nvIt for Chrome update
I’ve updated the Chrome version of my nvIt extension, which gives you various ways of creating notes in nvALT from your browser. Couple things about it:
- Back when I originally released the Chrome version, I did not implement an auto-update mechanism correctly. Apologies. So if you already have nvIt installed in Chrome: Go to chrome://extensions and remove the old version. Then install the new version. Auto-updating should work from here on out, so this is the only time you’ll have to do this.
- The update fixes a bug in the extension (caused by a change in Chrome itself) that removed all paragraph and line endings from selected text if you went to create a note from selected text. The result was an unreadable, condensed block of text. Now fixed.
- The update fixes a bug that screwed up creating a note with selected text on a web page whose URL contained a certain set of funny characters.
- The update does not fix a bug in the current beta (version 2.2) of nvALT (since the bug is not in the extension) that causes it to crash when creating a note by importing from a URL. This bug will be fixed in nvALT in the next beta update. In the meantime, I recommend only using the extension to create notes using selected text. Once the bug in nvALT is fixed, the extension should work just fine.
- Safari users: no update for you. Pretty sure that version works fine already. Also, the auto-update mechanism already works for the Safari extension.
Download the new version of nvIt for Chrome, here.
It’s not an update, but here’s a quick link to the Safari version of the extension.
nvALT 2.2 Public Beta
nvALT has Lion’s in-line Find and Replace
Brett and I are excited to announce the public beta phase for nvALT 2.2; which includes Lion compatibility stuff, many bug fixes, a handful of new features, and a new markdown engine. You can read about new features and bug fixes below. We want to get this release beta tested a bit, and we’re hoping you’re up for the task.
2.2 definitely runs on 10.6 and 10.7. It should run on Leopard, but I am unable to test it. As with 2.1, and going forward, we’re unable to support PPC Macs. Apologies.
Since this is a beta, I just want to disclaim the standard disclaimer: its a beta! There will be bugs. You should back up your existing notes database (which, if you haven’t moved it, is at
~/Library/Application Support/Notational Data). We really need [Snow] Leopard testers, but 2.2 has mainly been tested on Lion so far. Which means more opportunities for you, as a beta tester, to find bugs. And report them.
There are still reported bugs that haven’t been fixed. We’re working on getting the release schedule moving a little faster, but be patient. Among the larger bugs we still need to fix are Simplenote escaping and a crasher when importing URLs as Markdown. Fixes coming soon.
While it is in beta, nvALT 2.2 will be on a separate update channel. This means you need to download the beta here. Once installed, you can just “Check for Updates…” within the app and you’ll get the freshest beta. When 2.2 becomes a final release, we’ll return to the official channel. So if you don’t want to beta test, stay on 2.1 and you’ll be able to update to 2.2 when its ready.
Please report bugs here. When you do, in the first line of that report include the following info: OS X version, hardware details about your Mac (ie 2008 2.4 GHz MBP), nvALT version from the About window (ie “Version 2.2b (93)”), AND whether you store your notes as separate files and what format (ie .txt) or as a database, and whether its secure. Also, tag your bug report using the “2.2 beta” tag.
Twitter is REALLY not a good place to do support/bug reporting stuff. Email is better, but could get drowned out. But the GitHub site is the best. Use the Git. If we’re not responding, and you really want/need us to THEN follow up that Git report with an email containing a link to that Git report.
On another note, I just want to express my gratitude for all the encouragement and support Brett and I have received over the last 9 months since merging our NV forks into nvALT 2. Also for patience. I realize its been quite some time since 2.1 was released. Since before Lion, which both introduced bugs and offered up some APIs (like full screen) that were crying out for nvALT support. It’s here now.
Enjoy. Download the nvALT 2.2 beta here.
p.s. one more thing: you can follow nvALT on Twitter now! @nvALTApp
- Requires Leopard & intel procssors now (we had tried previously to support Tiger/PPC, but neither Brett or I have access to either). Also, Leopard is getting increasingly harder to support. If your intel mac runs Leopard, it will run Snow Leopard; and it will run faster on 10.6, and will have more free space. There’s really no reason for you to keep an intel mac on Leopard. So it is likely we’ll move the minimum OS to Snow Leopard at some time in the next year. At which point we’ll stop cutting off support for older OSes so frequently.
- If you have custom CSS and/or templates, they need to move to
~/Library/Application Support/nvALT. The blank print issues we’ve been having were caused by a CSS issue, and due to the way nvALT writes the default templates out we wouldn’t be able to update existing user’s files. The new support directory is created automatically when you run nvALT, and you can place
template.htmldirectly into that folder and override the internal template and stylesheet. We’ll post some example styles soon.
Bug fixes and improvements for 10.5 - 10.7
- Added some initial, optional, markdown auto-completion/syntax tricks (see below).
- Improved auto-pairing
- The “Keep note text width readable” (in Preferences » “Fonts & Colors”) is significantly improved; much less janky. (still needs to be renamed.)
- Hitting cmd-return moves the cursor to the end of your current paragraph, and then inserts a new line (like TextMate).
- Hitting cmd-shift-return moves the cursor to the start of your current paragraph.
- Re-jiggered the (optional) menu bar icon/menu. clicking on the icon will hide/show nvALT’s window (even if you cmd-w/click on the red stop light to close the window, you can click the menu bar icon to bring back the window). Right-clicking/control-clicking the menu bar icon will drop down a contextual menu of useful commands.
- The plus buttons in Prefs»Notes»Storage are back
- Visual fixes to the location bar
- Improved German Localization
- Fixed text rendering bug
- Added “Use Selection for Find” and “Jump to Selection” to the “Find…” menu (which is in the Edit menu).
- Custom CSS and HTML files for the Markdown Preview window should now be stored in
~/Library/Application Support/nvALT/(which will get created the first time you run 2.2)
- MultiMarkdown updated to version 3, peg-multimarkdown. There are some minor changes in the way certain syntax is rendered (such as footnotes and citations), but it’s faster and up to date with the current development of MultiMarkdown.
Lion compatibility features and bug fixes
nvALT in full screen mode on Lion
- Lion full screen mode
- Find… and Replace… features fixed. On Lion, implements the new in line (Safari style) Find bar.
- Better compatibility with Lion scrollers. (There’s also a preference setting, in the needs-to-be-renamed Fonts & Colors section, to re-enable nvALT’s old custom scrollers in Lion. Useful if you like always seeing the scrollbar as a measure of the length of a note, and your position within the text).
- Elastic scrolling.
Markdown auto-completion/syntax tricks
- note: Unless otherwise noted, you have to “Enabled Markdown Completion” in the Preview menu (cmd-shift-m to toggle) for the following to work.
- Cmd > adds a “>” to the start of your current paragraph(s) (i.e. increases quote level)
- Cmd < removes a “>” from the start of your current paragraph(s) (i.e. decreases quote level)
- Cmd + adds a “#” to the start of your current paragraph(s) (i.e. increases header level)
- Cmd - removes a “#” from the start of your current paragraph(s) (i.e. decreases header level)
- Cmd B Works exactly like bolding/unbolding text, except that it uses strong emphasis instead of BOLDed font. Will wrap/unwrap/rewrap selected text. Will insert **** and put your cursor in the middle if no text is selected.
- Cmd I Same as with Cmd B, except uses emphasis instead of strong emphasis
Link syntax completion. A bit harder to describe. Easier to play around with and see. Basically, you can use the tab key to have nvALT autocomplete some of the syntax around Markdown links. It does 3 main things, I’ll explain by telling you 3 things to test out in a note in nvALT somewhere:
- Create a new line. Type “” (or just “[1”, if you have auto-pairing turned on). Hit the tab key. nvALT will turn “” into “: http://”, and select “http://”. Hit the tab key again to deselect and move the cursor to the end of the line. Type “google.com”. You should now have a reference-style link of “: http://google.com”
- Elsewhere in the same note, add some random text so you have an opportunity to now use the reference link we just created. In that paragraph of random text type “[Google]” (or just “[Google” if you use auto-pairing). Now hit tab. nvALT will insert “” and put your cursor in the middle. Now type “1”. You’ve now referenced the link from above.
- Move your cursor elsewhere in that same paragraph of random text so you can create an inline-style link. Type “[Googs]” and hit shift-tab. nvALT will add “(http://)” and select “http://”. Hit tab or shift-tab again and nvALT will deselect and move the cursor after the “http://” and before the “)”. Type “google.com”. Now you’ve got an inline link.
Markdown Link Pasting
- (Does not require the use of the “Enable Markdown Completion” menu item).
- If you have a URL (and only the URL) on your clipboard, you can hit cmd-option-v (or use “Paste Markdown Link” in the Edit menu) to, yes, paste the URL on your clipboard as a markdown link. nvALT can tell if the cursor is on a new paragraph (and assumes you want to use a reference-style link) or an existing paragraph of text (and assumes you want to use an inline-style link).
- This feature will also paste “around” selected text, using any text you’ve selected before using the “Paste Markdown Link” command as either the link text (for inline style links) or the reference link name (for reference links). So if you select all the text in a paragraph and Paste Markdown Link, nvALT will use the paragraph as the reference name, wrap it in “” and add “: http://the.link.com”. Play around with this. Much easier to see how it works, than explain it.
Safari Extensions Fix
An apology and a fix. When OS X updated to 10.7.3 a couple weeks ago, Safari was also updated to 5.1.3. Something about that update caused a small bug with one of my Safari extensions, InstapaperIt, where the toolbar button icons got real small. When I went to fix that bug, I discovered that back when I updated to Lion (haven’t worked on the extensions since then) I lost my Safari Developer Certificate; which signs all my extensions, and which Safari requires (as a security measure). Without the certificate, I couldn’t update any extensions.
I did the wrong thing in trying to re-install my certificate, and actually revoked it instead. This caused ALL my Safari extensions to break. And uninstall themselves automatically the next time a user launched Safari.
What a cluster-f$@#k.
Anyhow. I apologize for any confusion, annoyance, and the general screw up. Will try to avoid such pitfalls in the future.
I have installed a Safari Developer Certificate. I have recompiled my extensions. They should work. I also fixed the toolbar icon for InstapaperIt. You can download them below.
One quick caveat. Safari extensions have a built in auto-update mechanism. In a world where I didn’t revoke my certificate I could just release the updated extension and Safari would help you update it. Since I revoked the certificate, Safari probably uninstalled the extension, so there’s nothing to update. If somehow that didn’t happen, Safari might auto-update the extension. It might not. Uncharted waters. If you have any of my extensions still installed and can’t seem to update them, uninstall them and use the download links below.
nvIt — Chrome and Safari extensions for nvALT
Brett and I just released nvALT 2.1 with a lot of bug fixes, UI improvements, and some new features. Some of my favorite additions:
- TextMate style auto-pairing of matched characters like parenthesis, brackets, and double quotes.
- Shortcut (CMD-Shift-L) for Inserting [[Links]]
But I also just finished up developing Safari and Chrome extensions to extend nvALT’s notational velocity (or something ;) into the browser.
They let you create a new note in Safari 4 different ways:
- Click the toolbar button to have nvALT download the current page you’re on as a new note
- Right-click on a link, and select the appropriate option from the contextual menu, to have nvALT download the linked page as a new note.
- Right-click away from either a link or a selection, and select the appropriate option from the contextual menu, to have nvALT download the current page you’re on as a new note.
- Right-click on selected text, and select the appropriate option from the contextual menu, to have nvALT create a new note with the selected text as well as a link to the current page you’re on.
There’s an preference setting to have nvALT use Instapaper’s Mobilizer when downloading pages into new notes, so that those notes are more readable. This is not turned on by default. To turn it on go to the extension’s preference page.
Since these extensions require OS X and nvALT 2.1, I don’t have any plans to release them on their respective Browser’s extensions page. Check back here or follow me on Twitter @elasticthreads for updates to the extensions.
Please email any bug reports to elasticthreads att gmail.com with “nvIt bug report” in the subject
p.s. I’ll post the source for these on GitHub soon, but if you are willing and able to develop a Firefox version please email me.
nvALT 2.0: two forks, merged…
NVForked updated and is now nvALT, a merger of two forks.
Big update. Huge. Back in January, Scrod released an update the NV that added a host of great features… and broke compatibility with my fork. Since then I’ve been working on updating my fork to add in his changes in the official NV:
- Option for horizontal layout with multi-line previews in notes list
- Words between [[double-brackets]] will become links to other notes
- Tags can be synced to Dropbox and searched by Spotlight, via OpenMeta
- Tags are auto-completed while typing in the tag-entry field
- TaskPaper-compatible strikethrough formatting using the “@done” tag
- Fully plain-text-based automatic list-bullet formatting
- Note-titles inside double-brackets are (optionally) auto-completed
- “Show in Finder” command for revealing selected note-files on disk
- Highlighting of search terms can be disabled
- Dragging the divider to the top or left of the window will hide search field
- and more
I kept the new, official implementation of a horizontal layout, which uses a single column to display note title + metadata (dates and tags). Looks beautiful.
All the features from my fork are still there:
- Fullscreen mode (cmd-shift-f)
- Optional menubar icon/drop down menu
- Optional no dock icon (menu bar icon only) mode.
- The ability to add/edit tags for multiple notes at once (which now auto-completes the tags for you).
- Multiple color schemes you can easily switch between:
- Low Contrast (light gray background, dark gray text)
- User Customizable
- Easily collapse/expand the notes list and search field (cmd-shift-c)
- An option to improve the readability of notes by using margins to limit the width of the text (in preferences»Fonts&Colors)
- Other eye candy (check the scrollbars out).
AND added some new features:
- “Open in Text Editor” (Under the note menu, or Cmd-Shift-O) to will open the current note in the application of your choice (use WriteRoom if you prefer its fullscreen mode). This requires that you store your notes as separate files. The default app is the system wide default for whatever file type (.txt,.rtf,.html) you’re using. Probably Text Edit. But you can pick your preferred application in “Preferences»Editing”
- Show Word Count (Under the View menu, or Cmd-Shift-K). Heavily requested. Adds a live word count of your note to the search field. Hold down the option key to temporarily see the word count.
- Working Localization for French, German, and Portuguese. (Although some of the newer features show up in English. If you know French, German, or Portuguese and want to translate anything you see in English please email me or Brett).
Along the way, Brett Terpstra, the developer of another NV fork, nvALT, and I decided to “branch off and merge our forks”…. whatever that means. Well, it means that my fork and nvALT are now combined into a single release:nvALT, version 2. So this adds the features of nvALT 1.0.7 into the mix as well:
- (Multi)Markdown/Textile Preview (in the Preview menu, or hit Cmd-Control-P). Also highly requested. Brought to you mainly by Christian Tietze and Brett Terpstra. Thanks! I’ve added one thing to their implementation: Hold down the control key to temporarily see the preview window.
- HTML source code tab in the Preview window for fast copy/paste to blogs, etc.
- Customizable HTML and CSS files for the Preview window
- Custom HTML/CSS templates can be included in saved output from the Preview
- Social note sharing via Peggd
- Convert imported URLs to Markdown, and optionally strip excess content with Readability
And some other bug fixes and improvements. (Most noticeable: the search field is embedded in the window’s titlebar as in the official release, which I originally took out for going fullscreen, but got working again).
nvALT has its own auto-update channel. So it will only update to future nvALTs, and never to Scrod’s NV.
nvALT will create it own set of preferences from NV. This means that the first time you run nvALT it won’t have any prefs you’ve set in my old fork, the first version of nvALT, or the official NV. If you moved your notes to a custom location (like Dropbox) they won’t show up the first time you run nvALT; you just need to go back into preferences»Notes and set the “read notes from folder” to the right place. Apologies for the chance, it is a pain in the ass, but separating nvALT from NV means you can use both apps, store notes for each in a separate folder, and have fewer compatibility issues.
Note: Apparently our build is not particularly PowerPC compatible. Since neither Brett nor I have PPC machines its pretty hard to test/debug/build for them. We’ll do our best, but in the meantime its probably best for PPC users to hold off or use this experimentally only. Apologies.
Download nvALT, version 2 here.
Source code will be available (soon) here.
I’ll post a roadmap soon, after Brett and I have a little more time to agree on the next steps. In the meantime, enjoy the new release!