As a software user, I never really understood why small-scale developers (you know the kind: free, convenient software) took so much time advancing their creation.

But I’ve come to experience it from the other side now; and maintaining and improving useable builds of even small applications takes up tons of time. Even though I’m still investing a lot of hours into Pathway, it’ll surely seem slow from a user perspective.

Also, I’m having finals in a few weeks. That means work on Pathway will be paused until the first weeks of February.
However, I’m glad there are a lot of people who’d like to see further development of the app. So check back in a few weeks :-)

Oh, and I get why so many apps deliberatly choose to remain monolingual. I’ve received a lot of translation offers and I’m very thankful for these, but integrating and maintaining those translations for every small fix you make (that means on two sides: the code side and the people side) proved to be a real time-consuming task. Now English is not my mother tongue, and I know how nice it is to be able to use software in your own language, so Pathway will support more languages (they’re coming…). But I’m looking for an efficient means to be able to release updates/smaller features more often. That means not having to e-mail every translator for every string (and possibly waiting a week).
A possible solution is to translate only the bigger updates, and asking people to use the English version if they want to use the smaller updates. What do you think, is this doable? this!

14 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    young yoon said,

    January 5, 2007 @ 1:11 am

    Thank you for your effort! I’m Korean.
    When I see your pathway, I was surprised that it was pantastic to see and easy to use. but one thing is that it wasn’t supported Korean Language.

    I hope the pathway will be supported Korean language.

    I really appreciated to get wonderful pathway again.

  2. 2

    Twan said,

    January 8, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

    1. On your “little fix” translation update problem: If a phrase doesn’t have a translation available, just fall back to English. At the same time provide the user with an easily accessible mechanism (please, not a XML-file) to provide his or her own (temporary) translation. To get some inspiration, take a look at how Squeak (an smalltalk implementation) handles this in the LanguageEditor.

    2. If the cursor travels over the “pathway” pane, it is shown as an arrow. Is not an idea to change the cursor from an arrow to a little (non-grabbing) hand when you can grab the canvas to scroll and to change it back to an arrow when the cursor hovers over an node? It gives a nice hint to the novice user how to scroll while there are no scrollbars visible!

    I like pathway a lot, just after using it for 5 minutes.

  3. 3

    Dennis said,

    January 10, 2007 @ 12:10 am

    Twan: Indeed, reverting untranslated strings to English seems a plausible option. Unfortunately, there’s no ideal way to accomplish easy language customization (at least in Cocoa)…Most of the lay-out depends on manual tweaking, so the user will have to dig rather deep to get it his way.
    I certainly agree with you on the open hand cursor. It had crossed my mind before, but until now I’ve tried to concentrate on other features. I’ll address it for the next update.

    Young: I’m sorry, but I’m not able to translate to Korean myself, and I haven’t found any volunteer yet…so you’ll better find me one ;-)

  4. 4

    Hone said,

    January 16, 2007 @ 2:18 am

    Sorry but it’s been a while since i’ve done any serious development work (like a couple of years). Make you could build some kind of mechanism in which a user can download a langauge pack that can “squirt” the required changes into the approriate resources and make the appopriate adjustments. If it’s a quest of layout have you tried having an auto-adjusting system (ie if this term translates to X number of characters move these elements over here sort of code)

  5. 5

    Dennis said,

    January 18, 2007 @ 11:44 am

    Technically, that’s possible. But it would be a lòt of coding, even more than taking care of translations for every release :-)

    I think I’ll either stick with my original suggestion, or try to pack as many things in one build as possible (as I have been doing for now).

    Thanks for the feedback, though!

  6. 6

    Fais said,

    January 19, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

    Hello Dennis,

    Thank you for such a wonderful program. I downloaded it yesterday and was spending hours on it. I should say I have rarely seen such an innovative idea. Excellent work. I would work with it more during the weekend. I have put a small review on my blog. Once more, an excellent work.


  7. 7

    Ben said,

    January 23, 2007 @ 2:03 am


    I really dig your app (no digg pun intended), and as Fais already did, so did I spend several hours with your program. It’s pretty usefull for generating a landscape on a specific topic or to get a rough overview on it. Just excellent, and I’ll highly recommend it to everyone who somewhat has a networked thinking.

    So much for the praise, now to the program itself: Besides it’s working beautifully, I have some minor complaints: Sometimes an article is just forwarded (like in pluralizations), but Pathway makes a new node from it. What about joining nodes? Different colorization would be pretty cool, too: nth degrees fade more and more in color (or change them), plus a visual traceback of how the map was generated would come in handy pretty well, too. A full parsing of the document for refering, existing nodes would be nice. and a killer would be a metatag or a graphical blob of what if Pathway could recognize the “Category: ” on the bottom of each page.

    Though I’m a student, with a few modifications I’m really willing to pay some money for Pathway. Now about a mash-up with Anthracite…

    Good luck (nah – knowledge!) to you for your exams, I’m just with you the same time.


    - Ben

  8. 8

    User said,

    January 31, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

    Good work on this app. I’ve used it a little since 0.5 and I like it. I hope you’re able to devote more time to this. I understand it may be difficult to get people to pay for it or donate even small sums, but there are people out there who appreciate such effort and try their best to support. So please continue working on it even if it seems like a thankless job (monetarily). :)

  9. 9

    Dennis said,

    February 4, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

    Thanks for your support, everyone!

    Ben, I like your ideas, especially the auto-detection of more metadata. I’m also looking into doing something with color levels, in the fashion you mention. It’ll probably not be a fade, as I already use that for read pages, but a hue change or something alike is certainly within the possibilities.

    Furthermore, I’m adding support for collections (visualized by a tree view instead of the standard table view) as Pathway turns out to be more of a management tool than I thought it would.
    Unfortunately, I had not anticipated this and it will require some rewriting on the base. The data model will have to be changed a bit too, so the possibility exists that you can’t open old documents with the future build. But I’ll try to include some conversion code.

  10. 10

    Charles said,

    February 6, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

    Another thought: incorporate the Sparkle framework. That means auto-updating when people check. Who knows, you might even be able to add translations piecemeal, as and when they came good..

    One unrelated thing: the “cloud” of linked topics sometimes appears, sometimes doesn’t. What’s the trigger for that? Is it pages that link to that page? Or what? (This is on Wikipedia_en).

  11. 11

    Dennis said,

    February 9, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

    Charles: Sparkle is integrated as of 0.6, it just needs to be triggered manually (“Check for updates”). I’ll change that in the next version.
    The cloud does not appear when for some reason the page layout differs from a standard model. This happens in very few pages, but is a pain none the less, I’ll devote some time to adding some extra parsing code, but I can’t guarantee every page will work unconditionally…

    Small update on the development:

    - some internal changes to the model and drawing code, should allow for smaller file sizes and graphical extensibility but will break compatibility with documents created in earlier version, sorry for that.
    - some refinements to drawing, animation, selection
    - dragging links from the browser view to the network view to insert new pages
    - “copy link” (to pasteboard) and “insert all relevant topics from this node” option
    - better cache management and options
    - ability to group pages, to enable better management/overview of the network (e.g. disable certain groups of pages so they aren’t displayed, etc)
    - Exporting the whole node graph to .dot (a file format that OmniGraffle and most other related apps can read)

    - tagging of pages, groups and documents,( adding other metadata such as links and files?)
    - Searching page content. I still have to examine if this is technically possible, as it would imply archiving all visited pages (with problems of filesize, outdated pages,…)
    - Highlighting text snippets in pages. Same potential problem as with searching page content.
    - Small convenience options: e.g. “remove pages connected to this page”, “insert current iTunes album page” (I found that one to be very useful ;-) ) I’ve you’ve got more ideas for these, tell me!
    - some features I haven’t decided on yet.

  12. 12

    Chris Daish said,

    March 17, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

    Fabulous app which I’m sure has a great future. Have you thought about open sourcing as a way of spreading the effort? Certainly works for MediaWiki.

  13. 13

    Stefan Decker said,

    April 14, 2007 @ 9:22 am

    I found Pathway today, and I’m really enthused …

    Every evening I’m surfing trough Wikipedia and doing this with Safari ist not so useful. So I’m so happy about Pathway. Thank you very much!

    As a german User I’m dreaming about Pathway in german translation. Than Pathway will be really perfect!

    Hope, this will be soon :-)

  14. 14

    Dennis said,

    April 14, 2007 @ 11:51 am

    German translation is coming for the next update, as well as 10+ other languages. I’ll release the English version in a week, then gradually the translations to other languages as I receive them.

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