Contentwise this page has the status of 12.30.2007
This page will give you some background information about the work done by the guys behind TW. We publish activities of the development, challenges, we struggle with, etc. in random sequence.
- End of 2007
- Spring/Summer 2005
- Welcome in 2005
- Year´s Finals 2004
End of 2007
The homepage does not alter since month (years…), documented by the leap in time in this log. There is not really something to do, keeping Tempus Word going. The desired functions are included, grand mistakes — as far as I know — not. Because GEM does not develop further, there is no need to rise ms-like "makeup updates", requiring a reorientation but keeping the old mistakes, to feel at home.
The Tempus Word crew is envolved in other projects furthermore, beyond dispute a reason for new ordered priorities. The current state of Tempus Word requires only maintanance. Further development on this basis has stopped.
"On this base" is a conciliatory annotation; if, and in which kind, know how of Tempus Word will transfer into another development is quite vague. But there are desicions. From now to then you will get Tempus Word as you are familiar with.
If you have any remarks to Tempus Word, please, let us know. The forum was closed by the service provider in case of low activity. A true evidence of the fully matured state of Tempus Word. Most forums exist only because of errors and lacks. But there will be still some. They simply are not found yet. If you catch one, please, send a mail. Because a calm homepage does not mean, we do not see about it. But "see about" shall not be a knee-jerk effect. If there is something to do, it will be done. Apart from that we let things take their course.
In this spirit: a successful 2008 and a good time!
Not much has happened during summer; interested could easily recognize that on creation date of the homepage. Beyond Tempus-Word each of us is forced to earn money with honest work. TW is honest work but it does not earn enough to live from. So, we had to divide our power into pieces. And during spring we came to a new strategy that forced us to pause:
Just right now the new OpenOffice will be released. A merciless competitor. Powered by noble sponsoring of Sun, a product free of charge is head of class in times of "stinginess is horny". The result is quite imposing, possible with a well filled purse, anger on a competitor and a given troop of programmers. Comparing to this we eat humble pie. Microsoft itself will strike back in presenting a completely revised Office, that will be task-oriented instead of function-orientated.
During our attempts on a new interface, this information came up from well informed circles. The question rose, if it is really a good idea, changing the interface of TW with a great effort, facing the fact, that the competitors will have a redesign at the end of the year an TW will look again "old fashioned". So we stopped development immediately and moved to other topics. "Waiting" means in this case the opposite of "do nothing". In example we spent much energy in color managment. This meets 3% of TW, but we had the occasion, to collect knowledge in another project together with the option to develop a new product, that fits into our portfolio regarding to color management. Because we are faszinated by alcoves, we are struggling with such bulk-fitting apparatus like exposing machines for photo labs. There are no masochistic treats in it; this machine was in the beginning. An other individual product came into being for a car magazine: an HTML browser, that can be started without installation from CD, offering recherche opportunities in a database to bring up a found article in a PDF file and — as special version for advertising agencies — creating graphical analysis of relevant market data.
In the first glimpse this seems to be far away from TW, but it is quite near to the fact, that we will not enter a bulk-market with TW. This will be fight by Microsoft and Sun until further notice. Another clone of these with a slightly different handling and a few different goodies — what for? There are still lots of it. Our decisions move in a completely different direction now: There are enough people knowing that the mass products do not fit to their needs. They are looking for a product, that solves special requirements. Such a product does not win because of being close to the standards instead of solving concrete challenges outside the mainstream. And everybody, that can count the costs will be overready to pay a little bit more to save time. How this will take place in parts and it will influence coming releases of TW is open-ended. Currently we collect ideas, outline technical concepts and proof basic approaches. It will take some more time for the next release of TW, but we are willing to create a "version 2005".
If you have a task that is badly solved or missed in well known products, we are very interested in. It does not matter, if your idea fits into the current concept of TW: We are really calm about that. If it rocks, we will create a new product, based on the know how of TW. This is constructive headway… .
Welcome in 2005
There it is. A new year. With new intentions. With plans in the luggage, that should have been released in the previous year. At last the desicions, how to filter the highlights out of the vast number of brilliant ideas, that might be the most wanted for users and prospectives. Doing this, you always think multidimensional. The very exciting idea — as well driven by the fact, that it would be a “nice to have for my own” — is more often as you like it an operational no no, that would move the next update into a unpredictable future.
Facing this, you have to have a look on the toughness of a squirrel, that nibbles tireless a nut until an inlet is found, to crack it. That´s the expected strategy for this year: Nibbling through. The next update therefore will be the unpleasant one in the beginning. We have to change the configuration file format, to allow free combining of the different language versions. The unpleasant part for the user will be, to restore current settings by hand after this update. We said good bye to the idea of auto-converting previous configuration files. They contain elements, that can not be identified clearly for the new format. The consequences of that stroked us with the included setup of the previous windows update. This finally turned the balance to developing functional expansions instead of investing time into analysis of eventualities. We are hoping that we benefit with it anybody interested in Tempus Word on the one hand and saving the frustration, if “eventualities” slip through; and they would do. Because of the fact, that we will not do this with every future update and the previous update was a gain in experience, the “manual way” seems to be the most secure one for us.
After blowing a moody tuba melody I will change to the shalm — well knowing that the last paragraph will stay in mind best. If you do not know a shalm: It is the instrument, men used to enchant women in the middle ages. But this is just another story.
To return to the point: We listened. It will be something, that many users want. It will leave space for extentions after the first draw, but we do believe, that users as well as interested ones will be exited of it. I am talking about the new function “book to HTML”. That´s it. No more explanations from now on, because I will be as pleased as Punch about the speculations about it in the forum, … ..
Year´s Finals 2004
We had decided so well; just in time, 24th of December, the update should be presented to our customers. We planned with buffer, everything seemed to be save. But as observant reader you already have noticed it: "Seemed". The "seemed" came along as very unspectacular JPEG image with a class of whenever whereever on it, found in the internet. JPEG, the guiding light of the forthcoming update. Together with this small, boring image it became a supernova, sending everything to heaven crossing it´s way. Something like "Battlestar Galactica". We, the brave from TW, had no choice: Facing the attack and defeeting the enemy. We decided a friendship to this unusual JPEG format as best solution. The dull image can be shown now in TW. Nice, isn´t it?
But the second "seemed" came next. Maybe you know this: You´re sitting together, willing to final something with a last polish, to make everything look fine, but then it attacks you from behind. The X-Mas Revenge.
Oh Claudio what happened so bad,
that changed your face from happy to sad?
Dear Norbert, I don´t know what to say,
The meal from yesterday took the wrong way,... .
Exactly this moment I felt weak as well. Claudio has some "virus mother ships" in his circle of friends he met the day before. May be he took a stowaway home and parted it with me like brothers do. Who knows. Finally it doesn´t matter anyway, because Claudio was knocked out imediately and I was not shure what was happening to myself. So, finalising stopped, because you should be lord of your senses, while bringing an update into the internet.
Well. Here it is. Sorry for delay. We hope you will enjoy it, and, ..., a happy new year. Cheers!
The last weeks our enthusiasm was a little bit broken. As every autumn, when a cold breeze flows beneath the door and you will recognize that in having a red nose on wake up. Claudio was shot completely for a few days. I for myself try to handle it like it is better to be not perfectly healthy, than being a little bit ill.
Nevertheless I will spread a few thoughts, that we where busy of the last few days. In the German forum some TW-users are bothered by the idea that we will create a MS-clone. I will announce here as an official statement: This was never ever our plan. On the one hand, there are just enough of these clones (carrying core problems inside which do not really mark them as alternative) on the other hand it would be the silliest thing we could do under our given technical circumstances. Sure; in several things there will be some similarities. This is caused by the circumstances. So you will find in MS-WORD an action, that corrects wrong typed letters in a word. TW did this already in version 0.9 (15 years ago). The appearance is unavoidable nearly the same: A presumably wrong typed word is checked by an algorithm, trying to find a correct one. Letters are moved by ghost´s hand. Or the tabulator: It will look like a ruler in almost every text processing program, because of the fact, that this is the usual method of measuring over hundreds of years. This comparison can be continued for a while. Nevertheless there is no danger of being to close to other programs. Everything that counts are the inner values: For example the fully button-orientated operation, highest performance and stability even with huge documents, a small ressource saving program, that itself is modest doing it´s job day by day.
In several cases we have to accept some semi-standards. Most apparently this can be described on block functions (Ctrl-A,-C,-X,-V). Trying another way on this would be stupid, because it unnecessarily increases the complexity of learning and even experienced users of the program will welcome this, looking aside to other programs, they are using in their daily work. This covers mostly the major operating systems, PC and Mac, because these two are nearly identical in much cases that even a OS-fanatic has to admit, if he is objective.Looking on this, a Windows-fan can not deny, where MS-Windows has basically found it´s desktop, a Mac-fan will concede that two mouse-buttons can be really useful.
I hope that primal fears now are finally eliminated. If you feel rising fears, try to convert it into positive energy: Describe in our forum, what you would like to keep or your ideas, regarding to the use of TW. I will repeat it to avoid misunderstanding: No functional extensions, but changes, valuable things to keep or additions regarding to the operation of TW.
- Larger buttons on the tool bars? More colors for the symbols?
- Missing operations on them or to much?
- Should tool bars change dynamically, offering additional functions regarding to the called operation (i.e. Search and Replace in a tool bar instead of a dialog, to have always full view to the text and buttons in the same place every time)?
Try to take this theme positive creative. Cover us with your ideas. Let flow your ideas, your pedestrian lights are showing green. There are no stupid ideas, it would be stupid to see afterwards, that things could be done better,… .
Long time passed by. A very long time of quietness. There are several reasons. We had announced it. But we recognized a major dilemma of TW, that can not be solved within a minor update. Connoisseurs are enthusiastic, newcomers are scared. The first ones should be lenient with me, but currently we are very interested in newcomers. The survival of our project depends essentially on them. We had to make a major decision that may be suspicious for hardcore atarians: TW has to move optically towards MS-Windows, to achieve more acceptance within this market. It will be further on a GEM application but will look as good as possible like a modern Windows one.
Why we have to do this? Very simple: TW is downloaded with an overwhelming majority for PC. This is the leading operating system of our potential customers. Presumably because of the fact that — if ever — an emulator is already existing, because a long time ago the original atari passed away from the desktop.
Newcomers balance between products with interesting description with a simple but very intuitive method: How fast can I understand the product - preferably without manual (basically)? From this point of view it plays a very major role, if a dialog is closed by pressing ESC or simply an input field inside is cleared. First case is good, second is bad. Simply a force of habit from other programs used under MS-Windows.Nobody can overcome this enviromental conditioning within five minutes, especially without a look into the manual. And - will he / she wants to overcome it? And nobody does invest more than these five minutes into a buy or die decision nowadays (Be true: Do you?)
We do not feel quite well, thinking about this. We do recognize very clear, which game we are going to play: But the balance of power is clearly defined; to ignore this, leads into the wrong direction. Since no users had significant objections regarding to our latest release and we too did not find any relevant lacks, the next steps are well defined: Look and Feel tuning. This will take some time. So, please, do not misunderstand still nothing new ... .
Only The Good Die Young
We deplore a very large loss: The driving engine towards the internationalization of TW, Dennis Vermeire, deceased unexpectedly. Unfortunately we had no time to get to know us personally. Dennis invited us to Gent, his hometown, which he described in colorful words. It should have been be a great fun, to walk with him through the alleys there, when I was there a few weeks ago, hoping to suprise him with my visit.
To retrieve from his neighbour that he has died a few weeks ago, was very depressing. I believe he would have had much fun over our speculations, why his e-mails were not responded for weeks. The idea of a south sea island without internet connection would have pleased him probably best. We will remember Dennis always gladly, as soon as the large hole has closed up a little bit, his death has torn into our lives.
The past weeks we used variously; on the one hand, in order to settle various things to do (exeptionally) with no connection to Tempus-Word. (Yes! There is a life beside Tempus Word!), on the other hand, in order to figure out some decisions.
After the analysis of our download logs, we determined a little bit surprised, that we have enormous access rates in our download area, but primarily only the program is downloaded, instead of the whole package, including manual and fonts.
We too are the kind of guys, downloading something and testing it by trial and error. Because we are the one, creating Tempus-Word, we have to confess, that we do believe in one thing: It is impossible, to get into Tempus-Word without documentation.
These two statements conclude in a view changes, we are going to introduce within the next program releases:
New functions shall improve the eagerness for reading the documentation, because expected results will justify the expenditure.
The "Look and Feel" of TW will move step by step to the well known interface of MS-Windows, as far as it makes sense.
For MS-Windows TW will be offerered as windows installer (setup.exe), decompressing not only the program, but also the fonts and documentations to the right place.
Beyond that we will align TW more strongly to the target group, it was originally designed for: huge document writers. Established products have obvious weaknesses here in basic operations, dealt from TW without any restrictions.
We will keep you informed,...
The planned fix update for version 5.3 is taking shape. Of course, we can't control ourselves once again and will probably include some small enhancements in addition to some bugs discovered by users (thanks for the feedback!). For example, the handling of objects (text frames, images, etc.) will change a bit: If several of them are placed on top of each other, or if they are behind the text, the [Ctrl] key must be pressed explicitly to activate such objects with a mouse click. This should make it much easier to create and edit forms. In addition, there will be a new system folder: DESIGN. What it is good for is not yet revealed, but the benefits will be great, I promise. There will also be some new fields to access data from the document info.
In the Windows runtime we discovered a small but nasty bug. If TW is started in a path with umlauts (e.g. c:\TEMPORARY), the runtime closes immediately after the start. This is of course very unpleasant. However, we will have to wait for a fix from the author, because we ourselves have an influence on it.
The summer casts its "developmental" shadows ahead. We will probably tackle a somewhat more extensive project over the summer months, so that in the fall TW comes into a new product stage. For this we have to unpack the big spade again, i.e. in summer it will be quite quiet (concerning updates). However, we will probably release a small fix update (5.31) before the retreat, so that the time is not too long. At least that's our planning at the moment.
The week before Pentecost is - at least in my memory - always a bit mixed. Usually you spend a few days from the annual vacation contingent (or bummelt overtime off) and hang the before or after the holidays for a short vacation. Whitsun was the standard date for a bike tour in Germany for me in recent years; I kept it that way again this year. This time from Hann. Münden to Hameln along the Weser. The bike paths are almost always very well maintained, mostly off the road (or at least separated from it). There are only occasional climbs, but fortunately they are never too long. Driven downstream you definitely do not get ready, ie the route is fully "family suitable". Only Pentecost is possibly not such a good choice; sometimes it seemed to me on the bike path as on a "bike highway". Possibly the first beautiful days in a long time have contributed to it; in any case, it was partly quite "cozy". Nevertheless, I can only recommend the area for a relaxing cycling vacation!
Since I was still in the area, Claudio and I met again for a "developer meeting" and discussed various details in which direction we want to move forward with Tempus-Word. A bit of a concern is the approaching "summer slump"; we will probably get very little feedback on updates and new features from customers. Since feedback is a somewhat "restrained" thing anyway, this could then become a communication-free phase. With the ideas that have come to us and that we also want to tackle, that would be quite unfortunate, because only through feedback can we determine whether the chosen path is the right one.
The idea with the survey did not let me go after the thought that caught me while writing last week. So I simply implemented it and made the survey available for download. It was downloaded quite often; unfortunately, the response rate looks a bit more "mixed". To put it cautiously: It is not yet enough for a statistically credible evaluation. Maybe one or the other has simply forgotten to send the already filled out document - ... - ?
At the end of the week we (Manfred, Claudio, me) finally managed to arrange a common meeting. This was due to the fact that Manfred and I happened to have something to do in the Frankfurt area for the same weekend. There it belongs simply to the good tone to be seen also times with Claudio. We did that and just chatted. As human beings, we also have something to talk about; it's not always just about Tempus-Word…
The beta phase for the English version was officially closed. Among the participants of the survey, which we had organized for bug detection and improvement among beta testers, a program version was raffled. This was also the incentive to answer the quite extensive survey quickly and in detail. The results were partly surprising, partly quite reassuring. The question arose as to why we had not yet conducted such a survey among German (German-speaking) users. At least it is certain that we will do so immediately. It will take some time to translate the survey into German. But we are very excited to see what comes out of it.
Apart from that, the week was rather "business as usual", i.e.: no special incidents, except for a very happy winner who was very surprised because he couldn't answer some aspects of the questionnaire very comprehensively because he simply didn't have an opinion about them. This in turn was due to the fact that he was not really aware of what TW can actually do. That was then again a statement, with which we could begin something. Anyway: Congratulations to Piotr Mietniowski from Krakow, Poland, for winning Tempus-Word NG!
It's always the same: Every time "a few little things" should be added, we fall over some things that would be really fun, but are forbidden for now, because they are no longer little things. At least it's very reassuring that there are no bad calls from the last update. Obviously the beta tests and our quality assurance were successful.
An unexpectedly large part of the time was taken up by the search for a payment service on the Internet. We quickly signed up with all of them; what we got started with only becomes apparent in the further course. For the time being, we have decided to use PayPal only. As a company of Ebay, they have a good distribution worldwide, have to pay attention to their reputation - in the interest of Ebay - and - for us quite significant - hold back with the fees. So now you can also "shop by mouse click" with us! So that this meets with great response in the international environment, there is even a daily currency converter on the English pages, which can convert over 160 currencies into each other.
The English version is being pushed towards realization at full throttle. Quite incidentally, a new release for the German version (5.30) drops in the process. There is a new beta of the ST emulator, which basically gives us great pleasure, but still some small things have to be solved. Some things we already had in mind have fallen by the wayside due to the planned double release of the English and German versions before Easter. This will probably result in a relatively quick further version, because we still want to tackle that before we tackle a somewhat larger chunk again. This will inevitably lead to a longer "update break". For now it's Easter...
We are currently once again in the "lowlands" of the TW application. For Claudio, this has led to a "GIF printer" being included in the next update, because he was simply looking for a way to be able to send customers an invoice that satisfies the German tax authorities. Works pretty well. At the same time we had to deal with the field and database functions of TW. There is still a lot of potential there.
In the last few days, there were some - for Telekom highly lucrative - phone calls that were exclusively about the field functions. At least now mentally a very interesting little plant grows, with which the work in forms and/or the interaction with the data base becomes rather drastically extended and more handy. The biggest problem - as always with software - is of course to get the ideas down on paper in such a way that even a "normal mortal" can do something with the idea. Because whether an idea is ingenious is not decided by the person who has it, but by those who should/want to do something with it. Transferred to our profession, this means: As long as an idea is not stress-free and can be used without a compulsory weekend seminar, it is not much good. As we have just seen, the smart ideas that are so easily expressed on the phone are still smart, but the implementation in a describable operating concept is a bit trickier. Oh well. At least we agreed beforehand that these enhancements will be tackled after the upcoming update. You don't have to overdo it by force...
To start with, here's a short review of the last three months:
The keyboards are largely under control, the many small touch-ups in the resources are getting sparser. Now it is still a matter of integrating a bubble help and a few functions that were planned for version 5.3 into Tempus-Word NG. Several bugs have already been fixed along the way. The translation of the bubble help into English is surprisingly long. Therefore there will be a different release date for the English and German version 5.3.
A survey among the English beta testers brings some surprising results. The reassuring thing is that the results confirm us in our direction. But as it is, you can't necessarily assume a representative survey. Beta testers are a bit different from pure users.
The English manuals are actually finished so far; the graphics are not quite finished yet. Since the interface of Tempus-Word NG is changing, they will come in at the very end. There is finally a new beta of the ST emulator, which solves some of our previous problems. For this, however, a few program adjustments have to be made. They are not that extensive, though; the result is really fun.
The different keyboards in combination with different emulators can be quite annoying. As one of the next major actions, Tempus-Word NG will learn Unicode and then also give the user total control over the keyboard. Whoever then uses a French Windows on a computer with a Polish keyboard with a MagiCPC version in German to start Tempus-Word NG, should then please click together his keyboard himself.
So that the beta phase for the English version can run meaningfully, the Internet presence becomes as far as possible bilingual. An international (English) section will also be set up in the forum. The response to the offer to participate in the beta test is quite positive. Let's see what comes out of it.
The fine tuning is slowly growing. It is not so easy to transfer the various key commands of Tempus-Word NG into English. To make this easier in the medium term and also to get closer to established standards, the previous key assignment in the German version has been thoroughly checked again, if necessary better formulated in the terms and some commands have been relocated again. For this, the adaptation effort should now remain reasonably justifiable, at least in the English version. Unfortunately, there are still different keyboards in English-speaking countries. These also still have to be realized as different keyboard drivers. For the correction, the dictionaries still have to be revised and the hyphenation rules have to be included in the correction module accordingly. At least the first internal English version is already running very stable.
Tempus-Word NG is now also registered with S.A.VE. (Shareware Authors Association) (http://www.s.a.ve.com).
With a mailing campaign we try to bring the forum a bit more into the focus of the users. This works in principle, nevertheless the registrations remain behind the expectations. Registering seems to be a problem for some ATARI users because the browsers they use do not handle the required form operations. However, we want to protect forum users from spam scanners and the forum itself from flamers. As long as we don't come up with a better solution, we'll have to stick with the log-in, even if it locks out some users.
The extension and rebuilding work for an international version of Tempus-Word, which started in late summer, is progressing quite rapidly. The documentation is almost translated; now it's time for the finishing touches. The guys from DDP are of the very precise kind; on the one hand very reassuring, because diligence is a valuable virtue in translations. Sometimes, of course, it can drive us to despair when a native speaker asks us school English speakers whether the chosen word in the English version is really the right one. The consistent error reporting is extremely positive; here some things come to light that are not bad in themselves, but not nice either.