Programming Stuff

Sunday, 2003-10-05; 17:13:00

In other news, yesterday and the day before, I've been working on upgrading Memory Usage Getter again. According to my website, it's almost been five months since the last release of MUG, and it's in sore need of an update. That being said, here are a few things that are in the works for this upgrade:

-- Finder-like abbreviations for information in the table views. So instead of having the information in a table cell just being truncated, it instead shows the first part of the information, an ellipsis (yay, ellipses!), and then the last part of the information. It's pretty spiffy (but it should be enabled by default in Cocoa apps, Apple!). Thanks, Evan! Here's a pic of what it looks like:

-- Japanese localization. Thanks, Hiroto!

-- a fix for the memory leak that happens when you use CPU reporting in the Dock icon

-- changing the default window preferences to checkboxes, so you can have both Tab and List view windows be default, for those who like to use both windows

-- a few minor bug fixes (an incorrect description of a feature in help, fix for command sequence for opening help in default browser, fix for incorrect max and min values for priority setting when using MUG under languages other than English, hopefully a fix for MUG not hiding when launched on login even if set to hide in the Login Items control panel)

That's going to be the 2.2.2 release. I'm debating about whether to hold off and to integrate those into a larger 2.3/2.5 release, though. In that release, there will definitely be at least this feature:

As you can see, this is what I call "process history". You select a process in List View or Tab View, press Command-I, select a menu item, or (soon) click a toolbar item, and up will pop this window! It will graphically start recording the memory usage of that specific application -- it will also show the average memory usage since you first requested history on that process.

Most of the functionality is there... it even detects when the process you're monitoring has quit, and overlays a "process has quit" image over the graph, while dimming the graph itself in the background. :) If the memory usage goes over the max, the graph automatically readjusts for that, as well.

For those of you potential MUG users that may be reading this, tell me what you think of the window in its current state, and how I should change it. I'm not too satisfied with it. I also will probably will add a bit more information about the process itself to this window -- what would you want? Process ID, process name... anything else? Mock-ups of the window in Photoshop would be welcome. :)

Also, if you used this feature, what connected features would you want? So far, I'm implementing the ability to change the refresh rate of all history windows, the ability to change the color of all history windows, and whether to clear or retain (and keep updating) the history when you close the window. Would you want any of these features on a per-process basis, or would a global preference be sufficient? I'm also implementing (on a per-process basis), the ability to reset the cumulative average.

One question on averages -- would you want the average to be the average since you first requested history on the process, or would you rather have just the history of the interval that the graph is showing (currently 128 refreshes). I'm thinking since you first requested history on the process, but it could be confusing having the average defined that way.

I'm also hoping to implement logging on both a process history level and an all processes level.

If anyone out there has any other feature requests or anything, feel free to post them in the comments or anything -- I don't expect to get an avalanche of requests or anything, but I'm curious if there ARE any other features that people want in a process monitoring app like mine. What would make you pay $10 for this, and not just use Process Viewer? (Incidentally, Proc^H^H^H^H Activity Monitor in Panther has been upgraded in a major way, from the screenshots I've seen, so I've got some competition.) I was also thinking of implementing an NSStatusItem (a.k.a. non-command-movable, but Apple-sanctioned, menu extra) -- what would you like in that?

Also, I may also have space for one or two more beta testers -- if you want, send me an e-mail. However, I expect a lot of feedback on features/bugs, and I also would like feedback on the layout of the program, how it looks, and how I could eliminate confusion by changing things around. (Existing beta testers, if you're reading this, this would apply to you, too.)

Basically, I want to really upgrade MUG to make it useful. Already, the process history for me has been a boon -- I used to easily track down the memory leak in the CPU part of the Dock icon reporting, just by enabling process history for MUG itself, and then turning features on and off and observing the memory usage over a short period of time. It really is handy.

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