This document lists the major enhancements and bug fixes that have been made to the Windows version of Recollector. Not every change made to the program is listed here; only those that are of significant interest to the user of the software. This list is in reverse chronological order, with the most recent updates listed first.
The current document is intended merely to point out what has been changed in new versions of the software. Please consult the User’s Guide (accessible from the program) for full descriptions of the program’s features. The User’s Guide is updated whenever a new feature is added to the system.
The Mac version of Recollector has a separate version number sequence and history of changes. However, since every attempt has been made to provide the Windows and Mac versions of the product with the same functionality, most of the changes documented here in the category of enhancements (as opposed to bug fixing) also apply to the Mac version.
Note: Entries for changes prior to 3/12/2012 will sometimes refer to the product as the "M.R.P. Collection Manager". This was the name of the software prior to its being renamed Recollector. Similarly, there are some references in early entries to Collectroid, which was the original name of the Android version of the Recollector App.
Version 2.2.19 (5/15/2013)
The Browse button, next to image/audio/video fields in the data-entry/editing window now brings up a file selection dialog that allows you to select multiple files in the same directory. If you are adding mutliple images to a record, and all the image files are in the same directory on your computer, you no longer have to press Browse multiple times to select each of the files. Instead you can select all the files at once, by using the standard <Ctrl>-click and <Shift>-click behaviors to select multiple files..
Version 2.2.18 (4/17/2013)
Gave Recollector a new logo/icon.
Added a new entry on the Edit menu: Add a Copy of Current Record. This is just like the Add New Record(s) menu choice, except that instead of seeing an empty data-entry window, you see a data-entry window (for a new record) filled in with all the values of the current record, except for the ID # field, which is always initialized as empty, since the assumption is that you never want to have a duplicate ID # value.
Also fixed a small bug, whereby the program would sometimes unnecessarily prompt the user whether to save the currently open collection when closing it or exiting the program, even though no changes had been made since the last save.
Version 2.2.17 (3/25/2013)
Add auto-completion in the data adding/editing window. Auto-completion is invoked by pressing the ESC key after having entered one or more characters into the box of a short text or one-line text field. The program looks through the existing records in the database for values in the given field whose initial characters match those of the data-entry field. If there is only one such matching value, it is substituted into the text field. If there is more than one such value, a popup menu lets the user choose from the values shown. If there is no matching value, then the system beeps and no change is made. Auto-completion is automatically provided for all short text and one-line text fields, except for the ID # field and any short text field that already has a picklist associated with it. Multi-line text fields and non-text fields do not have auto-completion.
Version 2.2.16 (3/5/2013)
Added the ability to recover image files from a Recollector App export file. These files, intended for downloading to an Android phone or iPhone/iPad/iPod, had always been able to be opened by the the Windows or Mac versions of Recollector, but the image data that was embedded in these export files was just ignored when opening these files with a Windows or Mac version of Recollector. Now Recollector notices the image data and asks the user if the images should be recovered. If the user says "Yes," then the user is asked where to put the recovered images. A new folder is created in the specified location (named "Images", or "Images1" if "Images" already exists, or "Images2" etc.) and JPG files are created there from the embedded image data. If the export file contained only thumbnail images, then only thumbnail sized images are created. But if the user had asked that both thumbnails and full-size images be exported, the recovered images are the full-size variant.
This change was prompted by a user whose PC had a hard-disk failure, with resultant loss of all their collection data. (Unfortunately, good backup practices were not being used.) With this new change, the user is able to recover their collection and the associated images, by bringing back the collection file from the smartphone (actually, an iPad in this particular case) and using that as their PC collection file. After opening the file, the images are recovered, and just re-setting the Image Directory to the new image folder created by the recovery operation, got the user fully recovered. (Fortunately, the last time the user downloaded their collection to the iPad, they specified that all images should be exported and that full-size imagery should also be included. This allowed the full set of image data for the collection to be recovered. We at MapRecord Publications do not recommend using your iPhone, iPad or Android phone as the backup medium for your collection data on your PC or Mac!)
Version 2.2.15 (2/5/2013)
Small fix to the code that handles importing (and creating collections) from delimited (CSV) text files. The code now enforces a rule that field names (found in row #1 of the import file) are not multi-line text. If any line breaks are found in the field names, these are replaced by space characters. The presence of line break characters in field names primarily caused problems in the Mac implementation of Recollector, but it also caused some awkwardness (if not outright errors) on the Windows version, so now both platforms enforce this single-line-text-only policy.
Version 2.2.14 (1/26/2013)
Made a cosmetic change to the options (context) menu: The entry for invoking the Special Link Dialog has been reworded to "Create/Edit Special Hyperlink", rather than the previously somewhat inscrutable "Create/Edit %% ... %% link".
Version 2.2.13 (12/25/2012)
Added an optional compact layout strategy for the data entry/editing window. With this strategy, if the window is wide enough, the program compresses the layout of fields and their labels, in an attempt to show as many as possible (if not all) of the collection's fields, without the user having to scroll. The use of this strategy only kicks in when the data entry/editing window is wide enough (65 "character units" or more), and only if the user has turned on the preference for compact mode layout, which is on the Data Entry/Editing tab of the Preferences dialog.
Version 2.2.12 (12/18/2012)
Added support for scrolling with the mouse wheel. You can now scroll up and down, using the mouse wheel, in the collection window (both list mode and item details mode) and in the editor window.
Version 2.2.11 (12/12/2012)
Added the ability to populate a picklist's values from an external file. This makes it consideraly easier to manage large picklists, since they can be bulk loaded from an external file, rather than having to type the values in one-by-one.
Version 2.2.10 (10/30/2012)
Improved the support for importing and exporting ASCII text files. The support for these had previously been limited to tab-delimited files, with no support for files with embedded occurrences of a tab character within a field value. The support has now been enhanced so that there is full support for CSV (Comma-Separated-Values) files, with either tab characters or comma characters as the field delimiter, along with full support for embedded separator, end-of-line and double-quote characters, using the standarad CSV convention of double-quoting fields that contain any of these special characters and representing embedded double-quotes as a pair of double-quote characters.
Version 2.2.9 (10/18/2012)
Added a new kind of special link. The new link, called an F-link, is a link to an external file. When clicked on, Recollector opens up the file with whatever program is the default program associated with files the given filename extension. For example, a file with an extension of ".pdf" is normally opened with Adobe Acrobat, so an F-link to a PDF file will, when clicked on, open up Adobe Acrobat on the file. Other common file types (.doc for Word documents, .xls for Excel documents, .txt for text files, etc.) behave similarly. This feature lets you easily associate additional documents with items in your collection, along with ability to open those associated documents by simply clicking on a hyperlink in the Item Details view for an item.
Version 2.2.8 (10/17/2012)
Changes to provide compatability between the Windows version of Recollector and the soon-to-be-released Macintosh version. These changes allow collections to be moved betwen the Windows and Mac versions. The main issue was that the Macintosh uses Unicode, whereas the Windows version uses an ascii variant (the Windows-1252 code space). Recollector now recognizes both kinds of collection files and converts Unicode encoding to Windows-1252 encoding (as best it can, since Unicode supports many, many more characters than Windows-1252). The Android and iPhone versions of the Recollector App have also been updated as part of this compatability effort.
Also added the ability, when editing, to select text anywhere in an existing special link and then pick Create/Edit Special %%...%% Link to edit an existing link. In other words, it is no longer necessary to exactly select the full length of an existing link to edit it.
Version 2.2.7 (6/18/2012)
Added the ability to create a hierarchy of subsets, rather than having to have all of the defined subsets appear on a single Select a Subset dropdown menu, as was previously the case. Now you can define subset sub-menus, by including colon-separated components when entering the subset name. So if you specify a subset name of Countries:England a Countries sub-menu will be added to the Select a Subset menu, and the England subset will be put onto that Countries sub-menu. Allowing a hierarchy of subsets makes it possible to define a very large number of subsets without being overwhelmed by an overly long single list of all the subset choices.
Version 2.2.6 (4/24/2012)
Small change to the layout behavior in the edit window when the window is resized. Short fields (numbers, dates, currencies, dimensions, short texts) are now resized and repositioned when the window is widened (or narrowed) so that they use the available space in a balanced manner (rather than always staying in the same position, as they did previously).
Version 2.2.5 (4/23/2012)
The overall font size choice (Small/Medium/Large), on the Options menu, now also affects the font sizes used in the add/edit data window. Previously, the font size choice only affected the size of characters used in the collection window.
A small change was also made in the writing out of collection templates ("Export Collection Template" on the File menu), so that certain information that is related primarily to data (in particular, Subset definitions and Extended Information) are now no longer written out when exporting a template.
Version 2.2.4 (3/30/2012)
During data entry, when the user clicks on the "Browse" button to select an image/audio/video file, check for the case where the chosen image or media file is not in the Image Directory, but the user does have an Image Directory defined. In this case, add a prompt, asking the user if they would like to put a copy of the selected file into the Image Directory, or have the collection just use the file from its original location.
(There were also several small bug fixes, that correspond to the intermediate version numbers 2.2.2 & 2.2.3.)
Version 2.2.1 (3/26/2012)
Fix for a bug related to exporting data for the Recollector App. If image file names weren't lowercase (e.g. "123.JPG" instead of "123.jpg"), the Recollector App would not think that it had an image to display.
Version 2.2.0 (3/12/2012)
The product's name has been changed to "Recollector" from its prior name, "M.R.P. Collection Manager". No large changes to code were made at this point, but all the internal naming and documentation now refers to the application by its new name. This also corresponds to the time at which the iPhone/iPod version of the accompanying app (named "Recollector App") was submitted to Apple's app store. It is now available there as a free download, just as the Android version (named "Collectroid" but now also renamed to "Recollector App") has been (and will continue to be) available from Android Market (now renamed Google Play).
The installation is now done as an "all-user" installation, whereas it used to be a "current user only" installation. Installation requires administrative privileges (as it did before, as well), but now when you install, it should show up (on the desktop and the Start > All Programs menu) for all users, including those without admin privileges.
The handling of collection files when running in demo mode has been made safer. If you had, at some point, a fully licensed copy and you created a large collection (> 25 records), then you want to be sure that if, for whatever reason (e.g. a disk crash and a restore from backup), you have lost your license key and have fallen back into demo mode, that if you open your collection it doesn't inadvertantly get truncated to 25 records (since that's all that will get read in when you open the collection file in demo mode). Now this case is checked for, and you will be warned that you are opening a collection with more than 25 records in demo mode, and the collection will be opened in read-only mode, so there is no chance that you will truncate your collection to 25 records by writing it out from the demo-mode environment.
Version 2.1.8 (12/19/2011)
The ability to format text (italics, underlining, bold, jump-to links, special hyperlinks, etc.) has been extended so that these formatting choices can be applied to all text fields. Previously only long text fields (those represented by multi-line editing boxes in the data-entry/editing window) supported, via a right-mouse-button-click options menu, these formatting choices. Now short text and one-line text fields also have these formatting choices available through the same options menu. Since text formatting don't apply there, non-text fields (numeric, currency, dimension, date, or image/audio/video), as well as short text fields associated with a picklist (and therefore shown as a drop-down list in the data-editing window) do not have these formatting options.
Version 2.1.7 (12/14/2011)
Further refinement to the bug fix put in in Version 2.1.3. It was still possible to lose X-link and P-link information when switching between collections. This bug should now be fully quashed.
Version 2.1.6 (12/9/2011)
Add the ability to format the text that is shown in the extended-information, footnote-style hyperlinks (the so-called X-links). Previously formatting codes had to be manually edited in. Now there is an options menu that works just like the options menu in the data-entry/editing window, that lets you select text and then change formatting by right-clicking to bring up an options menu.
Version 2.1.5 (12/8/2011)
Added support for bold and bold+italic text styling, in addition to the previously-available options of italics or underlining. Like italics and underlining, these new formatting choices are accessed via the options menu (right-button mouse click) applied to a section of selected text in a multi-line text field in the data-entry window.
Version 2.1.4 (12/7/2011)
Added a web-site creation capability. Using a wizard (similar to the report generation wizard added with release 1.1.19), users can quicly produce a web site consisting of one page per collection item plus an index page. The contents of the web pages is controlled by choices made in the wizard. The intent of this feature is to provide a simple mechanism that will allow collectors to share their collection with others, while them full control over what parts of their collection and what pieces of information about collection items they want to make public.
Version 2.1.3 (11/23/2011)
Fixed a bug that was introduced in Version 2.1.1: The X-link and P-Link information could, in some situations, be dropped when writing a collection back out to file.
Version 2.1.2 (11/21/2011)
Add a new option for Item Details display: Centering of thumbnails when labels for the field have been suppressed (by having the field's name parenthesized). Previously, thumbnail images would always be alligned at the left edge of the Item Details display when an image field's name was being suppressed. This wasn't necessarily the most visually pleasing presentation. So now there is the option of having thumbnail images centered horizontally (just as they are in the thumbnail banner on the List View). This option is specified via a new preference on the Item Details tab of the Preferences dialog.
Version 2.1.1 (11/11/2011)
Note: The major version number of the M.R.P. Collection Manager has been bumped from 1 to 2 at this point. This reflects the completion of the set of changes introduced over the last 3+ months (from Version 1.1.32 onwards). Taken together, these comprise a substantial enhancement to the product, and that is now reflected in the version number.
Introduced the ability to create a collection from an Excel spreadsheet or a tab-delimited ASCII text file. Previously, if the user wanted to create a collection based on an external data set, he or she would have to manually create a new (empty) collection, making sure that the field names in the created collection exactly matched the field names in the external spreadsheet or text file. The user would then have to import the external data into the newly created collection. Now this can be accomplished in one step: The program will create a new collection whose fields match the external data and will import the data at the same time. This greatly simplifies the process of making new collection databases from external data, as well as making the process much less error-prone.
Added the ability to export just the current subset when creating a download file for Collectroid.
Version 1.1.42 (11/3/2011)
A minor improvement to the functionality added in the prior version. The change makes it easier for the user to know which fields will get overwritten by a Paste fields operation.
Version 1.1.41 (11/2/2011)
Added the ability to copy and paste multiple fields in the data adding/editing environment. This is intended primarily for the situation where you are adding multiple new records and some of the fields will have identical values in all of the new records. Rather than have to re-type the values for these particular fields in each record, you can now fill in the values in the first record, copy (as a group) the values of the fields that are to be replicated, and then easily fill in all of these fields at once on a subsequent record by clicking a Paste fields button.
Version 1.1.40 (11/1/2011)
Added a capability for deleting multiple records at one time. Previously records had to be deleted one at a time, with a confirmation prompt with each record. Now there is a "multi-record delete" mode toggle choice on the Edit menu. If turned on, you can select multiple rows (with the typical-for-Windows conventions of <Ctrl>-click to toggle a single row and <Shift>-click to select a block of rows). This can be immediately followed by selecting Delete from the Edit menu and the set of selected rows will be deleted (after a single confirmation prompt).
Version 1.1.39 (10/29/2011)
Provide the option, when exporting data (either to Excel or to an ASCII file), to retain formatting codes. Previously, formatting codes (such as those indicating italics, underlining, or hyperlinks) were automatically stripped out. Now you have the option of retaining the codes. This option is useful if you plan to subsequently re-import the data back into a Collection Manager database, since you normally would want to retain the formatting information.
Version 1.1.38 (10/28/2011)
The interface for defining a collection's Image Directory has been completely redesigned. The new interface tries to provide much more assistance to the user in helping them to set up an Image Directory.
A number of small bugs were fixed in various areas, and a few user interface enhancements were added.
The name of the product was very slightly changed. It is now the M.R.P. Collection Manager (notice the periods after the three letters at the beginning). This was done because the previous first word ("MRP") was too easily mis-read as "MAP", particularly since the company name is MapRecord Publications.
Version 1.1.37 (9/29/2011)
Support has been added for incorporating links to audio or video files into data records. The "image" data type has been expanded (now it is called image/audio/video), and any audio or video file that can be played by the Windows Media Player can be linked to in an image/audio/video field, just as one has always been able to link to image files. While images will still be displayed as thumbnails, audio or video files will turn into hyperlinks: "Play media (audio)" or "Play media (video)". In addition, a new special link type ("M-links", for "media link") allows you to turn arbitrary text in a record's text fields into a hyperlink which will play audio or video if clicked on. A number of small bugs and infelicities were also fixed in this version.
Version 1.1.36 (9/20/2011)
Fix a bug that was introduced in a recent revision (1.1.34), relating to file-name selection when creating a new file or creating a file for export. This bug could cause a filename of simply the single character "0" to be created, instead of the appropriate user-specified filename. Users who are running versions 1.1.34 or 1.1.35 should definitely upgrade to version 1.1.36 (or the most recent version).
Version 1.1.35 (9/4/2011)
Fix the layout algorithm for Item Details so that lines are not broken in the middle of words that contain multiple fonts. For example, if the word FIRST was present, with the first letter set to use large-font style, the code would previously have been willing to split the word after the initial F. Now this will not happen, and the code will treat this mixed-font word as a single non-breaking entity, and the layout algorith will appropriately insert a line break before the entire word, rather than mid-word between style-change segments.
Version 1.1.34 (8/27/2011)
Further modification to the Collectroid support. Because of Java VM limitations on memory size, out-of-memory errors are likely to occur if the user has chosen to download full-resolution images. Therefore the support has been modified so that if full-resolution images are downloaded, thumbnail images are downloaded as well. The thumbnails are used by Collectroid and the full-resolution images are passed to Android Gallery. This gives the best of both worlds, access to the full-resolution images (in Gallery) and quick display and no memory problems within Collectroid.
Version 1.1.33 (8/26/2011)
Modification to the Collectroid support. User now has the option of downloading images in full-resolution format (rather than as a thumbnail). This goes along with a change to Collectroid that allows user to view images in higher resolution using the Android's built-in Gallery photo-viewing application.
Version 1.1.32 (8/1/2011)
Added support for Collectroid, an Android app that is a companion to the M.R.P. Collection Manager. The support in the M.R.P. Collection Manager consists of a new item on the File menu: Export for download to Collectroid. This menu choice will produce a single export file, containing all the data for the current collection, along with thumbnails of the collection's images. (A dialog gives you the choice of how complete the inclusion of images should be, letting you specify no images, one image per record, all images, or just those images that have been added or updated since the last export for Collectroid.)
As a separate application, Collectroid is not documented here. The Android app (available for free download from Android Market) includes its own User's Guide.
Version 1.1.31 (7/4/2011)
Fixes for a couple of small bugs.
When editing long text fields, inserting special links or rewrapping the text to fit sometimes resulted in lost paragraph breaks (i.e. two consecutive newlines). This was particularly liable to happen if the total length of the text was small.
If the remembered name of a collection differs from the name as stored in the XML file for that collection, update the remembered name using the XML-file-based name. (The remembered name is displayed in the collection window title bar and in the list of collection in the “Manage Collections” window.)
Add an extra confirmation when the user tries to cancel out of creating a collection at the last step (when being prompted for the filename of the new XML file). Inadvertently cancelling this file-selection dialog caused the user to lose all the collection-definition work, so be sure that’s what the user really wants to do.
Version 1.1.30 (5/31/2011)
Two new formatting styles have been added for multi-line text data: superscript and large font. These are applied in exactly the same way that italic and underline are done, by selecting the desired text (in a multi-line text editor field in the add/edit data window) and then right-clicking to bring up a context menu. The two new styles have been added to this menu.
Display of data in the list view has been improved, by removing the display of formatting code characters. Both the codes used to signal text styles and jump-to links, and the longer codes used for special hyperlinks, are no longer displayed. Consequently, the text displayed in the list view now better matches the text displayed in the item details view.
Searching, sorting and subsetting had a number of bug fixes made, related to the presence of extended characters (for example, accented characters and ligature characters such as Æ). Searching and sorting now use a more flexible approach, so that near matches (text strings that differ only in minor ways, such as the presence or absence of an accent) will be considered as matching. For example, a search for the text string general will find not only the English general or generalist, but also the French générale. Enclosing a search string in double-quotes (″general″) in the search dialog will force a precise search, in which case the word générale will not be considered a match. Also, any search string that itself contains any extended characters (such as accented characters) will cause the search to be done in precise mode (so searching for général will find générale but will not find general).
Version 1.1.29 (4/5/2011)
Bug fix for an Excel import bug. Trying to import very large Excel spreadsheets would sometimes fail, due to an out-of-memory kind of error. This bug has been fixed.
Version 1.1.28 (1/3/2011)
Support has been added for installing and running the M.R.P. Collection Manager from a USB flash drive (thumb drive).
Fixed bug with definition of the Image Directory when restoring a collection in “copy” mode. The definition of the directory is now done as a relative path name, rather than a full path. This is particularly desirable for the flash drive case (since the drive letter can change each time a flash drive is plugged into a computer’s USB port).
Version 1.1.27 (1/1/2011)
Add support for drag-sliding of image window contents, as an alternative to using the scroll-bars to move the image around.
Version 1.1.24 (9/6/2010)
Added a new kind of special hyperlink: a record-jump link that allows you to have arbitrary text as the visible text in the hyperlink.
Version 1.1.23 (8/17/2010)
Added the “thumbnail banner”, so that images can (optionally) be seen at the top of the window in list view mode.
Added three kinds of special hyperlinks, two that take you to a URL in your web browser and a “footnote” style hyperlink, that displays extended information in a popup-area at the bottom of the Item Details window.
Version 1.1.21 (9/22/2009)
Added support for copying, in addition to restoring, from a backup up copy of a collection.
Version 1.1.20 (6/23/2009)
Added built-in backup support, for easily backing up and restoring a collection and its images.
Version 1.1.19 (5/29/2009)
Added support for printing compact formatted reports.