Mellel 4.1 is ready for beta testing. This new version of Mellel is an important update, introducing several new features, and improving others… We know that you’re probably anxious to put your hands on this beta and give it a go, but please — read the explanations and instructions carefully: they matter. Pay special attention to the section about installing and updating — they are extremely relevant to using the beta properly and safely.
Please Note Mellel 4.1 Beta is not a public beta — that is, we request that you will not divulge any details about this beta in any public forum. If you have anything to say, good or bad — write to us.
Following here is a list of new features in Mellel 4.1 beta. Look around and try to follow the leads on where to look and what to look for in the section below, titled What to look for with the Beta.
New Features and Improvements
Yup, it’s here. It seems that the perennial request from many of our users was to provide a better work-flow by allowing them to open files in the DOCX format. The problem was mainly in the importing area.
Mellel 4.1 finally supports importing of DOCX documents, including most of the features you’d expect here: tables, styling, images, and so on. We will continue to improve this with future versions. of course.
Minimum Word Spacing
One of the nagging problems when trying to layout text properly, is how to deal with situations where you have a fairly long word at the end of the sentence. Hyphenation solves this problem… only that there are many situations where hyphenation is not allowed (e.g., most books). And so, you get situation such as this (see line 2 and 5):
There are several ways to handle this, but they all involve manual handling of such situations. This is fine and dandy if you have two of those. Not so fine and dandy when you have 5,000 of this in a book.
In comes Minimum Word Spacing – an addition to the paragraph style: this new feature allows you to set the minimum amount of word spacing between words when you need to compress the space and squeeze in another word. For example, this is how the text above looks when you allow to tighten spaces up to 77 per cent (i.e., by 23 per cent):
Tracking, a character attribute, allows you to set the letter spacing for text in 1,000th of Em space. This option allows you to change the set letter spacing in a font (you don’t change the font, of course, just how Mellel lays it out), which is useful either to fix an annoying problem with a font that is too ‘tight’ or, more often, let a heading more ‘breath’.
Mellel already supports kerning with OpenType fonts (based on built in kerning pairs in the font). Mellel 4.1 now support this with any font that has kerning pairs. Some fonts now look so much better, we feel a bit ashamed we did not implement this sooner.
Before and after (the before, below):
Mellel 4.1 includes several improvements to the Outline.
- Better differentiation: Auto-titles that spill to the next line are not indented, so to avoid confusion with a lower level item, alternating colours allow for easy separation of items.
- Spotting the level: With Mellel 4.1, when you select an auto-title, in the Ouline or in the text, the Auto-title palette with check-mark the auto-title level in the palette.
- Going Old-school: if you wish to have the auto-title items truncated (and not flowing to the next line) – you can set this in the preferences.
Auto-indent, a new feature introduced with Mellel 4.0, allows you to easily create structured documents (such as legal documents). Mellel 4.1 improves and streamlines many of the options used with this feature:
- • You can now add an indent and margin for continuing levels via the auto-title setup. This greatly simplifies creating the styles for an auto-indent document or template: you can easily setup an auto-indented document with a single paragraph style.
- • You can edit a continuing level (via the document) and then save the changes into the setup. This is a very useful method for setting the document on the fly.
Stories are another new feature introduced with Mellel 4.0, allowing you to add story point to your manuscript, marking important events or points in the document. With Mellel 4.1, story points are much improved:
- Non intrusive: story points do not need to reside on a separate line, and thus do not mess up your layout.
- Easy to spot: story points are marked clearly, making it easier to figure out the content structure when they are displayed.
What to look for with the beta
Try the new features out — with a work task, if you wish, or simply play around with them. Tell us what you think. If something is not working as it should, if you find something hard to understand, if there are things the feature doesn’t do and should, let us know.
Older Mellel documents should open and and look the same in Mellel 4.1… if you find something off here, let us know.
Sometimes, when we add new features, we change things around and you’ll discover that a functionality you had with the old Mellel functionality have changed. We did that intentionally, and in most cases Mellel should behave as usual… but sometimes while changing we may knock a vase or two. If such a thing happens, or a bug erupted where it should not erupt, please let us know.
We have re-written the Mellel guide with Mellel 4.0. The guide (either the online help or the pdf) was not updated yet for 4.1.
Mellel 4.0 comes with an updated set of templates, try them out and let us know if you think we have missed anything, or if we overdid anything. Are the templates useful? Are they giving a novice user a good impression of Mellel?
What not to look for in the beta
Nothing! If you doubt whether to contact us or not, don’t hesitate. You should never think that “someone else surly has told them about that” — More often than not, that someone else is you! So, don’t worry about our workload, a team of highly skilled and motivated monkeys are processing your reports and can handle any load.
Sending Beta reports
To contact us, about anything relating to beta, please use the beta report form. Do that by clicking the beta icon on the window toolbar. Please try to fill in all the relevant fields in the report form — especially the reproduction sequence, which is our best cue as to know what exactly happened and in which circumstances.
Mellel 4 never crashed and will never crash — We deny such thing may happen. Still, when it does happen, it is important that you should know what to do: Immediately after a crash, a dialogue box titled “Mellel 4.1 Quit Unexpectedly” will appear. This dialogue will prompt you to send the report to Apple. This is great for Apple, but not very useful to us, because we will not see the report. To get the report to us, press the Reopen button to re-launch Mellel. When Mellel is relaunched another dialogue will appear, with the title “Problem Report for Mellel 4.1” — fill your details in that dialogue, and make sure to include a description of the events leading to the crash as you recall them and then click the Send button.
Important note about Installing and using the beta
Installing Mellel 4.1 beta
After downloading the DMG file, double click it to mount it (if it is not mounted automatically by your browser) and drag the Mellel 4.1 icon into your applications folder. Mellel 4.1 will replace your existing version of Mellel 4.0, but will not replace any version of Mellel 3 you have. If you do not wish Mellel 4.1 to replace your copy of Mellel 4.0, change Mellel 4’s name to something else.
Updating Mellel 4.1 beta
After the initial download of Mellel 4.1 beta, you will be able to update the beta (when we have a new beta version) via the automatic update mechanism, make sure to choose Mellel->Check For Updates when you first run Mellel to make sure that you have the latest beta build. Also make sure to choose Mellel (menu) > Preferences and under the General tab select Every Day from the Automatically Check For Updates popup menu.