751 words on Software
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.
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.
Other things that I had expected to see done more smoothly in the second revision are:
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.
Dave is running a document tonight. Go and leave a note.
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.
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.
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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???
Skylar, the latest update to Hydra 2.1.1 finally makes the bottom bar stay away.
Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.