Monday, October 22, 2007

Finally updated xGestures

It's been... over ten months since I released a new version of xGestures?  I want to make it clear that I haven't abadonned the project at all.  In fact, I still use it every day, all the time.  However, I've come to realize that actually programming professionally for 8 hours a day, having a fairly active social life, and being lazy really makes it difficult for me to work on programming projects in my free time.  But I'm trying to get better about it.

So I've finally released a relatively minor update to xGestures that fixes a bunch of bugs that people have been complaining about for a while.  Unfortunately, there are still several bugs that I haven't had the opportunity to fix, and several features people have been requesting forever now that I still haven't had the time to add.  But in case you're wondering, here's stuff I really, honestly, plan to do at some point in the future:
  • Adding a feature for exporting and importing preferences. I plan to make this work so that you can import individual application preferences, as well as duplicate gestures and entire applications. So if you have 5 zillion gestures set up for your favorite web browser, and then you start using a slightly different web browser, you can copy over the gestures rather than having to do them all over again.
  • I want to fix the Wacom tablet problem.  LOTS of people have complained that xGestures doesn't work with Wacom tablets.  The problem, though, is that I don't own a Wacom tablet and don't have easy access to one right now.  As soon as I can get my hands on one, though, I'm going to see if I can fix things.
Now I should probably give some lip service to features that people have requested that are pretty low priority right now.  Which is to say, there are a bunch of other things I want or need to do in  my spare time before I'll have a chance to work on this stuff.  So the big one is diagonal gestures, or other kinds of complex gestures.  I really want to add that to xGestures, but it'll take a lot of work and I just don't have the right now.  Another big one is complex or advanced gesture actions, that can do neat things like do various different things depending on context, or start performing several actions in order until one of them succeeds.  That'd be a great feature to have, but once again it'll take oodles of work.  There's also adding a feature like being able to gesture with more than one mouse button.  So something like right-click gesturing in a direction will do action A, and middle-click gesturing in the same direction will do action B.  Or more rocker gestures, like holding the right button and clicking the middle button or something like that.   However, I want to be careful with these new features, because one of the things I'm trying to be careful about is not making xGestures really complex and annoying to use.  So if I implement any of these features, I'm going to try my hardest to make them simple and intuitive, but still powerful.

I'm also working on a new software project right now that's already getting pretty close to being finished. I'd say it's something like 70% of the way there. I'm almost certainly going to release it as freeware or donationware, because it's simple enough that I don't think it warrants people having to go through the effort of paying money to use it. But it's a cool idea, though, and it might actually be pretty popular. I'm not going to say what it is though just so I can be stupidly secretive with the four people who read this blog!!


Anonymous said...

Good work !
Somewhere on your page, you say you don't know who invented the concept of mouse gestures.

Here are a few pointers: most people credit Brian Hopkins ( from discovering the fact that directional menus are superior to linear menus. Yet, others (as early as 1969) had found out about this. Hopkins made the idea popular and fought for it (keeps fighting, indeed!)

People like Ben Shneiderman, Gord Kurtenbach and Bill Buxton have been instrumental in refining the concepts, extending them to multilevel and improving the learnability of these things.

See, for instance:

Now, what you find in Opera and many other packages are just a skimmed down version of what Marking Menus can bring you. Check Autodesk Maya (there's a free eval version for Mac OS) to get a full notion of how far you can go with them.

keep up the good work!

François-Léonce said...

Great to hear xGestures is still in good hands!

I was wondering about Leopard support. As I recall, there weren't many issues going from Panther to Tiger. Is the same to be expected with Leopard? Has it been tested on Leopard?

Ian said...

Wow, great to see it updated, thank you Brian!!!

Best damn $5 I ever spent ;-)

Could you give more details on the Wacom tablet thing? I recently installed drivers for my old Graphire II, and notice that mouse movements are not properly registered in any app (scrollbars fail everywhere for example), and that I cannot activate the Dock -- it is as if the mouse position was not registering at the bottom. This only happens after plugging the Wacom in and out a couple of times (I swap it with a normal mouse when going to work). I'd be happy to post my graphire II to you if it would help fix it :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian! Good work! I love to use xGestures a lot! However, I found a message in the console log which worries me:
01.11.07 22:13:20 Uhr [0x0-0x13013].what.xGestures[127] Thu Nov 1 22:13:20 xGestures[127] Error: The function `CGSReleaseObj' is obsolete and will be removed in an upcoming update. Unfortunately, this application, or a library it uses, is using this obsolete function, and is thereby contributing to an overall degradation of system performance. Please use `CFRelease' instead.

Ian said...

Just a FYI: XGestures is breaking dock auto-hiding and expose from screen corner in Leopard with some, not all apps.

Anonymous said...

I second that: Hot corners do not work when certain applications are active and xGestures 1.72 is installed. Eg. for System Preferences it always fails!

François-Léonce said...

I also experience issues with the Leopard dock. I don't have mine auto hidden; just the regular dock at the smallest with a magnify of about 3/4 of the slider.

When xGestures is running, the dock doesn't always magnify when hovering.

pellier said...

I found this blog from the Demented Cartoon Movie at and i was wondering if these be made for windows also.

Ian said...

V1.7.3 has now been released which fixes my Leopard bugs.

pellier: try StrokeIt on Windows

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Alex said...

crap app i doesn t work with diagonal gestures!

Alex said...

crap app it does not recognize any diagonal gestures it s a shame!

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