Friday, December 6, 2019

Dash 5


New Search and Navigation Interface – The search and navigation interface was completely redesigned to be more intuitive and fast

New Search Result Sorting and Nesting – Search result sorting and nesting were completely rethought and redone.


Dash 5 uses WKWebView, the latest browser engine from Apple. Supporting WKWebView required rewriting a huge part of Dash, some of which to JavaScript, so please make sure to report any bugs you might encounter, no matter how small

$20 upgrade to an essential app for developers. I like how the search is now in the middle rather than on the side. It feels more like LaunchBar, with more width to see the search results.

Before, you could type a class name and a space and then a keyword to scope the search to that class. Now, there’s a separate field that both searches within the current page and filters the list of methods at the left.


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I use Dash every day in my work (software developer).
Unfortunately Dash 5 seems a step backwards in terms of usability IMO.

In Dash 4 the unified search field meant that it required fewer keystrokes to 1) view the top hit and 2) filter the current documentation.

For example to search for and filter NSURL:

Dash 4:

1. Type "NSURL" - automatically loads full NSURL class documentation (as the top hit)
I can immediately scan down the list of methods etc to see what I'm looking for.
Sometimes I don't know what method to filter for until I've visually scanned the doc.

2. Continue typing "resource" - filters by resource.
I can select the method I want to view (Cmd+DownArrow) and read the method documentation.

3. Delete "resource" - and I'm back at the unfiltered NSURL documentation.

Dash 5:
1. Type "NSURL" - I get a sheet with all top-level matches. No documentation.

2. Hit "Enter" to load the NSURL documentation.

3. Cmd+F, type "resource"
Select method via Cmd+DownArrow

4. Escape out of the filter UI
I can't easily read the method documentation because the search filter dims the background and highlights matches.
Dash 4 did highlight matches, but did not dim the background.

5. If I want to select another method using the same filter, I have to repeat steps 3 & 4.

This may not seem like a big difference, but in day-to-day use, the new semi-modal search results sheet and search filter behaviour, introduce a great deal more friction and keypresses to achieve the same things I could in Dash 4.
So I don't think I'll be upgrading :-(

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