eXpresser v0-1053

The latest version of the system (v0-1053) now includes a mock-up of ‘resource allocation’. Each colour now has a numeric limit. By default this is 10 per colour. Once this number of basic blocks of that colour have been used up, blocks are no longer painted using that colour but instead are shown with a thick red border since the resource has ‘run out’.

The aim here is for the user to see value in analysing their constructions as they construct them not after they construct them. Ultimately, in the case of the footpath pattern for example, we want the user to be able to say that the number of green needed is 5 times the number of red plus 3. Rather than seeing this as a secondary phase, resource allocation is a mechanism for integrating both analysis and construction (as discussed in previous meetings and in Issue 237.)

At any time, users can use ‘color icon variables’ in the same way as ‘iterations’ icon variables. The expression toolbar has been updated to include an extra button ‘color’ which provides this functionality. A lot more work needs to be done here.

Currently there is nothing to stop the user just allocating (say) 10,000 to each colour and working without worrying about the algebra. We have yet to design and implement mechanisms for what happens if the user has too many resources.

Note that there are some bugs with repainting but it generally works well enough to function as an object to think with. Note also that currently expressions can only consist of a single operator optionally repeated. For example, 3 + 5 + 2 is fine as is 4 * 3 * 2 but 3 * 4 + 2 is not parseable yet. This means that the expression 5n + 3 is not parseable yet either. This will be addressed in the near future.


eXpresser v0-990

The latest release of the system is now version 0-990. Here is a brief description of the updated and new features:

  • The slow-down experienced in earlier versions is not so noticeable. This is due to the fact that patterns really are made out of constituent shapes now rather than spoofing them.
  • Configuration files can be specified. The default config filename is ‘config.txt’ and this should be located in the same directory as the jar. If you want to use a different config filename, you can specify it on the command-line via a shortcut.
  • Logging is now in place.
  • The default colour for initial blocks is now green (!)

The observant amongst you may notice that this is a siginificant numeric jump from 0.27. This is not indicative of changes of this magnitude, however. Instead, it is due to the fact that we have changed our release naming convention. So release 0-990 is in fact subversion revision 990 of our repository. The prefix ‘0’ means that it is pre-release. i.e. not 1.XX. Notice the hyphen instead of a decimal point. 🙂

eXpresser v0.25

Release v0.25 of the MiGen System software is now available. The issues that this addresses largely do not affect the user interface but do affect the performance of the software. In particular, this release addresses the serious memory leak that was in Release v0.24 that lead to slow down after continued use. Other minor changes include a rename of the ‘Increment’ column to ‘Increase by’. In addition, attribute tables now order their attributes. The bugs (especially for 1.5) where when grouping or creating nested patterns has now been fixed. See Issue 198 and Issue 199 for full details.

eXpresser v0.24

Release v0.24 of the system is now available. This provides several small improvements over Release v0.23. Specifically:

  • Newly-created single blocks are selected by default once they are created.
  • The clone/slave functionality has now been more accurated named copy/link-copy. These use the same icons.
  • Can now ‘unpattern’ which replaces a pattern with the original shape on which it was based.
  • All icons are now larger (32×32 rather than 16×16).

Note that this release uses Java 1.6. If you are on a Mac or only have Java 1.5, please use Release v0.24-5 instead. This ‘split’ release is due to an elusive bug.

eXpresser v0.23

Release v0.23 of the system provides a significantly different user interface to the previous release. The interface is a lot more consistent with typical GUIs, providing a small toolbar of icons as well as access to (most of) the functionality through menu items. All tools have corresponding control-key shortcuts (see the annotations in the menus). Note that single blocks are now created through double-clicking in a blank space.

eXpresser v0.22

Release v0.22 of the system provides the following new features:

  • Shapes can now be grouped and ungrouped. As expected, these groups can be used as a basis for patterns.
  • Shapes can be cloned (an independent copy) or ‘slaved’ in which case changes to either the original or new object are reflected in the other.
  • ‘Select All’ is now implemented

In this release, all the functionality described above is available via menus with control-key shortcuts.