>> Published: 17th of January 2015
It's here, the best one yet: PhotoQt v1.2! It comes with a large amount of changes and improvements.
For this release I mainly focussed on smoothing PhotoQt out. I considered all the feedback I got over the past two years and tried to make PhotoQt as reliable and efficient as possible. There's still more that can be done, but it already comes with a respectable amount of changes.
To get a full list of the changes, have a look at the Changelog. Here I just want to highlight a few points:
1) XCF and PSB/PSD support
GraphicsMagick claims to come with support for both Gimp's XCF and the Photoshop format. However, its support of them is so bad, it simply has to be considered as "broken". PhotoQt doesn't even offer XCF support based on GraphicsMagick anymore. However, there are two projects out there, that PhotoQt can make use of to support both formats much better:
- libqpsd libqpsd is a project that provides a PSD/PSB plugin for Qt. In my tests it proved to be incredible fast and very reliable. It certainly deserves a lot more attention!
- XCFtools XCFtools offers the possibility to render an XCF file into a PNG file. PhotoQt can use it to render an XCF on the fly into a PNG and displays it.
Both are rather small projects, so they might not (yet?) be available in the repositories of your distribution (have a look!).
Note: Once you have either one or both of them installed, you still have to tell PhotoQt to make use of them (Settings: Tab "Other Settings", sub-tab "File Types").
2) Re-written thumbnail handling
Thumbnail handling in PhotoQt hasn't been bad, but it also hasn't been ideal. For v1.2, it has been partially re-written and a new default mode has been added: Smart thumbnails. Smart thumbnails are a good (I believe) compromise between efficiency and usability. Basically it relies on the fact, that once a thumbnails has been created and cached, then it can be loaded very quickly. Thus, when you enter a folder, PhotoQt firsts loads the visible thumbnails and then all thumbnails that once have been created and cached. This makes navigating a folder a lot easier.
3) File formats support
For many image formats, PhotoQt makes use of GraphicsMagick. However, until now, many of the included formats remained untested. This has changed now: All image formats that can be set in PhotoQt have passed a test (i.e. PhotoQt successfully displayed a test image). Support of SVG has been moved from GraphicsMagick to Qt, as Qt provides significantly better support of this format.
4) Re-structured and extended Settings For many, many releases, when you'd open the settings the first settings you would see was an option to enable composite. Not anymore. Many settings have been grouped into a 'Basic' and 'Advanced' category. I tried hard, to include the most commonly used and most likely needed settings in the basic category (so that most users don't have to bother checking the advanced category), however, please let me know if I made a mistake there. Also, please note, that no settings have been removed. On the contrary, many settings have been added.
5) Reliability and Efficiency
PhotoQt works very reliable and efficient now. All of the known bugs and many others I found along the way have been fixed. I believe, now it can definitely hold up to the more "traditional" image viewers out there. Its main focus might be slightly different though. It might not be the first choice for handling images, but it definitely does a very good job at displaying a large variety of images!
PhotoQt has matured a lot over the past three and a half years. There are a lot of features that have found their way into it, and they are working better than ever before. However, there are still many possibilities left, many things that can be added to make PhotoQt even better. Here are a few things that I hope to get implemented for v1.3:
- Add support for IPTC and XMP metadata
- Print feature
- Reload image when changed on hard drive
- Detect when a cached thumbnail has to be re-done
- Re-think some code, e.g., possibly improve settings handling
- General code improvements (split up very large classes into smaller subclasses)
- Add support for more image formats using other tools (optional feature)
- Investigate possibility to add option to use poppler for better PDF support
These are the features I hope to get implemented next. Of course this is not an exhaustive list. Mainly depending on feedback, other features are possible, too, either for v1.3 or a later release.
There has been a long break in the development (for about one year) before I was able to slowly start back up in August last year. I heard some people speculating that PhotoQt had died. But it's still young! The best is yet to come!
Enjoy PhotoQt :-)