Saturday, October 20, 2007

v6.40.0010 - 2007-10-20 21:57

  • +++ Another milestone on the long and winding road to superior productivity and file management fun: User-Defined Commands (UDC)!

    Contrary to my original plans (then called "Scriptable Hotkeys") I did not implement them key-based but menu-based. It took me half a year to make up my mind about this, but it was worth every second of it. What you get now is 100% full control, plus total visual feedback, full mouse and key access, and the possibility to have user-defined commands *without* an assigned keyboard shortcut (which was one of the inherent drawbacks of the key-based approach). Of course, the real power of UDCs start when you *do* assign KSs to them... :)

    You find a new top menu called "User", containing a link to the interface where you manage your commands, and three command categories (I'll soon add more, don't worry...). I attempted to make it as intuitive as possible. Step by step:
      - Open the Manage Commands interface
      - Select a Category
      - Press "New"
      - Enter the "Argument": that's the critical piece of data. It's where you specify the object of the Action. Usually it will be a file or folder, so there's a Browse button to the right of the edit field.
      - Optionally enter the Caption (for the menu item). If left empty, the Argument will be used for the caption.
      - Press Apply to add your edited command to the Commands list.
      - Repeat for all UDCs you need.
      - Finally press OK to apply your changes to the current session of XYplorer. The new menus will be generated in a blink. Open the User menu and see yourself...
      - Now you can open CKS and assign KSs to your new UDCs.
      - Of course, as always in XY, the UDCs will be saved to file on exit unless otherwise wanted. This file is called udc.dat.

    Further remarks:
    - There's virtually no limit to the number of commands, although, being menu-based and having a finite number of keys on your board you will hit a usability wall at some point.
    - The files udc.dat and ks.dat are independent from each other which has obvious advantages: e.g., you can easily switch and share data sets between parallel XY instances or XY users.
    Just keep in mind one thing: the keyboard shortcuts in ks.dat identify functions by numbers and will trigger them without asking questions. So, if you throw a udc.dat together with a ks.dat that origin from different XY instances, the UDC-referring keyboard shortcuts will, of course, trigger whatever they find in that udc.dat. So, when loading a new udc.dat or a new ks.dat, quickly have a look at your "User" menu and see how the KS<->UDC situation has changed.
    - I took the chance to open the door to one of the next big XY features: scriptability! Internally the UDCs are already processed as scripts.
  • % Number formatting faster. You won't note it with today's hardware speed but believe me, it is faster. :)
  • + Added accelerators to menus that are listing tabs. Here's an example ("&" marks next char as accelerators; "&&" stands for "&" char that's not marking an accelerator):
      0&1 - Desktop
      0&2 - Desktop\getclipboard && files
      0&3 - C:\
      0&4 - D:\Download