Happy New Year!

My New Year’s resolution? Get Tensai to 1.0.

I’ve made little progress since releasing Tensai 0.91 last October. As a result, Tensai 0.92 won’t be a very dramatic change in functionality. However, I feel it’s important for me to get an updated version out there with sensible search behavior.

In 0.91 I messed around with semi-live searching, pre-fetching results as you typed but not formatting them until enter was hit. I haven’t gotten much feedback on that change, but after some reflection I decided the 0.90 behavior was just much more intuitive and focused. If anyone likes the way it works now in 0.91, please make yourself heard.

So just to be clear, the difference is:

0.90 0.91
type some text nothing find
hit enter find and display find and display
change search type find and display find
change dictionary find and display find and display

Where ‘find’ means it updates the result count and ‘display’ means it actually displays the results themselves.

So, yeah. I’m curious to know if people have any strong feelings one way or the other about this.

12 Responses to “Happy New Year!”

  1. Oren Ronen Says:

    For what’s it worth, I like the way it is in 0.91. It allows me to change the search type (usually set to ‘Contains’) if there are too many results before hitting enter - important both as a time saver and also because there is a noticable delay when a search has hundreds of results.

  2. Oren Ronen Says:

    Oh, and great work, by the way. Speaking as a first-year college Japanese student, Tensai is so much more convenient and easy to use than the various other interfaces to JDIC. Thanks!

  3. Justin Says:

    I’m glad you like it Oren. Knowing that people like using Tensai is what keeps me motivated.

    I agree there’s a need to see how many results there will be, but if a result is taking a long time to show up you can just changing or clear the query and it’ll be cancelled. Say you search for entries containing “ap” — that’s 4523 entries. My proposed 0.92 would have that result count pop up instantly after you press enter, but work on formatting and displaying the results in the background, so you could cancel or change the search at any time before it finishes displaying those 4523 results.

    Does that sound better, or would you still prefer the way it works in 0.91?

    In an ideal world, searches in Tensai would be live and instantaneous, like filtering songs in iTunes. Since that’s not possible yet, I decided for 0.91 to try to emulate the way OS X 10.4’s Dictionary.app works, which shows how many results there are as you’re typing your query.

    My real gripe with the way 0.91 works is, if you already have one set of results displayed, then as you enter a second search you will see the future result count but still the old results displayed. If someone is using Tensai for the first time, I want them to immediately grasp the interface. When they enter their first search and all they see is a result count, I imagine they’ll think why there aren’t any results being displayed yet and oh this must be broken.

    I also don’t like the inconsistency in the above table. Tensai should react the same way to changing your search type and changing dictionaries, but I didn’t pick just one way for 0.91, and I feel it’s less intuitive because of it.

  4. David Says:

    As I mentioned in the email I love the program. These are some of the things I thought might be useful changes - at least they would be useful to me.

    1 - the ability to change the font size
    2 - The ability to change the background colors (too bright for my poor old eyes)
    3 - If you’ve studied Japanese for long it’s likely that you’ve used a word tank or something like it. These hand held dictionaries have a feature that is usually called something like “s-jump” where you highlight part of an entry and can then search based on what you highlight. This is esp. good when dealing with Kanji.
    4 - The capacity to amend dictionary entries by the end user. I study classical (when I can) and also have been learning to read hentaigana and so there are plenty of kanji, phrases, and words that may have other, broader, addiional, or completely different meanings that not every student of Japanese needs.
    5 - Basic Kanji info (unless I missed it alread) you know radical, readings, grade info, etc.

    As I said I love love love the program and wish you’d made it 8 years ago!

  5. Justin Says:

    1 and 3 are coming in 0.92. I actually finished implementing 1 five minutes ago. 3 in 0.92 will be very basic and will get more fleshed out in later releases.

    2 I’ll probably be able to add by 0.93.

    4 probably won’t happen until after 1.0, but is definitely something I have planned.

    5 is coming in 0.93 or 0.94.

  6. David Says:

    By the by, as far as live searching I think that it is useful sometimes, but if it were possible to enable/disable, that would be good. You could also have it set to live search from within the context of the vocab lists. When I was in school and had a much higher amount of reading work I found that sometimes I would just have a hard time with one or two phrases that would repeat in a text, but because of speed requirements I didn’t really have the option to study the words as vocab.

  7. Michael Says:

    I am just downloading for the first time as I type.
    I live in Japan and am hoping that Tensai will become invaluable to me in daily life here.

    Expect comments soon.


  8. Oskar Says:

    I loved the way searches were in .91! Make the way of searching an option in the preferences?


  9. xipx Says:

    what a great update!

  10. xipx Says:

    hope to change the display tpye back to 0.90! I really hate “results as you typed but not formatting them until enter was hit” , really unhandy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Or if can it be choose the tow type of display mode?

  11. cgg Says:

    the same to xipx !

  12. Weber Lin Says:

    It’s very useful.

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