Friday, December 4, 2009

Celtx 2.5.1

Celtx version 2.5.1 was released on November 15th. I want to talk about it, but I really hate being an asshole.

Okay, I'll talk about it.

First of all, I'm still using a portable version of Celtx I found, numbered Every time a new version is released, I install it, and then find that not only has it gotten much slower (especially on my netbook), but nothing I care about has been changed.

I have one big problem with Celtx, and a few small ones. The big one is autocomplete. Some people probably love it, but I type too fast for it. Sometimes it doesn't pop up until I've already finished typing a name, and sometimes it doesn't pop up at all, causing a lot of inconsistencies when trying to touch-type a script from handwritten notes. I found a workaround for this, where I leave a hanging period (or any other character) to the right of my cursor. It throws off autocomplete, because none of my names has a period at the end of it, and nothing is suggested. That solves the problem when I'm writing whole passages, but when I go back to fix errors, autocomplete is still as annoying as ever.

It's a fine feature, but I want to turn it off. Why can't I turn it off? Seriously, Celtx is at version 2.5 and it won't let users turn off autocomplete?

Then we get to the small problems. You should be able to turn pagination on for all documents, or at least have it enabled for new documents by default. It's really annoying to have to turn it on for all my scripts, and I've never not wanted it.

2.5, on my netbook, is slow as molasses. Especially while saving. In the version I currently use, I'm used to being able to hit 'save' and then close the program, quick as that. In 2.5 I hit 'save' and then have to sit and wait for it to finish saving, 10-20 seconds. Not terribly long, but if I'm waiting to pack up my netbook and go over to a friend's house, it's very annoying.

You can use the arrow keys to expand and contract folders in the Project Library sidebar, and you can navigate to items just like you'd expect to be able to. But for some reason, hitting the 'enter' key doesn't open a file. It's counter-intuitive.

You can't rename by hitting F2, which is pretty universal in all the OS's and programs I've used. You have to open the right-click context menu to rename an item.

I'd alto really like to see more hotkeys. It would help my workflow if I could only needed my keyboard while working on a script. It's true that for the most part, their method of choosing whether to format as dialog, character, action, etc is very well designed. However, sometimes when making revisions it's necessary to move things around or change a format that was set wrong. I have to mouse to change the format, type some, mouse to change another format, type, mouse again, etc. Giving a set of CTRL-WHATEVER hotkeys to change the formatting applied to a block of text would streamline things quite a bit.

Finally, they removed a context menu option. In the old version I'm using, I can right click inside the 'Project Library' sidebar to add items or folders. In the most recent versions (including 1.0, I think), you can't. Why remove extra functionality? Maybe it caused some problems, I don't know, but it works fine in my version.

I know I could go to their site and comment on any of this in their forums. I'm lazy. I'm mostly apathetic. The problems I have with Celtx are nuisances at best, and I'll always have my portable copy, so I can ignore whatever changes they continue to make.

They've been adding a lot more collaborative tools, which I'm indifferent to. I've been saving files as html and emailing them to friends to revise in AbiWord, but the new version of Celtx has visible revisions built in. It also has a built-in online chat client, the necessity of which I'm not sold on. Celtx does need an operating system to run on, correct? And I could install a chat client on said operating system? But then again, like I said, I don't use the collaboration tools so what do I care? It's not like it hurts anything.

Ultimately I was very excited when I first heard of Celtx, well before 1.0. I really didn't think that by 2.5 the few nagging problems I had would still be there, but the scriptwriting itself is still exceptional (except for autocomplete always being active). I could take or leave the scheduling and the collaborative aspects, which is why I have left them, I suppose.

That's my say,


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