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Hydra 2

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Hydra 2 Icon Version 2 of man and monkey's favourite text editor Hydra SEE is out. It has the magic capability of letting you co-operate on a text document with several people across your network or even the globe. That's both neat and cool. And mostly superfluous for me. I have used it on occasion, but those occasions have been rare .

However, it's still a remarkably good and fast text editor with syntax colouring and well worth using as such in its own right. The recent update came as a surprise to me as came the large jump in version numbers. That jump – probably caused by the fact that they are using a new, incompatible, network protocol now – is accompanied by a subtle icon colour change of the kind we've been seeing in iTunes for a few generations now.

But what else is new? The first thing you see is that they now seem to charge around €30 for commercial use of the application. Fair enough. The good news, it's still free for me. New features include a 'split view' and regular expressions. While I'm not sophisticated enough to have missed the latter, the former is both a classical Mac feature and tremendously useful – want to look at two places in your document at the same time? No problem. Also there seem to be more preferences and 'information bar' thingies around. Not so nice.

Total Waste of Screen Space Which makes me start pointing out the shortcomings I see in the new version. To begin with its 'feel' seems nowhere as polished as the feel of Hydra was when I first used it. Sure, it does its editing job but by now there is quite a bit of clutter around on the screen. Let's take the two information bars, for example. I'd call anyone who needs constant visual feedback about the file's encoding, the current mode and the window width a freak. This information may be useful in certain situations – while saving, during window resizes &c but it doesn't need to waste screen real estate constantly. To add insult to injury, those displays are just that – displays – and not little menus that let you change the settings they display. Of course this could be a mild one-off annoyance (but an annoyance still, let me be clear about that) as you can simply turn said information bar off. Unfortunately that setting doesn't stick... so count my bug report in. Update: I've been told that they'll sort this out asap within minutes of reporting the bug. Impressive.

Other things that I had expected to see done more smoothly in the second revision are:

And then there's one more thing. It is related to a very nice feature of SEE – it's ability to interact with FTP clients. I think I'll now drop RBrowser Lite in favour of Cyberduck which can interact with Hydra smoothly as well as doing both FTP and SFTP. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but it's fast and has a cute icon. Anyway, having grown to love that interaction of programs very quickly – I'd really like to see SEE support the documents drawn from FTP in a 'recent documents' menu. That'll probably be a hard thing to achieve – but it'd be very convenient.

A final remark I want to make is that these days there seems to be more good software from German speaking countries these days. There has always been GraphicConverter, but now there's also LaunchBar from Austria, SEE, Cyberduck from Switzerland and a few more – like our very own, say. This has the advantage that applications are more likely to come with a decent localisation. Sadly, SEE doesn't.

May 18, 2004, 23:31

Tagged as software.


Comment by ssp: User icon

Dave is running a document tonight. Go and leave a note.

May 19, 2004, 1:14

Comment by Matt Sephton: User icon

I’m wondering if development of version 2 invloves a wider circle of developers than the first version? That could explain the lack of quality control. I could be wrong though.

May 25, 2004, 15:42

Comment by ssp: User icon

I think there shouldn’t be more developers this time around.

Perhaps they were just excited to get the new version with the new protocol out quickly, so it can spread. I assume they don’t have large testing resources at their disposal. After all they’re students doing this for fun rather than some commercial outfit.

May 26, 2004, 1:09

Comment by noorullah khan: User icon

hello sir,

   sir i want to make my own virus and how its

   possible for me i need ur help and its my 

   burning desire if u can help me in this 

   prob so i shall be really thankful to u for

    that. if its possibe then send email to me

      sir. i shall be wait for u sir.

              thank u.

September 12, 2004, 0:34

Comment by Skylar: User icon

I am so so so mad at this Fucking Information Bar! I need to find a way to turn it off! Can Anyone help me???

November 23, 2004, 5:51

Comment by ssp: User icon

Skylar, the latest update to Hydra 2.1.1 finally makes the bottom bar stay away.

November 24, 2004, 21:41

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