Development of a free software largely depends on user feedback. Not only it boosts author’s motivation, but it also has large practical debugging value. A free software developer cannot pay an army of professional testers and, without any user feedback, his/her software would only be tested by one single person using one single computer. In fact, I would say, provoking user feedback is a crucial task in a free-software development project.

I received a bug list from Kevin Fitting that I want to publish here (some comments also follow):

  1. I still see instances when the cursor is green but I write in math mode or vice versa.
  2. I still have trouble correctly highlighting columns in tables. (One definite time I’ve noticed is if I use lines across a row to seperate pieces of solving a function.
  3. I’m having trouble selecting pieces of formulas (its gotten worse recently)… not sure if I just dont know where to aim… I consistently try to select a parenthesis and get the negative sign in front of it, or all the equation past it.  On the other side, I have a hard time selecting all of a fraction, particularly if the fraction bar is diagonal.
  4. I’m often desiring to merge two tables (I’ll start the official version of a solution, then play with some formulas off to the side, then I want to incorporate them into the official solution.  But the only to do this is manually copy cell by cell.)
  5. While the toolbar looks nice, I dont understand what it is for?  It doesn’t have math functions, those are handled by the flat (not as nice looking!) toolbar on the left).  But it does have drawing functions… which are also on the flat toolbar?  It has some program settings (grid toggles), which I like, but not all toggle functions are represented (presentation mode, snap to grid, etc).  It’s got two buttons labeled eraser.  So while the top toolbar looks nice, I dont understand how it fits into the program.  Defining its role would help, then you could make the interface consistent.
  6. The view sizing problem noted before.
  7. The usefullness of presentation mode.  (In addition to the general concept, I just tried to print a formula with an arrow and the printed version did not match either the presentation or non-presentation mode within MOM… so I deleted the arrow and reworded things.)
  8. There is no way to know what zoom level I am at… useful for resetting to a particular view of my work.
  9. I get “random” instances of the line sizing/coloring toolbar half popping up.  Usually it involves me being in edit mode and trying to drag a selection.
  10. User-definable function codes (like \ln or \sin, etc).  While \sin makes sense, what if I type it so much I’d rather just do \s and be done?  In general user configurability of such things is a huge benefit (I also understand its a huge undertaking!).
  11. Not sure how one-shot vs uniform vs mixed formatting fits into MOM anymore.  (Once again, I think some of your core assumptions have shifted over time, which is fine, just make sure your architecture eventually matches.)
  12. Keyboard navigation of equations is not intuitive.  I know I’ve brought this up before, and I understand that this is so hard to “fix” (partially because “intuitive” is so nebulous!), but I think this is one major hindrance to making keyboard entry of math easy.  I often find myself frustrated by the inability to get the cursor where I need it for editing, only to be further frustrated when I also have a hard time finding the particular entry point using the mouse (one example where keyboard and mouse cursors are especially hard is with exponents in fractions).

Comments:

  • Number 4…  it should be able to copy/insert multiple cells into a table. Select cells, click on them to ‘pick up’, then select a thin line between two rows/columns and click to insert cells there. Kevin, let me know if you tried this already.
  • Number 6 and 7… I am working on this… some success already… Here Kevin points out the fact that equation/text relative size depends on the zoom level and presentation mode and is also different when printing… BTW,  Note that you can print in both, presentation and edit mode – whatever is currently active.
  • Number 10… There is a new way to type functions – try “sin.” (hit the dot after ‘sin’)… You can also use keyboard accelerators or easycast accelerators (right click at the ‘sin’ option on the toolbox). For example, you can use ‘sin’ easycast string…. Is this acceptable to you? But the idea of configurable commands is also a good one.
  • Number 12… well, the keyboard handling is the central problem in MoM. I am working on it constantly… and yes, I will continue working on it 🙂

Now, can anyone else add something to that list? Thanks in advance.

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