I’m a bit of a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to web design – I like simple informative web pages that just “do the job” and don’t tend to follow the latest design fashions. So our site has not changed overall for a long time. However, there is a specific issue that clearly needs improvement, which is accessibly for mobile devices. Our old method of having a small set of pages specifically for mobiles is simply not good enough nowadays.
Finally found time to complete the release of an updated Plant Base program version. This is 2.1.5 and it’s a fairly minor maintenance release, but the update should be worthwhile for most existing users. It is of course now the current downloadable version for all new users.
There has been very little business activity in recent months due to our house move. We have been totally preoccupied by the huge amount of practical issues involved – this was much more than a change of house and more a change of life-style in a very different location!
We run the business from our home and in a few days time we will be moving house to a new area in a beautiful part of Wales, about 200 miles west of our current location.
There are a number of problems arranging an internet connection for the new house, due to its very rural situation. It may take several weeks for the land-line and broadband to be connected and it’s probable that communication will be difficult during most of July. We may be unable to respond to support and other queries for a while. However, we will do our best to catch up as soon as possible.
A new version of Plant Base is available for download – 2.1.4.
This is a program maintenance release with only minor changes and a number of bug fixes.
Along with the new program version there is also an update to the plant database itself, data release 25. It has been some time since the last data release, so we decided to issue one now. There are many updates to existing records and some new plant records and pictures. However, there were quite a large number of amendments that we could not finalise quickly so these will be carried over for the next release.
The Beta Test release for Plant Base Mac OSX edition is now available for download.
Preliminary testing has gone well. However, please remember that this is essentially a new program for the Mac operating system and there will be further development, bug fixes and so on.
Over recent years there have been more requests for this than anything else! Well, it should be ready for public release quite soon.
The Mac edition of Plant Base is a direct port from the Windows program and coded in the same language – the spectacular PureBasic from Fantaisie Software. A large part of the program is exactly the same as the current Windows release and this has greatly helped in speeding along the development. The Mac operating system is however quite different (and new to me!), so a fair number of changes were needed to switch over and adapt things that are specific to the two environments. The bulk of this work is done, leaving mainly finer details still to be tweaked and of course some extended testing.
This has been waiting in the wings for quite a while, but finally completed and released! Extra Keys Pro is an extended edition aimed at web writers, computer programmers and possibly technical writers. It is based on the latest standard edition and looks much the same. However, it offers the important additional capability of outputting characters in a number of coded formats. These include HTML entity name and code, plus other numeric code formats.
A new version of Extra Keys has been released, which is a major change in one respect as it introduces selectable sets of keys. This enables a big increase in the number of character keys, in fact there are now over 600 unique characters available.
Since the first versions, the Plant Base program has offered a function menu of large buttons at the left side of the window. These give quick access to some of the most common functions. They repeat some of the functions from the traditional top menu-bar, so some users don’t use them at all (and don’t display the side panel) while others find them quick and convenient.
However, feedback indicates that people work in different ways and some users would like to arrange the menu buttons in a different order. At a future version there will be a simple, mouse-controlled customisation. However, part of the configuration basis for it has already been done and included from version 2.1.3. So with some manual configuration, it is now possible to change the order.
With Windows Notepad, open the file PlantBase.prefs – this is normally found under your Windows Profile, but if you are not sure then the location is displayed at the bottom or the Plant Base Configuration Options Window.
At the end of the file add a new line:
Below that we add the lines giving the button positions. There’s no need to add them all, only the ones you wish to change. But a minimum of 2 entries are needed, in order to swap 2 button positions. There is no automatic positioning – you must specify all changes.
For example, to change around the Add and Delete buttons, just add these lines:
AddPlant = 4 Delete = 2
Where the number gives the button order from the top.
Now save the PlantBase.prefs file and re-start the Plant Base program.
The sequence of the lines is not important, they just need to be in a group under the [MenuButtons] heading. If you make any error, such as giving two buttons the same number – don’t worry, all lines are ignored and the default order is used. Just correct them and try again.
The lines for all buttons are as follows, with their default position number:
[MenuButtons] FindPlant = 1 AddPlant = 2 Edit = 3 Delete = 4 AddToList = 5 AddPicture = 6 References = 7 PlantList = 8 ManagePictures = 9 SlideShow = 10 Help = 11 Exit = 12 You can Copy&Paste the above lines if you wish.