4 March 2021

Random Thought Update 4/3

I’ve been using Random Thought, the little MacOS app I hacked together for writing on this blog, for a little while now. For a time, I’ve been wondering whether it was the right approach for this blog. Last Sunday I did consider restarting my custom CMS again, an idea that I seem to have fallen for multiple times now. I managed to check myself though. A lot of the styling is pretty crappy, and the sheer size of what’s involve in fixing it acts as a good moderating force to prevent me from spending more than an hour or two on it. There have also been some outside interest in this app as well, so I thought it would be a good little exercise to build and release something real”.

So, here’s a bit of an update. The post UI has been been changed around a little, with a Tags” field just below the title, and the Publish button moved on the right side of the window, as per the convention in MacOS.

Main window of Random ThoughtMain window of Random Thought

A preference window has also been added, so that the blog location no longer needs to be hard-coded. It’s nice having this change in place now, as I’m using this on two different machines, which has the blog located in two different directories (preferences are not synced in iCloud, which is by design).

Preference window of Random ThoughtPreference window of Random Thought

So far this is working well for quick posts, but the writing experience needs to be improve for longer ones. I’m not too happy with the font used within the text field, and it might be helpful to add some syntax highlighting. I’m planning to keep it a plain text field, but it’s difficult to read all the various Markdown constructs when they’re all one colour. I think it will also be necessary to add saving posts as drafts, just so that work isn’t lost when you accidentally close the window. I’m unsure as to where drafts will live at this stage, but I’m leaning towards within the blog itself.

Finally, there’s a bit of work learning all the various techniques in AppKit. The current one I’m working on is getting an event when the window is closed, so that I can disable the Publish” menu item in the Post” menu. I’ve tried hooking it up a NSWindowDelegate, which works for the window created on application launch, but doesn’t seem to work when other windows are unpacked from the storyboard.

Anyway, work is progressing, and it’s nice working on some new technologies.


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