Beta 6.8 released + news

Download it here

I know I’ve said I wouldn’t release a new version until the ansi/non-standard characters problem is fixed, but I’ve been unable to find a solution that doesn’t break the api calls needed to accurately measure the fonts, so I gave up and worked on something else for a month, then decided to just go ahead and release the code as it currently stands.

This will be the final version released… using the .net 1.? framework.

After having another look at the TextRenderer class in 2.0, I worked out why the sizes weren’t matching up to what they should be, and I’m fairly certain that I can use it in my program. More importantly, it can handle any characters, and should (theoretically) allow the program to work correctly for every possible font with any character.

Added right-click menu items to show a dialog for changing the selection area’s fill and border colours
Added saving/loading of the selection area fill and border colours from the settings file
Added confirmation dialog for closing an image
Added confirm on close to the settings file (default: true)
Fixed double-click on a selected area loses the selection area
Changed clicking outside the image to not remove the selection area
Moved image and text brightness/contrast settings into a sub-category
Added variables and settings to specify whether to load image and text brightness/contrast and levels from the settings file (default: false)
Added variables and settings to specify whether to load the output size from the settings file (default: true) updated(!)

Let’s see, I spent a week or so writing a MVC framework in php, then I found Code Igniter and decided to use that instead.

Just as a test, I’ve remade the old ascgen website using the framework, and recreated the design totally in CSS. It doesn’t look that much, but it validates as XHTML strict and the examples gallery is all created on the fly from a mysql database. The framework is really easy to use; most of the time was spent on the css. When I get around to doing the bigger web project I’ve got in mind I’ll have a good idea about how to do it.

Not much progress on this program. I’ve worked out exactly what the problem with non-standard characters is, but fixing it isn’t straightforward thanks to the native methods I had to use to get accurate measurements of the fonts.

Beta 6.7 Released

Worked around the main problem with resizing the output images when Cleartype is on by converting the output to greyscale before saving it. People without XP, or who have cleartype turned off, can ignore the strange new and seemingly useless checkbox.

I’ve also fixed the problem with saving batch conversions with a variable width default font, hopefully for real this time.

Download it here

Changes in this version:
Fixed phantom colours problem when saving as images with Cleartype on:
– Added code for converting the output images to greyscale
– Added force greyscale checkbox to the Save as Image… magnification dialog
Properly fixed the batch conversion problems with variable width default fonts

Beta 6.6 Released

Several bugs fixed, and I’ve redone the Save as Image… text magnification dialog so you can see and adjust the output image’s size. Also the default prefix (usually ‘ASCII-’) is now stored and read from the settings file.

Download it here

Changes in this version:
“Save as Image…” magnification dialog box:
– Improved layout
– Added display of the output image size
– Made the form resizable
– Caught crash if the sample text is empty
– Increased accuracy of the trackbar by a factor of 10
Added saving of user entered ramp/valid characters to variables and xml
Fixed crash on opening batch conversion settings with a variable width default font
Restored “ASCII-” prefix when saving as text
Added a default prefix to the variables and xml
Set initial batch conversion output and input directories from the settings
Fixed crash on processing a batch conversion with a variable width default font

Bugs, and languages and Xml

Found a big and obvious bug with the batch conversions settings form, where half of the text was missing. Either nobody reported it, or nobody noticed, so I’m not going to rush a new version out today. Seriously, if you ever find anything then please just click on the “report a bug” link over to the right and tell me about it (you don’t need to log in to post).

While I was there, I finished formalizing the localization strings so it will be easy for people to translate into other languages. It’ll just need people to go through and edit a copy of this file, translating the values fields:
 <data name="String in English">
  <value>String in other language</value>

Not yet sure exactly how it’s going to work. Maybe through setting up a small wiki-style thing so anyone interested can just edit the page for their language.

In other code, there have been a lot of internal changes so all the default settings are in one place rather then buried in the code. I’m working on a way to store them in an xml file (saving xml done, no problem), and load them when the program starts (loading xml? convoluted and confusing).

Headaches and cleartypes

Very little progress since the last release. Mainly because my main computer’s monitor decided to go ever so slightly but permanently out of focus, and the first thing I knew about it was from the blinding headaches after using the computer for more then a few hours. One lovely big new Samsung TFT later and things seem to be ok (:touchwood:), now I just need something to fill the huge inaccessible gap on a corner desk specifically designed for a deep monitor.

This has all let me find out about Cleartype, and the problems it causes with the program. Having Cleartype turned on gives a different output, and it also slows down the display speed when you adjust the text image. I can’t really say if it’s better on or off, since either way the auto-ramp stuff gives the best output. A quick search shows that it should be possible to turn it off for the textbox and all the image stuff, so I’ll look into an option for that, it’s just annoying that there’s another thing to consider when you post the output as text.