From this beta it is also possible to place down over multiple elements (overwrite) by similar mouse-only procedure: when you carry anything with the mouse, just mouse click-and-drag to select more than one elements, and then mouse-click to overwrite. (Until now, if you were carrying anything with your mouse, it was only possible to select multiple elements by using the shift key.)
I was trying to implement the /p command line option – printing from command line, but I am not sure if what I did is acceptable. For instance, I don’t know would it be better to close the software once the document is sent to printer or to leave it open (it stays open, at the moment).
I also changed and improved the feature from previous beta – adding a newline by a mouse click. Now this feature does not depend on guidelines any more, but is self-standing. A mark similar to an insertion point will be shown if you point your mouse pointer just below a left-bottom corner of an existing text field or an existing multi-line math field. You can click at this insertion point to start keyboard entry, you can place-down at this insertion point and you can quick-type at this insertion point.
I would like to mention several key problems where I don’t see an easy solution:
- Typing Greek symbols (double-letter typing) interferes with the usual typing in some cases. Most notably, typing millimeters (mm) generates Greek mu (micro) symbol.
- When the Arial font is used, there is no difference between lowercase ‘L’ and uppercase ‘I’. Using Times New Roman font would solve the difference between ‘l’ and ‘I’, but I am not sure about readability at low resolution. What do you think?
- Typing measurement units is difficult, especially for non-common measurement units. I was thinking to provide a key (the ‘%’ key) to convert what you typed into a measurement unit. For example, if you type 10 k g m / s^2 % to be converted int 10 kg m / s^2. However I am not sure this is a good solution because I can only work this way with common measurement units (that are recognized by MoM).
- Switching between math-typing and text-typing mode is still problematic. One often forgets to switch and enters more than few characters before realizes what he/she is doing – it must then delete and start over. I am searching for a way to quickly convert from text to math and vice versa. Found none.
- When you draw something (a line, a rectangle, a curve… whatever), you can find that you did not preselect the right color and/or line size. There is no easy mouse-only way to select what you made and modify or even delete it – instead, you usually need to use the keyboard.
Hello… I uploaded the 1.91 beta4 and it can be downloaded from here. At this time there are only two new features:
- A block of text (or even a multi-line block of math) can now be appended with a new line by a simple mouse-click. Just point your mouse pointer slightly below object’s lower-left edge – a guideline will appear. However, if you point close to the object, the guideline will not be yellow-colored but might be green-colored or blue-colored. If so, just click at the guideline and a new line will be added to the existing object… (Until now you had to click after the last word and then hit the enter key to start the new line)… This feature only works if guidelines are enabled and if the object is left-aligned.
- Simple page numbering is implemented. You will find page-numbering options under ‘View->Page->Page numbering’. Only several options are available. The major disadvantage is that you cannot control margins yet.
Anyway, I hope I did not introduce new bugs. Let me know.
I made a bug in previous beta so I had to quickly release this new beta3… Because of the bug it was not possible to use quick-typing feature to write down a plain text that starts with an uppercase letter. If you use the quick-typing feature often, you better download again. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Few small improvements: v1.91 beta2
- I ‘improved’ the way plain text is rendered when the presentation mode is enabled. I hope that the rendered text is now more readable than before. The inter-character spacing is now more uniform (on the expense of varying inter-word spacing). This might create some unwanted rendering effects as it takes some testing time to fine-tune.
- At the beginning and at the end of a plain-text line I am now displaying insertion points a bit more distanced from the text than before. To make this possible I also had to add some more space (right and left margin) around text in a matrix/table cell. Thus, matrices/tables will be slightly wider than before.
- The cursor-up keyboard key handling is slightly improved: if you hit it while the keyboard cursor is positioned at the first place under the root sign, the cursor will move into root ‘index’ field (if this field exists). Also, if the cursor is positioned at the first place in a variable index, it will be placed at the end of the variable.
- When you want to use the quick-type feature to type some plain text you will do this by first hitting the spacebar key. The difference is that when you hit the spacebar key, an empty ‘T’ object (a text placeholder) will not be created any more. Instead, the familiar green ‘T’ symbol will appear for a short time to inform you that you can now type plain text.
What I am thinking is: what if I don’t produce the famous “Save document changes?” message box every time one exits the Math-o-mir? What if I only show this option if user actually made some considerable work? What if I just save the document into a backup location and close the window when no considerable work was done?… The only reason I still did not implement such behavior is because I know that many users exploit this “Save document changes?” message box as a regular way to save the document.
Oh… and I want to thank Kevin for bringing some visitors to this site :)
As always, when I start developing new version, I make early betas available because I am hoping for bug reports and comments. There are only few new features in this beta. You can download from here.
- The region at the beginning/end of a line where you can point your mouse and highlight the insertion point is now enlarged. Thus, it should be easier to point-and-click in order to append text/math to existing lines.
- Insertion points are now visible even in the drawing mode when you move your mouse pointer (pencil) over text/math. This way you should be able to use the quick-typing feature to edit existing text/math directly while still in the drawing mode
- When rendering multi-line text, the between-line spacing is slightly increased for easier reading. Also, spacing between lines is now more even if lines contain superscripts/subscripts.
- Double-quotation mark key is handled in a slightly different way now – in the plain-text typing mode it will not produce exponents when used after a multi-letter word.
I was thinking to use the % key as a transformation key to transform variables into measurement units. Still refining this idea.
I uploaded the Math-o-mir 1.9 build3. You can download the math notepad from the homepage.
This is only a tiny debug update. In particular, following bugs are resolved:
- Page size is now properly set when you open a .mom document file by clicking on it from the windows explorer (the bug was visible on Win7)
- Inappropriate flashes of the selection frame are solved – this occurred occasionally when mouse was clicked.
- When objects were selected, drawing boxes activated even if the mouse pointer was not hovering above them – this is now solved.
- Most controversially, when printing and when exporting images, those ‘invisible’ edges of drawing items that are behind other drawings will not be visible any more. That is, the printed/exported images are now generated the same way as you can see them on the screen… The funny thing is that I cannot recall why drawings were implemented ‘transparent’ in earlier versions. If someone will miss this ‘feature’, remind me please.
Anyway, I hope to have some real news soon. Tell to your neighbors that they too can type mathematics faster and easier.