Microsoft has disappointed hair-shirted developers with the arrival of a settings screen preview for its Windows Terminal product, potentially – though not necessarily – heralding the end of JSON tinkering to make things just so.
Thankfully, however, actually accessing the preview screen is not a simple case of selecting the “Settings” option from the drop-down menu. All that will do is fire up the JSON file for tinkering (as before).
One must add the appropriate binding for
settingsUI to gain access to the new tool. From the tool, many of the vast array of Windows Terminal configuration options can be tweaked without fear of a typo in the settings file.
While very much an Alpha preview at present, the new user interface will be good news for users reluctant to prod that JSON file and is both simple to use as well as conforming to Microsoft’s current set of design paradigms.
The team plans to continue shifting settings currently only available to configuration file fans, such as those bindings, into the user interface.
Other updates include a progress indicator in the tab and taskbar whenever an OSC 9;4 sequence is received, pixel shaders and startup actions. The latter two require a JSON file edit until the new Settings UI catches up.
Keyboard users will be pleased to note the arrival of commands to skip to the top or bottom of the text buffer as well as manipulate panes and focus, and italic fonts can now be displayed.
The preview of version 1.6 comes as the management of the team receives a shake-up. Microsoft senior PM, Rich Turner, has made an internal move. Turner was one of the driving forces behind the Windows Subsystem for Linux and, recognising that the original Windows Console was a little long in the tooth, was at least partly responsible for the new Windows Terminal.
Turner will now lead a group of Project Managers tasked with delivering components for Microsoft’s latest attempt at unifying its sometimes disparate developer story, Project Reunion. In particular, elements relating to Win32.
Both the Windows Subsystem for Linux and Windows Terminal have proven popular with developers and are poster children for the “new Microsoft.” Turner’s arrival on Project Reunion bodes well for its future. ®