I am proud to announce a new version of Metapad: 3.6. This release arrives almost 9 years since the last feature release!
So, what’s in it?
Metapad 3.6 has: a new high resolution app icon, UI & usability updates, a new feature that remembers folders across sessions, better defaults for general settings, UTF-8 file support and the biggest new feature: portability mode.
What is ‘portability mode’?
Portability mode allows Metapad to properly run and save settings on an external or thumb drive and it will not leave any trace on a friend or family member’s system. This is also very useful when you are setting up an additional computer or migrating to a new one – copy over your Metapad directory and simply pick up where you left off.
Technically portability mode means that all settings, window attributes, menu options, find/replace and recent file histories are stored and loaded in a local text file called metapad.ini (instead of the Windows Registry.) To enter this mode simply ensure that a file named metapad.ini exists where metapad.exe does – or use the one time command line option /m to migrate all your registry settings over.
Cool. So why wait almost 9 years till a new feature update?
About a year ago, after I released the Metapad source code, a fellow named David Millis sent me a code patch with a new feature he wrote for UTF-8 file support. This inspired me to get the code up and running again but I still wasn’t sure that I would get around to releasing a new version.
Then when Windows 7 came out at the end of 2009 and I played around with it I was a little irritated by how shoddy the Metapad icon looked in the task bar (due to the lower resolution scaling up poorly).
That feeling inspired me to refresh the icon which was lots of fun. Once that was done I knew a release was forthcoming so I slowly added the other features in my meagre spare time through 2010.
Why is 3.6 twice the size of 3.5?
Thats entirely due to the updated icon. Metapad’s new icon is almost 100 KB which makes the compressed download about 100 KB instead of about 50 KB. But hey, we’re still talking about kilobytes, here – not megas or gigas.
How did you make the new icon?
Wait, isnt Opacity a Mac app?
Yes and 3.6 was mostly developed on a Mac using Parallels to run a virtual Windows 7 machine.
Weird. Will 3.5 language translations work in 3.6?
For the most part, yes although you won’t see the new UTF-8 menu item and some of the settings dialog usability improvements. You will also get a warning upon startup which you can disable via command line option /s (and you might want to stick that into a shortcut to avoid typing it each time at the command prompt.)
What was the hardest part for development?
First, getting Dev-C++ to generate a small binary or one that used the latest common control visual styles (I eventually gave up). Then getting Visual C++ to generate a binary that actually worked on Windows XP without an additional DLL.
- Fixed “Randal Munroe bug” where Shift+Enter inserted invalid newlines (thanks to Curtis Bright)
- Fixed Metapad 3.6 not loading on Windows 2000 or Windows 98
- Fixed INI mode leading/trailing spaces bug for quote string, find/replace history and quick buffers
- Updated external viewer toolbar icons with numbers for better usability (idea from Gerard Juan)
- Open/save folder is remembered across launches with option to disable (thanks Paolo)
- Fixed bug where “save options menu” wasn’t persisting in settings dialog
- Fixed convert to Title Case bug where apostrophes counted as word boundaries
- Minor visual refresh to the toolbar buttons
How can I provide my feedback?
Please email “metapad-feedback” at this domain, liquidninja.com. Thanks!