31 March 2008

Clippings shortcut key prefix on Mac OS X

I've been getting reports from a few Mac OS X users of problems with the shortcut key feature introduced in Clippings 3.0.

Instead of CTRL+ALT+V as is advertised, Mac OS X users have to press Ctrl+Option+V and simultaneously hit the shortcut letter or digit assigned to the desired clipping. That means that a user would have to press four keys on the keyboard at the same time!

And at least one Mac OS X user has reported that CTRL+ALT+V or Ctrl+Option+V doesn't work at all.

The requirement of having to press so many keys at once is strange, and is inconsistent with the behaviour on Windows and Linux where users would press CTRL+ALT+V that would bring up a dialog box prompting the user to enter the shortcut key of the desired clipping to paste:

I've entered this Mac-specific issue as bug 18879. Any helpful reports of further observations on this issue are most welcome, and should be reported in that bug.

17 March 2008

Clippings 3.0 released!

The wait is finally over. Clippings 3.0 has been released and is now available for download.

» Download: Clippings 3.0 (175 KB; compatible with Firefox 2.0-3.0b4 and Thunderbird 2.0-2.0.0.*)

Supported Languages: English (United States), Chinese (simplified), Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Slovak.

If you already have Clippings installed, it will be upgraded for you if automatic extension updates are enabled in Firefox. Otherwise, open Extension Manager in Firefox, then right-click on the entry for Clippings in the list of installed extensions and choose Find Update.

Please note that Clippings 3.0 is, and will not be, compatible with Firefox 1.5 and Thunderbird 1.5. These versions are obsolete and Mozilla Corp. is no longer supporting them.

What's New
  • Common clippings data for Firefox and Thunderbird. This much-requested feature allows your Clippings data to be created, accessed and modified from both Firefox and Thunderbird. (More info.)
  • Shortcut keys. You can now assign a shortcut key to a clipping at the time of creation or by editing a clipping in Clippings Manager. Shortcut keys can be any letter (A-Z) or digit (0-9). To paste the clipping into a web page form field in Firefox or a new email message in Thunderbird, press CTRL+ALT+V, then the shortcut key.
  • Clipping placeholders. You can define placeholders inside a clipping that you will be prompted to fill in when you paste the clipping. Built-in placeholders for the date, time, clipping name, user agent, etc. are also available. (More info.)
  • Default clippings. System administrators and redistributors can bundle a default Clippings datasource file into a customized Clippings XPI to pre-populate their users' datasources when they install the customized XPI. (More info.)
  • Improvements to Clippings Manager's automatic save functionality, including on-the-fly updating of clipping edits/changes.
  • Double-click on a clipping in Clippings Manager to paste it into the most recent host app window
  • Numerous bug fixes.

Known Issues
  • On Firefox 3, it is not possible to adjust the width of Clippings Manager's tree list.
  • Shortcut key assignments are lost after migrating to the common data source.
  • Exporting Clippings data to a Clippings file that already exists may cause the data to be appended to the existing content in the file instead of overwriting it.

Help and Support

A Quick Start Guide is available, and is recommended reading for first-time users.

Support requests should be emailed to the Clippings mailing list at clippings@mozdev.org. Bug reports should also be emailed to the Clippings mailing list. If you have a Bugzilla account on Mozdev, you may file a bug report at http://clippings.mozdev.org/bugs.html.

03 March 2008

Clippings Editor beta

Clippings 3.0 will have the ability for system administrators and redistributors to customize the Clippings XPI (the redistributable file that users download to install into Firefox or Thunderbird) with default clippings data. This new feature prompted the need to have a utility to simply the task of creating, editing and viewing default Clippings datasource files, eliminating the need to either do this in Clippings Manager (and disturb one's personal Clippings data in the process) or manually editing the Clippings RDF file (which is too easy to corrupt and is therefore not recommended).

So here it is, a beta release of Clippings Editor -- a standalone utility that makes creating, viewing and editing Clippings datasource files easy.

» Download: Clippings Editor beta for Windows (6.9 MB; English (United States))

WARNING: This beta release is being made available for testing, and should only be installed if you are willing to tolerate a few bugs. If that doesn't sound like you, you should wait for the official release, which should happen at the same time as the official release of Clippings 3.0.

Installation Instructions

Click on the above download link and save the zip file to a desired location on your system, then unzip it to a folder of your choice. There is no setup program to run.

To uninstall it, simply delete the folder where the zip file was unzipped to.

Sorry, Clippings Editor is currently available for Windows only. This utility will be available for other systems (Linux, Mac OS) in the near future.

Starting Clippings Editor

To run Clippings Editor, locate the folder where it was installed to, then double-click on the file clippingseditor.exe.

To simplify things, you may want to create a shortcut on the Start menu or the Desktop to point to the executable.

Things You Should Know About

If creating a new Clippings datasource file, you must give it a file name and desired folder location before you can begin editing it.

The datasource file is automatically saved when exiting the application. The Save command in the File menu is available if you wish to save the currently-open file at any time.

The Save As command doesn't work if saving to a different folder. This is a known bug.

Clippings Editor can only edit a single file at a time (this is an SDI application). For now, if you want to edit two or more files simultaneously, simply run another instance of Clippings Editor.

Clippings Editor doesn't natively handle the old Clippings 1.x series format files. Clippings 1.x files can be opened, but a new Clippings file must be created to edit it. Also, Clippings Editor cannot save a file in Clippings 1.x format -- use the Export command on the File menu to export to Clippings 1.x format.

Do not use Clippings Editor to modify the Clippings datasource file in the user's Firefox or Thunderbird profile folder (or the user's home directory if the common Clippings datasource is enabled). Doing so may result in data corruption. Instead, invoke Clippings Manager from the host application and export the Clippings data using Options → Export. You can then edit the exported file using Clippings Editor.

And Finally... Some Fun Trivia

Clippings Editor is a standalone application that is based on Mozilla's XULRunner platform. The astute reader may notice in the above screen shot that Clippings Editor's user interface is remarkably similar to the Clippings Manager UI from Clippings (the extension for Firefox and Thunderbird) because both windows share the same code -- except for several modifications, e.g. removal of integration with Firefox and Thunderbird, new menu bar, and minor changes to the toolbar.