Changelog

v0.4.0

Sun, 26 May 2019

This is yet another major release, getting closer to a friendly UI for photo viewing in parallel with the expansion of the library curation for people so interested. Around 380 commits, so even bigger than v0.3…

New features

A large number of new features, due to the long bake time. Will do better next time ☺

Movie support

It is now possible to view movies formats that are natively supported by the browser. This is not much, as many older cameras were creating things like AVI files, or some cameras still generate MOVs that are not well supported.

Nevertheless, for the formats that are supported, it is possible to:

  • view them as such, in the image viewer and the new browsing mode
  • search for movies by type
  • see statistics (in the 'curate' module)

When just looking at images (in the new browsing UI, or as thumbnails, etc.) the movie "cover" is taken either from an embedded thumbnail (if available), or from the first frame via ffmpeg, which is a new dependency.

A new alternative UI for browsing pictures

The existing image viewer, designed for fast sequential viewing, lack the ability to browse through images, without necessarily wanting to see them in detail. Furthermore, the existing image/folder views with their data-oriented tabular formats were really not user friendly, but more geared towards analysing the photo library.

There's now a new, parallel "browse" mode that is grid based, which allows scrolling through the pictures. It deals much better with large results as it's paginated and incrementally loading, and applies the same to folder views and to image views.

On the folder view, selecting an image leads into the image viewer for that folder, whereas for the image view, it just opens the image or the movie in a "lightbox", allowing to view the image in more detail (even at full resolution, which is better than the previous image view) without losing track of browsing position.

It is also possible to switch between folder and image views and between the list-based and the browse-based view for either.

Asynchronous repository scanning with progress report

The previous synchronous-scanning done in the reload handler was, of course, a big kludge, and it was finally time to retire it. The reload handler now just triggers the scan, and it's possible to see progress statistics for both the scanning phase, and for the rendering phase, which was completely hidden before.

The refactoring had a couple of nice side-effects:

  • the UI is fully usable during the scans; if this is a subsequent scan, the previous results are kept until the in-progress scan is finished, leading to no "down-time" of accessing the data;
  • rendering phase is better controlled and there's no significant duplicate work; previous implementation was forgetting the rendering thread and could lead to N parallel threads all doing the same work;

On top of all this, the repository state is cached at end of scanning, so initial load (after task restart) is much faster.

New search atoms

More search atoms, which means higher chance of confusion. Anyway ☺

  • added title and caption (string) atoms
  • added folder (string) atom which allow usual searches on folder name
  • added filename (string) atom which allows searching on image name, including any intermediate directories (such as day1/dsc_0590.jpg).
  • added image status (set) atom, which replaces the old by-status view.
  • added folder class (set) atom, which replaces the old by-folder-type view.
  • added a lens (string) search atom.

The addition of image status and folder class atoms allowed completely removing the old style "by-category" views, completing the unification of the search/browse/list paradigm onto searching (via filters).

Expanded library statistics (curate module)

Added camera statistics, including tracking of shutter count if available, and expanded the lens statistics. One can now look to see which cameras generate best keepers, or to track equipment use/last use, etc. Multiple cameras of the same model are handled now via serial info, which however breaks as many cameras don't store their serial in movie metadata, only in images.

The over-time usage for both cameras and lenses now show graphs, but I'm not sure they're very readable, so it's more like raw v1.

Improved handling of exif errors or (new) plain inconsistencies (e.g. location fields existing but empty). This should allow removing

There is so much more data that could be shown here, but not yet…

Performance improvements

Some folder statistics are now pre-computed and cached, leading to significant speedups (up to one order of magnitude) in some cases (e.g. the folder list view).

Quick search atoms now can be prefixed with an atom keyword followed by a colon to restrict searches to that specific atom, and not try all atoms that match. E.g. 'year:2018 country:Italy'.

As described above, repository state is cached, so application restart is much faster.

There have also been some overall performance improvements by changing the used types (some StringText migration, or list to sets, etc.), but with no hard data.

Bugs fixed

Folder cover display should now more consistently find an image to display, even if the first image(s) are not viewable or if the image filter doesn't actually select an image from the folder.

Master (as in 'soft master') images that are not proper raw files, but instead something like png/tiff/etc. are now directly viewable. The logic for this is hard coded for now, but finally one can see master bitmaps.

Quick searches for two (but exactly two) words which neither finds anything was triggering a but in the atom parser; this is was fixed by removing arbitrary-length operators in the parser.

Images are now viewed in capture time order, not alphabetical order. This could be called an improvement as well, but it was IMO a bug in the first place.

Full screen mode in the view library is now done via the screenfull javascript library, leading hopefully to expanded compatibility. On top of that, a fake full screen mode is there for browsers which don't support a native on - looking at you, Safari on iOS, why oh why?

Relaxed the parsing of some exif fields, hopefully allowing parsing of metadata generated by more exotic writers.

Miscellaneous

Folder search semantics

Changed semantics of folder search. Before, a folder search (almost) always meant "it contains at least one image that itself matches the exact filter". Now, a folder search for a composite filter (e.g. "A and B") means it contains an image matching "A" and also contains an image matching "B".

The rationale for this change is that some atoms only have meaning at folder level (e.g. folder class), and other have different meaning at folder and image level (e.g. year), so the handling of atoms should be as well different.

A (desired) side effect of the change is that many searches are faster on folders now, since we can look at aggregate folder statistics in many cases, rather than look at each individual image in turn.

Internal changes

The application state was moved from global variables (MVars) to a context structure, which unblocked testing of minimal repositories. As such, there's a tiny bit of coverage improvement, but this serious testing remains for the future.

Untracked files are now handled together with image files, which should lead hopefully to a better handling of files, but has potential for some bugs (e.g. one was found in list folder with regards to image statistics).

v0.3.0

Fri, 09 Mar 2018

A major release, with close to 300 commits.

Important: due to internal changes, all the cached exif metadata will be regenerated, so the first startup should be slower. This should proceed automatically, but as there is no versioning of the cache, it might be a good idea to remove the files manually (as there's no automated cleanup procedure yet):

$ find /path/to/cache/dir -name '*-bexif' -delete
$ find /path/to/cache/dir -name '*-exif' -delete

New features:

  • Rewritten search system; besides just location and people/keyword searches, a number of other atoms have been added, and now the search supports arbitrary combinations of these.
  • Image viewing/browsing have moved from folder-based (view all images in folder A, move to folder B, etc.) to the above search/filter based: show me (and view in order) all images with keyword flowers, no matter in which folders they are located.
  • Exif parsing has been reworked, and a number of new fields have been added (e.g. ISO, shutter speed; location fields are now split into country/province/city/etc.)
  • Exif parsing failures are recorded, can be viewed on the curate page and searched by the 'problem' atom.
  • The security requirements have been somewhat relaxed, allowing the application to run in non-secure (https) mode, recommended only when using behind a reverse proxy, and to allow non-logged in browsing, recommended for a website/demo site.

Improvements:

  • Directory scanning has been parallelised, leading to 2.5× and more speed-ups.
  • Exif metadata is now cached even in the case of failures, and is only regenerated in case the source file is updated; this should allow for (much) faster rescans if there are many images that fail parsing.
  • This might have been present in 0.2 too, but: exif metadata is now updated automatically if the source file is updated.
  • The CSS and part of JS dependencies are combined and served as single file; this (the CSS part) has eliminated some flickering when used with Firefox.
  • Added a lens statistics page.
  • Added an about page, pointing back to GitHub for the sources and explaining a bit the application.

Bugs fixed:

  • Exif parsing had significant issues with related to people parsing (at image level), and with folder-level aggregation (which was actually plain broken); these should be fixed now.
  • UI usability on small screens was very low, mostly fixed now (but this can be always improved).
  • Image viewer handles keystrokes better, eliminating their interception when modifiers are used; e.g. CTRL+r for reload was previously also triggering a r random image view.

UI changes/additions:

  • Moved to Bootstrap 4, which allowed fixing the UI responsiveness fixed.
  • Moved to Font Awesome 5 (new icon look).
  • Small updates to the other dependencies as well.

v0.2.0

Released Thu, 08 Feb 2018

Initial public release, after a very long bake time ☺