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Friday 7 August 2009

Many tasks, little time

The last WatchDirectory update introduced several features that help people who run a lot of WatchDirectory tasks. This post describes them in more detail and introduces a little undocumented feature.

Find Tasks

Version 4.5.9 has a new option to Find Tasks. Use the menu "View -> Find" or the keyboard shortcut CTRL+F to invoke it. Enter any search term and the WD Control Center will search all visible columns for the entered text. All tasks that have a matching text will be selected and optionally scrolled to top.

There is also an option to "Clear previous results". If you deselect it you can do multiple "finds" to select all the tasks you want.

When all desired tasks are selected you can Start them all at once by clicking the "Play" button. If one of the tasks selected is already running you will find the play-button is disabled (grayed). To enable the play-button you must either:

  • De-select the running tasks:
    Ctrl+Click the selected running task to de-select it
  • Force the Play-button to become active:
    Hold down CTRL and SHIFT while you click play. Only the not-running selected tasks will be started.

Group Tasks by Color

Also new: you can assign one of 6 colors to a task. Select one or more tasks and right-click them. Select the menu-option "Set Color" and assign a color to the selected task(s). After doing this for the first time, 2 things will happen:

  • A new column will show
    This column contains a colored "dot" for the tasks. Clicking the column header will sort all tasks by their assigned color.
  • A new color toolbar will show
    This toolbar allows you to quickly select all tasks having the same color. You can disable this new toolbar using the "View ->Toolbars" menu option.

So now you can, for example, assign "green" to all tasks related to "Incoming Customer Orders" and assign "red" to all tasks related to "Fulfilled Orders".

Click the red dot on the new toolbar to select all "Fulfilled Orders" tasks and start or stop them all at once.

Undocumented - named colors

Maybe "red" is not so obvious... You may be wondering, was it green or red I used for "Fulfilled Orders"?? When you hover your mouse over the colors toolbar, the Control Center will read the description to show from the Windows Registry. If not found there, it will use the default (non descriptive) text for this color to show.

If you want easier, intuitive descriptions for these colors, download this file: ColorDescriptions.txt. (you must right-click, "save as" this link, otherwise it may show as rubbish in your browser). Save it to your desktop and open it with notepad (or another plain-text editor). Inside the file you find several lines like:

"1"="Statusbar message for Red\\npopup for red"

(followed by "2"=, "3"=..."6"=, one for each color). Change the text anyway you like, but please make sure it keeps this same format (especially the "\\n" part is important). For example, change this line to

"1"="Select all Fulfilled Orders\\nFulfilled Orders"

The text before "\\n" is showed on the statusbar. The text after "\\n" is shown as a little yellow notification when you hover your mouse over this color.

After you made the desired changes to ColorDescriptions.txt, rename it to ColorDescriptions.reg (ignore warnings from Windows). Now double-click the ColorDescriptions.reg file to import these settings into the Windows Registry. When you restart the WatchDirectory Control Center, you will see your new descriptions.

Just a reminder

If you have bought a version 4.x license from us, you can upgrade this license free of charge. Just install the latest "evaluation version" on top of your current install so it will see your current settings, tasks and license info.

Download here or for the German lanuage version: here.

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