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Author Topic: WinRK issues  (Read 5697 times)
Malcolm
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« on: September 07, 2005, 06:07:37 PM »

Hi,

My name is Malcolm, the author of WinRK.

I was interested to know some more about the issues you had with WinRK.

Firstly, could you tell me what version of WinRK you used? It is not obvious from your review, and may be quite important.
What were the issues you had with Drag and Drop?
I'm also curious about the makeup of the testset. I would guess from the results that it contains a lot of JPG, MPG and other compressed file types. If this is so then it may skew the results of all archivers in the test (or at least the results will be much different in another test).

What compression methods did you try? What is it about the GUI that you dislike?

OK, I know that is heaps of questions, but I am very interested to know how WinRK managed to make such a bad impression on you...  Wink

Also, please note that the grid is not complete.
  • WinRK supports reading RAR archives (just select File|Open and select an RAR archive).
  • You can pause and resume archiving operations (just click the pause button).
  • While WinRK doesn't support an explicit archive search, it does support a type ahead search. If you click on the archive contents grid, and then type a filename, it will find it for you. There is also the filter toolbar into which you can type a wildcard expression which filters the files listed - can be considered equivalent to a search function.
  • WinRK always creates solid archives. The solid archiving is more advanced than most, in that it groups fragments into solid blocks in order to improve compression
  • WinRK does have a complete help file, and a tutorial (albeit a simple one).

Thanks,
Malcolm
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2005, 03:24:42 AM »

Hi Malcolm,

First, welcome to the site.  As i've said in the past, a developer who is interested in hearing what people think and interested in addressing concerns of users is worth their weight in gold.  I'm sure zaine will respond to your questions when he sees this.

This is a good opportunity to remind people here that everyone has different tastes in user interfaces, and has slightly different ways that they use programs.  Users should not just assume automatically that they are going to have the same reaction to a program that a reviewer had.  Use our reviews as a starting point and check out the programs for yourself.

WinRK Home page: http://www.msoftware.co.nz/WinRK_about.php
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zridling
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2005, 07:06:12 PM »

Hi Malcolm and thanks for the corrections. I spent a significant amount of time with WinRK, and was attracted to it because of its excellent compression ratio testing in the past. I used WinRK version 2.16.

...What were the issues you had with Drag and Drop?
I could not achieve it. WinRK would lock up on me when I did.

...I'm also curious about the makeup of the testset.
Good question. It was a 1084M game installation that included 202M of text files and 354M of .wav files among others. I chose such a large archive to stress the limits of the 17 archivers reviewed. I retested WinRK this week just to confirm my numbers and there were no differences.

I apologize because I did not notice a pause button during archiving. I made the same mistake with ALZip. When I reviewed my notes I had incorrectly transcribed that. That wasn't fair. I made the corrections you noted to the feature grid.

The GUI itself was not only inelegant but clumsy, including nonstandard fonts reminiscent of Windows 3.1. If you have the time and motivation for version 3.0 of WinRK, study the interface elegance of such programs like Squeez and ZipZag. You need not go that route, but at the least, seek clarity throughout as WinRAR has achieved. And no one has ever accused WinRAR of being pretty!

I'm grateful for your response and hope you'll write back!
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Malcolm
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2005, 05:55:21 AM »

Good question. It was a 1084M game installation that included 202M of text files and 354M of .wav files among others. I chose such a large archive to stress the limits of the 17 archivers reviewed. I retested WinRK this week just to confirm my numbers and there were no differences.

It is interesting that WinRK did not achieve a good compression ratio on this testset. It has a dedicated Wav Audio compression codec, which usually provides very good performance.
Speed has not been a priority yet in development, only compression performance, so I am not surprised that you could not achieve a very fast time. The next release (v2.2) has some significant improvements in this respect. At a very rough guess it may be able to do your test in under 15min.

The GUI itself was not only inelegant but clumsy, including nonstandard fonts reminiscent of Windows 3.1. If you have the time and motivation for version 3.0 of WinRK, study the interface elegance of such programs like Squeez and ZipZag. You need not go that route, but at the least, seek clarity throughout as WinRAR has achieved. And no one has ever accused WinRAR of being pretty!

The fonts are rendered using freetype, and not using Microsoft's Cleartype. This means that anti-aliased fonts are available on all platforms, and not just Windows XP. They are in fact standard Microsoft fonts. Freetype is also more flexible than Cleartype, although many do prefer the Cleartype result.
It would be great if you could give some specific examples of things (tasks) that you found difficult with the current GUI. GUI design is a very subjective thing, and so the more specific feedback I can get, the more likely I can improve the experience for everyone - beginner and expert alike.
The user interface has been designed to be flexible (eg. the ability to customise the grid columns), and to provide several ways to achieve most tasks. It also provides tooltips on most controls. Also, we intend to improve support for beginner users in future versions, both by supplying a selectable simplified UI, and some wizard based tasks.

Please bear in mind that WinRK is still young when compared with the vast majority of other archivers. It is being developed rapidly, and as such has a rapidly expanding feature set.
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