New FocusWriter release!

I have made a new feature release of FocusWriter, version 1.5.0. This has been far too long in the making, partly because I was very distracted with Whisker Menu. This release mostly focuses on code cleanup and other internal changes. There are a few user visible improvements, though.

I have added a daily progress dialog which allows you to see how many days in a row you have managed to reach your daily goal, labeled as a “streak”. It also displays the length of the longest streak of days in which you have reached your daily goal. It shows you how far through your daily goal you are each day by changing the color of the background of the date, and when you reach your daily goal it shows a star behind the date:

Daily progress dialog

Daily progress dialog

I have at long last completely and utterly killed the awful black-on-gray default theme. And there was much rejoicing! Ahem. Anyway, there are now four default themes included, and the default when creating a theme more closely resembles that of other word processors. I have added two useful visual effects to the themes, namely the ability to blur the background behind the text, and the ability to have a drop shadow. Also, I replaced the tabs in the theme dialog to be a scrollable list to make it easier to find theme options:

Themes dialog showing default themes

Themes dialog showing default themes

Theme edit dialog with a new theme

Theme edit dialog with a new theme

This release also marks the return of included dictionaries on Windows. This does bloat the installed size quite a bit, and I am still figuring out what I want to do about that for future releases. I added them back as too many users were confused by having to download dictionaries separately from third-party sites.

There is now a basic NSIS installer for Windows; however a ZIP download for portable mode is still provided.

Enjoy! Please report any issues you have.

FocusWriter 1.4.5 released

I have made a new bugfix release of FocusWriter, version 1.4.5. This release fixes quite a few smaller bugs. It will most likely be the last bugfix release I make before the next feature release, which if I hope to have finished soon. Enjoy!

FocusWriter 1.4.3 released

I have made a small FocusWriter release to fix a data loss bug with the emergency cache: FocusWriter had not been restoring from cache for brand new files that did not have a name yet. This release also improves the Qt 5 support by properly migrating the data from the Qt 4 version. Enjoy!

FocusWriter 1.4.2 released

I have made a minor FocusWriter release, version 1.4.2. This release is mostly about fixing a few bugs (for example, it no longer crashes when ignoring words during spellchecking), and to add initial Qt 5 support.

Along with this release I have also removed my Ubuntu personal package archive as it was simply too much effort to maintain packages for both the OBS and PPA. If you are an Ubuntu user do not worry, you can still get updates through my OBS repository.

FocusWriter bugfix release

I just released FocusWriter 1.4.1 which has fixes for several bugs, including a nasty one where FocusWriter would crash on the Mac when you had focus text on and pressed the circumflex accent key. It also fixes the high CPU use and constant sound effects in Ubuntu 10.04, as well some minor problems with read-only files and shortcuts. Enjoy!

FocusWriter 1.4.0 released!

I have finally made the next feature release of FocusWriter, version 1.4.0. This release fixes almost all known bugs of the second beta, except for a couple that are out of my control (for instance, the invisible menus in Unity when minimizing). I also added a translation for Simplified Chinese.

I am also announcing that I am taking a partial break from my open source projects for the next several months. I will be adding translations and fixing reported bugs, and hopefully even making bugfix releases, but I will not be adding any features.

I hope you enjoy this release of FocusWriter!

Another beta release of FocusWriter

I have just released another beta of FocusWriter, version 1.3.90. I have fixed all reported bugs, as well as a few I found along the way. I also removed the included dictionaries, so Windows users will now need to get dictionaries from Apache OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Please let me know if you find any bugs!

Beta release of FocusWriter

I have made the first ever beta release of FocusWriter, version 1.3.80. At this point I will not be adding any more features to the next feature release of FocusWriter. I have been meaning to start making public betas for my bigger projects, and the hiccups with the recent release of Kapow has just reinforced that decision.

I have added the beta as a separate bubble on my website that is just straight hyperlinks. This way you can still download the latest stable release (1.3.6) if you do not want to try the beta.

Now, there are a few bugs with this beta. The most noticeable is that sounds effects are broken in Windows. Please don’t tell me, I know, and I will fix it shortly. There are a few other known bugs, but they should not affect anywhere near as many users. This beta is to find bugs I don’t know about, especially with any of the new features.

This beta is the last release that will include dictionaries. When I first added spellchecking to FocusWriter it had very few translations, so I included their respective dictionaries and thought nothing of it. As more and more translations have been added, however, I have to reconsider that decision as they now take up over 60 MB on disk! With the switch to native spellchecking on the Mac, Windows is the only platform that needs those files. I will be adding downloads for dictionaries to my website so that you can get them at the same time you get FocusWriter.

I know that some of you have really been looking forward to getting your hands on the new features, and now is your lucky day! Enjoy!

Plain text support in FocusWriter

For a long time FocusWriter could only read and write plain text files. Way back in version 1.3.0 I added support for rich text and basic RTF files, and I later added support for basic ODT files.

When I added support for rich text I split FocusWriter into two modes: plain text mode and rich text mode. However, many users who are new to FocusWriter have found it confusing to switch modes to enable or disable rich text, and they don’t always realize that FocusWriter can save plain text files as it defaults to rich text files.

In the spirit of the principle of least surprise, I have changed the development version of FocusWriter to behave like other word processors. You will now be able to insert formatting into any file that is open, even if it is a plain text file. FocusWriter will then ask you if you want to discard said formatting if you attempt to save it as a plain text file, and if you do not it will pop up the “Save As” dialog with ODT as the default format. It will only ask you if you have added formatting, unlike some other word processors!

You will also be able to switch a file’s format in the “Save As” and “Rename” dialogs, and it will prompt you about discarding formatting if you switch it from ODT or RTF to a plain text file. These changes have removed the need to explicitly toggle rich text support, so I have removed the menu options “Make plain text” and “Make rich text”.

Navigating and rearranging scenes

After more than a month of work I have finally finished adding scene management to FocusWriter! This is something I have wanted to add for a very long time, and I am excited that it will finally be in the next feature release. It took me a lot longer to implement than I was expecting, and a lot of different attempts to get it to something I am happy with.

On to some details! In essence this is simply a way to quickly navigate and rearrange a document. What I have done is add a sidebar on the left side of the window (resizable by dragging, and only shown when you mouse over and click an expander button). The sidebar lists the scenes of the document and allows you to click to go to different scenes, or to select multiple scenes and drag them around.

One thing that took awhile was deciding what text to show in the sidebar, and how to track it without slowing down typing. In the end I decided to use the first three lines of text for each scene, and it updates them only when the sidebar is shown. I did it that way so that you don’t have to create a description for each scene. Of course, you can write a description at the beginning of a scene, but it is not required and it will be counted in the document statistics.

A scene is detected when a scene divider is found at the beginning of a paragraph. By default it looks for the text ##, but the user can change that to be something else. I considered using text sections as defined by RTF and ODT, but that would not have worked with plain text files. I also didn’t want the scenes to be accidentally thrown away by other word processors.

Hovering over hidden scene list Showing scene list