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Better late than even later.

May 19, 2017 4 comments

This is a fast update on the progress of the new zkanji. I won’t get into details much since I rather spend the time fixing bugs and improving the program, than writing a blog post, but it has been a considerable time since the last update.

tl;dr It’s not ready yet, but close to a first test release. I’ll post about it.

Long version:

My original plans were to finish the program last year (what a naive thought!) Just as usual for open source projects done in one’s free time, real life got in the way. While real life wasn’t in the way, Qt did really well to be a substitute for real life’s work. This in itself would be worth several blog posts but after all the struggle with it I just don’t care anymore.

I’ll try to give a fast summary of the current situation: The first test version of zkanji is almost ready. It’s currently in the stage where all I do are fixing bugs, and trying to clear  every point on the TO-DO list. It sounds easy, but there are many points that need refining, and even after this, the program won’t be good enough for release. First, I’ll upload a test version with source code somewhere as soon as possible. In order to get to the final release, I’ll ask people who are willing to test it for help.

In the first round, (as I plan a few,) this test version will only be released for Windows. In theory it’ll run on Linux just as well, but I haven’t compiled it there yet. You will be able to do it of course since I’ll release the source code. I expect many subtle bugs to come to the surface on Linux, that were not a problem under Windows. During this first round I’ll try to finish the Linux version as well. The second round will be the release of a fixed zkanji on both Windows and Linux for a very short test period. (I can’t promise a Mac release, since I don’t have access to one. I’ll need help with that too.) When that’s over, I’ll make an “official” release that everyone can use.

There’s also the question of an installer. I haven’t created an installer yet, and I’m not sure if I will make one very soon. During the development of the first incarnations of zkanji it was a great hassle to do so, and several releases got late because of this. We will see.

The last question remaining for me is where to upload the new zkanji. There have been problems with SourceForge in the past, and we can’t expect that to never happen again. (They bundled advertisement with untouched projects, against the will of the original authors.) Unrelated to this, a few months ago I was contacted by some guy working for a large online ad company with a similar idea. He was really surprised when I refused.

Categories: Uncategorized

Before the new year…

December 31, 2015 9 comments

It’s almost 2016 and no new zkanji yet. Sorry about that. Writing the program from scratch takes a lot more time than I originally thought. Also the quirks of Qt make it very very hard to work with the user interface. I think this alone doubles the development time.

There’s a positive side too of course. Most major features are now done, the last one I’m going to add is the word list printing. (There will be kanji printing too but only after the first release. First I want to make a version which can at least do what the previous ones could.)

After that I’ll start working on a more user friendly user  interface. It’s mostly working around Qt, so it will take time unfortunately. I might make a test version soon if anyone’s interested, but there hadn’t been a huge interest in that in the past either. Requests if you want something like that.

To sum it all up, this means more waiting. And more work for me.

Categories: Uncategorized

When is a word considered to be learned?

August 1, 2015 5 comments

I have heard this before and read it at many places online, that generally if you can recall something 2-3 months after the last time you were exposed to it, that something is probably already in your long-term memory. Although the article on Wikipedia about long-term memory seems to give a lot of confusing contradictory definitions. Whatever, in zkanji I’ll mark a word as “learned” if you could answer it correctly after a period of 60 days. Haven’t decided about what to do with kanji yet. Probably something similar but when you could answer the written form of a word correctly that contains it. Learned kanji won’t be “unlearned” if the vocabulary goes back to the not-learned list though (after 1-2 wrong answers).

Categories: Uncategorized

Folder resolution of saved data

July 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Rewriting zkanji to be cross platform requires certain changes. One of these changes is how the folder, where the program will save its user data, is decided.

Currently zkanji looks into its own data folder where it was installed, and if that’s writable (i.e. because it’s not the “Program Files” folder), it shamelessly starts dumping all its saved data there from that on. Otherwise it looks up the App Data folder’s path and uses that one. (Or at least a sub path in it.) This had the happy consequence that if you installed zkanji on an external hdd and moved it to another computer, it was automatically working like a portable installation.

I think this works fine, and I wouldn’t change it, but I don’t know the preferences of other people and operating systems. So rather than letting the program decide, the new version will ask the user where to save its data. This might be another extra click you might find inconvenient, but at least it should be safer and will only happen once.

The new algorithm will first check whether the data folder on the install path is writable at all. Because if it’s not, there’s no real question what to do. (So the App Data will be used as there is no other location it could safely write to.) If it is writable though, the program will also check for the existence of previously written user data in there. (You could of course fake the user data, making empty files with expected names. Zkanji won’t really check whether they are valid.)

Next it’ll look into the (OS dependent) application data folder, and whether user data exists there already or not. If user data is only found in one location, that location will be used and no questions asked. On the other hand if both are found (and can be written to) zkanji will assume a portable installation. I first thought that it should save the choice in its configuration (or .ini) file, but if there are two folders with user data, both will have a config file, so it would be pointless to check.

Of course you might want to override the automatic choice. In case you have a fresh install of zkanji on a portable drive, and the host computer also has a zkanji installed, the program on the portable drive will assume that it is not portable. It has found user data in the App Data location and nothing on the local install path, so there’s no real way to determine the truth.

In that case, if you want to make the install portable, there will be an option for that in the settings. Once you selected it, user data will be saved to the installed data folder, and no more misunderstandings will arise (hopefully). The other way around, that is, if you want to make the portable install to be non portable, the only way is to move the local data to the App Data location. If I’m not lazy when I get to that part, the program will do it for you. Overwriting existing data will need a confirmation of course.

Hopefully this change won’t be noticeable at all. Already existing user data won’t be deleted or moved around, just used as it is.

Categories: Uncategorized

Long break 2

May 30, 2015 9 comments

UPDATE: I’m rewriting the program almost from scratch in VS2013. I can’t promise anything though as I might give up halfway. If anyone’s curious about the developing code I can share it on SF. I use c++11 features and the interface is currently using Qt though I do everything to make the interface separate from the code. I use Qt containers but most of them can be replaced with simple STL. I want it to compile under Linux as well as on Windows. In theory it might work on a newer Mac but I don’t have the tools to check.

I’ll write about my experiences with Qt on the weekend or next week.

Categories: Uncategorized

Watch out! Illegal zkanji on ebay.

October 27, 2012 3 comments

If you see this…

…don’t buy. Someone is trying to sell zkanji under a fake name. There is not much I could do about it, but you can if you tell about this to others to stop them from buying it. Thank you.

(In general anything with a true open source license can be sold without paying royalties, if it is not specifically forbidden in the license, but only if the name of the author, the product, and the way to get it for free is indicated at a clearly visible location.)

Categories: Uncategorized

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

SourceForge is convenient as they give unlimited hosting space and not just for uploaded files but personal pages as well, but I wish the service was more reliable. I have uploaded the latest version of the C# code of my very simple and unsophisticated dictionary based on SQLite I wrote in C# as an exercise, and 11 hours passed since that but still nothing. Only the message “This file will be ready for download shortly”. I doubt anyone would want the sources of that not so serious “project”, but if you do, I can send it via email. (And if you were worried, I’m back to working on zkanji.)

Categories: Uncategorized