So the last release, 2.4, was not something I had planned to do. I was hoping after 2.3, with the introduction of Editor Mode, I could kick back a little and finally get return to writing. The point of Editor Mode was to allow my missus, who works in the next room to me, to be able to read and comment on my first book. However it became clear there were a few things I needed to change within QW first. One of the biggest issues, that thankfully few people experienced, was not being able to open projects. Stopping people from writing is probably the greatest irritation and frustration for me, I wanted QW to empower people, not prevent them from scratching their itch. The usual cause of this problem was the projects.xml file which QW used to keep track of all the projects you have, when you last edited them, where they are stored, what they are called and so on. Sometimes though it became corrupted, the file became literal junk, filled with “NUL” values that overwrote the entire file, losing all the information it contained. I’ve never tracked down the cause of this, I have my suspicions about why but nothing definite.
One of the most important rules I have in life and it is something I employ when developing code or while writing is “Redefine the problem.” QW itself is a perfect example of this in action, when I started writing I tried out Word and a couple of other programs but I soon discovered they are focused on how your text is laid out rather than the text itself. This is fine for writing a letter but it made me realize I was looking at the problem the wrong way, I was trying to fit my needs to what a word processor offered and I didn’t fully understand what it was I needed. I needed to redefine my problem. Thus QW was born.
The corrupted projects.xml file was a similar problem. The fact that the file became corrupted was a problem but instead of trying to fix it I redefined the problem to instead ask myself “how do I get rid of the file altogether” and a suggestion from a QW user led me to the new “Projects Window” and to use a database to store the project information.
Version 2.4 also contains a number of important bug fixes and user requested features that I could no longer ignore, not that I ignore them, it’s just in development you have to be careful of scope and feature creep. Sometimes things have to be added to the ever growing “do it later” pile and fastidiously ignored. Adding support for bold/italic/underline for assets was one frequent request, allowing documents to be added to assets was another.
But now the release is done and out of the door and it’s taken me 450 words to get to the point of this post.
What’s next for QW?
First, I need to get back to writing, so my time is limited but the next big push is looking into the Mac feasibility. In short, can I get QW working on a Mac. This is going to take some time and while I’m sure that I can get QW running, running is not the same as working.
Next is the QW website and user guide. The user guide and website are woefully out of date, there have been a billionty new features added and the website doesn’t reflect this. The user guide still has images of QW from version 1.4 and some of the information is out of date.
The test tracking tool I wrote to help me test QW is now so rickety that I’m surprised I can still use it (seriously why can’t I find a good online test tracking tool?) It needs some work to get it back up to scratch.
I also want to write some blog posts on various aspects of QW that I believe are helpful but that some people may not be aware of them, for example splitting chapters, the problem finder, setting what is displayed in the projects window, editor mode and setting edit points. QW is designed to hide all these features away but it wouldn’t hurt to give them some time in the sun.
This is all admin type stuff though, here are some of the “big” ideas I have for version 2.5.
- Some sort of integration with self-publishing services such as Amazon, Lulu and even things like NaNoWriMo.
- A word cloud for your story (I’ll do a blog post on this at some point, it was a feature planned for 2.3 but had to take a back seat).
- More statistics and visual representations.
- Targets, such as words per day/session and so on.
- Text tidy, a tool that will allow you to tidy up your entire project to conform with certain rules, for example putting a , after “, having two spaces at the start of a new sentence, ensuring all quotation marks are the same.
- A news/interesting stuff tab which would show you interesting information/links.
- HTML export that actually looks good.
- A project planning tool that allows you to structure a project.
- A timeline tool for planning timelines (this may be the same as the item above).
- Move QW to use JavaFX.
- Integration with Evernote so you can add notes/thoughts on your mobile device and convert them into “real” things within QW.
It’s important to note that all or none of these things may show up in 2.5 and if you have something you’d like to see added/changed please let me know. The list above also doesn’t include the myriad of small changes and additions that will occur, for example I need to add the ability to change the font and font size of text boxes, that will probably be in 2.5.
That’s it for now, Happy Writing!