Sincerest Forms of Flattery

tidy: they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery:

TidyFingerToggle

the actual amount of code is quite small, and it’s already available in Tidy.

challenges: Luca dared me into making a Clutter-based coverflow-like plugin for Rhythmbox, but it was Iain that picked the challenge up and wrote some basic code for it. I, on the other hand, don’t like coverflow for browsing my music collection, so I finally decided to write something for the Eye of GNOME — a Ken Burns effect slide show. it’s not at all finished, and if nobody picks it up, I’ll try and do my best to have it ready for GNOME 2.24, if EOG maintainers want it, of course. it’s not the best display of Clutter features — except the animation framework — but if you have hardware acceleration it will make slideshows look a lot nicer.

json-glib: this weekend I released the first developers snapshot of JSON-GLib 0.6; the API is stable, the test suite is rocking and this release finally fixes the last bit needed for full RFC 4627 compliance (Unicode escaping). I’m probably going to release 0.6.0 in a couple of weeks.

Good Intentions/2

gtk+: I’ve been working again on the RecentManager and in trunk you’ll see some new stuff, namely:

  • use GIO to determine the MIME type of a URI, on every platform supported
  • use the file monitoring API to avoid polling the storage file
  • add a GtkSettings property for clamping the recently used resources list to a 30 days limit

more stuff I’d like to add is:

  • small parser changes to GBookmarkFile, to reflect changes in the spec
  • bulk addition, for applications storing multiple items when quitting
  • new API needed to follow the usability review in bug 349541
  • moving the RecentItem icon code to GIO, and add API to extract the thumbnail

twitter: I’ve been using Twitter a lot in the past two weeks; it’s nice, it makes it easier to copy and paste a quote or a thought, and the 160 characters limit is an interesting challenge. As it’s been ages since I last wrote an application1, I decided to start writing a Twitter reader/writer — using GTK+, Clutter and Tidy; without much thinking, I opened gvim and started writing code in C2 — so, the obvious thing that happened was that I ended up writing a library yet again in order to use Twitter’s web API. luckily for me, libsoup has now a really nice API to work with; all you need is GET and POST to their RESTful API, retrieve the result, parse it through JSON-GLib, hide everything inside a new GObject and you have a wrapper around a web service. the application, you say? oh, I was sure I forgot something. well, it’s coming along — it just needs some work still.

  1. lately all I’ve been doing was writing libraries []
  2. hey, that’s what I do for a living, it’s hard to switch off; plus, I could reuse some of the platform libraries []

Good Intentions

unique: this morning I released version 0.9.4 of libunique, everyone (least) favourite library for writing single instance applications. it’s mostly a bug fixing release, and since I’ve decided to release 1.0.0 soon, this is also the first release candidate for the 1.0 milestone. I’ve also moved the git repository to github, so you can clone it with:

  git clone git://github.com/ebassi/unique.git

I plan to add back a new x11 backend for the 1.2 release, targeting small embedded environments were D-Bus might not be an option, and support for a --replace command line switch. after that, I’ll try to get the same functionalities into GLib/GTK+, as part of the future “desktop platform” module.

Clutter: I did a 0.6.2 release of both the core and the Python bindings, but things are afoot in trunk. we recently landed the multi-stage branch, which means that you’ll be able to create multiple windows and multiple GtkClutterEmbed widgets per application with Clutter 0.8. we’re also about to land the massive COGL rewrite that Ivan Leben of ShivaVG fame did — which will make the GL and GLES abstraction more powerful, will reduce the code duplication and in general will rock your world. Neil Roberts has been doing loads of work on the native Win32 backend: he not only made it possible to run Clutter on WGL, but also use the GtkClutterEmbed on Windows natively:

GtkClutter on win32

now, only the Quartz backend is missing the party — hint hint, nudge nudge.

OpenedHand: we’re hiring!

Rhyme the rhyme well

Jason, it’s not just the canvas: writing a simple 2D canvas is trivial — that’s why a lot of applications end up writing their own homegrown one.

The hard bits are the animation framework, the event handling and down to the integration with the existing platform. A generic canvas is hard, and you probably don’t want it to be developed inside gtk+ (not even for 3.0) — just like Cairo is not developed inside gtk+ but supersedes part of gtk+’s API.

As for 3D acceleration — I’m obviously biased here, so everyone should take what I write with a graintruckload of salt — but I maintain my view that if GNOME (and Linux) started heavily pushing towards more support for OpenGL, then we could get more market share1, more visibility and thus more leverage to make the currently closed source drivers more open. Intel understood this; AMD is now getting it; I’m pretty sure nVidia will — or they will be simply pushed into irrelevance by the open drivers developed by the community2. Let’s face it: other platforms and toolkits are pushing heavily on hardware accelerated 3D effects.

Let’s start aggressively work to get the platform into the XXI century.

update@2008-10-11T12:21+0100 — just as a sidenote: if you have a good CPU, Mesa and software rendering, Clutter will work. It won’t be fast for some operations (like scaling and, possibly, rotating), but in that case you should probably start contributing to Mesa to make it fast (there’s a lot of room for improvement).

  1. think Compiz, and how many more users it brought home just with a spinning cube []
  2. unless you are a gamer, and need the very best card as soon as it’s out just to play Crisis []