Sticker Release Notes

Version 3.0.0 beta 1

Supported Platforms

This release of Sticker is primarily targeted at Windows and is tested on Windows NT, 2000 and XP. However Sticker is also supported, within resource constraints, on Mac OS X, Linux/GTK, and Solaris/Motif.

Installation

Sticker comes either as a self-installing package or as a manual-install ZIP file. To install the ZIP, extract it to wherever Sticker should be installed and run either "sticker.bat" on Windows or "sticker.sh" on Unix.

The Unix self-installer currently cannot set the path to the installed native libraries. You will need to manually set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable to point to where Sticker was installed before running the application (eg "export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/sticker3.0.0b1").

Major Changes in Sticker 3

Native GUI: Sticker 3 is based on the Eclipse SWT toolkit rather than Swing as used in Sticker 2. SWT is based on the operating systemís native toolset, meaning Sticker 3 looks and acts like a native application and supports Windows XP and GTK themes plus display enhancements such as ClearType.

Reduced memory requirements: The switch to SWT plus streamlining and simplifications of the backend result in Sticker 3.0 requiring approximately half the memory of Sticker 2.3.

Windows native release: For Windows users, Sticker 3.0 is available as standalone EXE that does not require a Java runtime and has significantly lower memory requirements. The existing cross-platform distributions are still fully supported.

No scrolling messages: Well actually it does scroll, but much less so than before. Scrolling can be irritating, and Sticker 3 tries not to generate distracting movement unless something is actually changing. When a new message arrives on a blank ticker it now "drops" it in from the right and comes to a stop on the left where it sits until expired or deleted. Subsequent messages, up to the point where the ticker is full, do the same, forming a stationary stack of messages. When the ticker is full, it starts scrolling as usual, with the ticker tape display wrapping so that all the space available on the ticker is used for message display. The dropping action still gives a brief movement cue for each new message, but the display settles down immediately afterwards.

New scroller features: messages that are unread (i.e. haven't been replied to, or deleted, or otherwise "touched") are highlighted with a shadow. The message text no longer fades as it ages since this can make the text hard to read; instead the red "new message" star over the icon fades. Messages that are not visible are not subject to expiry, meaning short-expiry messages arriving on a long tape won't be deleted before display.

Auto hide: In the spirit of being less intrusive, Sticker 3 has an "auto hide" option that causes the scroller to slide out of the way when not in use. When a message arrives, or Sticker becomes the active application (eg is Alt-Tabbed to), it slides back into view. On Windows there is now a taskbar menu for when the Sticker is not visible.

Improved message archiving: Sticker 3 uses a micro object database for storing messages, which allows for large archives to which messages can be added, retrieved and removed from very quickly. As well as improving performance, messages can be indexed by their read/unread status and received time, allowing flagging of unread messages and global expiry of old messages. All messages are now stored in a single file rather than one file per group.

No popup toolbar: While the popup toolbar seemed like a good idea at the time, it's true to say that many people find it annoying, including the author. In its place, Sticker 3 uses a context menu on the scroller plus a control menu with application options.

Better self-customisation: Sticker 3 remembers much more of the way youíve set up things, such as window sizes, column widths, etc.

Improved scroller and message display customisation: Sticker 3 has a number of pre-set scroller colour themes, each of which has its own optimised message colour schemes for normal, highlighted and "lowlighted" messages. This allows message actions that change message appearance to do so intelligently regardless of which scroller the message ends up on.

Compatibility With Previous Releases

Sticker 3 is fully compatible with Sticker 2 (and other client's) tickertape messaging and virtual presence protocols, however Sticker 3 will not read preferences and saved messages from Sticker 2 releases. Sticker 3 has significant internal changes that mean converting settings from older versions of Sticker would be hard work. However, if enough people complain, a conversion tool may be forthcoming.

Advanced groups based on Elvin subscription expressions can be moved to Sticker 3 by first copying the Elvin subscription expression and using Preferences -> Ticker Groups -> Wizard Group (Propeller Hat Icon) -> Add Filter -> Match Elvin Subscription and then clicking "Elvin subscription" and pasting the copied subscription expression in.

Sticker 2 security keys can be copied into Sticker 3 by exporting them in the "Elvin" key format and then importing them into Sticker 3 using the Preferences -> Security Keys -> Import Key command.

Sticker 2 message rules that you wish to keep will need to be manually re-coded into Sticker 3, however the built-in rules such as " Fast expire messages from me" and " Keep personal messages while I'm away" are already in Sticker 3 as defaults.

Known Problems

Unix/OS X toolbars: The toolbars that Sticker uses (eg in the preferences panel) wrap across multiple lines even when they don't need to.

OS X scroller display: Due to a bug in SWT, the rendering acceleration that Sticker uses for messages dropping onto the scroller display currently needs to be disabled. This may result in poor animation quality.

OS X and Solaris attachments: URL attachments on OS X and Solaris do not open. A workaround is to copy them to the clipboard and paste them into a browser manually.

Unix window placement: Some windows appear underneath the scroller.

Linux GTK issues: Sticker occasionally crashes inside the GTK library for an unknown reason.

Running Multiple Instances Corrupts Message Database: Running multiple instances of Sticker using the same home directory (eg the same user runs Sticker twice) may corrupt the message database. It may also do bad things to preferences.

Runtime Options

Sticker has several advanced properties that can be set using the "-Doption=value" form on the command line when running Sticker.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Konstantin Knizhnik for the use of the Perst object database and to The Wilson Partnership for the use of their MinML2 XML parser.

Further Information

For more information on Sticker, please go to http://elvin.dstc.com/projects/sticker or contact Matthew Phillips at matthew.phillips@dsto.defence.gov.au or on (08) 8259 6236.

© Copyright 2003 Matthew Phillips