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The making of WebCoder 2009 – part 9

November 20, 2008

With the release of WebPad.NET, I had changed the way previewing files would work from previous versions of WebCoder. These changes were used in WebCoder 2007, and in a slightly modified form, in phpCoder 2008 too. I think the changes were good, since they allowed for preview browsers in Tool windows, which made them extremely customizable. To please old users, I made sure that the old way of previewing, where you would toggle between editing and previewing, would still be possible. However, since the changes required between these two modes were pretty comprehensive, a restart was required when changing between them. I was never fully satisfied with this, so I sat down and thought long and hard about what I wanted to accomplish, and then I made the necessary changes in WebCoder 2009. It was quite a struggle, because I wanted to make sure that fans of both the "old style interface" and the "new style interface" would be happy with these changes, while improving both of them.

First of all, there is no longer an "old style interface" or a "new style interface". They have been removed from the Settings dialog, and the concept has been changed into "Preview mode", which can be changed, on the fly, from the preview toolbar. You can currently select between these four modes:

  • Hidden. This is like the old style interface, where you will have to toggle between edit and preview. I personally like this mode when I'm doing way more coding than previewing :)
  • Tool windows. This is like the new style interface, where both preview browsers will be placed in their own Tool window, allowing you to tab them, float them or position them where ever you like. This is the most customizable setting, and I like it a lot because it allows me to position my preview browsers on my secondary monitor, so that I may write code and do previews at the same time.
  • Horizontal-split. The application window is split horizontally, with the code window in the top, and the preview browsers in the bottom. You can enable either IE or Firefox or both, as usual. They will adjust depending on whether only one or both browsers are visible at the same time. This is great if you only have one monitor, or if you simply prefer restricting WebCoder to a single monitor, while still wanting to be able to see both code and preview at the same time.
  • Vertical-split. Obviously the same as the horizontal-split, just vertically instead - the code window is to the left, and the preview browser(s) are to the right.

From the same button where you select active preview browser(s), you can toggle between splitting the preview browsers horizontally or vertically, and you can of course adjust the size of the code window, to leave more or less space to the preview part, when it's not hidden. Hopefully, these four modes will leave you with all the flexibility you could dream of, and this time without having to go to the Settings dialog and restart the application - you can change between the modes with only two mouse clicks :). I hope that this will make it better and easier to use the preview functionality in WebCoder, but there's more cool functionality in the preview department. I will tell you more in the next couple of posts, so stay tuned!

Kasper (TSW) @ 8:22 am in WebCoder

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