Code by Kevin

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Code by Kevin, Programming, code, business, and other pursuits

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Kevin Walzer, software developer.



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Sun, 04 Sep 2016

TextSweep 3.0

I'm pleased to release version 3.0 of TextSweep, my search-and-replace tool for OS X and, now, Windows.

This application represents a milestone for me: it's the last of my current applications to be withdrawn from the Mac App Store and the last that I will be porting to Windows. Some of my apps don't make sense on Windows (PortAuthority is a Mac-specific GUI for installing software, and Manpower's purpose--displaying man pages--is incompatible with Windows, which does not use man pages), but all that do are now available in Windows versions.

Going forward, I have some ideas for new apps, and these will be developed to target both Mac and Windows from the start. Additionally, new versions of my current apps will add new features and will also add Windows-specific features, when appropriate, to improve their performance and integration with Windows.

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Sat, 02 Jul 2016

New releases of PortAuthority and Manpower

I've made new releases of PortAuthority, my GUI for MacPorts, and Manpower, my man page viewer for OS X.

Both releases are incremental updates, with slightly better performance and minor bug fixes.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these releases is that the source code for each is now posted online, at http://fossil.codebykevin.com, under the MIT license. While these are still commercial programs, the source code may be of use to users who would like to modify the applications for their own systems, or deploy them on a system that is not currently supported. While working with the source code is not something I will support directly, this may still prove of use to some folks, and I'm glad to offer it.

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Mon, 02 May 2016

FileMorph 2.7

I've released version 2.7 of FileMorph, my file modification tool for Mac and Windows.

This release fixes a serious crash on some Windows systems, and also incorporates some minor UI enhancements. If you are in the market for a cost-effective tool for changing file attributes such as their name, modfication date, and more, give this a try. As always, lifetime upgrades are free to registered users.

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Thu, 07 Apr 2016

Deploying Python apps on Windows

In releasing the Python-based QuickWho 6.0 today, for the Windows version I followed the model I used for my Perl-based FileMorph app--I coded a stub executable in C that linked to the Python interpreter and made no effort to wrap everything up in a single "app" executable.

Python has more options for "freezing" or deploying standalone apps than Perl does, but the present state is a bit rough: none of the major libraries for Windows work to my satisfaction. Either they do not support Python 3.5, which has some significant changes over previous versions of Python on Windows, or they lack polish in certain respects in terms of customizing the icon or the version info bundled with the executable. This approach results in a larger distribution than the other approaches, but that's a trade-off I'm willing to make.

The other nice thing about using a C-based executable is that it can be ported to other languages with only minor changes, since all the languages that I use for desktop applications are themselves developed in C, and have a C API. The core of my exe stub does not change; it calls into Windows functions to set the working directory of the program, and requires only minor changes to hook into whatever language I am developing in at that time. This will make future projects on Windows simpler. (For an example, see http://fossil.codebykevin.com/fossil.cgi/quickwho/artifact/f3f87b14df46973c.)

The other thing I am doing with my Windows applications is using a simple installer and uninstaller setup that that includes only minor variations with each application. I use iexpress, a system tool that Microsoft includes with Windows to streamline the installation of software components and libraries. It essentially creates self-extracting archives, that only require a single click before each component is installed where I want. My installer package includes an installer script, an uninstaller script, a zip file of the application package, and a small unzip tool to decompress the archive. There are more complex software installer programs out there, both commercial and open-source, but iexpress is very simple and appeals to my Unix-based background. Developing the installer and uninstaller scripts was a great experience because I learned a great deal about Windows internals, its basic scripting language (batch), and so on.

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QuickWho 6.0

I've released version 6.0 of QuickWho, my whois client for OS X and, now, Windows. This version features a major under-the-hood rewrite for increased accuracy, and various UI enhancements. If you would like a richer alternative to the command-line whois tool, it's a great product.

I've been away from work here since late last fall, working on other projects, especially my mobile apps. . I anticipate spending more time on desktop projects in the coming months.

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