Journler: Blog

Introduction to Journler and AppleScript

April 27th, 2007

With the latest update Journler now includes a default set of AppleScripts. I’m hoping the scripts will serve as useful examples for folks looking to automate Journler or add functionality to the program. Journler’s scripting dictionary is comprehensive, and the community is already taking advantage of it.

Not everyone will know about the scripts though. Auto-updaters and beta testers update using a different process, and even users who do download the 2.5.2 disk image may completely skip the Additional folder that’s included.

AppleScript is an awesome way to customize Journler, and I’d really like to encourage everyone to take an active part in creating their own scripts. To ensure we’re all on the same page I’m uploading the new scripts as an independent download. I’d also like to talk about the scripts for a sec. This has the additional advantage of permitting me to introduce a new category to the blog: AppleScripts.

Download the 2.5.2 default AppleScripts.

Scripting an app ain’t always easy. Even the most hardened scripters will run into problems as they adjust to the peculiarities of each application. It’s no different with Journler. Before you get started make sure you have a basic understanding of AppleScript. Next you’ll want to be familiar with Journler’s AppleScript dictionary and the AppleScript page at journler.com. For additional help drop by the Journler Scripting Forum or the MacScripter webpage. And of course be sure to actually have a look at the scripts with Script Editor.

Add My Contact Info to Journler
This script demonstrates Journler’s ability to interact with Address Book. It’s a simple script that gets your contact info from AB and adds it to a new entry/resource combo in Journler.

Append Tags to Selection
This script extends Journler’s functionality by adding a feature many users have requested. It’s possible to change the tags on a number of entries simultaneously but not without completely replacing the old tags with the new ones. Use this script to append new tags to the selected entries instead.

Highlight in Text
Highlight in text is an example of Journler’s interface support with AppleScript. It’s a super simple script that highlights a word or phrase of your choosing in the selected entry or resource. If an entry is selected every occurrence of the word is highlighted, while the first word of a selected resource is.

Journler Entry to iCal
This is an incredible script by BlueFrog and SkyWombat and an excellent example of how to use AppleScript to extend Journler’s functionality. The script sends an entry to iCal, sets an alarm for the item and links back to the entry from AppleScript. Great works guys!

Save Camino WebArchive to Journler
Here’s a quick one by wyzewoman at the Journler forums that takes advantage of GUI scripting. It grabs the URL from Camino and simulates Journler’s File > New Entry with Clipboard command . Depending on your media preferences you’ll get a new entry with the imported web archive or the url itself.

Send Entry to MarsEdit
Another great script that shows how quickly you can extend Journler’s functionality. Journler does blogging, but not as well as a pro blogger will need, so Jan created a script to send the html version of an entry to MarsEdit.. Works a charm for Journlers who lament the limited support for blogging.

Quicksilver
The two Quicksilver scripts are by wyzewoman and are meant to be used from within Quicksilver. Combine them with Quicksilver’s incredible flexibility to run a quick search in Journler or add a new entry.

That’s it for the examples. I strongly encourage everyone who’s even a little interested in extending or customizing Journler to take a shot at it. The forum is a friendly place and the community may just be able to help you out if you run into problems.

As I find time I’ll post some more scripts to the blog. I also hope to set up an AppleScript repository where users can upload and share their own creations. In the meantime, if you have a great script and you’d like to see it featured send it my way and I’ll see about doing a quick post on it.

Mac Fanatic giveaway: free software, Journler included

April 24th, 2007

Mac Fanatic is celebrating 50,000 podcast downloads with the Mac Fanatic Software Giveaway. Thirteen software titles are available, including Journler, and you could win one of them! The contest is open to anyone with a valid email address. Participants have a chance at winning their selection from the available software, including Rapidweaver, Delicious Library and Paralleles Desktop among others. The contest is open from April 23 to June 1, 2007. Sign up at at the Mac Fanatic Contest page.

Use the Journler service menu from inside Journler

April 23rd, 2007

Literally just stumbled onto this one. I didn’t even think to try it before, and I think it may have been by accident, but I had the url selected for a website I was visiting with the Entry > New Web Browser command and I hit Cmd-shift-J, the shortcut for the Journler service menu.

Well that thing fired right up! Journler dropped the drop box dialog on me and imported the url as a webarchive, then selected it and let me continue browsing! It was one of those, “Huh, I didn’t know I could do that” moments.

This’ll work with any selected text. Select some text in an entry, a url, or a picture — be sure to actually select a range of text that contains a url or contains a picture — and hit Cmd-shift-J. Journler ought to create a new entry for it. I could probably find ways to improve this now that I know about it.

Be sure to have a look at Journler’s Media preferences. Check “Select imported media by default” and “Create web archives when importing urls.”

Edit
Yeah, you want the Cmd-SHIFT-J shortcut. The shit key will be a tough one to find. =)

Whew! Journler 2.5.21 Quick Fix

April 23rd, 2007

Oh man what an experience. I managed to introduce a small bug into the 2.5.2 download that would prevent certain long time users from accessing their journals. Emails were coming in from all over the place, and it hadn’t even been 20 minutes since the post!

Luckily the problem was an easy fix and I’ve already posted an update. If you were one of the unlucky few, simply redownload Journler from the same location and install the update as you normally would.

Download Journler 2.5.2 + fix

Journler 2.5.2 Available

April 23rd, 2007

Just like the good ole days! Three weeks into 2.5.1, Journler 2.5.2 is available for download. If you’re already a Journler user, expect an automatic update or select Check for Updates from the Journler menu.

Journler 2.5.2 includes a number of fixes and improvements, and the interface has been modified to take into further account recent user interface reviews. The download is recommended for all users. A list of major changes follows. Enjoy!

  • Latest update of iLife media browser
  • Added custom label names
  • Added AAC QuickTime movie format to audio recorder
  • Storing relative path information in addition to alias when adding files
  • Added keyboard shortcuts for new window and new floating window
  • Fixed a memory leak with bookmarks bar
  • Fixed a bug with new, auto-tagged entries not immediately appearing in parent folders
  • Optimizing drawing in custom views
  • Fixed a problem with returning to journler via dock icon click when in full screen mode
  • Numerous user interface improvements

Interview over at themacblog.net

April 18th, 2007

Max Bonnier of the incipient Mac Blog recently put six questions to me:

1. What gave you the idea for Journler ?
2. How much time have you spent on creating Journler?
3. What can we expect from you in the future?
4. What are your favorite apps that you use often?
5. What do you think of Leopard?
6. Do you have any plans for upcoming apps? Any chance you’ll give us a preview or a sneak peek?

Check out the interview for my answers. Especially drop by if you’d be interested in blogging for them.

On Leopard, Delays and the iPhone

April 15th, 2007

I’ve been mulling a commentary on Apple’s recent Leopard announcement. At first I wasn’t sure if this was the appropriate forum. While the announcement does have bearing on Journler, a post about the delay would not limit itself to Journler. Do I really want to get into commentary? You bet I do.

If you aren’t already in the know, Apple recently said that it would delay Leopard’s release until October (look for the Apple Statement on that page). I’d like first to talk about the relevance of this delay for Journler’s users. Next I’d like to say what I think of the delay itself. Finally I’d like to take a hopeful look at the future.

Leopard and Journler
The delay affects Journler users in three specific ways: Syncing, iCal integration and Audio/Video recording. Syncing and iCal integration are two of Journler’s most requested features. I wholeheartedly support the requests and plan to add both features to a future release. I was, however, explicitly waiting for Leopard to implement them. Leopard makes it considerably easier to integrate with iCal, and the OS introduces significant changes to the syncing architecture. Users hoping for these features will have to wait an extra four months.

A/V input is also an issue. Journler’s A/V capabilities are buggy on some Macintosh hardware, mostly because I wrote the code myself without knowing much about the subject. A/V programming is hard and Leopard makes it easier, a fact I was hoping to take advantage of. Users on those machines will benefit from the changes, but again, they’ll have to wait an extra four months.

The Delay Itself
Turning to the announcement itself, the delay doesn’t trouble me in any great way. So it’ll be an additional four months until the OS is released. I’m ok with that, mostly because it doesn’t affect me too radically. To be fair, I’m not holding off on a hardware purchase, and other than planned features which I’m going to get to one way or another, I’m not shaking in my pants waiting for OX 10.5 to come out. 10.4.9 has problems, and Journler has problems because of it, but I can deal with them and I can deal with helping users deal with them. We’ll get through it.

In fact, the delay is something of a benefit for me. I’m still very busy ensuring Journler works as best it can on the currently available system. Those four months give me more time to focus on getting the most out of Tiger, and when I do finally turn to Leopard development, they give me more time to ensure my code works and works well. In the end, while I do understand why the delay annoys many users, I am less moved by it.

The iPhone
The reason for the delay just steams me though. According to the statement released by Apple, the company “had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS X team” in order to ensure the iPhone shipped on time. You mean to tell me that a company announced a product before it was ready to be demonstrated, gave it a premature release date, and is now taking resources from what was its core business to ensure that date is met. And for what? For what is, as far as I can tell, an expensive cell phone.

Others, the editors at Macworld for example, regard this approach in a much more positive light than I do. “The iPhone is the point,” they say, if Apple is to become the consumer electronics company it now aspires to be. In principle I think that goal is a fine one. Unify the digital life and the digital lifestyle with high quality products and a designer attitude, absolutely. The iPhone just strikes me as the wrong direction.

The iPhone is an expensive product with a limited, potential user base. A purchase locks you into a contract with a network that doesn’t even cover Europe and is slower than what is already available on less classy devices. 3rd party developers will not be allowed to take advantage of the platform and some key, expected functionality such as Voice over IP (Skype) will be missing because of contractual necessities. Let Leopard be delayed, no problem, but for that?

Hope for the Future
I don’t want to be a naysayer. Any of those limitations are liable to change, and Apple is known for its surprises. What is more, the iPhone could be a revolutionary device, not for being a phone but for its interface.

I remember the first time I really got my hands on an iPod, one of the 4th generation models with the click wheel. The feeling that came with using this thing was incredible! I immediately knew what to do and how to do it, although I had never played with an iPod before. And using the click wheel was such a joy! I purchased that model a little while later and it is still the iPod I have and love.

I imagine the iPhone will offer that same “Wow! This is awesome!” experience whenever a user first gets a chance to play with it. There is the potential here to introduce a device which radically changes the way individuals interact with computers. The keyboard and mouse have been around a long time and served the industry well, but perhaps it is time to reconsider that paradigm and offer a serious alternative to it.

It is in this possibility that my hope lies. The iPhone will be running MacOS, which means the kind of user interface available to the iPhone should, in theory, be available anywhere the OS is installed, as long as the hardware supports it. The fact that Apple borrowed MacOS engineers to ensure completion of the iPhone further supports that notion. Anything that makes the iPhone a revolutionary devices could also make the Macintosh operating system a revolutionary OS.

What I envision is not a phone sized mobile device but a tablet pc, the mythical Mac Tablet that is about the size of my MacBook monitor and just as thin. The entire thing is a mouse, responding to the gestures I make with my hand just as the iPhone does. When necessary I can use a virtual keyboard, one that appears and disappears from the display as needed. Put something like that in my hands and I promise you I’ll be awake endless nights developing some of the coolest software you’ve ever seen. And I won’t be the only Mac developer doing it.

In summary, Leopard’s delay doesn’t move me one way or another. Products are delayed and that is acceptable, even if it does impact Journler’s development and user needs. It is the reason for Leopard’s delay that troubles me. The iPhone in itself seems like a bad idea. At the same time, I’m hoping that the iPhone is a stepping stone to a product with a more universal appeal and an even greater revolutionary aspect. If there’s a company that can pull something like that off, it’s Apple, even if I do think that Apple Inc. is making a mistake this time around.

Review at macgeneration.com

April 11th, 2007

Just yestered Journler was reviewed at the French Mac site MacGeneration.com. My French is somewhat limited, but the reviewer seems to be quite impressed and gave Journler a 9 out of 10, lamenting only the absence of syncing and a French language translation. From the article:

En terme de fonctionnalités, Journler est un logiciel extrêmement riche. Il offre un nombre important de petits plus qui rendent son utilisation agréable… Journler est un logiciel complet et bien pensé.

For Journler’s French speaking users, I’m happy to report that a French translation is in the works. I’m moving slowly and carefuly with the translations, but I do promise it’s on the way along with a number of other localizations.

Tip: The Journler Helpfiles

April 6th, 2007

This post is about Journler’s online help files, which are also included in the Journler application. Choose Journler Help from the Help menu.

Recently an individual emailed me about the website. He said it didn’t offer enough details. Having only heard about the program, he was unable to determine what Journler did or how to use it. What’s it for? What does it do? Why is it better than the system I already have?

At first I was somewhat offended. In my perhaps biased opinion I feel that the website does a fine job of conveying the general Journler idea. Thinking about it a little more, I felt that going into detail about Journler’s features on the main site would be nearly impossible. Journler does so much! I felt the same way about Journler’s uses.

Journler is a flexible application, and I have intentionally designed it to be that way. “Journaling is just the beginning” sounds cool but that’s not all. Journaling is just the beginning. How could I talk about Journler’s uses when folks are coming up with new ways to use the program every day? “Chronicle, organize, find, connect.” Vague, but how else can I convey the general sense of the program? Those four principles become a unique system in the hands of every new user.

Giving it some more thought I finally admitted to myself that maybe the website doesn’t perfectly clarify Journler’s intentions and potential uses. Of anything on the site the feature blurbs offer the most detail about the program, and they don’t offer that much. The bulk of the site is in fact designed more to “market” Journler. Is that inappropriate? I don’t think so. Is there an absence of substance because of it? Absolutely not. But the site won’t provide the kind of in-depth information that prospective users might be looking for. I don’t think it should.

Journler.com is simple, and I very much like it that way. Details risk turning the site into a maze. I can’t stand those corporate sites with swathes of menus and categores and subcategories that must be navigated before you can get to the information you’re looking for. Got something to show me? Put it out there and don’t make it confusing. I have an appointment with three juggling balls in ten minutes. At the same time, those details should be somewhere. The Journler Forums are an excellect resource for people already using the program and a wiki is in the works, but in all honestly potential users don’t have anywhere to turn.

Well, actually they do, I just haven’t publicized the information and you won’t find it linked from the main Journler site. The Journler Help Files (http://helpfiles.journler.com) go into great detail on what the program does and how to make the most out of it. I put some serious effort into the help files and I think that’s reflected. While they don’t cover potential uses, they do cover almost everything Journler is capable of, from basic entry creation to hidden keyboard shortcuts.

I’m going to start linking to the help files from journler.com. They aren’t as refined as the main site, but they aren’t that bad either, and they will provide the kind of information this individual and I’m sure others are looking for. If you’re wanting more information about Journler, really pining for the details so you can decide if Journler is right for you, check out the Journler Help Files. If you’re a longtime user and just upgraded to 2.5, or if you’ve been using the program for a few weeks now and are wondering how to get more out of it, check out those files as well.

Journler: journaling is just the beginning. The help files will show you why.

Journler 2.5.1 Available

April 4th, 2007

Journler 2.5.1 is a maintenance update for version 2.5. It corrects a number of problems and is a recommended update for all users. Download Journler 2.5.1. Changes include…

- Improved PDF workflow
- Improved preferences layout
- Improved fullscreen mode
- Fix for searching character based languages
- Fix when indexing WebArchive
- Fix when importing file packages
- Fix when relaunching while still running a toolbar search
- New Web Browser command for quickly surfing the net inside Journler
- Open in Floating Window command
- Permitting empty textual conditions in smart folders
- Help file corrections
- Numerous visual and other corrections

Once you’re installed and ready to go be sure to check out the Journler Forums for help and tips.

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