June 14, 2013
The early reviews are in, and Photosmith 3 is a hit with users, old and new! We have received a lot of positive email and Twitter mentions from folks thankful that the new version lives up to the promise. But don’t take our word for it, Stephen Shankland over at C|Net does a great job of summing up the Internet buzz.
Thank you all for the very kind words, but our work isn’t done. Below is a brief run-down of issues we’re tracking related to the release of Photosmith 3, and plan for our ecosystem moving forward.
We really went out of our way with testing (as much as is allowed by Apple), but with the huge number of cameras, iPad versions, Lightroom versions, workflow combinations available, combined with stuff we missed or didn’t expect, we have a few issues that need addressing. In the spirt of full disclosure, we’re outlining these issues below. As our friend Brian from ShutterSnitch said – “That’s what puts the ‘Oh’ in a .0 release”
- DNG+JPG and RAW+JPG pairs are not being imported correctly and cause a crash in certain situations
- Selecting a photo in Grid View, then tapping on Fullscreen View doesn’t correctly maintain the current image
- PhotoCopy with Shuttersnitch has a memory leak, and will fail after around 100 images
- Sync will remove keywords in certain situations
- The Sync button was removed from the All Photos and Lightroom drawers (intentionally, due to many logical inconsistencies with syncing AllPhotos). We’re clarifying how to best sync User Collections in the Photosmith for iPad app.
- Virtual Copies in Lightroom won’t be synced with Photosmith, and shouldn’t be placed into User Collections. We’re working on a fix.
We will do our best to keep this list current. The v3.0.1 update to fix these initial issues is being worked on right now, and will be made available in the App Store as a free update in a couple of weeks. Bugs and crashes take priority over new items – we will be addressing these before adding any new features.
In the meanwhile, if you experience any additional issues, please contact us so we can address it in this revision cycle. We can’t fix it unless we know there’s an issue.
Finally, if Photosmith 3 is working well for you, please consider leaving a star rating and review in the Apple’s iOS App Store. If something is not working well for you, please let us know! Positive reviews encourages us to continue working on the app – there’s still a lot of features we would like to add! But we can’t do it without your support. Thank you.
June 10, 2013
The Road Behind Us
What was supposed to be a 3 month update ended up being an 8 month complete overhaul. We knew what had to be done, but didn’t know the full extent of what that would entail. Version 2 of Photosmith was built on a foundation that just couldn’t support the stability and flexibility that serious photographers need, and it suffered a number of issues because of that. And while we could work around some of these issues, making some major changes was unavoidable.
And boy did we make some major changes. In fact, the new version is a completely new app under the hood. We left the interface mostly unchanged and focused on the workflow – that is, after all, why people use the app. Our goal was simple – we wanted the app to be crash-free. And work flawlessly. Oh yeah- and be fast. And work on iPad 1′s. And handle dozens of camera formats. And, And, And…
And finally… we’re here. This “update” moves away from the scanning of the Photos album and moved to an import model, where your files are stored directly in the app’s sandbox. This opens up a huge number of workflow possibilities – direct import, delete, direct upload / download, and much more.
There’s a lot of new and/or updated features in the app. Without much introduction, here’s a pretty complete list of what was added.
- Faster, stable. Much of the core of the app has been rewritten or updated to provide more stability. Key areas have been optimized for speed
- Images import directly into the app. No more “polluting” the Camera Roll
- Can now import from:
- Photos app by copying directly into the app or by linking back
- FTP upload – using desktop, camera grip, or other device
- EyeFi cards – now stable over hundreds or thousands of uploads
- iTunes direct file uploads, with support for XMP sidecar import
- PhotoCopy to import and export to other apps such as ShutterSnitch (ShutterSnitch support still pending app store release)
- Import, convert, and delete dialogs provide current and estimated size information for photos
- Ability to convert between images that have been copied from the Photos app and linked
- Moved all raw processing internally, for speed and consistency
- Read in star rating from cameras that support writing it directly into the images
- Timezone support for cameras that support it
- Better support for larger images. Images up to 12,000×12,000 pixels have been tested (iPad 3+ is recommended for very large images)
- Additional support for XMP-embedded keywords
- Sync updates / optimizations
- Much faster sync and resync
- Sync now operates without blocking access to the app. You can continue to view and manage your photos while the sync is in progress
- Lightroom continues to sync in the background if already in progress (still subject to iOS’s 10 minute limit)
- FTP and EyeFi continues to receive in background, with iOS notifications (also subject to iOS 10 min limits)
- Removing from collection and syncing those removals back to Lightroom is now supported
- Fixed several logic bugs in keyword sync related to advanced hierarchies
- Updating the exposure, cropping, etc, to an image in Lightroom will cause the new image to be updated in Photosmith
- Additional pre-checks for starting a sync from Photosmith
- Fixes to sync protocol erroneously stripping spaces in keywords and collections
- Faster grid scrolling
- Exception tracker/error reporter to show problems while importing or processing photos
- Much faster app launch
- Added ability to download originals directly from app using FTP client, iTunes, or a program such as iExplorer
- Added ability to delete photos from within the app (images linked to Photos.app cannot be deleted, per iOS restrictions)
- Last selected photo saved for each collection; makes sorting much faster
- Loupe header now shows photo source and additional sync information
- Loupe view zoom percent updated in real-time
- Updated Export functionality
- Export to Facebook now uses updated Facebook image size allowance
- Export to Dropbox updated so that XMP can be uploaded without exporting the image
- Selected export options now watches currently selected images or allows exporting current image in Loupe view
- Export XMP data for all selected photos to a separate folder
- Added support for Photo Album export of GPS coordinates
- Increased metadata text field sizes from 250 to 500 characters
- Changing and creating new collections is now much faster
- Can now tap on the entire smart group header to select all the images in that smart group
- Smart Group settings are now remembered for each collection
A lot of small things were also tweaked throughout the app to make things work or make them better, or to better support ongoing development.
Many of our users are detail geeks like us, so here are some interesting stats for this update:
- Photosmith source:
- 394,000 lines of code (about half native to Photosmith / half from 3rd party libraries (which we frequently have to debug))
- 128 different .xibs (aka “views” or “windows”) throughout the app
- 933 custom images used for the app itself
- 32 testers (beta + internal)
- 39,189 minutes of app time during testing
- 14,579 app sessions
- Average app session length: 5 min 40 sec
- 250 days of development
- Only 1 hospital trip due to exhaustion in this version
Big Thanks to our Beta Testers!
We couldn’t have done this without our testers. For those paying close attention above – we had over 39,000 minutes – that’s 653 hours – of total time on the app over the last few versions. I’m not sure we even played Angry Birds that much when it first came out. And that’s why we owe so much to our testers – they used the app in ways we didn’t expect and pushed it far beyond what we could have imagined.
And without further ado, I’d like to publicly thank all the testers who volunteered their time (last names abbreviated unless otherwise given permission):
- Adrian R
- Alan B
- Andy Franck
- Claude F
- Gilles T
- Jason B
- Jeff C
- Joe Rogers
- JT Pedersen
- Justin K
- Kyle D. Jackson
- Lewis C
- Mark Stern
- Nicholas B
- Paul T
- Pete Ozols
- Phil F
- Sean M
- Stefan M
- Sunny A
- Tomas H
- Tomas P
- Vladimir M
- Zack C
Again – a huge thanks goes out to these fine ladies and gentlemen for volunteering their time to make the app better. Some were able to donate more of their time than others, but in the end, it’s all valuable data that goes to making a better app.
Also a big thanks to everyone here on this blog who has been supportive and encouraging through this process. This is a labor of love, and our community means a lot to us. A couple of people have even purchased additional copies of the app to help support us; to those people, we are humbled and grateful for your generous support!
Update (June 11, 2013 @ 11:30pm EST) – Photosmith 3 is now publicly available for download! Update through your iPad or download directly from http://appstore.com/photosmith
It may take up to 12 hours to propagate around the world, so please be patient. Also- you’ll need the latest version of the plugin (184.108.40.206), which, incidentally, now supports Lightroom 5 and Smart Previews.
P.S. Yes. It’s a free update for all users.
June 2, 2013
Welcome to June – Here’s a quick progress report about where we’re at with the ongoing development of Photosmith 3.
This is a very important weekend for Photosmith for a couple of reasons:
First, we pushed out the third, and what we expect to be the second-to-last Release Candidate of Photosmith 3 to our amazing group of beta testers. The Beta Testing Team have been extremely helpful, diligent and patient in helping us identify some very esoteric bugs – and the the app will be all the better for it. While we can’t promise a bug-free perfect app, it’s light years ahead of the current v2.2.2.
This weekend, we’re putting Photosmith 3 through some pretty extraordinary torture tests – scenarios that we wouldn’t ever expect folks to use, like syncing 10,000+ photos in one session from Lightroom, or importing thousands of photos via Eye-Fi and FTP… at the same time. These tests have been exceedingly positive.
Publicly announcing timelines and due dates has never worked well for us in the past, and we’re really not keen on jinxing ourselves now. We’re close, very close.
Photosmith is featured in this weeks episode of Click, a weekly program about technology airing worldwide on BBC’s network of television and radio stations. Photosmith’s Mike Wren was invited to discuss the relevance of metadata in the world of photography and digital asset management, and of course, show off the forthcoming Photosmith 3 app and Lightroom plugin.
Metadata is something we’re a little bit passionate about, and it was a wonderful conversation. It’s also the first public demo of the Photosmith 3 ecosystem of camera running Eye-Fi, Photosmith on iPad and Lightroom on computer.
Look for Click on the BBC airwaves this weekend and periodically through next week. You can watch the segment on photo metadata here: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/
In other media news, Photosmith was Leo Laporte’s pick of the week on episode #148 of iPad Today. Click here to watch: http://twit.tv/show/ipad-today/148 (skip to 1:19:40 to see our segment).
It’s an exciting time for us – Photosmith 3 is the real deal.
May 11, 2013
You could import, rate, and organise photos on your iPad and sync them all to Lightroom when you got back to your computer. Wirelessly. With support for star ratings, color labels and Collections, Photosmith let photographers start their workflow on the go, whether they were in the middle of a paid shoot or waiting in an airport lobby on the way back from vacation, with hundreds of photos to sort through.
With the iPad’s brilliant screen, battery life, and touch interface, Photosmith helped photographers finish their chores before they even got back to their computer.
Photosmith 2 brought two-way syncing, so you could send photos from Lightroom to your iPad, a sensational interface with support for Lightroom keywords and the brand-new Smart Groups, making it easier and more intuitive to gather just the photos you need for sharing, organizing or keywording.
All that, and a bevy of new features and functions to support even more workflows – because that’s what Photosmith is about. Enabling photographers to plug the convenience and mobility of the iPad into their workflow, however streamlined or complex it may be.
We realized, however, that the iPad’s built-in photo management software was never designed for the kind of heavy lifting that photographers require.
So the majority of the work we put into the next release was under the hood, where it was needed most. Our customers need more speed, stability and flexibility. Just like Apple did with the Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion versions of Mac OS X, the next version of Photosmith would focus on the engine.
Not just tuning it, though. We built a whole new one, and that engine is the heart of Photosmith 3.
It’s faster, stronger, more stable, enabling Photosmith to support larger images, even on older devices.
After months of engineering, it’s time to take the wraps off.
Enter the Sandbox: more control over your photos.
In iOS terminology, a ‘sandbox’ is an app’s internal storage space. The biggest change in Photosmith’s handling of photos is that they are now stored in a dedicated storage space when you import them into Photosmith, where they can be better safeguarded and managed.
For instance, you can now delete photos if you really don’t need them and don’t want to sync them to Lightroom. You can also delete photos you’ve synced from Lightroom with the Photosmith plugin, though they’ll only be deleted from Photosmith: by design, your Lightroom library will not be altered.
This change yields the greatest advance in speed and stability. The iPad’s native photo management APIs often buckled under the strain of large numbers of high-resolution photos in JPEG and Camera Raw, and while Photosmith’s previous releases became better and better at patching pre-empting or compensating failures in the OS, the new engine sidesteps these issues entirely.
Plug in or cut the cable.
Because the new sandboxed system offers greater control and security, even for large volumes of photos, Photosmith 3 supports new ways to bring photos onto your iPad, or to download them to your computer.
If you have a wi-fi grip for your camera, like Canon’s WFT-E4, you can send photos – wirelessly – to Photosmith via FTP. These transfers are often faster even than Eye-Fi cards, so you can ensure you have backups of your photos while you take them, and show them off on your iPad immediately.
And since the photos are stores in Photosmith’s sandbox, any shots that don’t make the grade can be deleted, so only the keepers get synced to Lightroom.
FTP also works for sending photos from a computer, of course. Photosmith can act as an FTP server. You can choose whether you want Photosmith to accept JPEGs, Camera Raw files or both, and for extra security, you can change the port and set a password, so only you have access.
If you prefer, you can download your photos via iTunes File Transfer – and this works both ways: you download photos from your iPad with iTunes. Including XMP sidecar files. So if there’s no wi-fi available to sync with Lightroom, you can still download them to your computer and manually import them to Lightroom, with all your metadata intact.
Lightroom sync, Eye-Fi, FTP and iTunes, wireless and over USB. However you want to get your photos off or onto your iPad, Photosmith will work for you.
Share and enjoy.
Photosmith can already send photos to Flick, Facebook, Dropbox, or via e-mail. Smart Groups and star ratings enable you to quickly grab the photos you want to share. We thought we could take it a step further.
Photosmtih 3 also makes it easier to share photos with other apps on your iPad. The new PhotoCopy protocol, based on FileXchange, lets the popular Eye-Fi capturing app Shuttersnitch and Photosmith share images directly.
Photosmith is in the first wave of apps that have the protocol integrated. As more and more photo apps are including PhotoCopy support in their updates, Photosmith is ready to support round-trip operations, where you can PhotoCopy a picture to an editing app to apply filters or tweak the color balance, and send the result back to Photosmith. Keeping the original intact, of course.
Cooperation with other app developers is essential to Photosmith’s mission: providing you with the tools, functions and flexibility to work how you want to work.
Tweaks and fixes.
As always, we listen to your feedback and work hard to fix any problems and fine-tune the app’s interface to make it better and easier to use. Our customers are photographers, and we’re committed to giving them the tools to support their workflow, and work how they want to work.
By taking the time to rebuild the very foundations, the technology at the heart of Photosmith, we’ve been able to sidestep issues with the built-in photo management systems that had already taken us months of engineering work to fix. And getting rid of those workarounds makes Photosmith 3 faster, leaner and more stable, so larger photos can now be displayed.
The release is just around the corner. Seven months of intense work are coming to fruition, and we can’t wait to share the results with you. With its new engine, Photosmith 3 is all about speed, stability and flexibility.
And of course, it’s a free upgrade for all owners of Photosmith.
Beta testing is well underway and we’ve been getting fantastic, useful feedback.
Stay tuned, because Photosmith 3 is coming.
May 7, 2013
Just a quick note to say that we passed a major milestone this afternoon in the development cycle of Photosmith 3!
A few minutes ago, the results of seven months of effort was given to our team of beta testers – As we said previously, unlike previous development cycles, we’re treating this beta more as a Release Candidate in terms of quality, shine and polish. This is a feature complete beta, and all major known issues have been addressed. We’re excited to see if our dedicated team of testers can break it!
We have maintained an open and honest accounting of our development path and challenges along the way, and will continue that as we update everyone with the results of the beta testing over the coming days.
Our release timeline is still based on when the app is ready, and not the calendar; we will know more based on feedback from our testing team.