New Update

There’s nothing major in this one, mostly tweaks to the UI. A number of things got left behind in the transition from the VCL framework to the FireMonkey framework, because FireMonkey didn’t have any real equivalent to them. This restores most of them (and adds a couple of others).

You can find the patch notes here, the demo version is here, and the new full version is on the product download page as usual.

After the break, I’ll explain a few of the important changes.

Most of the changes are very minor things, like adding a cancel option to the Preferences dialog or fixing an obscure bug in table execution. There are a few worth mentioning, however.

One is the right-click menu I added to the run count box. I’ll admit I mostly did that for myself: in convention demos, I kept rolling up 5,280 feet of caverns, which was good, and then rolling up 5,280 magical fountains, which was not so good. Aside from paying attention to what I was doing, I needed an easy way to switch back and forth.

The answer to that was the little popup menu in question. It can set the run count to any of a number of common values — 12, for instance, or 5,280 — and also save whatever it was before you changed it with that menu. Those options are, at the moment, 1, 7, 10, 12, 20, 24, 30, 52, 100, and 5280. These were the ones that seemed to me to be the most useful: a single run, a week of days, ten runs, a dozen runs, a score of runs, a day of hours, a month of days, a year of weeks, a hundred runs, and a mile of feet. If you have any ideas for ones that should be added, leave a comment.

Another significant change was in how I handled some of the output. My compiler doesn’t (that I know of) actually have an option to paint that section of code red so it goes faster, so I did the next best thing.

This actually came about because I added a feature enabling the user to change the font size in the file listbox, which comes in handy on smaller screens. FireMonkey being what it is, this required a redrawing of the whole file list, which was not fast. When I took steps to speed that up, I realized the same thing could be done with the table output. It only works with “Show output in progress” (in the Preferencess dialog) turned off, naturally.

The result? My test, a particularly output-intensive run which took nearly 15 minutes showing the output in progress, ran in only 9 seconds with the new changes and streaming output off. It’s never run so fast!

I made a lot of other minor changes, too, like graying out the file listbox while it’s looking for table files after a directory change (you’re not likely to actually see this unless you’re using a slow computer), making sure everything that should have a tooltip did, putting borders around the buttons to make them look buttonier (you can turn this off with Preferences if you prefer it the old way), and so on. Nothing huge, just a lot of tidying up, polishing, and “fit and finish” kinds of things.

At this point, all known bugs in TableMaster have been squashed, the UI is looking the way it should, and in general, TM is where it should be at. For Windows. The big push now is for the Macintosh port, which continues to be in progress. They don’t make this easy.

The other thing I’m working on is an update to the Arcane Alphabets fonts. Most of the basic ones are just rebuilds — there’s not all that much I would want to do with, say, Ogham — but there are others that are getting a more complete reworking, such as expanding the character set or redrawing some of the glyphs. And I’ll be adding a handful of new ones, primarily the dice-outline fonts.

On a personal note, I’m still working on sorting out my late aunt’s estate, which is consuming a lot more of my time than I ever imagined it would. It’s not the big stuff that’s the real problem — it’s things like dealing with Time-Warner about the return of non-existent equipment and getting the power company to accept that I am, in fact, a real person even though I live in another state, and I want to give them money. (I’ve never met a company so resistant to taking my money before!) It is something of a distraction from software development to be doing everything from dealing with multiple banks, insurance companies, utilities, state and federal offices, hospitals, doctors, etc., to getting estimates for a new roof on a house 1300 miles away. (it leaks) This is slowing down the Mac port and Arcane Alphabets rebuild, and has pushed the next table pack back so far onto a back burner that it’s fallen off the stove. It’s great for the Monster Energy Company, though; I’ve taken to buying my energy drinks in case lots.