Friday, October 30, 2009

Release of Atlantis (beta)

Atlantis Word Processor is now available for betatesting.

Though all the new features of this version of Atlantis have been mentioned in this blog, you may wish to check out the complete list of changes.

You can download this new version of Atlantis from the Betatesting page of the Atlantis site.

As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Validating ePubs

Any eBook generated by Atlantis, is supposed to be compliant with the EPUB standards (yes, EPUB is not one standard but three: Open Publication Structure, Open Packaging Format and Open Container Format).

But if you manually tweak EPUBs created by Atlantis, or you use another tool to create eBooks in the EPUB format, it may be a good idea to validate them before publishing or sending to anyone. Even if your eBook displays correctly in all major eBook readers, some publishers would not accept it if it does not pass the validation check.

So how to make sure that your eBook is a 100% valid EPUB file? It's simple. You can do this online with the tool offered by Threepress Consulting Inc. Just click the following link:

then upload an EPUB file from your disk, and click "Validate".

If there are problems with your EPUB file, the validation tool will tell you which files from the EPUB package need to be corrected.

But with any EPUB file generated by Atlantis, you should always get this nice icon:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

eBook creation: still polishing

The Overlong sentences will not be the only new feature in the upcoming minor version of Atlantis There will be a number of improvements to the Save as eBook feature as well:

1) Atlantis will save cover images for eBooks in a better way. There will be less blank space around cover images when viewed in eBook readers. For example, here is how the eBook.rtf template of Atlantis looks in Adobe Digital Editions when saved as eBook with different versions of Atlantis (click to enlarge):

2) Atlantis will divide the book's content into separate HTML files in a smarter way. It will try to reduce the number of HTML files within the ePub package. The book will be rendered by eBook readers with less unintended page breaks. If the source document is not very long, there will be no unintended page breaks at all.

3) Atlantis will automatically retrieve the author's surname from the content of the "Author" box of the "Save as eBook" window:

and generate a new metadata field within the "content.opf" file:

This "opf:file-as" field is used to sort books by author.

4) If your source document contains footnotes or endnotes, automatic numbers within notes of the eBook will be clickable:

Clicking these numbers will bring you to the corresponding note references within the main text of the eBook.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

About Windows, birds and mice

Windows 7 has arrived.

Some people say that the new Windows is just a polished version of Vista, some (including Microsoft) say it's a completely new operating system.

Some believe that Windows 7 will be a blockbuster, some doubt that it will be as successful as Windows XP.

Only time will tell whether those expectations turn out to be real.

Some say that the early bird gets the worm, and they already have Windows 7. Some say that the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap, and they will wait until the dust settles down.

Whichever saying you prefer, and whichever version of Windows you are running, you will probably be glad to hear that one more Windows version has been added to the list of operating systems supported by Atlantis. Yes, Atlantis Word Processor runs on all Windows versions from Windows 95 through Windows 7.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Windows Vista, or Where is my choice?

If you are among the 18% of computer users who run Windows Vista on their systems, or if you already have Windows 7, this information is meant for you.

What do you normally do when you notice a red-underlined misspelt word in your Atlantis document? Yes, you right-click it for the list of suggestions from the spellchecker. Well, you can always correct the misspelt word manually, but most users prefer instead to choose a proper replacement from the list.

In some cases, Atlantis offers a single replacement for the right-clicked misspelt word. But quite often the list of spellcheck suggestions contains multiple items if they all seem to be highly probable replacements, as for the Atlantis spellchecker.

The problem is that the menu with spellcheck suggestions always contains only one item if you run Atlantis under Vista (or Windows 7). As a result of this Vista-specific glitch in the recent versions of Atlantis (including the current public version of Atlantis, you never get proper replacements for some misspelt words in your documents. In such cases, you are left with no choice but to correct a misspelt word manually.

This glitch will be fixed in the upcoming version of Atlantis

Thanks again to our user Michael Speir for discovering this glitch and reporting it to us.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Delay, or not delay - that is the question"

If you have Atlantis Word Processor version through, you probably noticed that Atlantis freezes for a few seconds (on slower computers for up to 10 seconds) after you start typing text. (By the way, you can find out the version of your Atlantis by choosing the "Help | About..." menu command.)

Some users don't see a problem with having this delay in Atlantis (it happens only once per session). But some were quite annoyed by it, especially those who have slower PCs.

So what causes this delay? Atlantis version (and higher) has a big module dealing with the inflected forms of English words. This module is stored in a compressed form within the executable file of Atlantis. When Atlantis needs this module, it has to load and decompress a large amount of data. This takes time even on a fast system. Two features of Atlantis - Overused Words and Power Type - need information about inflected forms. When you start typing in Atlantis, the Power Type feature is launched, and Atlantis starts loading inflected forms. This is why there is a delay.

But we didn't want just to explain why you have this delay. We came up with a solution which will improve things significantly.

Any next version of Atlantis ( or higher) won't decompress the module with inflected forms every time you launch Atlantis and start typing. It will do this only once after you install or upgrade Atlantis. Decompressed data will be saved to a special file under the home folder of Atlantis (don't be surprised if you find a new file with a .tmp extension there). After a restart, Atlantis would load this file in a fraction of second. So you could say bye-bye to the delay that annoyed you. Well, if it didn't annoy you, you could still say bye-bye to it. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Keep it short

As you most probably know, Atlantis has the "Overused Words" feature which helps creative writers avoid repetitions and clichés because any writer knows that he should avoid them if he wants his texts to be read with any interest or pleasure because overused words are simply boring and will invariably put readers off, whether these "tired" words belong to the common stock of catch phrases used by most people, or to the writer's own idiosyncratic style, and no one will be interested to read such boring texts because there are more interesting things to spend time on.

You can immediately say what's wrong with the above sentence (yes, it's one sentence). Its main problem is that it's TOO LONG.

Overlong sentences tend to be very boring and confusing to read. They can easily prevent your reader from understanding what you want to say. This is why overlong sentences should be also avoided.

Of course, Atlantis could not automatically fix overlong sentences by dividing them into shorter and clearer sentences. It's not that smart (yet). :) But you asked for a feature that would report overlong sentences (remember, you can request features through the Atlantis Forum?). And you'll have it.

A new tab will be added to the "Tools | Overused Words..." window of Atlantis:

It has a single edit box where you can control how many words per sentence is "too much".

Plus it has only two buttons "Previous" and "Next". Clicking these buttons will highlight overlong sentences in the active document. You could then rework reported sentences in any way you want.

It's that simple.

A beta version of Atlantis with this new feature will be available for download from the Betatesting page of the Atlantis site in the next few days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last "big" format

Since the first public release of Atlantis in 2000 (oh, how time flies!), our priority was to have the best possible support for document formats of MS Word. The prerelease of Atlantis (version 0.7) was able both to import (open) and export (save) documents in the Rich Text Format (RTF) developed by Microsoft. It also supported opening DOC files of MS Word 6.0 and higher. Atlantis 1.1.1 (released in 2002) was capable of saving DOC files. Finally, the latest version of Atlantis can both open and save documents in the DOCX format.

But now we are considering to add support for one more major document format in one of the nearest releases of Atlantis. As you might have guessed, that new format is ODT (or OpenDocument), a native document format of OpenOffice. This document format is quite popular, plus it is now an ISO standard. After all, the fact that Microsoft had to add support for this document format to Word 2007 means a lot.

The good thing about ODT is that it is an open and well-documented format, though its documentation is not as comprehensive as the one of DOCX. The bad thing is that the ODT format is not fully compatible with the document models used in MS Word and Atlantis. As a result of this, a fully lossless conversion from ODT to RTF or DOC will not be always possible.

So probably you will be able to open ODT documents in Atlantis in a not too distant future.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What do experts say?

It is always interesting and important to know what others think of your product. We greatly appreciate all the feedback from our users. It never fails to affect the development of Atlantis.

But of course we are also interested in the comments and reviews experts make in computer magazines and on software portals. This is why we've created a new page on our site dedicated to such reviews of Atlantis Word Processor. And although we might not agree with every statement made by the authors of these reviews, we understand that they will help new visitors of our site "to have a more complete picture".

By the way, if you've come across reviews of Atlantis Word Processor that are not mentioned on the dedicated page of our site, please let us know. We will add links to these reviews.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

WordWeb Pro 6, or Bug fixing at a lightning speed

If every problem was resolved that quickly, it would be a nearly perfect world...

You most probably know that Atlantis has a Thesaurus command. It is available in Atlantis if you have the WordWeb software on your PC. Most use this command as follows: they right-click a word in Atlantis, then choose the "Thesaurus..." command from the menu to display a WordWeb window with synonyms. This window normally has a "Replace" button. You click it to replace the current word in Atlantis with a synonym from WordWeb.

This is how things always worked. But a long-time Atlantis user Michael Speir has discovered a glitch in the latest paid version of WordWeb Pro 6. Right-clicking any document word in Atlantis, and choosing the "Thesaurus..." command from the menu still displayed a WordWeb window with synonyms. But there was no "Replace" button in this window anymore.

Michael has contacted the WordWeb developers on this issue, and Voilà: it is fixed! The patched version of WordWeb Pro was available for download from their site in hours! Not many software companies react on bug reports from customers that quickly.

So if you are using Atlantis + WordWeb Pro 6, and you get no "Replace" button in the thesaurus window, please know this glitch has been already fixed by the WordWeb programmers. You can now update your thesaurus. The version number of WordWeb Pro has gone from 6 to 6.0.