I'm excited to announce that Coppice 2022.2 is now available to download. As I talked about last week, this release has been a long time coming for a variety of reasons, but I wanted to make sure it got out before the Christmas break.
This released has focused a lot on linking on canvases. In previous versions of Coppice, links between pages on a canvas have just been simple arrows. They haven't really done much beyond visually linking two pages. You haven't been able to add or remove them beyond clicking links or closing a page. And you haven't been able to have multiple pages link to the same page or have loops of pages. That is, until Coppice 2022.2.
Canvas Links are now their powerful tool inside Coppice, letting you map out your thoughts with greater freedom than ever before. Let's take a look at some of their features.
Now that Canvas Links are much smarter, Coppice is able to link them back to, well… links. If you hover over any Canvas Link arrow it will highlight all the links that it represents on the page it's linking from. And hovering over a link will highlight any arrows that represent that link.
Not only that, Coppice can also detect Canvas Links that no longer have an associated link on a page, drawing them with a dashed line instead.
Creating & Deleting Canvas Links
You can now create and delete Canvas Link arrows without touching your Pages. To delete an existing Canvas Link just click on its arrow and hit backspace to delete. Creating a Canvas Link to an existing page is as easy as Command-clicking on a link to that page.
And for Coppice Pro users you can create a link on a page and a canvas in one action with the new Link to Page option in the Canvas menu.
Multiple Links to Pages
One thing that this flexibility in creating links allowed was the ability to finally link multiple pages to a single page. Previously Coppice had a "parent-child" relationship between linked pages on a canvas, where each page could only have a single parent. Now you can link pages any way you please, meaning that those who prefer to have only a single instance of each page on their Canvas can do so.
In fact, if you really enjoy this new way of working with pages, Coppice Pro now lets you make it the default. Go to Settings and enable the new "Link to existing pages by default" and clicking any links on a canvas will link to an existing page over creating a new one (though you can still force it to open a new page by command-clicking the link).
I've also added some other great quality-of-life improvements to canvases. The first is that closed hierarchies now open relative to their parent page. Previously, hierarchies would store their absolute position on a canvas. This mostly worked fine, but if you moved an open page and then re-opened the hierarchy then it may appear a distance away from where you expect. Now it shouldn't matter where you move pages.
The second big improvement is for accessibility. Those who use accessibility tools like VoiceOver can now use rotors to navigate through all pages or all links on a canvas.
Finally, Coppice has a great new icon, thanks to the amazing Matthew Skiles. The old icon has served me well, but it was time to finally update to Apple's new design pattern and Matthew pulled it off perfectly.
I'm incredibly pleased with this version of Coppice, even if I may be disappointed with how long it took. Hopefully changes I'm planning for next year will lead to more frequent updates.
For now though, I want to wish you a very wonderful end to 2022 and I hope you enjoy any celebrations in your corner of the world. Here's to 2023 and the many Coppice updates it may bring!
2022 is nearly over and I thought it would be a good opportunity to review the year and what I achieved, as well as what I didn't. I also want to look forward to 2023 and what I hope to do differently.
Coppice was simultaneously a success and a disappointment. In the first half of the year I managed to get out version 2022.1, a big update that added numerous new tools for Image Pages, including the ability to link them. It finally got Coppice to the baseline I'd envisioned years ago when I started.
Coming next week will be version 2022.2, another big update that changes how linking works on a Canvas. Canvas Links become their own concrete thing, which you can create and delete separately to Pages. It can be a game changer for some workflows.
That's two major updates that massively improve parts of Coppice, two updates that I am incredibly proud of. Unfortunately, they took a lot longer than I expected. I had hoped to be talking about a 3rd release this year that would get Coppice into the Mac App Store. Unfortunately things got in the way (which we'll get into later) and so development took longer than expected.
I'd also planned to improve marketing, with more blog posts, videos, a new website, and more. None of that happened.
The highlight of the year for me has been starting streaming. It's helped to give me a stable schedule to work on Coppice and also introduced me to many great new people. On top of that, it's taught me new skills in 3D modelling and Unity development, some of which may be useful for future Coppice plans.
It makes a huge difference having a project I can work on where I don't need everything to be at the highest level, where I don't need to worry about things like keeping people's data safe, where it's fun without any stress.
If you haven't seen the streams then I highly encourage you to drop in sometime. I stream every Sunday and Monday at 1pm GMT and Wednesday at 6pm GMT over on Twitch. Right now I'm focusing on building my interactive 3D overlay, but in the new year I'll be back into Coppice development.
The biggest issue this year has been life getting in the way of things I've wanted to do. I've spent a lot of the year dealing with fatigue. Part of that has been burnout, doing too much between my contract work, Coppice, and other life jobs. I'm hoping a long break over Christmas will do a lot to help me recharge my batteries.
Burnout isn't just caused by overwork though, it can also be caused by spending too long on the graft of building something without the reward of releasing anything. My plans for 2023 should hopefully help that.
I've also had some health issues that caused my fatigue as well. Thankfully, they seem to have been diagnosed and treated, so I'm now feeling a lot more energetic during the day. This means I'm spending far more time able to work on things that require more thought and less brain fog (such as writing a blog post).
So if you've been wondering why there have been so few updates from me this year, besides streaming, it has been primarily down to this. Here's hoping it's all better next year.
So where do I want to go in 2023? And what do I want to do differently? This next year will be focused on two things: Process and iPad.
Process is about building the tools and practices for me to get more content out, faster. The first part of this is smaller releases. I am going to try and focus releases on single features, rather than areas. This means you will get a regular trickle of features rather than a few big splash releases. It also means I get the feeling of accomplishment more regularly.
The second part of process is around marketing. I want to build out a process to get out more frequent blog posts, social media posts, and even tutorial videos and advertisements. I'm able to get information out easily while streaming, but I need to share this in a wider away of formats. One example is sharing what I worked on on stream through social media. Setting up a pipeline where that happens after every stream would keep you more informed and ease my workload.
Then there is iPad. From day one I've build Coppice with an iPad version in mind. I've not committed to anything concrete before, and I still can't until I've proved that it works, but the next year will be when I embark on that project. I can't say when it will be released. I'm hoping that by this time next year I'm able to say Coppice is available on iPad, but a lot has to happen between now and then.
Regardless, I hope I can come back to you this time next year with more good news and fewer problems. Sadly software development always hits bumps in the road, but being open about them at least helps you understand why problems happen. I hope you have a wonderful end to the year and (in a few weeks) a great 2023!