Decoded text enhancements

Wishlists for new functionality and features.
Post Reply
j7n
Posts: 11
Joined: 28 Jan 2019 18:26

Decoded text enhancements

Post by j7n » 28 Jan 2019 18:54

Thank you for offering this free, highly backwards compatible software that rivals commercial products.

I have a few related suggestions for improving the text column.

1) Setting for bytes per line when the text column is displayed alone without hex. It could be either configurable or the hex setting multiplied by 4 (as in WinHex). Currently View -> Visible Columns -> Text shows a narrow column that is not useful, and adaptive width gives a non-round number of bytes.

2) A shortcut key for switching between text and hex (such as, F7).

3) Configurable replacement character for < 0x20. Currently it is period (.), but a whitespace is useful when scanning data for text, or reading Unicode strings that contain 00 bytes.

4) Selectable Unicode (UTF-16LE) encoding for the text column. If possible, avoid pulling foreign Eastern characters from other large fonts for this view, to maintain speed. Possibly offer a mode where the byte pair starts at +1 byte to decode strings starting at odd address.

Maël
Site Admin
Posts: 1095
Joined: 12 Mar 2005 14:15

Re: Decoded text enhancements

Post by Maël » 29 Jan 2019 22:34

j7n wrote:
28 Jan 2019 18:54
2) A shortcut key for switching between text and hex (such as, F7).
You can simply press TAB to switch between text and hex columns.
j7n wrote:
28 Jan 2019 18:54
1) Setting for bytes per line when the text column is displayed alone without hex. It could be either configurable or the hex setting multiplied by 4 (as in WinHex). Currently View -> Visible Columns -> Text shows a narrow column that is not useful, and adaptive width gives a non-round number of bytes.
You can display only the text column and also select the bytes per line with the combobox in the toolbar. I am not sure what's missing.
the hex setting multiplied by 4 (as in WinHex)
Please elaborate with an example so I know what you mean and why it is needed.
j7n wrote:
28 Jan 2019 18:54
3) Configurable replacement character for < 0x20. Currently it is period (.), but a whitespace is useful when scanning data for text, or reading Unicode strings that contain 00 bytes.
That makes sense. Split into a separate feature request: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=998
You can subscribe to it to get updated when it's implemented.
j7n wrote:
28 Jan 2019 18:54
4) Selectable Unicode (UTF-16LE) encoding for the text column. If possible, avoid pulling foreign Eastern characters from other large fonts for this view, to maintain speed. Possibly offer a mode where the byte pair starts at +1 byte to decode strings starting at odd address.
There is a feature request to support multi-byte character sets in the forum, but as mentioned there it is not trivial to implement correctly (most hex editors I tested have some issues).

j7n
Posts: 11
Joined: 28 Jan 2019 18:26

Re: Decoded text enhancements

Post by j7n » 30 Jan 2019 01:07

My goal is to switch between normal hex/text view and just text view in one action, and have the text fill the entire configured window width. This allows to scroll and locate text data easier, compared to a narrow column, and switch back to hex as needed. Currently mode switch requres two inputs with the mouse: 1) View -> Visible columns 2) Increase Bytes per row from the toolbar.

I understand that variable length multibyte strings are difficult (like UTF-8). I'm not sure I'd like the text column to change width at all. Maybe implementing just Windows NT fixed 2 byte Unicode is better than having none at all. This would permit reading strings in Windows executables and related resources, in most languages. The text column doesn't handle multi byte symbols anyway (Tab, CR-LF).

Maël
Site Admin
Posts: 1095
Joined: 12 Mar 2005 14:15

Re: Decoded text enhancements

Post by Maël » 06 Feb 2019 09:12

Ok, I tried the demo now, I don't usually use WinHex.

What happens is that if you select "Text Display Only" the entire space that was used by hex and text columns is now used by the text column alone. If the window width is larger though than the combined columns together, that empty space will remain.

This is slightly odd though, since it doesn't use the entire window width, and doesn't follow the bytes per line setting either, just an abstract notion of the combined space taken up by both.
Not sure yet what a good design would be, personally I don't think the cited design is very intuitive.

One thing I could imagine would be this: A fourth option in the menu that is titled "Text-only (adapt to window width)".
What do you think?
Maël wrote:
29 Jan 2019 22:34
j7n wrote:
28 Jan 2019 18:54
2) A shortcut key for switching between text and hex (such as, F7).
You can simply press TAB to switch between text and hex columns.
I see now also that you don't mean switching between text and hex columns, but visibility of only text or only hex columns. That doesn't exist, indeed (and will not work with TAB). Would have been good to point it out it was meant to be something else than I described...

j7n
Posts: 11
Joined: 28 Jan 2019 18:26

Re: Decoded text enhancements

Post by j7n » 06 Feb 2019 10:13

WinHex does follow the bytes per line setting. Odd is that it has a single shared setting for both the text and hex modes. If text mode is active, the setting is shown as "64"
rlB8vkC.png
rlB8vkC.png (58.62 KiB) Viewed 210 times
for typical bytes per line of 16, and can be adjusted.

In Total Commander, one can specify line width separately for text mode (called "binary"), which is easier to understand, and one can switch between hex and text pressing "2" and "3", which are faster to reach than mouse.

I am used to this mode, and probably don't find it bad design for this reason. It avoids odd line widths that would break up data that is in groups of even number of bytes (such as 4), and lines that are too long for reading (tops 80 to 100 characters) in a maximized window. And if one wants to make the window wider, he only has to change one setting. But changing two is fine as well.

For future Unicode decoding, please try to avoid showing symbols from Windows font substitution in Vista/Seven+, which result in cluttered and slow scrolling view:
gsL0BCx.png
gsL0BCx.png (86.18 KiB) Viewed 210 times

Maël
Site Admin
Posts: 1095
Joined: 12 Mar 2005 14:15

Re: Decoded text enhancements

Post by Maël » 06 Feb 2019 10:43

It would really help to discuss each topic individually (please make separate posts for each request in future). Otherwise it will be hard to manage.

Regarding the Unicode / multi-byte text support for the text column, discussion continues in the summary topic that catches all other similar requests: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1004

Please attach images as upload as mentioned in the sticky post. Imgur images tend to get deleted over time.

Post Reply