Always, but especially in days prior the new version release, I am thinking about things I am not satisfied regarding Math-o-mir. The non-exhaustive list is below. Sure, as the developer I suppose I can use much stronger words than you would dare.
- Using the mouse to edit equations is touchy. Did you take your sniper lesson? Hold your breath, synchronize to your heartbeat, aim the mouse and click precisely on the target. Equations are complicated objects to edit – in MoM you can target many regions inside every equation: elements, subexpressions, insertion points between elements… Each region is usually only a few pixels wide. Of course, you can zoom in, but then you can’t see the whole picture of your math. I am searching for a way to decrease the touchiness and retain the editing power.
- Using keyboard is like the break-dance. Yeah, the break-dance was popular when I was young. I even tried few moves. When I type MoM equations, I always remember this brak-dance experience. You need to hit the underline to edit index, then ALT to add exponent, then ALT again to type a Greek symbol, then ALT+Space to switch between math and text mode, Enter to move out of an subexpression… It is far away from being as fluid as when you type a plain text. Of course, the keyboard is designed for the plain text, not for the math. Still, I am searching for a way to make math typing more fluid.
- In fact, I am missing keys. Yes, there are too few keys on the keyboard for math typing. I had to use keystrokes more sparingly and more wisely. For example, maybe it would be better if I exchanged CTRL and ALT key usage. Also, some function keys are assigned without much thinking about.
- Free-hand drawing tool is desperate. It draws a line as you move the mouse, but it is impossible to move the mouse very precisely (a pen is much better at this job). It is impossible to draw either straight or curved lines. I was hoping that I will be able to make an algorithm that can guess what the user is drawing and can help by correcting the line. I failed – such an algorithm is still wanted. [BTW, did you notice that mouse optical sensors are placed in the middle of the mouse. Why? I believe that mouse would be much more precise if the optical element is moved to the front – closer to fingertips. Nobody makes such devices? Too late, I am patenting it now.]
- Learning time is too long. Although I think that MoM is a simple software, I still beleive that there are lot of peopole that install the software and then deinstall it after they tried to type their first equation. I am hoping to make more intuitive interface to first-timers. Unofrtunately, after so many years of using Math-o-mir, I have no idea any more what is intuitive to a first-timer.
- Promoting a freeware proved difficult. Listing it to hundred download sites was the first and the only promotion idea that worked. But it is not enough. It seems to me that there are many people in the world that could find the MoM useful, but will never hear about it. Somehow the visibility of this software should be increased… Anybody knows a movie star interested in math software?
- The source code is quite a mess. I expected that the development will be finished in a two-three months so I never made extensive initial planning. Now, if I want to make the source code open to public, I first have to rewrite many functions the proper way (so that other programmers can manage it).
- It looks outdated – the GUI, at the first (and second) look seems too simple – like if nobody took any care about this software. As the GUI offers no promise of excellence, first-timers do not want to spend much time to learn the software. People today expect iPhone application look. Too bad for me, because I have no idea how to make this software look more appealing without decreasing its functionality. In fact, what I am more concerned is how to keep it small.
- It grew over 1MB. I don’t like this. I really don’t. I am thinking of removing features.
All your ideas and suggestions are welcome. (Oh yes, I noticed this is one of the longest articles I ever wrote on this blog.)