zkanji v0.1.0 (beta)

June 17, 2018 21 comments

The first beta version of zkanji for Windows is now available on GitHub. Please help testing it so I can get rid of most bugs and annoyances, to make this the best zkanji yet!

There are some user interface changes, but most of the changes are behind the scene. I added all that was missing from the alpha versions, apart from an automatic updater. Fixed many crashes and errors, but the program still can have those. You will find the list of major changes on the download page.

There are only a few bigger changes, since the last release was almost feature complete too:

  • It’s now possible to translate the user interface to other languages.
  • Right-click context-menu and tooltip text is added where it was missing.
  • Example sentences can be linked to words and can be found fast for those words.

This is a full version release, including all required DLLs and data files.

For Linux users: you can download the source code and follow the instructions for compiling the program and generating the data files. I have tested zkanji on a virtual machine and it was working fine, but there might still be problems on different distributions.

Please consider helping out the project by creating install packages.

I’m still considering my options for a better Linux releases. One option is to make fully functional standalone packages/bundles that seem to be becoming more widely available. I’d have to modify the source code for these, as they are always non-portable “installations” regarding user files, even if they could be portable by themselves. They might also require additional steps to set up.

Categories: Releases, Test releases Tags:

Installers and releases

June 5, 2018 13 comments

While I’d proudly present the beta version of zkanji, I don’t like formalities like that. Also it’s not released yet, although the (almost?) final code is already on GitHub. (Some more about GitHub at the end of this post.)

Finally zkanji has most of the functionality that the original program has too. The only bigger thing missing is the automatic update, or even a notification about updates. The reason for this is that it’s not clear yet what is the best way to produce the program’s installers, since in theory it can now run on multiple platforms. Releasing was always a huge hassle, but it’ll get worse now.

On Windows this should be an installer executable that unpacks itself to a user selected folder. There are relatively easy to use free tools to make them. I used NSIS for previous zkanji versions and might stick with that. (One of my friends suggested publishing to MS store too, but I’ll have to look into this.) While this was working for previous versions, the new version will have a language selection dialog at the start (if people send me translations, that is.) It’s hopefully just a small change in the installer script.

Making an installer for Linux is quite different. In the old times most Linux users were able to work with source code and could compile programs for themselves. There are now just as many casual users who won’t do this, so publishing binaries for them seems necessary. Unfortunately this is not so simple because there are countless number of Linux distributions, and binaries compiled for one might not necessarily work with another. On top of that while automatic updates are a common thing in Windows, Linux users expect their favorite package managers to do this job for them. For these reasons I’m currently undecided what to do with Linux.


As I mentioned at the top, there’s need to say a few words about GitHub. The rebooted zkanji is currently hosted on GitHub which was recently bought by Microsoft. Of course both Microsoft and GitHub say that this will be great for everyone and things will continue as before, but anyone aware of Microsoft’s history don’t trust the company a bit. I wonder if I should move the project to GitLab. What is your opinion on this?

zkanji Test 4

March 2, 2018 6 comments

Please check the latest releases of zkanji for the new test version. The uploaded binary package is still Windows only (I will need help for Linux distributions) but the source is also available if someone wants to try on other systems.

It’s been half a year since the last release, and zkanji is still in alpha, but the program is much closer now for the beta, and then to release. It can be considered feature complete, but there might still be small things to add. Not every widget has its context-menu ready yet for example.

The uploaded Windows version contains all DLLs and data files needed by the program to run.


Categories: Test releases

zkanji Test 3

August 9, 2017 11 comments

I have released the next test version which mostly fixes the long-term study test and normal word tests. You can get it here. As with the previous version, you need the original first, and overwrite the executable with the latest one.

I didn’t think that the program still has this many critical bugs! It seems the study part of zkanji was completely unusable with lots of crashes and data corruption. This release is meant to fix these, and also to make studying a bit easier with the keyboard.

Once again, I need help to find more issues in zkanji. Unfortunately I don’t have as much time on it as I had originally with the old versions. I was spending almost all my time on this new release, but I can’t keep that up. Without help the next version will probably be only done in 1-2 months time. But don’t worry, I have spent over 2 years to write this new one, so I’m not going to give up now.

Categories: Test releases

zkanji TEST 2

July 30, 2017 2 comments

The titles of the posts will get boring for a while, until the first beta is out too. I have uploaded the next test version with a few visible fixes, and many others under the hood.  Go here to get it.

The new release lacks all data files and DLLs. You’ll need the first one too, and overwrite its executable with the new one. I plan to keep it this way for lighter downloads, until the first stable release.

The changes don’t look much, because I mainly work on the Linux version right now, but I have fixed the annoying crash with the example sentences. The Linux version is the same program, so working on it will help revealing general bugs that affect the Windows version as well.

Please open an Issue on GitHub, or mail me if you find bugs in zkanji. If you think that something important is much worse than in the old program (for example because shortcut keys are missing,) you can make a request about it. Otherwise I’ll keep working on the Linux release and do other things later.

zkanji TEST v1

July 26, 2017 3 comments

It took a while, sorry about that! I had to change some internal parts in the code since the last post, to make sure the program will compile in 64bit too. (The Windows version is still 32bit but this might change in the future. The Linux release will be 64bit from the start.) Figuring out what licenses must be mentioned and writing a readme took me a long time, and I can tell that I don’t enjoy that at all…

Instead of too much talk, let me present the first release! (In the future, you can visit this link for the latest versions as I upload them.) Before we start to celebrate, as it’s a first release, I can’t guarantee the quality of the software yet. It’s released for testing, so this stands to reason I guess.

Please add an issue to the issue tracker on the project page if you encounter a serious bug (program crashing, data getting corrupted etc.), but even if it’s just a small usability issue (for example windows not appearing where you want them to be, you see the wrong cursor or colors.)

There are some small new features not found in the original zkanji, but I’ll let everyone discover them first.

What’s missing: (I’ll only list the most important features)

  • No auto updater yet, so new versions must be downloaded manually for each release until it’s implemented.
  • Some settings have no effect. There’s a slider to increase the user interface size to 400%, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.
  • No kana practice. I’m not sure how well known feature this was, but it’s not present here. This is a planned feature too of course.
  • Missing statistics for the long-term study.

(And I already found a serious bug. The program sometimes crashes if you hover the mouse cursor over an example sentence.)

Categories: Uncategorized

First steps for the next release

July 15, 2017 1 comment

The short version: I’m still not done with the next release, but I have uploaded the source files to GitHub that are needed to compile and run the new zkanji. You can get it and try it right away on Windows IF you have Visual Studio 2013 or newer. It’s pretty easy to compile.

The long version: I spent a lot of time fixing errors and filling up holes in the program in the past many weeks, and it still contains bugs. There were several “game breaking” bugs I only discovered in the last moment. The last days were spent figuring out (again) how to release the program properly with an open source license. (I went for GPLv3.) It’s a complicated matter, especially since some files come from a different open source project with its own license.

Creating a release with the executable alone might be enough for those, who have the 2013 version of the Visual Studio redistributable, and the Qt DLLs, but this can’t be taken granted. I’ll need to include those too for everyone else, which means at least a primitive installer. I hope there’s some tool somewhere to make one quickly, because the free tool I used to create the installers for previous versions of zkanji, is everything but simple.

Because the Qt DLLs and the VS redistributable must be included, the file download will be at least 20 MB larger than previous ones were. On the other hand I won’t include the Japanese dictionary and example sentences data for now, which will save 20 MB. They can be obtained easily with the instructions I’ll include with the download. (I plan to include the data files in the final release.)

Before I forget, I still need to design a new icon for this version of zkanji. I could use the old one, but I want to make it clear in every design choice that it’s a new program. It was newly written after all. I will also need to add an about box to fulfill my obligations towards Qt and any other project which has a license that must be mentioned in the program. Then there’s the question of the name. I can keep it simply “zkanji,” but if I do that, I’m not sure what version number to use. It’s not a real continuation of the old version in the sense that they only share the same idea, but nothing of the program code.