Mellel 4.2.7 Released
It’s very likely that if you’re not living under a handsomely built rock (or if you have “Check for updates” turned off), you’ve probably heard that there is a new Mellel update in town: Mellel 4.2.7, and on the iPad: Mellel 4.2.8. Mellel 4.2.7/8 is a ‘small’ update, but it contains several important changes we wanted to tell you about.
You can browse the full list of changes here (https://www.mellel.com/release-info/4-2/), or press “What’s New” in the Welcome to Mellel screen (Window > Welcome to Mellel), but the list doesn’t tell the whole story.
Diamonds are Not Forever
First are the document styles that are marked with a ‘diamond’. Aren’t they a nag, right? Why can’t they see that nobody wants them there? Well, Mellel 4.2.7 contains some good news in this respect. First, we’ve fixed some obstinate bugs that caused such ‘diamond’ document styles to appear willy-nilly, after you’ve edited styles via the Edit Style Set editor.
In addition, we’ve made some important changes to the way a style set is applied: from now on, when you apply a style set over a document, not all the styles of the older style set are automatically added as document styles, whether they are used in the document or not. Only styles that are actually used in the document (in the text or the auto-titles setup) will be added. In addition, in an empty document without text, the style set is applied more thoroughly (and Mellel skips the question of how you’d like to mach the styles and automatically opts for “By Name”).
The changes do not eliminate ‘diamond’ style completely, because those have a function: if the document uses a style that is not part of the style set, you need a way to display this style — and marking it with a diamond is the way to do that. However, with Mellel 4.2.7 they appear less often, do not procreate all of their own, and most importantly — a quick stroll to “Replace Styles…”, selecting a replacement, saving and re-opening the document ought to enable you to completely rid the document of those diamonds.
A Hi-res image is Worth a Million Words
If you’re using hi-res images in Mellel you might have noticed a somewhat sluggish response when typing next to such images. Lately, especially with macOS Catalina, this was especially annoying with PDF images. The reason for this ‘weariness’ was simple: with every keystroke Mellel updates the screen display to display the new character and the image next to it. This in itself shouldn’t be a slow process, but with a hi-res image, Mellel needs to also scale the image every time it appears on screen, and this is a long, arduous task (it computer terms, it is still done in a fraction of a second, but a fraction of a second is sorely felt when typing). With Mellel 4.2.7 we’ve spent a lot of time attending to this problem, and we’re happy to say we’ve managed to significantly improve performance in this area. There may still be some sluggishness next to images, but now it is almost imperceptible. At any rate, the performance is not affected whether the image is in hi-res, pdf format or anything else. The improvement is felt most distinctively on the iPad, and there even with non hi-res images.
Creating Table Style ‘By Example’
Mellel 4.2 introduced the long awaited Table Styles. This was very good and excellent, but there was some small matter that wasn’t: when you created a new table style from the Table palette, the new style was a duplicate of the existing style that ignored the changes made to the selected table. To add grime to slime: the table also lost all the ad-hoc changes made. This means that you could not take a table, add various changes and then create a new style based on those changes. Of course, you could create the new style before making the changes, and then save the changes into the style — but what would you do with an existing document that contains tables you want to turn into styles? The solution is simple — Mellel should work with table style just as it does with any other type of style: pressing the New Table Style button in the table palette should use the current table style, copy it, apply the changes in the style, and then re-apply them to the table.
Mellel’s iPad current version is 4.2.8 whereas the current Mac version is just 4.27. Does the iPad gets a preferential treatment? Well, no. Both versions were released simultaneously, but shortly after the release we’ve discovered a serious issue with the iPad version under iOS 13: closing a document consistently lead to a black screen you can only get rid-off by force quitting Mellel. Our top experts (i.e., Eyal) have spent long hours trying to figure out what makes iOS 13 so inclined to go back to black. Finally, a culprit was discovered: a setting in the document edit screen that was not essential with iOS versions up to version 13 now became essential. Why? Well, why not? Either way ,the bug got fixed and by-and-by we’ve also improved the open and close document animation. Now the screen ‘enters’ exactly from the thumbnail image — not just sort-of.
And lots more
We’ve improved the way changes are applied to note streams, the behaviour with slightly damaged documents is now more graceful (instead of crashing, Mellel now fixes the error in the document), several bugs connected to style find and replace in tables were squashed, you now can — at long last, delete the last style set, colour coordination between styles is improved, and several other minor (but still important) bugs.