It's May and no one has a beta copy of Version 2 yet.
I have been involved in developing software for many
years and this is an endemic problem in this industry.
Look at Netscape 6 and Windows 2000 if you want
examples from even large organizations that can be late
with their applications.
In our own defense, the problem is that we tend to
estimate the amount of time it will take us to develop
things that we know. Unfortunately software
development usually includes a significant amount of
things that we don't know. Not only don't we know how
long it will take to develop these components, we often
don't even know that we need to include them.
In any case we are not as far behind as Netscape 6 is or
Windows 2000 was. Our current best estimate is that
we will be able to make a beta version available that
includes many of the new features before the end of this
month. Since it has been awhile since my last progress
report, I thought it may be useful to let you know a few
of the things that we are working on.
An area that is currently consuming a significant
amount of our effort is the upgrade to the text editor. An
example screen shot can be viewed at: is44fig1. Although
it may not be immediately apparent, the editor includes
an automatic spell checker and an automatic link
generator to create an invisible anchor whenever it
recognizes a URL. When you click on a link it will
open the Link Editor, which can be used to either
access an existing link or edit the current link. The link
editor can also be used to import/export links from
other programs (such as your mail program) and will
maintain a complete list of all of the links you have
created. This will hopefully make it a lot easier to tie
your projects together.
In addition to the link editor and spell checker, updates
include many features you would expect to find in a
good text editor such as Search, Replace, Insert and
context sensitive Help. Although many of these new
features may not be unique, the conversion from Rich
Text to HTML is probably less common to most HTML
Another area that is undergoing significant updates is
the Page Layout system. As most of you know, IMS
uses a desktop publishing method to allow you to
quickly position your text and graphics. We have added
Vertical and Horizontal rulers to the work window with
Snap To Tabs. Simply position multiple Tabs on the
work window and use the Align buttons to snap the
current Object to the next closest tab. This makes
aligning Objects at any specific location a "Snap"
Probably the most significant additions are the
inclusion of a Table Editor, Frames Editor and Navigation
Bar editor with drop menus. An example of a table and
the editor can be viewed at is44fig2. All three
components use a variation of the same dialog. Once
you have figured one out, the others should be easy to
The method is hopefully easy. To create a table for
example, you open the table editor and select the
number of Rows and Columns to be included. You can
then click on any table cell to add or edit an Image or
Text Object. You can also drag the contents of one cell
to another to Cut, Copy, Paste, Duplicate, Switch or
Replace. Like any Object, a table can be dragged and
dropped to any location on the work window. You can
even animate them if you like.
This is only a partial list of the new updates to Version
2. It not intended to be PR so much as to let you know
that we are working hard on it and that these are some
of the ideas we are utilizing. We are of course open to
suggestions. As with Version one, I have no doubt that
we will continue to add many new features after version
2 is released.
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