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December 5, 2020

PowerToys Offers Survey, Goes to v0.23.0


All kinds of interesting news about the Microsoft PowerToys project. First, team leader Clint Rutkas has offered a survey (shown in the lead-in graphic for this story) to solicit user input on development priorities. Second, there’s a new release out (V0.23.0) that offers a ton of stability enhancements and feature tweaks (see the release notes for details). And third, there’s an absolutely fascinating functional specification in the making for “Video GIF Capture” in the GitHub pages for the project. Any one of them is newsworthy, all three together show a development team on fire with output and ideas. To which I say “Bravo! Keep up the great work!” Now let’s dig into each thing independently, starting with the survey.

PowerToys Logo against a background of PC screen mockups, courtesy of Clink Rutkas/Twitter.

PowerToys Survey Asks…

Given the choices in the lead-in graphic, Rutkas asks respondents to pick two of them. The Gif/Video screen recorder (for which a “functional spec” is already under discussion and development) is first, followed by “Adjust font render in Win” and “OSS Mouse without Borders” (an existing open source project from the Microsoft Garage that lets users link multiple PCs and displays together, and use the same mouse across all of them). I believe that the Video GIF Capture, as evidenced by the preceding spec discussion is a slam dunk.

Thus IMO, the either-or pick comes down to “Adjust font render” and “OSS Mouse without borders.” Because the latter already works as a standalone tool (not integrated into PowerToys), I’ve already voted for “Adjust font render.” The survey expires at 3PM Central time on October 7, though, so it may be too late to participate by the time you read this. That said, it’s a heck of an interesting way to solicit input on development priorities and actions, isn’t it?

V0.23.0 Makes Its Debut

This latest release hit GitHub on September 30, and has already announced itself to PowerToys users with the “auto-update” function enabled in the tool. But for those who remain unaware of that update, or who might not yet have tried PowerToys, the v0.23.0 release is ready for download and installation. Definitely worth keeping this tool current (or grabbing it for the first time, as the case may be).

Check out the Video GIF Capture Functional Spec Discusssion

You’ll find it on Github, entitled Functional Spec for Video GIF Capture. It provides an inside view into how ideas for useful Windows widgets get “cussed and discussed” (as we say down here in Texas) within the PowerToys development team. I see it as a great illustration of how the development process works in general, and how ideas for an admittedly useful-sounding facility get introduced, elaborated, and refined through an iterative, back’n’forth process. It’s definitely worth reading through, and checking out.

In case you can’t already tell, I’m turning into a pretty big fan of this latest incarnation of Windows PowerToys. Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you posted as this nifty little toolset continues to grow and evolve.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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