Some of the recent development

>> Published: 24th of February 2013

It's a little over a month since the release of version 0.9.1. And it'll be another little while before the next release, however, there are already some bigger changes in the development version you can find on GitHub. Not all of the features are complete just yet, but complete enough so I can say for certain they will be there in the next release.

Here are the four biggest changes so far:

Faster Startup
One of the major complaints I get about Photo, is, that it takes relatively long to startup. On my system it usually took somewhere around 2.5 seconds before it was up and running and usable. I put some thought and work into that, and was already able to cut the startup time by a factor of about 8. On my system it now takes only about 1/3 of a second to start up.
The reason for this huge improvement is, that widgets like the Settings aren't set up right at the startup. Most of the time Photo is just used for browsing through pictures, and only sometimes the Settings or the About Information are of interest.
So these areas of Photo aren't set up right at startup, but are dynamically loaded as needed.

There are couple more minor things that can be done to possibly help speed it up even a little more than that. But in any case, the startup will be remarkable faster.

GraphicsMagick
Photo right now can only load and display those image types supported by your local Qt installation. However, I'm currently working on making use of the GraphicsMagick libraries in order to load around 100 (sic!) different file formats. Not all of them are yet working, but the number is slowly increasing.
However, GraphicsMagick is rather slow in loading an image, thus those images supported natively by Qt are still loaded by Qt (i.e. without GraphcisMagick).

Wallpaper
You're looking through your image collection and you come across a picture you really like and that you would like to set as wallpaper to your desktop. Instead of having to open the resp. system settings, trying to find the same picture, it would be a lot easier to just be able to set it right from the application itself, wouldn't it? And that's exactly what will come!
The development version on GitHub can already successfully set an image as wallpaper in Gnome (and thus also Unity) and XFCE4. Unfortunately, not all window manager support this functionality yet (e.g. KDE or Razor-Qt don't), but hopefully that'll change in the near future. For those window managers that don't natively support a wallpaper (like e.g. Openbox), Photo hopefully will be able to set a wallpaper to the root window (which usually equates to the desktop background). However, that's currently not yet working...

Thumbnails
Whenever you open an image, Photo scans the whole folder for other images and sets up thumbnails at the bottom (or top, depending on your setup). It does so by loading the very first image in the folder making it's way one by one to the last image in the folder.
However, imagine you're opening one of the last images in a folder with a couple hundred pictures. It might take a while before the thumbnails that you need are loaded. So, beginning in the next version, Photo will start at the position currently visible and work its way along alternating to the left and right. Per default it wont stop setting up thumbnails until it reaches both ends of the folder, but it can be adjusted so that it only loads the currently visible thumbnails. This is especially handy for fast harddrives.

These aren't all the changes that will come, but some of the bigger ones implemented so far. You can get the latest development snapshot on GitHub. However, keep in mind that this is an unstable development version! Not everything there is working, and it sometimes might crash. It's not recommended for productive use!