Version Six Upgrades

pictureThe 2015 major upgrade for Alchemy Mindworks’ software – stepping up to version 6 – will initially embody most of its changes “under the hood.” We’ve devised an improved software architecture to allow our applications to make better use of contemporary multi-core microprocessors, larger memory footprints and Windows 7, 8 and 10.

The most notable feature of this upgrade for most users will be full Windows 10 compatibility.

You can’t really see a new architecture unless you work here and read the source code, but it will enhance the performance of the upgraded software – the version six applications should run faster, and consume fewer system resources while they’re doing so.

The updated architecture will also allow us to add new features to Graphic Workshop, GIF Construction Set, Presentation Wizard and the other Alchemy Mindworks applications that were impractical or genuinely impossible under version 5.

We hasten to add that, at least in the immediate future, support for Windows XP will be maintained in the version 6 releases. While there may come a time that keeping XP support starts breaking things, we intend to forestall it for as long as possible. We like XP as well.


Words and Music

pictureOne of the important editorial issues we confronted in stepping up to version 6 was that of the iconography surrounding the Alchemy Mindworks software. Traditionally, when software developers release major upgrades, they change all the icons, graphics and as many of the user interface elements as possible to create the visual impression that something significant has been improved.

We didn’t keep with tradition in for this upgrade. We’ve tried to make the transition and its attendant learning curve as effortless as possible, by leaving the familiar visual elements of our software intact.

You won’t have to retrain your eyes to search your desktop for new icons, or get used to toolbars with their tools stashed everywhere but where you expect them.


Next Step

While we’ve done a lot to enhance the performance of our software products in version 6, we hope that most of its users will experience a seamless continuation of its development. Once again, not entirely in keeping with the traditions of software development, we’ve tried as much as has been possible to release incremental updates to the Alchemy Mindworks applications as we’ve devised new functionality to add to them – rather than hiding all the new toys in a box so we can pop up with lots of bulleted points every year or so to justify changing the version numbers.

Allowing ourselves just a few bulletted points, Graphic Workshop Professional, the first of the applications to make the transition to version 6, enjoys:

  • Better memory management for large objects – digital photographs are really large objects – which should help dissuade Windows from dropping into vapor lock while it attempts to satisfy memory requests.
  • A more flexible plugin architecture, which will both decrease the application’s startup time and allow us to do more with the format plugins in future updates.
  • Better thumbnail management, which will help its browser windows update in a bit less time, especially on slower systems or machines with limited resources.
  • Improved internal resource management, to speed up those functions that access the application data resources.
  • …and all sorts of other stuff that only really impresses software developers.

The first of the new and hitherto impossible features in Graphic Workshop Professional 6 is its extensive EXIF editor – serious digital photographers won’t want to miss it.


Upgrading

As with previous major upgrades, we’ll be offering existing users of the version 5 Alchemy Mindworks releases a generous upgrade path. If you registered or upgraded a registration for a version 5 application any time during 2015, you’ll be welcome to a free upgrade. That’s “free” as in “no money down, no interest or carrying charges and no payments until the end of time.”

If you registered or upgraded a version 5 product prior to January 1, 2015, you can upgrade to version 6 for half the cost of a new single-user license.

pictureWhen you first run a version 6 application, it will check to see if you have a corresponding version 5 installation on your system. If it finds one, it will display a window to tell you which of the foregoing upgrade options is applicable. Click on the Upgrade button to visit our web page and request or order an upgrade. The upgrade window can subsequently be accessed through the Help → Upgrade Manager → Upgrade from Previous Version item of the version 5 software in question.

Links to both the no-cost upgrade form and the upgrade order page can also be found near the bottom of each of the software-specific pages at our web site.

We’d like to thank all the users of our software – we’re frequently reminded of how old some of us have become when we’re contacted by people who have been running Graphic Workshop since the mid-1980s. For everyone else, yes, they really did have computers back then.

We look forward to continuing to improve the Alchemy Mindworks software for all our customers.

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