Observations and Peeves Regarding 2.9.0

  • kilmatead

    kilmatead - 2010-10-31

    Somebody's been busy :)

    Not sure if I should thank you or condemn you considering that my old .ini was
    entirely bespoke, so had to be rejigged line by line. Technically unnecessary
    as well, as all you did was turn the lines verbatim into xml, even in the reg
    entries. Yes, I know, "future compatibility" and all that - but a little
    warning might have been nice. (Just joking, it would have been over the top to
    bother to write a ini-to-xml converter. Spilt milk, and all that.)

    1. The installer still "backs up" the old .ini's, even though there's no reason to, as they are superfluous and won't be over-ridden.

    2. The uninstaller does not remove the new registry keys (at least not under x64). Yes, I know some programs like to do that for re-install purposes, but a lot of users get a bad taste from leftover reg keys. An option to remove, at least.

    3. Certain items in the "Customise Start Menu" slot don't have default labels, which can be a bit odd when they're first added to the start menu - things like Recent Items and especially Custom Commands simply show up as blank spaces with nondescript icons until specifically labelled by the user. In particular Custom Commands are easy to forget labels as in the modal window the "Label" is actually the third item down - so you type in a command, open the menu to see how it works, and sit there looking at an empty slot. Not really friendly to new users who will click on Custom Commands out of curiosity. If the label simply defaulted to "Custom Command (1, 2, ...)", it would make more sense.

    4. I assume you're using a separate "Special Items" menu to keep parity with the Windows menu customisation, instead of just incorporating it into the "Customise Start Menu" where it belongs? I ask simply because it's a little weird to have the ability to add something in one menu, but the means to adjust its display or behaviour in a separate menu. (Like Control Panel as link, as menu, as multi-column, etc - it's all over the shop.) This made sense when it was separated into Menu or .ini, but with both in menus it's just superfluous, no?

    4a. Who in God's name invented those stupid MS menus that flip places when you
    click on headers? Insane. At least the window can be widened to keep the
    headers in place. Just a rant. :)

    4b. Whoever decided that all menu windows should default to what looks like
    8pt Verdana obviously never used a high resolution monitor. Yes, the new
    settings app has a lot of information to display, but 8pt is just painful to
    squint at in 1920x1200 and above - it doesn't seem to obey DPI settings,
    either. Boo hiss. :)

    4c. And, as "Explorer Settings" gets its own CS tray icon, why does CS get an
    explorer icon (aside from being built on it)? It makes it odd to find it when
    hidden behind other windows if an explorer is open, using grouped icons in
    Win7. Just a thought.

    1. And to leave it on a positive note, the "Bold Face" for modified settings is downright inspired. Wish more applications followed suit.
  • Ivo Beltchev

    Ivo Beltchev - 2010-10-31

    Thanks for the comments:

    1) The installer doesn't do that. It's the uninstaller for the previous
    version. What if you don't like this one and want go back to 2.8.3?

    2) The uninstaller cannot remove the registry keys. There are 3 reasons for
    that. a) It didn't put them there. They are a result of your own tweaking.
    What the installer didn't create it should not touch. b) The registry settings
    are per-user. During uninstall I don't have access to the registry of the
    other users in the system. So that's simply not possible. c) The registry
    settings are supposed to be forward-compatible. So if you upgrade to the next
    version you get to keep your settings. If the uninstaller cleaned up the
    registry, you would lose all your settings during the upgrade.

    3) Yes, it's possible I can have some default text like "unnamed item" for
    items with no label. Makes sense.

    4) I want to separate the look of the menu from its functionality. So in one
    place you set where you want the Control Panel, and in the other you set how
    it works. There are 3 reasons for that. a) It is theoretically possible to mix
    both settings in one place, but it will complicate the implementation a lot.
    For example for the Control Panel item it will need an extra setting to make
    it expandable or not. For the Documents item it will need a setting for "how
    many documents you want to see", etc. b) Most people will not bother going
    into the customization tab. For them it is beneficial that the
    show/hide/expand settings are separate. c) Some items can be hidden or locked
    based on admin settings or group policy. Having the show/hide/expand setting
    separate makes it easy to convey that.

    4a) I'm not happy about it. The alternative is to use scroll buttons , but
    that's even worse.

    4b) That's the standard Windows font for dialog boxes. Please confirm that it
    doesn't obey DPI settings. It does for me. Also at higher DPIs you should get
    bigger checkboxes too.

    4c) The CS settings gets the Explorer icon because it runs inside the Explorer
    process. I do set a different icon, but Windows 7 chooses to ignore it. Works
    on Vista though :) You can use "Always on Top" to prevent other Explorer
    windows from covering the settings.

  • kilmatead

    kilmatead - 2010-10-31
    1. Hmm, there's another philosophy which states an application should never put anything in the registry that its uninstaller can't remove. I don't mind personally (as I have no intention of ever permanently uninstalling CS), but if there's one thing that keeps things like Revo Uninstaller in business, it's people who find leftover bits of stuff they uninstalled months ago still on their machine. It makes for bad blood, and regardless of explanations "of permissions", people find it annoying. I pointed it out simply because it's standard practice for beta-testing. Uninstallers should do what they say on the tin, no if's and's or but's. We'll agree to disagree, here.

    2. "Most people will not bother going into the customization tab." Fair enough - as I stated above, every single item in my old Start Menu was bespoke so the first thing I did was spend half an hour in the Customisation Tab recreating it - as I remove all the "Special Items" anyway, I was just scratching my head trying to see why that tab even needed to be there.

    4b. Ok, my mistake, the DPI settings do affect it, but to be honest even at
    125% the text is still annoyingly small - at 150% it becomes "just right" for
    high-resolution, except that setting makes everything else ridiculously huge,
    so it's unusable. Strange that it seems to scale smaller than other things (in
    general). I assume 100% is actually legible to some people, so it must start
    out that size for a reason - I was just surprised 125% had such little impact.
    (My eyes aren't great, but they aren't that bad either.) But really, 8pt just
    doesn't belong on the LCD hardware of this century.

    Re: 4c. If Windows 7 "chooses to ignore it" (your icon) why does the Explorer
    Settings Icon work fine - does that not run within the explorer process as
    well? It's only the Start Menu Settings icon which has the conflict. The
    settings utilities appear to share the same parentage, given those evil menu
    tabs. Where is this "Always on Top" setting of which you speak for the Start
    Menu Settings editor?

  • Ivo Beltchev

    Ivo Beltchev - 2010-10-31

    2) What you are asking for is technically impossible. One user doesn't have
    access to another user's settings. Open regedit and you'll see (actually, you
    won't see the HKCU for all other users). I am unaware of any software that
    removes per-user registry settings during uninstall. What I've seen as a
    general practice is to never uninstall user preferences. Think of them as
    documents. When you uninstall Word does it find and delete all your doc files?
    And regardless of the philosophical or technical side of the discussion, do
    you REALLY want you lose your settings when upgrading?

    4b) Hmm... Looks like at 125% the font in the system dialogs (like Properties)
    is 1 pixel taller than what I'm using. I'll look into that for the next
    version. Still, I don't expect 1 pixel to do that much difference.

    4c) The Explorer Settings run in a separate process. This is done because you
    can run the Settings from the start menu without having any Explorer window
    currently open. Also technically you can have multiple Explorer processes. On
    Vista you can have 32-bit and 64-bit Explorers running side by side. So
    instead of trying to decide which process to use to host the settings, I
    decided to spin my own. Both Settings dialog share the same source code as you
    noticed, but they don't share a process.

    The "Always on Top" is in the window menu of the Settings dialog. Click on the
    top-left icon to access.

  • Ivo Beltchev

    Ivo Beltchev - 2010-11-04

    Regarding 4b:
    After some investigation I determined that Windows itself uses many different
    fonts in its UI:
    The file properties use MS Sans Serif 8pt
    The start menu properties use Tahoma 8pt
    * The Open File dialog uses Segoe UI 9pt

    The Classic Shell settings UI uses Tahoma 8pt. I am considering switching to
    Segoe UI 9pt for the next version, since it is the recommended font for
    Windows UI. However since most of the UI in Windows itself doesn't use it, I
    am not sure I want to do the switch. The jury is still out.

  • kilmatead

    kilmatead - 2010-11-04

    Thanks for looking into it. For what it's worth, I've been forced in the past
    to use toys like Resource Hacker to manually edit the dialogues of certain
    applications which just don't understand the concept of higher resolutions
    (Notepad++, I'm looking at you).

    Most of the time, simply modifying the font size from 8 to 9 solves the
    problem (for me, at least). The developers always insist (if complained to)
    that "oh that's under Windows' control"... which is only partially true.

    Largely those are limited to the application itself, but often the single most
    offending bit is the open/close modal window (which looks like Explorer - but
    isn't) which many applications tap into. It's one of those odd things where
    sometimes it obeys the DPI without a bother, and others simply ignore it,
    leaving me to squint like a winter's morning, to no avail. And, of course, the
    Open/Close API is not available from the resources.

    I know this is a little beyond CS's remit, but is there any way to force the
    base font size for these modals (at least on a general level, so DPI can kick
    in for other applications?

    I read with some humour the other thread from the guy who was so vitriolic
    about Segoe UI that he changed all your skins to Tahoma. I'll grant you,
    without ClearType, Segoe does look pretty bad - but with it, is quite nice.
    Overall, I'm indifferent to the font-type - just the size matters, :)


    (Being one of those who use an alternate file manager to Windows', the
    open/close modals have been an endless bone of contention for users who refuse
    to believe they aren't from Explorer, and so don't understand why they can't
    be bypassed - so I'm not expecting you to have much luck. I was, at least,
    able to find ways and means of changing the default folders on the sides of
    said dialogues, but that's about it. I always reckoned this was an untapped
    market - but most projects that were ever started, usually under XP, seem to
    have fallen out of development for one reason or another - probably

  • Ivo Beltchev

    Ivo Beltchev - 2010-11-04

    Pretty much all dialog boxes should scale up with the DPI (unless the app is
    doing extra steps to prevent that). The thing is some fonts scale better than

    Older applications written for Windows 95 and such use MS Sans Serif (8). Apps
    for Windows 2000 and XP use Tahoma (8). And newer apps use Segoe UI (9). These
    are the recommended system fonts, so from that point of view it is under
    Windows' control. Developers can choose to ignore the recommendation and use
    Arial or WingDings, but their apps will not look standard.

    As for the Open/Save dialog. There are 2 versions in the system. One is from
    Windows 95 .. XP, and one that is new for Vista and Windows 7. The old dialog
    uses MS Sans Serif (8) and has an Up button. The new one uses Segoe UI (9) and
    has a folder browser on the left.

    Most applications don't care which one to use and should get the new one by
    default. Some applications written for older versions of Windows may request
    to modify the dialog (like add an extra checkbox, or preview window, etc).
    They can't use the new dialog because the rules for customization have
    changed. For such apps Windows gives them the old dialog. That is why you see
    the mix of new and old dialogs.

    If you want to modify the font for the old dialog you may try looking at
    shell32.dll or shell32.dll.mui. Keep in mind that you won't be able to change
    the size of the icons in the toolbar (like Up, New Folder, etc).

  • kilmatead

    kilmatead - 2010-11-04

    That is why you see the mix of new and old dialogs.

    Ah, bummer - that explains quite a bit.

    If you want to modify the font for the old dialog you may try looking at
    shell32.dll or shell32.dll.mui.

    Oh zerg, there appear to be about 16 variations on that theme - which one?

    And, more importantly, where in the dll might I find the font info? There seem
    to be about 16 headings (AVI, FTR, LIBRARY, MUI... etc). Each seems to have
    about 30 subheadings...

  • Ivo Beltchev

    Ivo Beltchev - 2010-11-04

    I'm assuming you care about English. So check the third and fourth. One is for
    64-bit programs and one is for 32-bit programs. There is a small chance it may
    be in the first two, but since it has to be translated, I doubt that.

    You need to look in the DIALOG section of course :)

  • kilmatead

    kilmatead - 2010-11-04

    Ah, thanks for the information. (The first one had no DIALOG entry which is
    why I was confused.)

    Unfortunately the 3rd and 4th do have DIALOGs... but each one has 110 entries,
    some in 8pt, some in 9pt. Can I commit suicide now? Ugh.

    This is going to be a long evening. Cheers!


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