Mr. Softie Goes Cross-Platform

September 12th, 2010 by Bruno Nadeau

During the last few months, Mr. Softie development took a new direction. We put aside the extensive list of new features we want to experiment with to concentrate on making Mr. Softie accessible to a wider audience. The limitations inherent in the original decision to use the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), which meant producing a Windows-only application, became increasingly obvious as more people were asking about a OSX compatible version of the software. The idea of running Mr. Softie in a virtual machine like Parallels often lead to blank stares through a thick barrier of entry; it was time to put what we knew aside and leap into cross-platform development.

Enters Qt, a cross-platform application and UI framework that is a peanut butter solution to the hair loss caused by years of MFC use. The idea was simple, stop adding new features for a period of time (as short as possible) and port the code to Qt. It took a bit longer than expected, mostly because of the many Qt features that use different approaches than MFC, and the easily underestimated hours of finicky cross-platform UI tweaking, but we made it to version 1.0b for Windows and OSX.

Needless to say that the trailing ‘b’ in the version number could be an uppercase at the moment. Most of the features that are present in the last windows-only version of Mr. Softie (v0.9.6.9) made it to this first Qt version. Many features were improved. Arranging text objects forward and back is more flexible than before and can be applied to any type of text objects (i.e. glyph, word, passage) unlike the previous passage-only limitation. Transforming is simpler, no need for a shortcut to rotate objects, handles are available around the selection. There are too many changes to list here.

With every major code transformation comes an infestation of bugs. During the next months we intend to play with Mr. Softie, find those bugs and clean up the application as we release updates up to a stable 1.0 release. Until then, enjoy our experimental typographic text editor.

Download: 1.0b for Windows | 1.0b for OSX