Why Another Stop Watch?
DevStopWatch is a simple stop watch. The intended use of DevStopWatch is to support software developers when it comes to measure time manually.
For this use case the specific requirements are:
- A small GUI to hide as less as possible of the screen to minimize interference with IDE, debugger, application under test etc.
DevStopWatch has a minimalistic GUI. It is transparent, font size and text color are configurable and it shows only the elapsed time.
- The elapsed time should always be visible even if another application (IDE, debugger, application under test, etc.) has the focus.
DevStopWatch is the top-most window.
- Freely placeable.
DevStopWatch is draggable and has multi-monitor support.
- Convenient handling.
DevStopWatch is controlled by global hot keys. So there is no need to change focus from IDE, debugger or application under test to DevStopWatch in order to control it. A global hot key is defined to start/stop the stop watch and another one to reset it.
- Typically a stop watch is not used every day in the life of a developer. So memorable usage and an online help are important.
DevStopWatch provides these.
- The software should be trustworthy.
DevStopWatch is Open Source.
- Not each silly application is worth the effort to pay for.
DevStopWatch is for free.
- Commercial usage should be allowed.
DevStopWatch is licensed under MIT (X11) which allows usage in a commercial environment (and more).
No installation is required. Just start DevStopWatch.exe from any directory. An INI file is expected in the same directory from which DevStopWatch.exe has been started. The INI file will be updated if DevStopWatch shuts down (this can be disabled in the INI file). So the user should have write permission for this file.
A commented INI file is part of this release.
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
DevStopWatch has been tested under Windows XP SP3.
By default the following global hot keys are defined:
- „Alt+Ctrl+S“: start/stop the stop watch
- „Alt-Ctrl+R“: reset the stop watch
A right click on the icon in the system tray bar opens a menu with the following menu items:
- About: Shows some basic information about this application and the currently used hot keys.
- Help: Open the online help.
- Start/Stop: Well, start or stop the stop watch.
- Reset: Hmmm, resets the stop watch?
- Show: Show/hide the time display.
- Exit: Not needed.
To move the DevStopWatch window, left click into the text and move. The visible text must be hit.
Several instances of DevStopWatch can be started, but only the first one will get the hot keys. The other instances must be controlled via the menu of the appropriate system tray icon.
A good old classic INI file is used to configure DevStopWatch. The INI file is DevStopWatch.ini. It will be created/updated when exiting DevStopWatch. A commented example is part of the release.
- Section [General]
- WriteINIFile: Enable/disable (1/0) updating the INI file when DevStopWatch shuts down. This option may be useful if it is not possible to give write permission or if the window position should not be updated. Default is 1 (enabled).
- Section [Windows]
- WindowPosX, WindowPosY: The left top corner of the window. A special value is -1: The window is positioned at the right bottom corner of the primary screen. When the INI file is updated this value is replaced with the actual window position. Default value is -1/-1.
- ShowAfterStart: Defines whether to show the time display after startup or not. Default value is 1 (show it)
- FontName: Defines the font used to display the elapsed time. Default is Arial.
- FontSize: The size of the font. Default is 14.
- Color: The text color for the time display. Format is 0x00RRGGBB.
- RR: red 0…FF
- GG: green 0…FF
- BB: blue 0…FF
Default is 0x000000FF (blue).
- Section [HotKeys]
- StartStop: The hot key to start/stop the stop watch. Default is „Alt+Ctrl+S“.
- Reset: The hot key to reset the stop watch. Default is „Alt+Ctrl+R“.
Some notes on the format of the hot key definition:
A hot key is defined by a string, e.g. „Alt+Ctrl+S“. The syntax is [modifiers]+keyCode.
- [modifiers] is a combination of „Alt“, „Ctrl“, „Shift“, „Win“
- keyCode is A-Z, 0-9, NumPad0-9 or F1-24
The modifiers and the keyCode must be separated by ‚+‘, ‚-‚ or space (‚ ‚). The hot key string is case insensitive.
Why Another Stop Watch?
Because of the same reason why all the other stop watches had been developed: There are plenty of stop watch applications available in the Internet, but I found none which fulfills all my requirements listed above. So DevStopWatch was born. 😉
DevStopWatch is a C# application which is developed using Visual Studio 2008 Standard edition.
Maybe the following C# classes are useful for others:
- IniFile: This class simplifies usage of INI files.
- HotKeyCreator: This class simplifies usage of global hot keys.
There are very good reasons why it is recommended to store application and data in different directories with appropriate access permissions. But for small portable utilities like DevStopWatch I prefer to have both files, the exe and the config file, close together. This allows to install and update the utility without installer and to start it from wherever you want (even a memory stick would do it).
Another thing I like is the INI file. The syntax of the file is very simple, the user can easily read and edit it on demand.
So I did two things by right mind which are not modern: I decided to keep application and config file in the same directory and I decided to use an INI file instead of XML. I’m aware that this is not the best solution for each type of application, but I believe for this one it is.
The application icon is based on the clip art „Stopwatch“ which is available from Open Clip Art Library (openclipart.org). The author of the artwork „Stopwatch“ is dtjohnnymonkey who has released „Stopwatch“ as public domain. Thank you dtjohnnymonkey.
V 1.00 Initial release.
This software is released under the MIT (X11) license. The license terms are:
Copyright (c) 2009 by Christian Habermann.
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the „Software“), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED „AS IS“, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.