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Author Topic: New program: Ethervane StopWatch (freeware)  (Read 17553 times)
tranglos
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« on: May 05, 2009, 11:50:09 AM »

So here's another one... a simple stopwatch/timer with a few handy features. Yes, there are plenty available, and no, I didn't quite like any of them, so I wrote my own :) Download links at the very bottom of this message (be sure to pick the latest version).

New (February 2012): StopWatch is now hosted on my site at tranglos.com. This thread is still good for support and new version info, I'm not going anywhere :-)

A standard installer and a portable version are now available. Latest version direct download:




Please note: Windows 2000, XP and up only. Will not work on Windows 95, 98 or ME (won't even open - see this post for an explanation). Tested only on WinXP 32-bit, that's all I have :)

Freeware, of course. The included readme file has all the details on usage (or see the post below).

Main screen when running:



A few options:



Setting initial value with presets (new in 1.4):



* eStopWatch-1.3.zip (534.96 KB - downloaded 305 times.)
* eStopWatch-1.4.zip (580.39 KB - downloaded 414 times.)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 12:43:08 PM by tranglos » Logged

tranglos
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 11:52:18 AM »

Ethervane StopWatch (Up and Down edition)
Version: 1.4 BETA
Release date: 2009-05-09
First released on: 2009-05-05
Author: marek@tranglos.com
Requirements: Windows 2000 / XP / Vista or later (No Windows 95, 98 or ME)
License: Freeware. Copyright (c) Marek Jedlinski 2009

--- description ---

Ethervane Stopwatch is a simple timer for Windows 2000 or later. It can be used for example to track the time spent working or performing other activities on the computer. The timer can be paused and resumed at any time. If you close the program while the timer is running, it will continue counting from where you left off when the program is restarted. You can also count from a specified value down to zero.

NOTE: Beta release, with several new features added in this version. Please tread softly!

See "History" below to find out what's new in this version.

--- installation ---

No need to install. Just unpack the executable (estopwatch.exe) to any directory. You can create a Start menu shortcut for the program manually.

The program does not store any data in the registry. Configuration is saved in the following folder (Windows XP):
c:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Ethervane\eStopWatch\

--- features ---

- Display elapsed time in days, hours, minutes and seconds.

- Count time up or down (to zero)

- The timer can be started from a user-specified initial value

- Global keyboard shortcut to pause/resume the timer

- The tray icon indicates the current state (idle, running, paused or suspended).

- Option to suspend counting when there is no input from the mouse or keyboard.

- When the program is paused or suspended, the display can optionally be faded or blink slowly to indicate the paused state.

- The program window can be semi-transparent when it does not have focus. Click the window to restore the normal (opaque) display.

- eStopWatch can be controlled programmatically from other applications by sending messages. It is also possible to query the current state, time value and mode of eStopWatch in the same way. For details about the message values and meanings, see the example AutoHotkey script included with the program (controleStopWatch.ahk).

Settings are saved between sessions.

--- usage ---

1. Start the program. Click the Start button (or press F9) to start the timer.

2. Pressing F9 again will pause the timer. To resume, again press F9.

3. To stop the timer, click the Stop button or press Shift+F9.

Before you start the stopwatch, you can change the timer mode (counting direction). To do so, press Ctrl+Up arrow or Ctrl+Down arrow. By default, the stopwatch counts up from zero. Press Ctrl+Down to switch to countdown mode. In that mode, when you press the Start button, eStopWatch will display a dialog box to let you specify the initial value (number of days, hours, minutes and seconds to count down from). Note that you can also switch modes by right-clicking the time display area and picking appropriate options from the menu,

You can start the stopwatch from a specific value. Press F8, set the initial time value, and click the Count Up button (or Count Down, depending on the current mode).

The dialog box used to specify initial value for counting up or down supports presets. To create a new preset, set a desired time value, then type a name for the preset in the Presets box and click "Save preset". To load an existing preset, select it from the drop-down list, then click "Load preset". The "Delete preset" button will erase the preset currently selected in the drop-down box.

Another way of starting the stopwatch is to start counting from the last value, i.e. the value displayed in the timer area. Press Shift+F8 to use that function. If the currently displayed value is other than zero, the stopwatch will start counting up or down from that value, depending on the current mode setting.

Pressing Shift-Esc will minimize the program. Click the StopWatch icon in the system tray to restore.

You can also restore the program window and bring it to front by pressing the global keyboard shortcut: Win+F9.

When the timer is running, you can pause and resume it by pressing the global keyboard shortcut: Shift+Win+F9.

(These shortcuts can only be changed by editing the configuration file, eStopWatch-config.ini, in a text editor such as Notepad. You can also disable the shortcuts entirely.)

Click the Options button to display a menu of configuration settings. See "Configuration settings" below for details.

Right-click the timer display area for a menu of available commands.

--- configuration settings ---

Click the Options button to display a menu with the following options:

Stay on top
- When enabled, Ethervane Stopwatch will always be displayed on top of other windows.

Show time in window title
- When enabled, elapsed time will be displayed in the titlebar, as well as on the taskbar button. When disabled, the titlebar and taskbar button display the current state (idle, running, paused or suspended).

Transparent when deactivated
- When enabled, the program window will be made semi-transparent when it does not have focus. Click the window to restore normal (opaque) display.

Display when paused
- Opens a submenu with the following two settings:
a) Blink time display: the display will blink slowly when the timer is paused.
b) Dim time display: the display will be dimmed when the timer is paused.
You can enable either of the two options, or disable both.

Suspend on no input
- When enabled, the timer will be suspended after there has been no mouse or keyboard input for more than a minute. Timer will automatically resume when you press a key or start using the mouse. This lets you walk away from the computer without manually pausing the timer.

Minimize on start
- When enabled, the program will automatically minimize when the timer starts (when you click the Start button or press F9).

On restart resume from last count
- When enabled, Ethervane Stopwatch will remember the current value if you close the program while the timer is running. When you start the program again later, it will automatically resume the timer from the saved value. (If the program was paused while you closed it, it will resume in the paused state).

Fonts and colors
- Opens a submenu with self-explanatory options for setting the fonts and colors of various elements of the display. Click "Reset font and color" in this submenu to restore default color and font settings.

About
- Displays program name, version number and license information.

--- limitations ---

eStopWatch will NOT work with Windows 95, 98 or ME.

Timer resolution is 1 second. This program is not designed for measuring time with higher precisions.

While it is possible to run several instances of sStopWatch at the same time, the built-in global hotkeys will only apply to the first instance started, and note that there is only one configuration file (and one resume file!) for all instances.

Several configuration settings are not available in the main interface, and can only be changed by manually editing the configuration file, eStopWatch-config.ini. The file is stored in the following folder:
c:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Ethervane\eStopWatch\
You can edit the file using a text editor, such as Notepad. Remember to close the program before editing the configuration file.

--- download ---

Currently the program is only available via DonationCoder website: www.donationcoder.com

--- support ---

Email the author at marek@tranglos.com if you encounter a problem.

--- distribution ---

The program is free to download and use. Written permission from the author is required to bundle, repackage or redistribute the program.

--- command line parameters ---

The program recognizes the following command line parameters:

/start
The timer will start automatically when the program is launched. (If an autoresume file exists, it will be used instead, as before).

/noresume
The timer will not automatically resume even if a resume file is found, regardless of the setting in the configuration file. This parameter can be used together with /start. In that case, resuming will not occur, and StopWatch will start the timer from zero.

/localconfig
Forces the program to read and write all its configuration files in the local directory, i.e. the folder where the program is installed (rather than under c:\Application Data).

/nowriteconfig
Disables writing any configuration files, including the resume file. The program will still read any existing config files, but will not update them on exit.

/id:"custom titlebar text". The text "custom titlebar text" will be displayed on the eStopWatch title bar instead of application name ("Ethervane Stopwatch"). Text must be enclosed in quotation marks if it contains spaces. This is useful if you want to control multiple instances of the stopwatch via system messages - simply execute each instance with a different value of the /id: parameter, which will let you select a unique running instance of the stopwatch.


--- history ---

Version 1.4: 2009-05-09

1. Added the ability to count from a specified initial value DOWN to zero.

2. Added the feature to start counting UP from a specified initial value.

3. Added the feature to start counting (up or down, depending on current mode) from the last displayed value.

4. Added support for time value presets, so that when specifying the initial value, you can pick one of the user-defined presets rather than always specify the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds manually.

5. Added the ability to control eStopWatch and query its current state via Windows messages (see the example controleStopWatch.ahk script included with the program).

6. Added the "/id:" command-line parameter to allow distinguishing between multiple instances of eStopWatch running.

7. Added a small progress bar that indicates remaining time when counting down to zero.

8. Added a configuration option to prompt before stopping the timer. The timer is paused while the prompt is displayed. By default prompting is OFF. (The setting can be changed by editing the configuration file).

9. Changed a few keyboard shortcuts and improved the stopping notification (although it still needs a more pronounced UI)

10. Minor cosmetic fixes.


Version 1.3: 2009-05-06

1. Added a few command-line parameters to allow StopWatch to be used in batch files and scripts. See "Command line parameters" for details.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 11:47:56 AM by tranglos » Logged

AbteriX
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 12:48:21 PM »

Hi marek,

thanks for sharing.
For my use i have a few question.

Will there be an option to
- store the config files in the same folder as the exe?
- start the exe  and let it start counting immediately too? To use in batch to start it with an another app and count the start time)
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tranglos
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 01:13:09 PM »

Will there be an option to
- store the config files in the same folder as the exe?

I'd rather not do this, since most people will install the program under c:\Program Files, and in that case the program will not be able to write the config file. (Unless you run as administrator, programs you launch are prohibited from writing any data under Program Files folder).

What I do need to add is the ability to read/write config from the exe directory if the program was launched from a removable drive, like a CD or a pendrive - so as not to pollute the host computer. Perhaps I can add a command line option to force that behavior even if running from a fixed drive.

- start the exe  and let it start counting immediately too? To use in batch to start it with an another app and count the start time)

No problem, I'll add this.
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 01:27:18 PM »

Awesome!  Recently, I spent a very long time searching for a simple stopwatch/timer and could find none.  Most of them were way too bloated and weird looking.  Very cool, thanks.

Feature requests:
Countdown timer:  Could you also include a countdown timer mode on it?

Show hundredths of seconds:  Can you show the hundredths of seconds...for precision timing.
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tranglos
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2009, 01:41:08 PM »

Feature requests:
Countdown timer:  Could you also include a countdown timer mode on it?

I want to add this, but don't want to spoil the interface. As you said (thanks!), it's pretty neat and compact. For counting down to zero I need a dialog box to specify the starting value, or put the necessary controls in the main window. So far I don't like what I've tried. The feature itself is not a problem, I just need to figure out a suitably low-key interface.

Show hundredths of seconds:  Can you show the hundredths of seconds...for precision timing.

Most likely not, sorry! With manual starting and stopping, it doesn't seem to make sense to have such a high precision. I check the time every second only four times a second to keep the CPU usage low.

The Windows timer message is not very reliable. If the computer is busy doing other things, timer messages are sometimes dropped. My stopwatch will make up for it, since it doesn't just count seconds, but calculates the interval from the last timer tick. So in theory I could show the time with millisecond precision, but in practice it would be deceitful to do so, as the measure would not be that precise.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 04:10:46 PM by tranglos » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 03:33:18 PM »

That's ok, just a suggestion.  The timer will be cool, though!
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 04:36:12 PM »

Show hundredths of seconds:  Can you show the hundredths of seconds...for precision timing.

Most likely not, sorry! With manual starting and stopping, it doesn't seem to make sense to have such a high precision. I check the time every second only four times a second to keep the CPU usage low.

The Windows timer message is not very reliable. If the computer is busy doing other things, timer messages are sometimes dropped. My stopwatch will make up for it, since it doesn't just count seconds, but calculates the interval from the last timer tick. So in theory I could show the time with millisecond precision, but in practice it would be deceitful to do so, as the measure would not be that precise.



Could you perhaps create two versions one as it is and one with hundredths of seconds...for precision timing would suit me as well   

Just a suggestion    btw nice clean interface with all those options it's just great looking

nogojoe
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 04:37:49 PM by nogojoe » Logged

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tranglos
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 06:15:51 PM »

Note about the system requirements:

StopWatch runs only on Windows 2000 and later because of the "Suspend on no input" feature (essentially, stop counting when you're not using the computer). Hooking the keyboard and mouse inputs puts unnecessary strain on the system, and anti-virus programs don't like it when they see it. So instead I used a Windows API function that simply tells me the time of the last click of a key or the mouse. This is a much more economical solution, but the necessary function was introduced in Windows 2000 and is not available on earlier systems.

As a result, I expect that on Windows 95 or 98 the program will not even start, and may display an error message about a missing export in a dll.

If anyone wants to use the program under Windows 95 or 98, I can compile a special version without that particular feature, let me know.
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tranglos
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 06:20:59 PM »

Will there be an option to
- store the config files in the same folder as the exe?
- start the exe  and let it start counting immediately too? To use in batch to start it with an another app and count the start time)

Both done in version 1.3 (please download again; link in the top post).

To store the config files in the same folder as the exe, use the /localconfig parameter (can be added to the Start menu shortcut).

To start the exe and let it start counting immediately, use the /start parameter (likewise).

More details in the History section on top of this thread.


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tranglos
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 06:22:54 PM »


Could you perhaps create two versions one as it is and one with hundredths of seconds...for precision timing would suit me as well   


I'd rather not maintain two separate versions like this, but I'll see if I can add this feature to the program as-is. It won't be all that precise though Wink
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2009, 12:47:32 AM »

1.3 work for my issue, thanks.

@ECHO OFF
start "" msPaint
start "" eStopWatch.exe /start /noresume /localconfig
exit



Sorry, now i have an another question, if you have still fun to improve eStopWatch:
I don't know if this is possible/easy to implement,
but now i miss an /GetFocus parameter to give eStopWatch always (and every sec again) the focus to catch the F9 stop-press.

Right now, if the other app is fully loaded, this app get the focus and i have to click on eStopWatch first, no matter if i have set the onTop option.
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tranglos
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2009, 08:35:21 AM »

1.3 work for my issue, thanks.

@ECHO OFF
start "" msPaint
start "" eStopWatch.exe /start /noresume /localconfig
exit

I don't know if this is possible/easy to implement,
but now i miss an /GetFocus parameter to give eStopWatch always (and every sec again) the focus to catch the F9 stop-press.

Right now, if the other app is fully loaded, this app get the focus and i have to click on eStopWatch first, no matter if i have set the onTop option.

You can press the global hotkey to pause. Granted, it is not the same as Stop, but it will halt the timer faster than by mousing around and clicking the button; you can always click Stop later. By default the hotkey to pause/resume is Shift + Win + F9.

You can change the default shortcut by editing the configuration file, look for settings called HotkeyPauseResumeKey and HotkeyPauseResumeModifier. For example, to just use F9 (by itself) edit the config file as follows:

[copy or print]
HotkeyPauseResumeKey=F9
HotkeyPauseResumeModifier=mkShift,mkWin

Or, to use Alt+Ctrl+S for the hotkey, use:

[copy or print]
HotkeyPauseResumeKey=S
HotkeyPauseResumeModifier=mkAlt,mkCtrl

(I know, there should really be a proper configuration dialog box in the program to define the hotkeys! I'll do that.)
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2009, 10:31:39 AM »

Shift + Win + F9. works, even if eStopWatch didn't have the focus.

To use F9 alone as HotkeyPauseResumeKey i do use this setting:
[copy or print]
HotkeyPauseResumeKey=F9
HotkeyPauseResumeModifier=


Thank you.
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tranglos
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 02:43:36 PM »

Shift + Win + F9. works, even if eStopWatch didn't have the focus.

That's because it's a global hotkey. Note that if you do use F9 by itself, that key will not work in any other application, as long as the stopwatch is running.

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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2009, 01:39:09 AM »

Where do I download this program.......I can't find a link anywhere on the page.
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2009, 01:47:26 AM »

Garbage program man.........worst freeware I have encountered.
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tranglos
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2009, 03:39:13 AM »

Where do I download this program.......I can't find a link anywhere on the page.

Download link is at the end of the top post.
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tranglos
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2009, 03:39:35 AM »

Garbage program man.........worst freeware I have encountered.

Please let me know what doesn't work.
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tranglos
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2009, 07:48:43 PM »

Feature requests:
Countdown timer:  Could you also include a countdown timer mode on it?

Please download version 1.4 beta (released May 9). It counts down from an initial value. (There are also presets for initial values, which you can configure and reuse).
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tranglos
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« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2009, 07:51:04 PM »

New version, hot off the compiler! What's-new highlights in 1.4 beta:

- count from a specified initial value DOWN to zero.

- start counting UP from a specified initial value.

- start counting (up or down, depending on current mode) from the last displayed value.

- presets for initial time values

- you can control eStopWatch and query its current state via Windows messages (see the example controleStopWatch.ahk script included with the program). The latest version of the AHK script is attached here. (AHK is not necessary; the script serves as a documentation for the message codes and return values).

...and a few other tricks. Enjoy, and please note it *is* a beta version.

* controleStopWatch.ahk (4.96 KB - downloaded 248 times.)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2009, 08:46:37 AM by tranglos » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2009, 07:55:49 PM »

look out everyone.. tranglos is on a roll -- best to grab the downloads and then stay well clear smiley
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2009, 12:41:41 AM »

note to anyone who is impatient to read stuff and  makes same mistake as me -- the download tranglos just attached above (controlStopWatch) is *NOT* the stopwatch utility!!! It's an optional helper script you can use to control it.

You still need to download the main utility from the first post.
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2009, 09:06:48 AM »

Nice!
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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2009, 09:21:14 AM »

You still need to download the main utility from the first post.

Good point. That will teach me to attach the latest version to the post in which it is announced smiley
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