Mendeley Desktop: The About Dialogue (and the Refactor)

New About Dialogue and it’s even closable on Mac! How on earth did we get to this point?

Let me tell you a story…

Since my last post the Mendeley Desktop team has been very busy indeed!

Our “rewrite of some of the internal Mendeley code” has turned into a rewrite of almost all the code.

Why are we rewriting our code you may ask? Like many other small companies, Mendeley started with their software being written by external contractors. By the time I started in May 2008 a significant amount of code had been written which was then ported to Linux and Mac. What started life as a prototype had turned into a product which was then released to the world when we hit open beta. This means we lacked a solid architecture, any real documentation, coding standards or unit testing.

In the past few months the team has rewritten basically everything except the metadata extraction and the Citation Style Language parser (although these two have both been improved also and will probably be incrementally rewritten for further releases). As a result, we now have a much smaller, easier to read, unit-tested, documented, faster and just plain better codebase by any software engineering metric you would care to throw at it. My slightly obsessive insistence that the team meets the coding standards document and our continuous integration tool has resulted in a far higher quality product.

You might be asking why on earth you should care about everything I said above. Well the answers are in the features/bugfixes that you’ll see in the new release:

  • Better performance and lower memory usage
  • Adding sub-groups
  • Folder monitoring
  • Encrypted data transfer
  • Only uses standard HTTP ports (i.e. 80 and 443) and uses your system proxy settings
  • Less interface slowdown on network/import operations
  • A closable “About” window on Mac, as featured at the top of this post (No, I’m not joking. To close it in 0.5.9 or below, press Escape)
  • More native and more usable user interface
  • More traditional Mac packaging

Anyway, I hope that is enough to get you excited about the next release. We will be retaining feature parity with 0.5.9 (i.e. no features currently existing in 0.5.9. will be dropped in 0.6.0) and 0.6.0 will fix a lot of outstanding bugs with 0.5.9.

Mendeley Desktop 0.6.0: Coming soon!

3 thoughts on “Mendeley Desktop: The About Dialogue (and the Refactor)

  1. Hei to Team Mendeley!
    I just discovered the Mendeley Desktop 2 hours ago and it has already helped me to organize my pdf collection a lot. I had already thought it is beyond any hope… I guess I was wrong :-). And the fact that it is cross-platform is great.
    Keep up the good work!

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