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Topics - Arjen [ switch to compact view ]

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Here's my entry:

PlainTextWiki Toolkit 0.1 PREVIEW


I was inspired for this program by the PlainTextWiki bundle by Matt Webb for the MacOS editor Textmate. I've never used it but liked the idea very much.

The idea of a PlainTextWiki is to bring (some) wiki functionality to your text editor. The most important function is that you can include wiki links in your text file. When you move your cursor to that link and press a keyboard shortcut, that link will be opened in your editor.

The PlainTextWiki bundle works only in TextMate. My intention with the PlainTextWiki Toolkit is to make a small program that gives you this function in any text editor that has decent support for external tools. (See what I mean by "decent" below!)

I've called this version a "preview version" because it has only basic functionality: it only allows you to "follow a wiki link" in a text file. In my opinion should have some more functions for a "real" release.

How to install

The program is a command line utility that you can just copy anywhere on your harddrive. It requires the .NET Framework 2.0 to run.

You plug it into your editor by defining it as an external tool. How to do this depends on your editor. Below, I have described how to do this for EditPlus and TextPad.

How to use

In your text editor, you define a wiki link as follows: [[My document]]. Essentially, the link is the name of another text file enclosed by double square brackets. Now, when you "follow this link" (i.e. put your cursor on it and call the PlainTextWiki tool), your editor should open the document "My document.txt". (Note that the extension is always .txt and is not included in the link.)

Command line options

The PlainTextWiki tool should be called as follows:

  plaintextwiki -f <filename> -L <line> -C <column> -e <editor-path> -p <editor-parameters>


  <filename>: name of the file you're currently editing.
  <line>, <column>: position in the file.
  <editor-path>: path to your editor.
  <editor-parameters>: command line paramaters for your editor to open a new file (in the same instance). The string "$f" in this path will be replaced by the filename to open (the file the wiki link points to).

As you can see, this imposes the following requirements on your editor (at least for this version):

  • It has to be able to pass the filename and the current line and column of the cursor to an external tool.
  • It has to support opening a file from the command line in the same instance of the editor.

Installation details



Open the menu Tools > Preferences and go to Tools > User Tools.

Define a new tool with the following options:

  • Command: path to plaintextwiki.exe
  • Argument: -f "$(FilePath)" -L $(CurLine) -C $(CurCol) -e "C:\Program Files\EditPlus 3\editplus.exe" -p "-e $f" (Adjust path to editor as needed.)
  • Check the following options: Capture output, save open files.



Open the menu Configure > Preferences and go to Tools.

Define a new tool with the following options:

  • Command: path to plaintextwiki.exe
  • Parameters: -f $File -L $Line -C $Col -e "C:\Program Files\TextPad 5\TextPad.exe" -p "$f" (Adjust path to editor as needed.)
  • Check the following options: Run minimized, Close DOS window on exit.

Make sure you have the option "Allow multiple instances to run" turned OFF under Configure > Preferences > General, otherwise files will be opened in a new instance of TextPad.

Your Favorite Editor

If you've configured your editor for the PlainTextWiki Toolkit, please share with others by posting below!

Video demo

Here's a short video where you can see how to configure and use the PlainTextWiki Toolkit.


Some ideas for the future

  • Add more features. :-) E.g. wiki search.
  • Rewrite in e.g. Ruby so the program will be platform independent.

Have fun and please let me know your comments and suggestions!


N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / WorkCoach - v0.8.0 - January 24, 2007
« on: December 23, 2006, 01:16 PM »
What is WorkCoach?

WorkCoach is a program that helps you keep track of how you spend your time on the pc, and coaches you in doing what you plan to do.

The program keeps track of the application you are using, and of the text in the window title of that application (the text displayed in the title bar). You can define projects and tie those to certain programs and window titles. For example, you can define a project "Work on my report" and tell WorkCoach you are working on that project if the application is "winword" (Microsoft Word) and the title bar contains "My report.doc". The program will display the time spent on each project in its status window.

What's new in this version?

WorkCoach - v0.8.0 - January 24, 2007

  • Fixed: If the window title is not set for a rule, that rule does NOT match everything for the given application, but everything that is not defined elsewhere.
  • You can now set a daily time budget for each project. If a time budget is set, the time left is shown in the status window. Projects that have a time budget set are shown in bold.
  • Added option "count idle time towards project". If this option is set for a project and the user becomes idle while the project is active, time will be counted towards that project instead of towards the "Idle" project. This is useful when for example watching a movie on the computer. (Suggested by Seriema.)
  • You can now define the time at which WorkCoach rolls over to the next day. For example, if this time is set to 3:00 (a.m.), everything you do between 0:00 and 2:59 is counted towards the previous day. Rolling over to the next day didn't work at all in the previous version; it should now. :-)
  • The time in seconds after which idle time is counted can now be configured by the user.
  • The hotkey that shows/hides the WorkCoach window can now be configured by the user.
  • There is now an option in the program to make WorkCoach start on Windows startup or not.
  • The project log is now saved to a file (projectlog-YYYYMMDD.xml, where YYYYMMDD is the date) so it can be used for reports.
  • If you click on the tray icon, the window is shown/hidden.
  • Total time spent and percentage of time spent on planned projects is now shown in the status bar.
  • You can now properly edit projects notes from the status window by selecting a project. If the status window does not have focus, the notes for the active project are shown.
  • The tray icon tooltip now shows the active project, time spent and the name of the active application. The latter is useful if you want to define a rule but don't know the name of the application.

Note: Also see this message for an overview of the new features!

For a complete change log, see the end of this message.

Installing the program

If you had already installed a previous version of WorkCoach, you do not have to uninstall it first.

If you were using version 0.7.5 or earlier and want to keep using your data, you have to copy it to <user>\Application Data\WorkCoach. See the instructions presented after installation for more information.

Simply run the installer (workcoach-x.x.x-install.exe) to install the program. The program requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 to run. If it's not installed, the installer will tell you and ask you if you want to be directed to the download page.

Using the program

After you've started the program, the status window will be displayed. In this window you can see how much time you've spent on each project on that day. There are two "special projects": the projects "Unknown" and "Idle".
If an application and/or window title is active that hasn't been assigned to a project, WorkCoach will count the time towards the "Unknown" project. If you haven't been active (used the keyboard or mouse) for 1 minute, time will be added to the "Idle" project.


Defining projects and rules

The program comes with a few sample projects and rules to get you started. You can adjust them or delete them to your own wishes. Look at the rules of the sample projects and read their notes to see how the rules work. The sample project file can also be found in the WorkCoach installation folder, so it can always be restored later.

You can edit projects and rules as well as program options by right clicking on the WorkCoach icon in the Window tray and choosing "Settings". There are three tabs:


In the tab "Projects" you can define your projects and edit notes for each project.


In the tab "Rules" you can define the rules that define which applications and window titles belong to which project. Every rule can contain one ore more application names (without extension) and one or more terms that the window title should contain.

Example: the rule in the screenshot above means: I'm working on the project "Surfing" if the application name is "firefox" or "iexplore" and the title of the window contains "Donationcoder" or "Recent topics".

Note that the application names have to be exact matches, and that the window title are partial matches, i.e. the program checks if any of the terms are contained in the window title. If no window title matches are defined, the project is active anytime the given application(s) is/are active.

All matches are case insensitive.

If there are more rules for a projects, time is counted towards the project if ANY of the rules are met.

Note that the application name defined in the rules is the name of the executable of the program without the extension. If you don't know the executable name for a program, start it up and make sure it is active (i.e. has focus). Now, move the mouse over the WorkCoach icon in the Windows tray. A tooltip is shown which tells the application name between parentheses:


The last tab is the Options tab:


Here you can set various options for the program.

Current limitations / known bugs

  • If an application is not displayed in the task bar (like Find and Run Robot, for example), the application name is not detected properly.
  • Doesn't work on Windows Vista due to security issues.
  • Some users have reported that WorkCoach uses a lot of CPU; see posts below.
  • You can't plan idle time.

To be implemented

  • Display "coaching messages".
  • Nicer icon(s).
  • Add keyboard shortcuts and proper tab order in settings window.


WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
  • Solved bug where WorkCoach wouldn't exit on Windows shutdown.
  • Solved this bug that caused NullReference exception on startup.

WorkCoach - v0.7.6 - December 24, 2006
  • Fixed this bug.
  • Added the option to the installer to let WorkCoach start automatically with Windows.

WorkCoach - v0.7.5 - December 24, 2006
  • Only a single instance of the application is allowed to run.
  • The hotkey Win + W shows/hides the status window.
  • The position and size of the status window, and visibility of details panel are saved across sessions.
  • Idle time is saved across sessions.

WorkCoach - v0.7.0 - December 23, 2006
  • First public release


N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / License?
« on: December 15, 2006, 05:26 AM »
Does anyone have a suggestion for a simple, short, no BS license for my N.A.N.Y. freeware/donationware application?

This month, Find and Run Robot is featured in PCM, a large PC magazine in The Netherlands. In an article titled "Kickstart" they compare five application launchers / find utilities, and Find and Run Robot comes out as the winner!

This is what they have to say about Find and Run Robot:

Don't be misled by the oldfashioned name of this program, because it is an excellent application launcher with a lot of options, but also some confusing features. To start with the latter: the program works with scores to determine which file it has to show first after a search. For example: say you have a hundred files with the word "rabbit hole" in it. Every time you search for that word, you'll be after the same file nine out of ten times. When you open that particular file, Find and Run Robot gives it the highest score and will put it at the top of the list the next time. Without a doubt a good system, but why bother us with that...? To conclude, for real geeks it's a nice feature, and it's also possible to configure the search window to not show the scores at all.

The program is extremely speedy and very configurable. It might look a bit less polished than Launchy, but can do much more. At a glance you can see where the found files and folders are located on your hard disk. And maybe the best feature: every new file (only files, not folders) is found by Find and Run Robot instantly. There is no need to update an index. Impressive.

  + very configurable
  + manipulation of search results possible
  + fast
  + shows location of the result
  + new files are found instantly (no index)
  - no "smart search" *
  - options might be overwhelming for a new user

* By this they mean things like "fuzzy search"; as an example they give that "vsita" would give the same results as "vista".

Their conclusion at the end of the article:

Without a doubt, we choose Find and Run Robot. Especially the fact that the program finds new files instantly impresses us. A good runner-up is Launchy; it may not have as many features, but can be configured enough to be comfortable to work with.

Congratulations, mouser, on this great and well deserved recognition of Find and Run Robot!

A PDF version of the article (in Dutch) can be found here.

If I've made any spelling, grammar or translation errors above, or if you have other comments, please let me know.

Clipboard Help+Spell / Bug: commas in editbox "Strip trailing stuff"
« on: December 02, 2005, 06:19 AM »
I encountered the following issue:

When I type two commas in succession in the "Strip trailing stuff" editbox (in the Modify/format case dialog), the program hangs. I was trying to strip trailing commas from a string; obviously this is not the way! :-) Is there a way to "escape" a comma so it gets treated as a character to strip instead of as a separator?

I use version 1.05.02 on Windows XP.

I hope this helps you solve the problem.

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