I know it’s been a few months since the last release, but I’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes to improve this latest version of Chordious.
The primary impetus of this release is to improve accessibility. For my day job, I recently left Xbox and joined the Windows XAML team at Microsoft. XAML is one of the technologies developers use to create the GUIs (windows, buttons, text boxes, etc.) for their Windows apps, and it’s what I use for Chordious. Through my new job I’ve been exposed to some of the many accessibility features of Windows, things like screen magnifiers and readers for the blind or near-blind, closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing, etc.
The previous versions of Chordious were downright atrocious to navigate with Narrator, the built-in screen reader. Same if you’re primarily a keyboard user, like many users of accessibility software. I had no idea how much work and testing I should have been doing to make sure those tools play nicely with my app. So a great deal of the work in 2.0.3 is to make Chordious friendly to screen reader software and keyboard users.
Most of the controls now have proper access keys now, that is, when you press ‘Alt’ on your keyboard, the little underscores that pop up so you jump directly to a particular control. You can for example, now press ‘C’ or ‘Alt+C’ on the main window to jump straight into the Chord Finder. You can now also press the ‘Esc’ key to exit just about any window, ‘Enter’ in lists of diagrams to open the editor, or press ‘Y’ or ‘N’ for Yes or No dialogs.
Hopefully, navigating around Chordious with a keyboard will be much easier.
I also put in a lot of work cleaning up the code for readability and future maintainability. That process helped me find and fix many bugs, but also improve the app’s overall stability and performance.
But what about new features, you ask?
Thank Peter from Switzerland for suggesting I make it easier to copy diagram directly into the clipboard, rather than require you to formally export them as image files. Now, if you select a diagram in either of the Finders, or in the Library, you can press ‘Ctrl+C’ to copy the image directly to your clipboard, or ‘Ctrl+Shift+C’ to get prompted to cleanly resize the image before you copy it. You can then paste the image just as you would any other into emails, word processors, graphics programs, etc.
You can also find “Copy to Clipboard” commands in the context-menu when you right-click on diagrams in the Library and the Diagram Editor. There you’ll also have an option to copy the raw SVG text to the clipboard, if you want to see that.
Here’s the full change list for 2.0.3:
- UI is now friendly to Narrator and other screen readers
- Improved keyboard navigation with alt-keys for most controls, ‘Enter’ to open list items
- Can now copy diagram images directly to the clipboard via context-menu and/or ‘Ctrl+C’, ‘Ctrl+Shift+C’
- Can now exit out of any window with the ‘Esc’ key
- Improved handling of update failures
- Fixed bug where changing text in dialogs didn’t enable the ‘OK’ button
- Fixed bug where closing a Finder during a long search may cause a crash later
- Fixed automatic versioning code to remove dependency on VS extension
- Fixed many miscellaneous string and localization bugs
- Fixed Code Analysis warnings and issues to improve code quality and style
- Fixed Setup warnings
- Tidied XAML files for readability
- Performance and reliability improvements
- Updated Svg.NET to 2.3
- Updated MVVMLightLibs to 188.8.131.52
Update to the latest version of Chordious today, and keep the feedback coming!