Springy 1.6 released, immediately followed by 1.6.1
Dragan, posted Nov 19th 2009 at 11:50PM
As you probably can notice, there were two versions of Springy released in two consecutive days! The version 1.6 was probably the busiest release since Springy started its life as a shareware application. Two days full of application building, disk image making, downloading and uploading, answering e-mail and forum messages, fixing bugs and than all over again.
First, version 1.6 was released yesterday at around 18:00 CET. I just post information on couple of relevant Mac sites and than had to go to finish some other stuff. That also took part this morning, and just as I finished and started answering some forum messages, Chris has discovered a very nasty bug, which needed immediate fixing. Luckily, the fix was easy, but it took a while to do the whole release cycle one more time before the version 1.6.1 became publicly available. During that time, version 1.6 became unavailable for download. I didn’t want to put anyone at risk of corrupting some important data with the buggy application.
Now when it’s all (hopefully) over, let’s talk about what really is new (bugs excluded :-)) in version 1.6 (and 1.6.1). The full list of news you can find at the version history page and here I’d like to stress some I find most important. But before doing that, I want to mention one thing I did NOT do: Springy help system was not updated. I had so many things to do in a short period of time and the help system is getting fatter and fatter with all new options Springy gets. It’d take me additional couple of days to prepare it, but I didn’t want to wait that long. Users have been waiting for the version which will provide Services Menu in Snow Leopard for too long already and I believe they prefer to get it even with old help system, then to wait some more. Off course, the help system will be updated to explain all new features and I hope it will see the light of a day in version 1.6.2 or 1.6.3.
And now, let’s talk about news!
Services Menu, off course! In Snow Leopard this is the preferred way of doing things which were usually done with the contextual menu plug-ins in earlier OS versions. More about how to use Springy Services can be read here. I’ll just tell you how to enable them, since you have to do it manually. Launch Springy application at least once (or you can logout/login, or reboot, but I assume just launching Springy is more quick and straightforward) and it will register its services with the system. Then, launch System Preferences app and go to System preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Services:
In section “Files and Folders” you will see many new services provided by Springy. Check the one you want to use and off you go. You may think some archiving services are duplicated but a more careful look reveals a subtle difference between the two: one is without the so-called ellipse character (...), the other one has it. The first one immediately starts archiving selected files using default archiving parameters from user preferences, while the latter one presents a panel, where you set up archiving parameters to be used for that particular archiving task. I know this configuration looks a bit strange (and possibly ugly). I’d much rather have it solved by having only one item, which dynamically changes its look and behaviour when pressing a modifier key, the same way as implemented in SpringyCM contextual menu plug-in. Unfortunately, Services Menu architecture doesn’t allow for any dynamism. I’ve made a request to Apple for such behaviour some time ago, we’ll see whether they will provide any. Changing the behaviour of the menu item with a modifier key is possible even now, but not the way it’s presented to the user. In order to avoid more confusion (questions like “why does the archiving parameters panel appear sometimes, and not some other times?”), I decided to go with two separate menu items, until some more dynamism is provided by Apple. I you have some better idea how to solve this, I’d like to hear it.
Direct extraction mode is another great feature many users were asking for. When in this mode, Springy doesn’t open an archive the regular way for browsing, but immediately starts extracting all files from it, similar as Mac OS X built-in Archive Utility does. If Springy is set as a default handler for a particular archive and it works in direct extraction mode, a double-click on archive file will start immediate extraction. This doesn’t apply to double-clicking the archive file only, it also applies to all possible ways of opening a file: drag & drop onto springy application icon in Finder or Dock, using Open and Open With Finder contextual menu items, etc. Whether Springy works by default in Direct Extraction Mode or Open for Browsing mode is easily set in Springy > General preferences:
Default behaviour can be overruled with fn modifier key in Leopard and Snow Leopard (*cmnd* key is used in Tiger). Further fine tuning of direct extraction is possible with settings in Springy > Extracting preferences:
You can choose whether direct extraction starts immediately in the same parent folder where the archive is, or an open panel is presented, giving you possibility to select destination location. Again, default behaviour can be overruled using alt modifier key.
Support for 7-zip archives! Finally some support, at least. At the moment, Springy is only able to open/read/extract 7Z archives, but full support will come during the 1.6.x upgrading cycle. I’ve already written about hurdles of implementing 7-zip support, so I won’t repeat it here. I’ll only say it takes this long because I really want it implemented in a good way, which also takes care of good error handling. For example, if you have a corrupted 7Z archive, Springy will clearly tell you what is wrong. Or if you need to supply a password to extract encrypted files from a 7Z archive, and you mistype it, Springy will go back and ask you again for the password for the same file. Other tools available on Mac would just abort extraction and say the password may be incorrect, etc…
The same code used to handle 7Z archives can also process Microsoft CAB archives, so in an unlikely event of stumbling upon a CAB archive you need to browse and extract, Springy will serve you properly.
Flat List View, This is like having the normal list view, but than without any hierarchy, just a list of all files in an archive. This is how WinZip presents archive contents. Personally I don’t like it at all, but there seems to be many switchers from Windows to Mac who requested me to make something similar. I hope this will make them happy:
I’ll leave to you to discover other new features and improvements yourself. In a next few days, while the work on updated help system is in progress, I’ll make appropriate F.A.Q. page which will briefly explain some of new things and how to use them.
Enjoy the new version!