Nov 19, 2007

Fixing MT-NewsWatcher bugs

I spent a few hours this weekend fixing some MT-NW bugs, which is long overdue. I’ve been distracted by other projects, like redesigning this web site.

For the curious, the bug fix list so far looks like:

  • Fixed file type/creator reversal when saving binaries.
  • The “Mark as not junk” menu item works for article windows now.
  • The Advanced dialog in the binary extration prefs has a sensible title now.
  • Fixed the display font for UTF-8 messages to use the font prefs, rather than default to 9pt Monaco.
  • Fixed an odd behaviour clicking on the radio buttons in the filter edit dialog for a date filter.
  • Fixed a linkage issue that could cause library errors on launch on some machines (GSS-related).
  • Fixed some minor message window layout issues (helpful for translators).
  • Accented characters are no longer stripped when pasting.
  • When bringing up the Spelling panel with a misspelled word selected, it no longer goes to the next misspelled word.
  • MT-NW will now try to authenticate when requested in more situations, making it less necessary to use the ‘Always authenticate’ option.
  • Underscores (‘_’) will no longer be converted to spaces in message with a Content-Transfer-Encoding of Quoted-Printable.
  • Fixed some bugs relating to Smart cut and paste in message editing.

I also ran into another long-standing bug (it’s amazing how pretty fundamental bugs can go lurking unreported for years!) which I started to fix, and then backed off. It’s a stupid issue where “child” windows are tracked via a parent window and an index into the parent window’s list (e.g. the group index in the parent window). That works fine until the parent’s array changes, for example by a resort or quicksearch.

It may sound easy to fix, but there are some complications with the full groups window that make it a bit more tricky.

This is one of those bugs that makes me tempted to start rewriting MT-NW from scratch in Cocoa, and pull in code from the old codebase bit by bit. However, this is a huge task (probably over a year of heavy part-time work), and not one that I’m prepared to embark upon.

Thinking about this also put me in mind of the the real cost of writing and maintaining a freeware application. Taking into account the hundreds of hours that I’ve put into MT-NW over the past 8 years, and using a pretty conservative hourly rate that a developer would get paid, the cost is at least $100,000. Makes you think, eh?

permalink | computing/mac/mtnw | 2007.11.19-22:33.00