News February 18th 2011
Below I outline the extensive list of improvements to the programs released in February 2011. All version numbers have been upped to 2.00.
Netbooks and small screens
All programs should now fit on the smallest netbook screen and deal gracefully with user requests that would make the programs too large for the screen. For example the Kakuro program will not permit a puzzle too large for the screen to be loaded; the Sokoban program will not load maps that are too large; Minesweeper will not allow grids larger than the screen to be displayed. Although the programs will allow the user to temporarily configure the programs - eg select font sizes - that make the programs too big for the screen, they will not allow such configurations to be saved as preference settings.
New directory organisation
The programs have a new and uniform way of organising their associated files. Each program will create a directory in the user's home directory named .program_name - eg ".minestein". By default these directories are hidden from the user. All files associated with the program will be stored here. Programs which allow the user to save preferences will create a file named "preferences.txt" in this directory. Programs which allow data to be saved will create a directory here called "SAVES". When the user asks to save a file or open a saved file the file browser will open this directory.
New uninstall option
All programs now include an uninstall option. This option will delete all the directories and files in the program's hidden directory, and then, assuming file permissions allow, remove the program. Any icons linked to the program will not be removed.
Despite the new directory organisation and uninstall procedures program installation still consists only of saving the program file on the users's computer. When used for the first time the program will perfrom its own installation tasks and no additional installation program or procedure is required.
All programs now have a Help option which gives an outline of the game and a summary of the most important options.
All programs now allow the use of the middle mouse button to provide information about the function of toolbar buttons.
Double-click can now be used to select options from lists.
All programs now flash their toolbars when the user is successful!
All programs now display any additional windows they spawn in consistent positions rather than relying on the whims of the Window Manager. On Linux this means above the main program window; on XP popups appear on the centre of the screen and others above the main program window. Not checked on other systems.
In the sudoku and kakuro programs I removed the colour coding that was used to show the information content of cells. It was ugly and counting the number of remaining candidates provides the same data.
All program windows now have the resize button disabled.
Changed the main font.
More time consuming options raise an appropriate cursor when working.
Bug in map selection code fixed.
Loop for ever fixed.
New option to toggle the showing of annoying congratulatory message boxes.
Microban is now the first map set. This is to allow beginners an easy introduction.
A lot of code changes were required to make sure all maps, however selected, would fit on the user's screen.
Program display shrunk to fit on a screen only 576 pixels high.
Imported word lists are no longer ranked. This means that when short lists are used all words will now have an equal chance of being randomly selected (which was not the case before).