Home > Progress report > First glance

First glance

A long time ago I promised preview images of the new version I’m working on, so here are some first screenshots. The basic layout of these windows are now done but they are not finished yet.

If you have been using the program for a very long time, you’ll notice, that just like originally, the different parts of the interface can be on their own windows again. It was for technical reasons why I had to get rid of that before. Now that I’m rewriting the program from scratch, I had a chance to fix that. The other image shows them all docked, plus some addition.

The original interface was a bit crowded, and you will still be able to make it so if you like. It’ll only depend on the user what they want to see and where, and hopefully in an intuitive way. It’s not shown, but the program will start with a single dictionary window and nothing else. With this I’m hoping it’ll be easier to start using zkanji than it was before.

Unfortunately this choice is not without issues. In the current version you can select most features from the main menu. With multiple floating or randomly docked windows though, it’s difficult to tell what window will be affected when using the menu. It would be possible to place a main menu on every floating window, but not after they are docked. I often use program menus to discover features not visible right away. That will be limited for now.

The buttons feature SVG images. Unlike images made up of pixels, SVG can be made larger on request without losing quality. If they are too small though, the image can easily come out blurred too much (when lines are drawn “between” pixels.) To avoid this, I design the interface at its smallest size and edit the images until they are drawn right. I have no idea how this will look like at larger sizes. I received some images from a kind user before, but I couldn’t use them because of this. I have to make the images just right at that size. It’s a bit time consuming.

Feature wise, the program is getting close to the original. It’s the small usability improvements that are missing, along with the main menu, popup menus, settings, safety belts (message boxes asking users if they really want to do some destructive thing), images on many buttons (still), user data export/import (half done), etc. When will it be ready? I don’t know yet.

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  1. iHmD
    October 2, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    ❤ keep it up (Y)

  2. Kent
    October 3, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Oh, this is looking good! Take your time, we’ll still be here!

  3. Fujiri
    October 4, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Looking good! Thanks for the update, looking forward to it but yeah we can wait so don’t rush and take your time 🙂

  4. kitsune
    October 10, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    yes, please take your time
    little gems like this one is always worth waiting for

  5. November 6, 2016 at 10:14 am

    I am trying to update the current downloadable version but it fails to do so.

  6. Naota
    December 7, 2016 at 2:51 am

    If possible, make a portable version of it as well… Just a thought.
    Thanks for your work. =D

    • December 7, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Even the current version can be portable. Just put it in a directory were you have read/write access. For that to work you need to get the zipped version and not the installer because the installer writes in the registry.

      • Naota
        December 7, 2016 at 10:53 pm

        Did not know that… Thank you!

  7. Marcus
    December 25, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Hi zkanji, first thing I want to say is that the software you made is amazing as the fact that it is free, congratz!
    Out of curiosity, can I ask who are you in life (a programmer I can guess?) and what was/is your motivation for creating this software? 🙂

    • December 25, 2016 at 11:46 am

      Hi! It’s probably an open secret that I code, yes. And as for motivation: https://bitbucket.org/himselfv/wakan/wiki/Home (Not the original project, this is an updated version after the original went open source. Unfortunately the original is not online any more.) And the love of the language of course!

  8. Marcus
    December 26, 2016 at 12:29 am

    So basically kind of my same motivation for wanting to try and make a software like this, the fact that I’m studging both C++ and japanese, and making a tool like thise is a challenge in both (though probably more challenging on the c++ side) 😛
    Though in my case, since you did an awesome job with zkanji feels like I’m trying and re-inventing the wheel xD
    Oh well, it is only for fun 🙂

    • December 26, 2016 at 11:08 am

      I’d prefer if people helped out, but making your own program can be challenging and fun at the same time. Good luck!

  9. Marcus
    December 27, 2016 at 11:17 am

    ahah I don’t yet have the skills to help you xD

  10. December 31, 2016 at 2:33 am

    What do you use for GUI?
    Is it, by any chance, cross-platform? I mean, current version runs perfectly under Wine, but I’d like to use a native app for OSes other than Windows.

    • January 2, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      The released version uses a Windows only library. I’m working on a new version for one and a half years now (rewriting literally everything) which will be cross platform. I think it’ll take 1-2 more months till I can release a test version, but don’t take this as a promise as these things are hard to predict.

      • bakatrouble
        January 3, 2017 at 1:46 am

        Sure I was talking about incoming version. That sounds great. I am myself a software developer, and I understand how unpredictable could time limits be perfectly. Thanks for your hard work!

  11. Kayseur
    January 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    zKanji has always been my favorite dictionary app, I’ve been using it for years and only now did I think about checking out your blog — and oh! A new version is coming. Thanks a lot for the hard work and again for this super useful software.

  12. February 15, 2017 at 5:40 am

    I know this might sound absurd but I will ask anyway, will there be any way to important anki deck card into zkanji if not is it possible/feasible?
    The thing is, as it is right now the tool for learning vocabulary and kanji in zkanji is not very useful but if you could important decks already created that would be great.
    As always thanks for all your work!

    • February 15, 2017 at 7:34 am

      Importing decks from Anki won’t be implemented (unless someone else makes it of course,) as there are some difficult issues with that. It’d be a bit easier to include pre-made list of words to study, but even that’s not optimal because common words were changed in the dictionary in the past few years. I agree that this is an issue and it’d be great if it was solved, but I can’t think of any way right now that doesn’t require constant maintenance of some list.

  13. concerned citizen
    May 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Are you still working on the new version?

    • May 15, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      I do work on the new version, though real life always tries to stop it. In a perfect world I would have been done by last year. Only those features are missing now that I never planned to get in the initial release, but there are still plenty of bugs to hunt down. It’s best if I make a post about this tonight or tomorrow.

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