Great news from F-Spot land!

F-Spot 0.4.4 released
First of all, the new F-Spot 0.4.4 is just released (credits go out to Stephane Delcroix, who should really start blogging more).

From the release notes:

About a month after, we’ve released F-Spot 0.4.4. It features
some new blinky features, a better gnome and gnome2.22 integration,
updated translations and tons of bugfixes.

Major changes since
- theme switcher
- reduced startup time
- migration to gio started
- sort tag by popularity
- rating with hotkeys
…and more

And, as this release is a pre-Soc one, more fun stuffs are coming.

More info here, downloads also on the website. This immediately marks the point where I can start pushing my GSoC code into trunk. So without further ado:

Google Summer of Code work started
One of the major problems F-Spot currently has is the space-wasting sidebar:

Old sidebar (1)

Old sidebar (1)

As you can see, it shows some information and a tag tree to search images. Not all that bad actually. Now when you switch to an image, you get the following:

Old sidebar (2)

Old sidebar (2)

The tag tree is quite useless in this view (except for tagging, if you don’t use the awesome tag-to-type ‘t’ key). On the bottom of the screen, there’s a tiny row of editing tools. My Summer of Code work aims to improve the F-Spot experience, in part by moving these hard to find tools to the sidebar, where they will be much easier to use (and take up less space).

I have just landed the first bits of code, based on an old bitrotten patch, which makes the sidebar switchable. Currently there are three panes, looking like this:

New sidebar

New sidebar

This code still has a lot of issues though. For instance, the information box on the bottom left is gone. It’ll be back, soon. Slowly the summer has begun, with plenty of cool stuff coming up. Stay Tuned!

  • Pete

    Why not make use of the docking library from MonoDevelop, to make these things hidable along the side, the ability to hover over them to see them, or pin them down, if you want? (I’m thinking in particular of something like the “Solution” and “Classes” pads on the left side when you start MD)

  • George

    Possibly you could enhance the dvd slidehow plugin. It works great but is VERY basic. This would be awesome to have this plugin expanded.


  • Adam Williamson

    To me this smells like “oh dear, we’ve got all this space, what are we going to fill it with?” – I can count on the fingers of one…finger the number of times, while viewing a picture in F-Spot, I’ve actually wanted to know any of the information in any of the three alternative left hand panes in your screenshot. Can’t you just have the left hand pane go away and let us look at a bigger version of the picture?

  • DeeJay1

    Why does 0.4.4 require glib-sharp 2.12.1? As far as I can tell, the last released version of gtksharp2 is 2.12.0…

  • bisho

    Some suggestions for the new Information sidebar:
    - Instead of “Version:” write “ Versions:” so you know if there are more than one version without having to click on the drop-down menu.
    - Add a button “Add more tags” to the tags section, so it becomes intuitive how to add more tags. If the tag-tree appears on a window and you are able to click on each tag to add it to the image, it would be great too. No drag and drop that is a pain on laptops. Typing is not good for everyone.
    - Add a small preview of the photo that eases zooming on the image. Should show with a box the current area being displayed on the right.

    When you choose one photo, even when you are on the main list, it’s good to have some information like the one presented on the old sidebar. For example filesize, exposure details, time, name and number of versions. Displaying this on the sidebar maybe is a waste of space, but at least use the status bar. It’s important info useful, when you want to check something and you won’t be forced to change to display the photo.

    When more than one images are selected, is a good opportunity for another sidebar, with options:
    - Add tags to all selected photos
    - Export selected photos
    - Compare & choose best -> When you shot at 5fps you get tons of similar images. I will love to have a comparison tool like this:
    1) Detects & recommends the best focused (analyzing images or just marking the one with greater image size). An indication of sharpness will be nice to know with one are sharp and choose between them the best composition.
    2) Shows all photos in a frame filling *all* the screen. You can show full frame (for composing, lighting evaluation) and you can easily change to a 100% crop and move thought the image. Another useful mode of comparison is showing just 1 image full screen, with fast load of previous/next and being able to mark them as “discarded” when you are comparing between all the photos till only one lefts out.
    3) When you actually choose the best one, the other are set as… versions!!! (with ability to delete them if preferred). For example with the name “Discarded photo in burst [2/13]“. That way you reduce the number of photos in the catalog without deleting or hidding them, and will easy the photo flow processing. Currently is a pain to compare photos in f-spot. Next load fast, but previous is slow, plus is not full screen, that takes another change, does not maintain zoom and position… This keeps me using gthumb for comparing photos!!!

    Thanks for your work of f-spot!

  • DeeJay1

    Sorry, I’ve found it – yay for up to date websites and mirrors! :|

  • Anton

    I support most of the points bisho made, however I understand that your goal is to complete your SoC project, so the scope must be limited :-)

    As you intend working on the sidebar, here are my thoughts regarding it:

    1. Exif info and histogram – are very useful to have at hand when judging/selecting pictures, so it would be nice to see more Exif information while reviewing the photos on the sidebar (currently it shows only the exposure, including the aperture, shutter speed and ISO). Also very important for judging are the lens used and focal length and maybe camera model, too. Your screenshots seem to show the latter two, which is very nice :-) But, please consider including a histogram where as well – the code for the histogram should already be there in f-spot (Shift+V in the thumbnail view).

    Other important info are flash, metering mode, exposure program, white balance, etc are useful mostly if they can be decoded in a user-friendly way, e.g. not showing just numbers, which is probably out of scope of your project.

    Other exif info is not as interesting and somewhat technical, so at least the image information info should be sorted by relevance – it is hard to search for focal length again and again in the Ctrl+I dialog – it should be somewhere at top. Maybe user could add fields from the ‘extended metadata’ to the main information view? Also, extended metadata on the screenshots is wasting screen space a bit in my opinion.

    2. Background color in image and thumbnail views – it would be very nice to be able to configure it or set it to dark gray by default – it is a lot more neutral when watching photos. The default white (that most people use) is quite distracting, but changing the whole theme either system-wide or for f-spot may be an overkill.

    3. Navigation within an image – which is probably what I miss the most. It used to work, but a long time ago. When I review the photos I often like to see it in original size (I press ’1′ for that), but in this mode the photo cannot be scrolled around using keyboard – arrow keys just switch to another photo, using the scrollbars is a lot less convenient, especially on a laptop :-) The newer (or more high-end?) Canon cameras don’t even reset the zoom level when you advance to the next photo, making it very useful to compare the details and image quality.

    The first point is more related to your work, however the last two seem to be very easy to implement. Please let me know if you need some help, I am just afraid it would be hard to get past the patch review process if I do this myself.

  • Stephane Delcroix

    @Anton: the review process is not hard to pass through. it’s only sometimes a bit slow, sorry for that…

    about 2: can be done easily in a custom gtkrc file. the code is already written to support custom f-spot theme, it’s only missing the themes, but jimmac promised some :)

    about 3: file a bug, and provide a patch eventually

  • Anton

    2: Hope that it is possible to keep my system-wide theme and just change the color of the photo background without changing sidebar background, etc!

    Now I just need some spare time to learn C# (I expect this to be relatively easy having Java background) and do the stuff!