January 10, 2013
by Mike Wren
Shhh… don’t tell anyone, but while the Chris’ and Nico are busy working on the forthcoming Photosmith app update, v2.3, I thought I’d give everyone a quick update – a peek behind the curtain – as to what we’ve been up to. I’m too excited to keep this under wraps.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the focus of the forthcoming v2.3 app update is, in a word: STABILITY. While the v2-series of Photosmith works as expected for most users, there are certain workflow scenarios where the experience of using the app and sync with Lightroom has been… shall we say… less than desirable. This is not acceptable to us, and we’ve taken the extraordinary step of reevaluating our entire methodology.
I’m very happy to report that after 12 weeks of coding, recoding, and a little bit of internal testing – the new version of Photosmith is already more stable than the current public version. The Chris’ have warned me about managing expectations, but they seriously knocked it out of the park with this update. It’s all because we’ve completely moved away from using the Camera Roll for photo storage.
We learned an important lesson in 2012 – The architecture behind Photos.app and Camera Roll simply wasn’t engineered for the kind of use (and abuse) we threw at it. However, it was the Apple-recommended way to do things, and we complied. We were never thrilled with the compromises necessary. Inability to modify or delete photos in Camera Roll via our app, the muddying up of Photo Stream, and eventually the inability to mitigate and handle the quirks/instability of Camera Roll made it obvious that we needed to find a better way to store photos. This would require a Herculean effort to update our code – an effort measured in months, not days or weeks.
Speaking on behalf of the team, I’m comfortable saying that our new no-compromises approach will mean Photosmith v2.3 will be the app we all want… and expect.
Let’s get down to the “when” and the “what.”
I’ll be completely candid – we don’t have a specific target date. The Photosmith v2.3 update will be ready when it’s done. We’re not taking it out of the oven until it’s ready. We’ve been burned in the past by discussing ballpark best-guess estimates; it’s not something we’d like to repeat. I’ll only say this: Our timeline is no longer measured in months.
Beyond app and Lightroom sync stability, we’ve taken the opportunity to add in a few new often requested features while making the move from Camera Roll. These are features aimed at making Photosmith more useful for the mobile photographer. There is some *really* exciting hardware interoperability we’re still working on, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
There’s a new import photos dialog within Photosmith, used when ingesting/importing photos from Camera Roll. This is necessary for everyone using a Camera Connection Kit (CCK) to get photos onto their iPad. Apple locks all third-party developers from accessing the dock connector – you must import into Photos.app. From there, we will either import the full camera raw or JPG file, or link a small reference version of the photo into Photosmith. The specifics of all this will be covered in detail in our online documentation and Knowledge Base prior to release of v2.3.
For users with Eye-Fi cards, you will continue to be able to import from Eye-Fi directly into Photosmith, completely bypassing the Camera Roll.
But… I’ve saved the best for last: We’re working on background syncing with Lightroom – Continuing to work in Photosmith while syncing with your Lightroom catalog is a real game-changer. Wireless import of photos will occur in the background, as well. This is a big deal, and makes working in Photosmith that much more quick and efficient.
If you have any questions, issues or ideas, please check out our support area over at http://support.photosmithapp.com – we’ve tried to compile as much information there as possible, and more Knowledge Base articles and FAQ’s are being added daily. Yes, an all-encompassing user manual is still forthcoming – no, seriously. Stop laughing, it on my to-do list!
Mike Wren joined Team Photosmith ten months ago as an enthusiastic beta tester prior to the v2.0 release. He now advises the Chris’ and Nico on usability, workflow and general photographic geekery, while writing Knowledge Base articles and avoiding writing a full-fledged user manual. He’s also been known to also help out with the user support queue.
An event and lifestyle photographer by day, Mike lives in Albany, NY with his wife, two kids, and collection of unframed Phish posters. This is his first post to the Photosmith Blog.