MiddleClick is a dashboard for your desktop and web applications.

Stacks, grids and hotkeys

Screenshot of a dashboard stack

Some exciting new enhancements to MiddleClick are available in the latest version. To accompany the default and search views of containers on the dashboard, we are introducing two new views: stacks and grids. A stack displays the contents of a container as a one-dimensional list and a grid displays the contents of a container as a two-dimensional array. In each case, the container opens and closes with a graceful and stylish animation.

Screenshot of a dashboard grid

A hotkey allows you to assign a global keyboard shortcut to run an app or open a container. The following hotkeys are defined by default:

  • Ctrl + Space – opens home page (alternative to middle click)
  • Alt + Space – opens home search (alternative to double middle click)
  • Win + A – searches all of your installed applications
  • Win + G – jumps straight to the Google search app

All of these hotkeys are configurable from the settings console. Moreover, a single hotkey can be assigned to multiple items. You could use this feature to open several websites with a single hotkey, for instance.

Other changes in this release include the ability to edit and copy indexer items, the addition of HTML styling to tooltips and scalability improvements.

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Dashboard docking & folder search

The following features have been added to Version 1.6 of MiddleClick together with bug fixes and performance improvements.

  • Dashboard docking
  • Folder search
  • Auto completion and suggestion

A dashboard app or folder can be docked on the screen by double clicking its background, double click it again to undock it from the screen. This allows you to run an app with several parameter sets or, by docking a folder, open more than one app with a single middle click. You can even leave the dashboard permanently at the edge of your screen.

As well as searching all of your apps, you can initiate a search from a specific folder by holding down the Ctrl key while opening the folder. Indexers, such as Bookmarks, will open a Search window by default, hold down the Shift key to display a dashboard folder instead. An app or folder may be excluded from search. To do this, simply right-double click the app or folder on the dashboard, switch to the Options tab in the UI and clear the Searchable flag.

Screenshot of auto completion and suggestion

Auto completion and suggestion has been added to parameters in both apps and search. As you enter the value of a parameter, the history of the parameter will be filtered to include only those previous values which match the value that you entered. The edit text will also be completed with the value at the top of the filtered history. This means that finding values in your parameter history is now easier than ever.

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MiddleClick Search

Screenshot of MiddleClick Search

MiddleClick Search allows you to search through all of the macros on the MiddleClick menu. Hold down the left Windows key or double click the middle mouse button to display the Search window. Enter the name of the macro and instant search will filter the results as you type. Search tags can be assigned to macros and folders in the User Interface so that you can search for the Google search macro, say, with either the search or google keywords. The spelling corrector will ensure that goooogle also finds the Google search macro. The results are initially displayed in alphabetical order, but change over time so that the macros that you use most frequently rise to the top of the list.

Macro parameters may be entered into the search box along with the macro name. This allows you to enter search top ten downloads to search Google for the top ten music downloads. The parameters that you enter are available in the drop down list, again ordered by frequency of use, the next time that you use the macro.

With the introduction of Indexers, MiddleClick has evolved into a Desktop Search Engine. The default macros include indexers for your Applications and Favorites. Indexed items are available on the Search window and can be displayed on the MiddleClick menu.

MiddleClick is now also a Dock giving you the ability to drag-and-drop onto the menu. Double left click to toggle the stickiness of the MiddleClick menu and drag a shortcut, file or folder from your Program Files, Desktop or Windows Explorer onto the menu. The MiddleClick menu now displays pages of macros that can be scrolled through using the scroll wheel or arrow keys. Other changes include the creation of the app interface and support for 64-bit operating systems and multiple monitors.

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Firefox automation with Chickenfoot

In this release of MiddleClick you will see some significant changes. The web and url automation interfaces have been completed. The web interface integrates with the MiddleClick extension for Firefox. This allows MiddleClick macros to manipulate web pages and automate web browsing. The MiddleClick extension for Firefox uses the Chickenfoot API which also supports the Greasemonkey API. This provides compatibility with the thousands of Greasemonkey scripts that are available from userscripts.org.

Screenshot of the Google maps macro

A macro that uses the web interface is Google maps. Simply enter the start and end addresses for your journey and press return to go straight to the map as if you have typed it into the Google maps page.

Another example is the Google search macro that will jump straight to the results of your search. Using the macro parameters technology all of your searches will be saved automatically and ranked according to the frequency that you use them.

Screenshot of the Twitter macro

The url interface allows MiddleClick macros to communicate with web service APIs. The Twitter macro uses the url interface to post a status update directly to your Twitter account without the need to even open a web page. As you can see the macro window is fully themed with the controls using the Visual Styles framework.

As well as the automation interfaces, MiddleClick now has support for multiple active script languages, including JavaScript and Python. In fact, JavaScript is now the default macro language for MiddleClick.

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Macro parameters and new icons

A new milestone in the development of MiddleClick has been reached. Version 1.3 sees a major revision to the User Interface with the addition of tabs to both the Setup and Macros pages. User groups allow features related to macro development, such as the macro editor, to be hidden from end-users. Macros can now have multi-line descriptions and be hidden in the MiddleClick menu without being deleted.

The most significant update this release is macro parameters. The idea is that rather than edit the macro code when you want to change it, you can use the parameters instead. Parameters store all of their values in a dropdown list ordered by the frequency that you use them. For instance, say you have two email accounts, one that you often use and one that is used less frequently. Rather than having the clutter of a second macro, you can use a macro parameter to easily switch between accounts.

The home page has been revised with a new set of default macros.

Screenshot of the MiddleClick home page

Icon sets for macros and folders have been introduced. This allows you to download a set of ICO files from one of the many icon download sites (see IconsPedia and deviantART) and navigate between the icons using the up-down arrows on the Macro parameters page. The excellent Sleek XP Software and Sleek XP Folders sets of icons are included with the download.

Finally, some shades of color have been painted onto the Dashboard theme with the creation of three new variants. As well as the original Dashboard theme in gold, you can choose between silver (Chrome), blue (Aqua) and pink (Princess).

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Introducing Dashboard

The latest version of MiddleClick now comes with the Dashboard theme which displays your menu as a 2D dashboard of buttons. The theme has a rounded style with black and gold coloring that gives MiddleClick the look-and-feel of the intuitive iPhone interface.

Screenshot of the MiddleClick dashboard menu theme

A veritable feast of options exist for those you who wish to create a custom theme of your own. You can use the in-built theme editor to make the following customizations:

  • Transparency level
  • Number of columns of buttons
  • Dimensions and styling of the buttons
  • Coloring and shadowing of the background

If you are particularly pleased with your creation, mail it to us as we may add it to the website sometime in the future.

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MiddleClick released!

Money-back guaranteeAfter a successful three months of BETA testing, MiddleClick was released for sale on 2nd April, 2009. Thanks must go to the BETA testers that helped us to identify the last remaining few defects. Those testers that made a major contribution will have already realized our gratitude in the form of an email together with a free copy of MiddleClick. We are so confident of the high quality of the software that we have decided to take the unprecedented step of introducing a 30-day money-back guarantee right from the start.

We expect to be releasing regular functional updates to MiddleClick and so keep a close look at the version number on the download page. You can determine your MiddleClick version number by looking at the Help page on the User Interface.

That reminds me, at CodeLogic Software we are always pleased to hear from our users and so don’t be shy about clicking the Contact us link on the Help page.

Happy MiddleClicking!

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Error reporting – the smart way

What happens when disaster strikes? In many applications a window appears asking whether you would like to inform Microsoft!?! At CodeLogic we have decided to take a different approach to dealing with these errors.

When a serious error occurs in MiddleClick, an error report is automatically generated and you will be shown a window like the one on the left. Hopefully, you will never see this window!

You can describe what you were doing when the error occurred, review the attached diagnostic information and choose whether or not CodeLogic should be informed of this problem.

If you choose to inform us, an email is sent directly to CodeLogic and you will receive a reply that allows you to track the progress of your issue (courtesy of FogBugz).

Our intention is to treat these issues as seriously as a 911 emergency call. Together with our BETA testing program, this should result in an highly robust software product where errors of this nature are an extremely rare occurrence.

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MiddleClick BETA released

Screenshot of the MiddleClick menu with Windows theme

My family and friends have been using MiddleClick for some years now and so last year I decided to get serious and create a product for a wider audience. After a considerable amount of design, coding, testing, defect resolution, documentation, website development, … the initial BETA release of MiddleClick finally arrived on 2nd January, 2009.

The public BETA gives everyone an opportunity to test out MiddleClick and tell us at CodeLogic Software what you think of our creation. Our goal is to differentiate MiddleClick from its competitors not only by creating the best feature-set around, but also by creating a quality-lead product. As a wise man once said “quantity has a quality all of its own” and this is where you can make a real contribution by reporting any problems that you discover with the BETA download. See the Support page for the best way to notify us of any bugs that you may come across. MiddleClick is already ahead of its competition by having an in-built defect reporting mechanism that allows the user to send an auto-generated email report when an unhandled exception occurs.

There are many great ideas for MiddleClick in the pipeline that I can’t wait to tell you about. I intend to use this blog to detail the new features as well as more general topics related to software engineering and the development of MiddleClick. So if you are interesting in being a passenger with me on this journey, then checkout this blog from time-to-time to see the latest and greatest time-saving feature that I have added to MiddleClick.

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