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Sunday, June 25, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.3 released

So this is a rather big release, as I basically rewrote the whole image retrieval and caching logic. Wonder how much bugs have crept in :)
So here's the quick rundown on the changes and features:
  • NEW: New Memory Cache-Manager for thumbnails and images with precaching (improves speed and memory usage)
  • NEW: Error Page if page image could not be loaded
  • NEW: New Animation Switch in Preferences
    The moving little gearwheels can have a serious performance impact on broken graphics drivers. That's why this defaults to off.
  • NEW: Color Schemas for overlays
  • CHANGE: Update to unrar 3.60 dll - hope this fixes some ugly bugs
  • CHANGE: New format for the Disk-Cache (not compatible with pre 0.9.3)
    You should manually delete the old cache folder in 'C:\Document Settings\\Application Data\cYo\ComicRack'
  • CHANGE: Moved the overlays to new default locations
  • BUG: Unregister of File-Types did not work
  • BUG: Color adjustment was always calculated, even if not needed
  • BUG: Comics not updated correctly in browser
  • BUG: Comic Information was written to eComics even when no information was changed
  • BUG: Comic Information was not correctly imported into the database
  • BUG: Fixed Selection drawing bug

The rewrite happened because of two requirements. First I wanted to fix the 'black page' bug and really optimize the whole caching for the upcoming network sharing. And second, I wanted to be able to do in memory precaching to speed up page flipping somewhat.
As a side note: the caching preferences dialog does currently not really reflect all the new options available. Sometimes I'm just lazy :)

You may also note a redesign and relayout of the preferences dialog. I wanted to get rid of the "programmer" settings.
There's a problem with programmers and their software. They put all kind of settings into their programs and also crazy switches into the dialogs to tweak them. But how many people really need five color settings for overlay panels. Yep, right :)
So I tried to clean the preferences up. Make them more accessible, only put in important settings and also change the access order to better reflect their importance.

Finally a word about the "gearwheel bug":
ComicRack has this nice little moving gearwheel it displays when something is happening in the background (mostly caching and loading of images). All this loading, retrieving, caching, color adjustments etc. is done in the background, so the reader does not have to wait for completion.
Now it can happen that the gearwheel is drawn above the current page and not beside it (if there's not enough space).
This of course leads to a constant redrawing of the page part that is covered with the tiny little square of the gear box. So no problem there, EXCEPT you have a totally screwed up graphics driver that needs the same amount of time to draw the small little square as to draw the whole full screen page image.
And this, because the CPU is constantly drawing at 100% load, starves the background process that loads the page.
Point is: If loading of pages takes verrrrrry long, turn off the animation. Actually now it's turned off by default.

hf with the new release :)