DC++ 0.76x improvements in detail – Part One: GUI reloaded
March 26, 2010 2 Comments
When you upgrade to the 0.76 series of DC++ you’ll immediately see the new visual improvements: nice, modern looking icons in the toolbar, the clearly better way of how tabs, menus and other GUI parts obey to the used Windows themes. We already mentioned these design improvements in a previous quick run-through post of new features.
However, above the fresh new look, there are equally exciting functional changes in the GUI that I will discuss in this post. The heart of the biggest GUI functionality changes is called WindowManager and basically its made to keep track all the opened windows in DC++. Using the window manager, the list of the opened windows is kept even across sessions and it made possible to implement a few really useful functions in DC++.
If you start DC++ the first time after upgrading to 0.76x you may won’t have some of your usual windows (like download queue or favorites) auto-opened. If you check the Appearence/Windows settings you’ll find that the checkboxes for auto-opening this kind of windows are also gone. Don’t panic, these functions are just moved to the window manager. From now all of your opened windows will be saved at exit and will be restored the same order at the next start of DC++. All type of windows will be saved not just the ones that can be toggled on/off. You’ll find that your opened filelists and PM windows will also be kept across sessions. And yes, its the same for the opened hub windows as well.
WindowManager also stores the list of recently opened PM, filelist and hub windows . The history of opened windows can be accessed through the dropdown besides the Recent Windows icon in the toolbar. You can reopen any recent window by selecting it from the dropdown menu. You can also control the behaviour of the Recent Windows function by specifying how many recently opened hubs, PM and file list windows you want to be saved. The number of stored recent items can be set in the newly introduced History panel in the Settings. Note that setting any value to zero means that the saving of the recent items for the respective type of windows will be disabled.
The second notable GUI functionality change happened at favorite hubs configuration. If you open the Favorite Hubs window you’ll see that the auto-connect checkboxes are disappeared from the list of hubs. This is because we introduced Favorite hub groups, a new and better way of managing your favorite places in the DC network. You can create unlimited number of hub groups using the brand new hub group dialog. Just click to Manage Groups button/context menu item in the Favorite hubs window and you can add/modify hub groups there.
The list style in the Favorite Hubs window is also changed to a grouped list view where you can see your hubs grouped according the hub groups settings. Note that this grouped list view is available on Windows XP or newer operating systems only. In OSes older than XP, the Hub Group column will tell you what group a favorite hub entry belongs to.
When you upgrade DC++, existing favorite hubs will be a member of an unnamed default hub group. You can assign a favorite hub to any other group in the properties dialog of the favorite hub. You can also use the Move Up/Down buttons to move a hub in the grouped list from one group to another.
From now you can quick connect to all hubs in a particular group using the appropriate submenu from the File menu or by simply pressing Ctrl-G. There’s also a quick way to close all opened members of a hub group or close all other hubs except the ones that are members of a particular group. You can find these functions under the Window menu.
Hub groups can be set so their members will be automatically connected when DC++ started. When you upgrade from an older version of DC++, previously auto-connecting favorite hubs will be converted to a new hub group which has the auto-connect property set. This way even those who aren’t suppose to use hub groups at all won’t experience any inconvenience.
Now you’re familiar with the two most important new features but DC++ 0.76x has many more smaller GUI and lib improvements. I’ll expose them in the following posts shortly…