Release Notes for Sticker 3.0.0

Supported Platforms

This release of Sticker is primarily targeted at Windows and is tested on Windows NT, 2000 and XP (Sticker does not run on Windows 95). However Sticker is also supported on Mac OS X, Linux/GTK, and Solaris/Motif, and has enough users on those platforms to be considered stable.

Installation

Sticker comes either as a self-installing package or as a manual-install ZIP file. To install the ZIP, extract it and start Sticker by running either "sticker.bat" on Windows or "sticker.sh" on Unix. See the "README.txt" file that comes with Sticker for more information on installation options.

Changes

Overview of Changes in Sticker 3

Native GUI: Sticker 3 is based on the Eclipse SWT toolkit rather than Swing as used in Sticker 2. SWT is based on the operating systemís native toolset, meaning Sticker 3 looks and acts like a native application and supports Windows XP and GTK themes plus display enhancements such as ClearType.

Reduced memory requirements: The switch to SWT plus streamlining and simplifications of the backend result in Sticker 3.0 requiring approximately half the memory of Sticker 2.3.

Windows native release: For Windows users, Sticker 3.0 is available as standalone EXE that does not require a Java runtime and has significantly lower memory requirements. The existing cross-platform distributions are still fully supported.

No scrolling messages: Well actually it does scroll, but much less so than before. Scrolling can be irritating, and Sticker 3 tries not to generate distracting movement unless something is actually changing. When a new message arrives on a blank ticker it now "drops" it in from the right and comes to a stop on the left where it sits until expired or deleted. Subsequent messages, up to the point where the ticker is full, do the same, forming a stationary stack of messages. When the ticker is full, it starts scrolling as usual, with the ticker tape display wrapping so that all the space available on the ticker is used for message display. The dropping action still gives a brief movement cue for each new message, but the display settles down immediately afterwards.

New scroller features: messages that are unread (i.e. haven't been replied to, or deleted, or otherwise "touched") are highlighted with a shadow. The message text no longer fades as it ages since this can make the text hard to read; instead the red "new message" star over the icon fades. Messages that are not visible are not subject to expiry, meaning short-expiry messages arriving on a long tape won't be deleted before display.

Auto hide: In the spirit of being less intrusive, Sticker 3 has an "auto hide" option that causes the scroller to slide out of the way when not in use. When a message arrives, or Sticker becomes the active application (eg is Alt-Tabbed to), it slides back into view. On Windows there is now a taskbar menu for when the Sticker is not visible.

Improved message archiving: Sticker 3 uses a micro object database for storing messages, which allows for large archives to which messages can be added, retrieved and removed from very quickly. As well as improving performance, messages can be indexed by their read/unread status and received time, allowing flagging of unread messages and global expiry of old messages. All messages are now stored in a single file rather than one file per group.

No popup toolbar: While the popup toolbar seemed like a good idea at the time, it's true to say that many people find it annoying, including the author. In its place, Sticker 3 uses a context menu on the scroller plus a control menu with application options.

Better self-customisation: Sticker 3 remembers much more of the way youíve set up things, such as window sizes, column widths, etc.

Improved scroller and message display customisation: Sticker 3 has a number of pre-set scroller colour themes, each of which has its own optimised message colour schemes for normal, highlighted and "lowlighted" messages. This allows message actions that change message appearance to do so intelligently regardless of which scroller the message ends up on.

Changes in Sticker 3.0.0 final

NOTE: This release cannot read messages saved by the Sticker 3.0 betas. A utility to migrate formats is available from the Sticker website if you wish to preserve your saved messages.

Changes in Sticker 3.0 beta 2

The beta 2 release is focused on usability and stability improvements, especially with the messages database which seems to be the main cause of problems. Beta 2 does however have a number of requested new features.

Compatibility With Sticker 2

Sticker 3 is fully compatible with Sticker 2's tickertape messaging and virtual presence protocols, however Sticker 3 will not read Sticker 2 preferences and saved messages. Sticker 3 has significant internal differences that would make it a complex process to convert settings from Sticker 2. However, if enough people complain, a conversion tool may be forthcoming.

Advanced groups based on Elvin subscription expressions can be moved to Sticker 3 by first copying the Elvin subscription expression and using Preferences -> Ticker Groups -> Wizard Group (Propeller Hat Icon) -> Add Filter -> Match Elvin Subscription and then clicking "Elvin subscription" and pasting the copied subscription expression in.

Sticker 2 security keys can be copied into Sticker 3 by exporting them in the "Elvin" key format and then importing them into Sticker 3 using the Preferences -> Security Keys -> Import Key command.

Sticker 2 message rules that you wish to keep will need to be manually re-coded into Sticker 3, however the built-in rules such as " Fast expire messages from me" and " Keep personal messages while I'm away" are already in Sticker 3 as defaults.

Known Problems

OS X scroller display: Due to a bug in SWT, the rendering acceleration that Sticker uses for messages dropping onto the scroller display currently needs to be disabled. This may result in poor animation quality.

OS X and Solaris attachments: URL attachments on OS X and Solaris do not open. A workaround is to copy them to the clipboard and paste them into a browser manually or to use a custom command specified in Preferences -> Other Settings.

Unix window placement: Some windows appear underneath the scroller.

Linux GTK issues: Sticker occasionally crashes inside the GTK library for an unknown reason.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Konstantin Knizhnik for the use of the Perst object database and to The Wilson Partnership for the use of their MinML2 XML parser.

Further Information

For technical information on Sticker, please see README.txt that accompanies this file. Please also visit the website at http://elvin.dstc.com/projects/sticker or contact Matthew Phillips at matthew.phillips@dsto.defence.gov.au.

© Copyright 2003 Matthew Phillips