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 thread  Author  Topic: Any plans to open source this?  (Read 4758 times)
movzx
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xx Any plans to open source this?
« Thread started on: Feb 1st, 2012, 10:38pm »

zBar is a decent program, but it has a long ways to go. There hasn't been a posted release in over a year. I am aware there are random builds posted in various threads from attempts at combating one-off issues.

Things like actually supporting the Aero glass effect instead of trying to mimic it, proper application previews when hovering over an item, quick menus, using the Windows' taskbar settings by default, etc are sorely lacking. We're talking a couple of API calls here that would spruce zBar up immensely.

I understand this is a personal project and is worked on when time permits, nothing wrong with that. It seems to me that this program could benefit hugely from being open sourced. There's a world of developers out there, some who have offered to help, that can reduce the workload.

If the intent is to eventually market this software, then fair enough... But the impression I get is that this software is, and will always be, freeware. Throw this sucker up on GitHub, BitBucket, whatever and let it get the development help it needs. What is the reason for avoiding making it open source? You would still have full control over the main branch of development, if that is what you're worried about.
« Last Edit: Feb 1st, 2012, 10:39pm by movzx » User IP Logged

Tom Revell
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #1 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 4:10pm »

I'd not be wholly opposed to the idea, except perhaps that what I "get" from spending time writing and supporting code is the knowledge that what's been produced is mine, and so I can take some pride in it.

However, you're right that the app probably feels little like abandonware. There are ideas, like the ones you mention, which could probably be usefully incorporated.

One of the reasons I've perhaps not done this is that the app is inherently flawed. The method it uses to determine which buttons to display on the task bar works almost always ... but not always. I wish I knew how the Ultramon guys have worked that problem out! That always works correctly.

I'd prefer I suppose to help other coders by sharing pointers as to what I've had to learn, about how to query the system for monitors and applications, and perhaps about how to create a task bar. Nonetheless, as long as the developer of an app uses the "enumerate all windows, and try to work out which should show up where" approach, there will still be a minority of apps which don't work correctly, which will be very frustrating for those who use those apps. Excel, for example.

I believe that Windows 8 will incorporate code to make ZBar redundant anyway, so perhaps that's the solution?

Tom
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movzx
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #2 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 4:25pm »

on Feb 6th, 2012, 06:29am, Donna Harry wrote:
What's the use of this and in which field is it used?


I don't quite understand the question.


on Feb 6th, 2012, 4:10pm, Tom Revell wrote:
One of the reasons I've perhaps not done this is that the app is inherently flawed. The method it uses to determine which buttons to display on the task bar works almost always ... but not always. I wish I knew how the Ultramon guys have worked that problem out! That always works correctly.


Something like this is helped by having more than two eyes on the code. Even if you made it a read-only repository you would at least have the ability to get feedback in the form of "Hey, if you use X API you'll actually get a more consistent and correct list of windows."

ex:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2007/10/08/5351207.aspx

With the logic being defined as:

Quote:
The Shell creates a button on the taskbar whenever an application creates a window that isn't owned. To ensure that the window button is placed on the taskbar, create an unowned window with the WS_EX_ APPWINDOW extended style. To prevent the window button from being placed on the taskbar, create the unowned window with the WS_EX_ TOOLWINDOW extended style. As an alternative, you can create a hidden window and make this hidden window the owner of your visible window.


I don't know, maybe that is what you're doing. Just pointing out that if there's something that is proving difficult it doesn't help to keep it behind closed doors when the goal isn't a product you intend on profiting from.

on Feb 6th, 2012, 4:10pm, Tom Revell wrote:
I'd prefer I suppose to help other coders by sharing pointers as to what I've had to learn, about how to query the system for monitors and applications, and perhaps about how to create a task bar.


I guess my biggest disagreement with this is that if you've learned to do it incorrectly you may wind up spreading misinformation.

But, like I said, it's your project. You can do whatever you like with it. Even in its current state it is the best free alternative to any dual taskbar app out there. It just seems like it would benefit greatly from the move to open source.
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cpradio
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #3 on: Mar 21st, 2012, 3:02pm »

I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents, being in a similar position as you Tom.

I have developed several pieces of software and have offered it as freeware as well. I had a similar person suggest that I create an open repository for others to be able to view (not modify) the source so they can help with enhancements. And man was that the best decision I ever agreed to!

Soon after I started receiving patches that fixed bugs, provided better performance, etc. I was then able to review each of them, and apply the ones I wanted/felt were beneficial to the project and turn down the ones that did not go in the same direction i wanted.

It was also a great learning tool for me as other could show me what a better approach might be, or how to implement a certain feature that was lacking (and that I was struggling to wrap my head around).

I don't want to swade you one way or another, but just thought my experience with a similar decision may help.

Love your product, and I always recommend it to others.
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #4 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 4:49pm »

Thanks for taking the time to post. I've always thought that my spidery, poorly-planned code wouldn't be very approachable. It's getting better over time, but hey.

I'm still not convinced (!) but thanks for the input.

Tom
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stephan
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #5 on: Aug 3rd, 2012, 12:47am »

Hi Tom,

what can we do to convince you? In my opinion you have nothing to loose but much to win.

Your main point is that your code ist "not that pretty". So what? Everybody knows this now, no need to hide the evidence. In the contrary, your code could get better very quickly.

The other point was that you are proud of your work. But that won't vanish. In the contrary. If you are the leader of a freeware project, you even add something to be proud of.

If you ask for help, I am sure a couple of people will give it. Your tool can grow faster with reduced workload on your desk.

My conclusion is my introduction. You have nothing to loose but much to win.

Stephan.
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loomax
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #6 on: Aug 28th, 2012, 08:50am »

Hi Tom,

first of all -- thanks for this outstanding and wonderful software. I just want to give my vote in order to convince you to make your project open source.
In my opinion making it open source would encourage companies to install your tool by default - as more and more pc's are delivered in multiple monitor configuration f.e laptop + second Monitor.

Greetings from Germany


To other users -- please also leave a comment on this here
« Last Edit: Aug 28th, 2012, 08:51am by loomax » User IP Logged

stephan
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #7 on: Jul 9th, 2013, 05:13am »

Hi there.

Any news on this topic?

Stephan
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Tom Revell
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #8 on: Jul 10th, 2013, 2:37pm »

No news, sorry. Although I've not tried it, I think W8 provides ZBar functionality out of the box, which means that it, and all other apps like it may well die a slow death now anyway?

Tom
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stephan
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #9 on: Jul 11th, 2013, 12:36am »

Hi Tom,

thanks for your reply.

I do not think, that this will happen within the next 10 years. Most of the companies around here are currently migrating to windows 7. So at least for the next 3-5 years there will be no new migration to windows 8 or above.

Many people I know are still using XP.

So keep your head up and give it a try. You can upload your code for free to any open-source platform like sourceforge or github and give it an open source license like (L)GPL.

Thats all there is to it. I am pretty sure that there soon will be some guys around to help you.

You have nothing to lose.

Regards,
Stephan
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #10 on: Aug 2nd, 2013, 4:56pm »

Tom,
I want to first say thank you for writing Stickies and ZBar. They are great programs.

I also want to add my encourgement to you to keep improving ZBar. I just migrated to Windows 7 from XP two weeks ago because the multinational company I work for has accelerated their migration plans in response to support for XP being phased out. I think Windows 7 will be in use for quite a while before my company and others feel the need to go to Windows 8 (or leapfrog to 9).

I would especially be happy to see a workaround for Excel's, uh, unique way of handling the taskbar.

Thanks again,
Justin
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carito
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xx Re: Any plans to open source this?
« Reply #11 on: Sep 18th, 2014, 3:18pm »

Dont be afraid that 8 will have this embedded. There are a ton of places out there that still use XP, us included are in the process of migrating to W7. We have no plans in the next 5 years to go to the W8 mess. W9 "maybe" once it's determined that it works will all our vendors and other apps.
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