Now that the betas are out, we can finally talk about some of the sexy new stuff in more detail. With an added/changed/fixed list 150+ long (which is not even close to definitive with over 1000 commits to the source code since 0.5.3!) it is far from easy to get a quick view of what is new/improved. I know poor meme is having to play catchup with the User Guide with all our changes and he also intends to post about some of the new stuff soon too...
Here are my top 5 "you might not know this" new features that rock my world for productivity...
- Go to Link or Style - In CodeView, you can ctrl-click (F3) on a class name or tag element and be taken directly to it's definition in the CSS stylesheet (either inline or linked). I find it ideal for when you want to quickly tweak a style for justification or margins. This same feature also works on an image src or anchor href to navigate to the linked image/file. Hit Ctrl+\ or toolbar Back button to return to the previous file/location.
- Code View and CSS Style editing - All those toolbar buttons you use in Book View for applying styles or heading tags? Most of them now work in Code View and inline CSS/stylesheet files too. Change a <p> to a <h3>, add <i> around a selection, text-align a CSS style... You can also control whether any existing classes are retained on heading tags via a setting in the Format->Heading menu.
- Regex enhancements - Never type a (?U) or (?s) again if like me you don't want to. In the Search->Regex Options menu you will also see an option to automatically tokenise when you hit Ctrl+F, which converts multiple whitespace/pretty print line feeds into \s+ for you and also escapes regex characters such as periods etc. You can also manually tokenise all or just a selection of your Find text (similar feature but adds converting numerics to \d+) by choosing "Tokenise Selection" on the right-click menu in the Find dropdown.
- Find/Replace scope with ctrl+click - Tired of continually changing between "All HTML Files" and "Current File" when you switch to a CSS file or similar and back? Now you can just leave it set to "All HTML Files" and ctrl-click on any of those Find/Count/Replace/Replace All buttons if you want to temporarily perform (for instance) a replace of line heights on a CSS file, leaving the scope dropdown unchanged for when you work on an HTML tab. Works in the Search Manager too.
- Clipboard History - There is a more powerful Clip Editor feature, but for my most frequent copy/paste I continuously use the Clipboard History popup (Ctrl+Alt+V) to quickly recall clipboard entries at the touch of two keystrokes. No more "what did I last copy?" and "darn, it's gone now"...
That is without even mentioning dozens of other new features, many of which are now established in my regular workflow:
- Saved Searches
- Clip Manager
- Spelling navigation and keyboard shortcuts
- Deleting unused images and styles
- Edit capability in TOC generation
- Inserting special characters
- Change text casing
- Reformatting CSS files
- Create indexes & inline TOCs
- Various style and file usage reports
- Ease of linking stylesheets and images
- Validating CSS online with W3C
- Inserting links and anchors
- Opening files/images with external editors
- Customise the GUI fonts/sizes/colours
- ...and so much more...
And here are my favourite top 5 bug fixes from the countless dozens of nasty things we fixed...
- Stability (Windows particularly!) - Time will tell as to how others find it, but I have been using this codebase daily for the last three months on Windows XP and Windows 7 x64. A whole bunch of race conditions and nasty legacy code was ripped out and replaced. The last crash I had (which we fixed) in editing hundreds of ebooks was over a month ago. This build of Sigil will now handle a number of the common errors when loading invalid content more gracefully. There is still more that can be done, but in my opinion this is like night and day with *any* other Sigil release before it.
- Cursor positioning/scrolling - Like many of you I hated that when I switched views/tabs/did a F&R the cursor/selection would "randomly" jump to the bottom of the document, the top, or be scrolled off screen - it should no longer happen. Also page up/down in BookView now moves the cursor when it scrolls (and yes it scrolls down one page worth in this build). TOC clicking to a heading down the page now always works, rather than only if the tab was opened first.
- Splitting Files - You can now split *anywhere* within or outside a paragraph in BookView or CodeView and text will be split off correctly retaining block styles if needed. No more of those blank pages because you split between <br/> tags you could not see in BookView. If you use Sigil split markers, it now iterates all html files to split in one go - not just the current file. And no more of those "rat droppings" of <p> </p> or similar at the top of the split page.
- Find & Replace - Several gremlins got stamped on in this critical feature, including the "sometimes it won't actually replace" or "it replaced with \1 instead of the evaluated backreference". The recent history dropdowns are bumped up to 25 items instead of 15 (though the Search Manager and auto-completion helps reduce that usage). There is also now no restriction on text length for when you hit Ctrl+F to load the Find text, so it always works rather than sometimes not.
- Spellcheck fixes - Various things but two in particular stand out for me. You can now add/ignore a word with curly apostrophes. And if you add/ignore a word and flip to another tab already opened the spelling highlighting on that tab is updated without having to close/reopen. More can be done in future for non-English tokenisation but "for the rest of us" it now works darned well, particularly when you assign keyboard shortcuts to whiz through a book.
The thousands of hours of effort gone from the guys into the 0.6 release over the last six months is truly epic, it has been a lot of fun to work on this. There are still a few things up our sleeves we would like to add/change/rewrite in the future, but with this release Sigil is faster, more stable, more featured and more polished than ever before.
So folks, please let us know your thoughts...