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CCMenu 1.8 released

31 December 2014

Posted in Releases

A few weeks ago I released a new version of CCMenu. It was a noteworthy release for two unrelated reasons.

First, it was the last release that will be distributed outside the App Store. Of course CCMenu will remain open source software and neither I nor ThoughtWorks have any intention of charging for it in the future. So, why then?

Despite the misgivings that some of us have about the App Store it is the way to distribute software for OS X, and I feel CCMenu should be available there. Before the App Store was launched CCMenu was available as a binary download that could update itself using the Sparkle framework. This binary has to differ slightly from the App Store one; for example, it cannot make use of sandbox mode because Sparkle can't update sandboxed apps. Maintaining this additional distribution channel meant extra work but I decided to keep it active anyway.

Now something else is happening. From the beginning, which was in 2007 by the way, CCMenu was hosted on SourceForge. Over the last years I have become increasingly unhappy with SourceForge, for a variety of reasons, and I have now decided to move CCMenu to Github. Setting up a distribution mechanism on Github would mean yet more work, and work where it's easy to make mistakes that affect many users. It is also not completely straightforward. One subtle issue is that the current mechanism uses the Subversion revision number, which is monotonically increasing, to check whether a version is newer. Git SHA values do not offer an obvious replacement. With these concerns I don't think it's worth spending a lot of time porting the original distribution mechanism to Github.

The second noteworthy aspect of this release is, unfortunately, a very sad one. The icons used in CCMenu were created by my colleague Luke. Many people know him as the Managing Director for ThoughtWorks Europe but at the time he was working as a UX consultant. The icons he created were great. However, when retina displays started appearing the icons in CCMenu looked choppy. It was clear that high resolution versions were needed. This had been requested more than once and I had planned to do this for a while when, this summer, Luke was killed in a tragic bicycle accident.

By some twist of fate I later came across a ZIP archive he had emailed me way back when, and this ZIP file contained 48x48 pixel assets to create the icons. After some deliberation I decided to use these assets to create hires icons. So, it is in Luke's memory that we now have retina icons in CCMenu.