Little longer…

Hey all, quick update.  My schedule will be opening up shortly, I promise.  But, finishing my current business is taking a bit longer than anticipated, so alas, I didn’t make my end-of-the-month goal…  I haven’t forgotten though.

Back

Hi, everybody.

It’s been a while, to put it mildly.  I can’t really give any excuse other than, “PhDs are hard.”  But, even though my time is still extremely limited, I’ve really been itching to start working on this project again.  If nothing else, I want to let people know that I haven’t completely abandoned the project forever.

So let’s take look at where things are. Quizo’s been updating his branch quite a bit this past year, so I think it’s fair to say at this point that this is no longer the “main” branch of QTTabBar.  To be honest, the temptation is there to just call it quits because of this.  After all, I only started this project because Quizo disappeared, and now he’s back and active.  Really, I think the best solution would be for me and him to work together on a single branch. I sent him an email recently asking if this was a possibility, but he politely declined.  So that’s that.

But, even so, this project is just too much fun for me to give up.  And I do have things I want to see implemented that might not be possible if I was working with Quizo.  So, I think I’ll stick with it for now.  But one thing I definitely think is necessary now though is making it clear that this is a fork of the original program, not a continuation of it.  Our respective branches are just two alternatives now.

A while back I proposed the idea of renaming the project, going so far as to solicit suggestions.  Afterwards, I backed off the idea because I decided it wasn’t worth losing the brand recognition this program has built over the years.  However, now that Quizo’s developing and we’ve got two separate branches being developed concurrently, they cannot share the same name.  I’ll probably end up calling mine something generic like FolderTabs; I generally prefer descriptive names anyway.

Anyway, let’s talk about the next version.  It’s been something like forever since the last release.  The next version is (and has been) almost complete other than a few isolated components (eg, the Desktop Tool).  So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to disable, gray out, or otherwise remove anything that doesn’t look like I can’t completely finish it within a few weeks.  The Desktop Tool will be one of them, maybe a few other relatively small things too.  Then I’ll aim to release it by the end of the month.  And we’ll go from there.

The other big thing I want to do is ditch SourceForge and move to Github.  I think this will be a much better environment for the project, and will allow others who want to contribute the opportunity to do so.  Hopefully this will go along with a nice new website to replace this crappy Wordpress installation… Seeing as how that web developer request has been hanging around for so long, I have a number of people asking to make me a web page, so if you’ve emailed me about that, you’ll hear from me if I need you.

I’ve been really bad about answering emails in general, so if you’ve emailed me in the past with some question and I haven’t responded, and you still want an answer, please send me another and I’ll try my best to respond.

I’ll make another post a little later about what my plans are for the future of the project.

Thanks, again! Also, I need (another) web designer!

Thanks so much to all who responded.  I’ve got a nice set of developers now, so hopefully things will pick up a bit.  I may want to bring in some other people later, but for now I think we’re all good on the developer side.

The other thing I still need is a web developer and designer, preferably one person who can do both.  So far I’ve been in talks with three different people, all of whom promised me the moon and the stars and even showed me some pretty great concept art, but then disappeared on me.  So, again, a few requirements.  If you meet all of them and want to contribute, hit up the Contact link to the right.  If you’ve emailed me in the past inquiring about the web developer position and I never responded, please email me again.

  • You have enough free time to make me a nice site and can help maintain it if necessary.
  • You have some example work you can show me.
  • You can handle the design without me telling you exactly how it has to be.  I’m a coder not a web designer!

Oh, and by the way, if anyone’s worried about Windows 8 landing soon, don’t be.  As of the latest build, almost everything still works perfectly, and the things that broke can be easily fixed.

Help Wanted, Again

Hi all,

I think I’ve reached an interesting point now: All the big things are done.  The Options dialog is working.  Multiple processes are working.  The Desktop Tool is working.  Everything works on a high level.  But, there are still too many smaller things that are yet undone to release the program, even with the beta label.  I can and will keep working on these smaller things, and they will eventually get done, but I think the program has reached the point where throwing manpower at it speed things up.  So, I think it’s time to hang the help wanted sign again.

When I took on a few devs previously, it was difficult because I was right in the middle of a major change that only I fully understood.  So, I had trouble coming up with things for them to do that they could do without having to spend a great deal of time understanding how it might affect the entire project.  But now that the big stuff is done, all that’s left is a bunch of fairly isolated TODO statements in the code.  Unfortunately though, the devs I took on no longer have time, so I need some more.

Hit me up using the Contact link to the right if all of the following are true:

  • You have experience with C#
  • You have enough free time you can devote to this project to make a significant impact
  • You have some sample code you’ve written that you can show me
  • You actually use QTTabBar yourself

Here’s hoping I’ll be able to release this thing someday…

The Latest Version is Still 1.5 Beta 2!!

There, hopefully that should catch a few eyes.  As many of you know, Quizo has decided to release a new version of his own branch, and I’ve been inundated with mail recently from people who’ve installed Quizo’s latest personal version and are now complaining to me that various things are broken.  Sigh…  It really saddens me that he’s continuing his own personal version, after he told me that he just doesn’t have the time for it.  If he does have time to work on this (and given how much his source code has changed since the previous release, he clearly does), then I really wish we could collaborate!  It’s very apparent that he has an incredibly deep understanding of the Windows shell, one that far surpasses my own.  But alas, if he doesn’t want to, I can’t do anything about that…

Anyway, I want to clarify where we stand as far as the next version goes.  In addition to the various bug fixes and minor improvements, there were three main things I wanted to accomplish with the next release: One is the options dialog, which I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about by now; that’s complete.  Second was interprocess syncing.  Windows Explorer can run with each window as its own process.  Some people do this intentionally.  Sometimes it happens without users meaning for it to happen, since there is a bug (yes, another one…) that causes new process to start sometimes.  But either way, QTTB needs to support it, and the current infrastructure just wasn’t up to the task.  However, that’s also been finished now.

The third and final big thing was the Desktop Tool, a feature whose death has been greatly exaggerated.  For those who don’t know, the Desktop Tool brings QTTB features such as Subfolder Tips and Image Previews to the Desktop, introduces a handy menu accessed by double-clicking your wallpaper, and has a bunch of other nice stuff.  Previously, I had thought that this feature was dead due to Win7 removing access to a critical component, but Quizo found a way to get what’s needed using a method I hadn’t considered (and in retrospect, I should have seen that!  It’s obvious!)

Since my copy of the Desktop Tool source is a horrendous mess TODOs and huge chunks of commented-out code (plus which the original code was already mangled by a decompiler), I’ve decided to just copy/paste Quizo’s source for that particular component, which means any improvements he’s made will (hopefully) carry over.  Of course, this does not mean that I can just copy/paste the code and put a check in the box; I have to fix all the incompatibilities between our code.  Our code bases have diverged quite a bit by now, so this is going to take some doing.  But I’m making progress, and like I said, this is the last big thing.  Once this is done, I have a bunch of smaller things that need to be taken care of, but after that, I’ll kick it out.

And by the way, after this release, I will be marking the beta series as feature complete.  There will likely be a few missing pieces in the next release, but once those are filled in and any bugs squashed, I’ll finally shed the beta label.

Thank you all for your patience.

Options Dialog Finished

Hello everyone, remember me?

Wow, it’s certainly been a while since my last blog post.  I apologize for that, but honestly, I didn’t really feel like anything worth blogging about had happened, and I really didn’t want to make even more “sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been busy”-type posts.  As an aside, let address something quickly:  I think I kind of assume people know this, but for anyone that doesn’t, please note that the blog is definitely not the way to judge whether the project is alive or dead.  The commit log is.  As you can see, I’ve been working on this project at a break-neck speed for the last couple months, and a few days ago I finally hit a milestone I feel is worth blogging about: The options dialog is complete.

This dialog has been such a massive undertaking, far bigger than I could have even remotely imagined.  The changes that it required were extensive and far-reaching.  And I’m sure some people are thinking “It’s just a dialog box!  Why is this important/time-consuming?”  I hope no one misunderstands this; I do know that nobody’s going to download this program just because it has a fancy options dialog.  What’s important to realize is that the dialog itself is simply the most visible part of a huge set of changes.  Many parts of the program have been re-coded from scratch, with performance improvements, increased stability, and simplifications made all over the place.  It’s certainly been a wild ride, and as difficult and time-consuming as it was, it’s been incredibly fun and an enormous learning experience.  Before this, I always kind of felt like I was just poking a few places in this enormous, enigmatic black-box.  But now, it truly does feel like it’s my program.

I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up that the next release is coming tomorrow; there’s still a ways more to go, a few more features to implement, and more than few bugs to fix.  But, this is a very big milestone.

I know screenshots of an options dialog aren’t exactly super exciting, but I suppose I should include a few here:

Explorer in Windows 8

There’s an interesting post over at the Building Windows 8 blog today (a blog which, by the way, I am monitoring like a hawk).  They even mentioned us as one of several popular add-ons!

So, it seems the ribbon is here to stay.  Personally, I don’t mind it as long as it can be minimized, but I know many people hate it with an intense passion.  The Quick Access Toolbar looks very nice, a great return to form that makes our own button bar look outdated.  I highly doubt this will be possible, but would be so great to be able to put our own buttons on that thing.  I expect another build will be leaked after the BUILD conference in September…  I can’t wait to get my hands on it and see how hackable it is.

Thank you!

I’m honestly astounded at how fast the responses came in!  Thank you all so much for your support.  I’ve got at least one new developer now and possibly two.  I think that’s enough for now, but if things don’t work out with them I’ll ask again.  I’ll formally introduce them once we get the details hammered out.

I still need a web designer though!

Help Wanted

Hey, two updates in less than a week!  How about that…

I have to be honest.  I’m very disappointed in how much progress I’ve made this summer.  Other than my big France trip, I didn’t think I had that much to do, so I had anticipated making far more progress than was actually made.  I think it’s about time to face the facts here:  I just don’t have the amount of free time that this project deserves.  So, I think it’s long overdue that I start actively looking for some help.  There are two things I need: A web designer and a programmer.

This half-baked WordPress install is about the pinnacle of my web-design prowess, and this project deserves a better public face.  Someone who could help me build a nice new site with an FAQ page and a place to host the plugins would be much appreciated.

As for the programmer position, there are really only three requirements: C# experience, adequate free time, and a willingness to contribute.  If you meet these three requirements, I want you.   I do want someone who enjoys coding and considers themselves good at it, but don’t worry if you have no experience with shell coding in particular; there are still plenty of simple tasks that don’t require any special knowledge that I could really use someone to take off me.

If you can fill one or both of these roles, I want to hear from you.  Hit up the Contact link on the right.

For the rest of you, you needn’t worry that I’m going to just stop working on this project.  Even if I don’t find anyone else to help out, I’ll still chug along and things will eventually get done.  But I have so many big plans and ideas for new features, and I really would like to see them happen sooner than they otherwise would.

PS: To help filter spam, I’ve enabled comment filtering so that comments with URLs will be sent to the pending list, which I may or may not check frequently…  So if you want to post a URL, replace the http with hxxp or something.

Options Dialog Preview

Hello everyone; sorry once again for the massive gap between updates…  I’ve been busy with other things.  It seems that, in my absence, the comment spam has become a far more significant problem than it used to be.  Unfortunately, I can’t install an anti-spam filter due to SourceForge’s extremely limiting hosting policy. I think perhaps this is a sign that I need my own hosting already…  In any event, I’ll try to keep a better eye on the site.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with name suggestions!  I’ve read them all now, and I saw several that I liked.  I’ll make a poll a little later to see what the most popular is.  I noticed that there were also many that thought that it should stay as QTTabBar, so I will make that a poll option as well.  To be honest, now that I’ve thought about how much work a name change would involve, that option is sounding a little bit appealing to me as well.  But, I’ll decide once I see how the poll turns out.

Anyway, although I have obviously not been checking the site nearly as much as I should have, a lot of work has been done on the program.  The new options dialog box is progressing nicely; here are some screenshots: Window, Tabs, Tooltips, Tweaks, General, Appearance

As you can see, it’s been… umm… let’s say “influenced”… by the options dialog for Microsoft Office.  I actually went through several styles before settling on that one.  I think Office’s options really hit a nice balance between aesthetics and functionality.  I especially like the bold section headers, which really let you find what you’re looking for quickly.

You might notice that there are a few options in these screenshots that hint at new features that are coming…