Hard to select

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Hard to select

Published by on February 14th 2012.

It just so happens that when the release date of my software is getting near, I get an irresistible urge to add a new, unexpected, unplanned, and long-overdue feature. For RW Cursor Editor 2012, it happens to be a revamp of item selection handling.

Let me give you an example. RWCE 2009.1 has a Drop shadow button above the list of frames that applies shadow to all selected frames. But there also is a Drop shadow button on the main toolbar that only adds shadow to the current image or to the floating selection. Under the hood is the same tool, but the processed data is different for each of these buttons.

In RWCE 2012.1, there will only be a single button. It makes me happy when I can remove buttons while keeping functionality, which is the goal of this month.

Digging deeper

As I already said, in the next version of the cursor editor, there is going to be just a single Drop Shadow button and it will work like this (brace yourself):

  • If a floating selection exists, the effect is applied to the floating selection, else...
  • if more than one frame is selected, the effect is applied to every layer of every image of the selected frames, else...
  • if more than one image (of a multi-res cursor) is selected, the effect is applied to every layer of the selected images, else...
  • the effect is applied to every selected layer.

Did it sink in? No? OK, one more time. If you select multiple items on any level (frames, images, layers), the effect is applied on all images that reside inside them.

It is my belief that it will make things more intuitive and this concept will be introduced in next version of other RealWorld apps.

Unfortunately...

There is one tiny problem that is pretty big.

Currently, every effect configuration window has a little checkbox near the OK and Cancel buttons called "Remember configuration". If it is checked, the changes made in the window will be there next time you open it. If it is not checked, they will be forgotten after the effect is applied to ONE image. This poses a problem. If you uncheck it and attempt to apply the effect on multiple images at once, the second and subsequent images will use the previous settings, which is unintuitive and unacceptable (BTW, this also applies to the current version, but since there are so few buttons that affect multiple images, it was not a big issue). What now?

Fixing the behavior of the "Remember configuration" checkbox would be pretty hard, so I am removing it. The settings will always be preserved. "But I have been using it, you cannot remove it!" you say. OK, I am not removing it, I am replacing it, with something else and that would be:

Effect history

Here we are. Each effect will remember up to 5 previously used configurations and you can quickly switch between them using a "Previous settings" popup menu that will occupy the space of the good old "Remember configuration" checkbox (RIP).

rsrc/operation-history-button.png image

Cool, ain't it?

Sadly...

There is a tiny problem with the list of previous settings.

The problem is with the opacity of the settings. How would you choose from a menu with these items:

  • Old Drop Shadow settings
  • Even older Drop Shadow settings
  • Ancient Drop Shadow settings
  • Immensely old Drop Shadow settings
  • The oldest Drop Shadow settings

Cause that is what I can do for you. They are just settings for the Drop Shadow (or whatever) effect. This does not exactly help you to choose. How to fix it?

Light at the end of the tunnel

The situation is not that grim. When I was working on the redesign of the layer styles last year, I encountered similar problem. I needed a descriptive names for configured steps of a layer style. So, the mechanism is already partially in place. The effects just need to be able to translate the configuration into a human-readable expression. Don't expect wonders, but something like this:

rsrc/operation-history-menu.png image

Summary

And that is all. Now you know, why you have to wait another month for the new cursor editor. I hope the wait will be worth it.

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Recent comments

user icon Daniel W. registered user on February 15th 2012

I have been learning some java coding and I can say I have a whole new appreciation for the mind of a good programmer now. Keep up the good work. We look forward to the next version!

user icon Anonymous
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