Liam R E Quin <l...@holoweb.net> writes:
>Constructive suggestions about how to make a more coherent workflow in
>GIMP are welcomed. Whining about change is not so welcome.
I will take you up on your offer to make a constructive GUI suggestion.
I fully understand the arguments for the workflow change that was made to
GIMP 2.8. What I think was lost in the process was a recognition that there
are two different primary workflows for two different groups of users.
The new Save/Export distinction makes great sense for professionals working
primarily in the xcf format. I do this a great deal myself and can embrace
this workflow strategy.
What seems to be unjustifyably dismissed by the development team is that
there is a very large segment of the user base that operates by a different
workflow altogether. These people use/save in the xcf format rarely
or never, but use GIMP to do wholesale editing of png/jpg photos with
a completely different purpose in mind from the "pros". I myself also
engage in this type of activity from time to time. The arguments about
lossey jpg saves or unsaved worksteps in the editing process are typically
understood by this group, but of little to no concern. And if switching
from Ctrl-S to to Ctrl-E was the only change in behavior required, then I
believe that there would be very few serious complaints. The real problem
occurs in the exiting from the workflow after an export. The forced "save"
query really slows down this particular workflow process. For this group
of people, it is a repetitive bludgeoning by something that is absolutely
unwanted. When attempting to work in this mode, I can attest that it is
There is no right/wrong or better/worse workflow process -- only a
preferred one for the type of work currently at hand. Why can't the
development team recognize and acknowledge this instead of berating those
who do not find the "pro" solution the best one for their needs?
My simple solution is to provide a workflow switch in the preferences
that flips back and forth between the two workflow paradigms. Let GIMP
default out of the box to the new "pro" mode, but allow users to select the
alternate workflow model if they choose. I would include some sort of icon
somewhere (status area?) that indicated visually that you were operating
using the alternate workflow method. A shortcut key could allow users to
quickly toggle back and forth between the two modes. Whether Ctrl-S/Ctrl-E
were swapped in the process is a matter for discussion (I wouldn't care if
they stayed as they currently are in 2.8) but suppressing the subsequent
"save to xcf" check would be the really important improvement. In this
alternate mode, the old behavior of recognizing the file extension should
be preserved, allowing users to save to xcf format anytime they desired.
However, if Save is reserved for xcf and Export is still required to
"save" the current png/jpg file, then this extension parsing might not be
required. In other words, I believe there is some variability in how this
could be implemented that would still go a long way in addressing most
users' concerns. Getting input from other users would be helpful here.
If something along these lines were done, the "pros" would never see any
change to their use of GIMP, while countless users would recognize that the
development team was actually listening and responding to their concerns
instead of rejecting them out of hand.
In his blog post on "GIMP 2.8: understanding UI changes," Alexandre Prokoudine
addresses the suggestion above:
"Why Couldn't They Just Add A Checkbox?"
"Isn't it possible to just add a checkbox in the configuration dialog
somewhere? It is."
"Would it be a good idea? No, it would be horrible. Let's have some
"1. In general, options complicate code and make it less manageable. Every
option virtually increases amount of cases where application can fail. A
snowball can soon become an avalanche."
Seriously? This is an argument against implementing a feature that is
extremely useful to many users? Especially one a trivial as this? One that
already has existed for years in the product? I think this snowball is
just a snowball.
"2. Certain planned changes such as better native CMYK support presume that
color separation is done a special mode for exporting. Maintaining a
related behavior switch, when you have such a feature, would be hell."
Hell? Really? I've been developing software for 40 years. Is this
a realistic statement or hyperbole? Again, we're talking about
saving/exporting standard png/jpg files while bypassing the xcf save.
Regardless of what is happening with CMYK, it is either saved/exported to
these formats or it's not. How could this workflow introduce a massively
"3. Behavior options make documentation convoluted and lacking
We're not talking about opening the flood gate of change here. This is one
simple workflow change that requires one simple update to the documentation.
"People still take offense at this change, and there is probably no cure
for that other than repeating again and again: the team doesn't hate you,
they just refocused on a group of users for whom this makes a lot of
So far as I know, no one accused anyone of "hating" so that seems to
me like just another straw-man argument. Yes, you are refocusing on a
different type of user. But refocusing doesn't mean you have to totally
ignore the existing user base. This is a very simple issue with a very
simple resolution. There has been a huge amount of blowback over this.
Honestly, I am at a loss to understand why there has been such a level
of resistance for acquiescing, in some small way, on this point which is
clearly so important to so many.
So there you have it, as calmly and as respectfully as I can frame it.
All the best,
C. Jeffery Small
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