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Developer meeting notes, August 7 2011

26

With a number of developers off to SIGGRAPH, this week's notes are a bit smaller than usual.

Thomas Dinges writes:

1) 2.59

  • Keymap refactor by Brecht is in svn, so we are ready for 2.59.
  • As no show-stoppers have been found, we agreed on making a release
  • candidate today. The svn revision to use for it, will be mailed to the list later.
  • If no serious issue will pop up, final release call will be done on Tuesday/Wednesday.

2) Current projects

  • The 2.6x project will start a week after the 2.59 release. We have to make a plan for the first 2.6x release.  See http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:2.6/Source/Development/Merge_And_Integration_Plan
  • Note: Only projects, reported to this list will be considered for merging. So please add your branch and the status in there. Also, a good Status mail to this list is very welcome! :)
  • Campbell mentions that FBX has been updated to support Microsoft XNA - needs testing.

3) Google Summer of Code

  • Soft pencil down is next Monday (15th August), a good time to wrap things up and write good docs!
  • Real stop is on August 22, 19:00 UTC

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

26 Comments

  1. Great news about 2.59. And about next release... Adding new features is always welcome, but there are still some bugs and missing 2.49 features to deal with. You still can`t change image strip content in the blender VSE like you could with 2.49 by simply selecting image strip, hitting C and selecting new image/images. In 2.5 there is a Sequencer Swap Data which I thoought was ment to replace the Change Images functionality, but it doesn`t work.

  2. xray, BI is situated between a rock and a hard place currently. They want to fix all the bugs, but not enough manpower. No matter how many bugfix they did everyday (check the tracker activity!) new one will keep on coming up. On the other hand, there are people who develop things (for free, some of them, and donated, the others) also want to see their stable (or at least 1.0) feature get implemented. And people want to use this, on a point release (so called stable).

    Ton doesn't people who want to use many tools have to download many branches. So this is a trade off.

    On a final note, just look at the tracker to see how many bug has been fixed since previous version. So it is a good thing to release new stable/point version with all those bug ironed out.

    Hey, if we all can donate more cash, maybe BI can hire another exceptional student for part time bug fixing!

  3. Cannot believe that there are only three projects ready to merge. What happened to all of the other 2009 & 2010 GSOC projects, and all the other projects with the feature freeze/waiting for 2.6 blarney. Does this mean if a branch is not included, it will have to wait for Blender 3? What a criminal waste of coding!

  4. Thank you for the hard work Blender Foundation! Looking forward to 2.59, and 2.6 and future releases.

    Thank you for the amazing software that we can use without burning a hole in our pockets.

  5. I know the bug tracker, thats why I said that. I also know that working on new features makes more fun, but its hard for people who want to work on bigger projects with blender when simple features have bugs or aren't there. That way blender will loose experienced cg artits more and more and will only be for beginners because its free.

  6. I totally agree with xray. New features are cool, but what I need when working on a project (especially with short deadlines) is blender being reliable, stable and having all the features 2.4x had. Now I have to use two blender versions simultaneously very often. Some things are better with 2.5, but it lacks some features 2.4 had. Generally, my current workflow is a pain.

    Fable Fox wrote: "Hey, if we all can donate more cash, maybe BI can hire another exceptional student for part time bug fixing!" Maybe for implementing missing funcionality either? That would be great.

    I love blender. All you devs are doing great work. But please do it step by step.

  7. Ehi! Maybe there is some bug and some feature still is not present in 2.5 but we've just completed in 2 and half weeks a 7 mins videos full of stuff and blender didn't crash so much!! It's a really reliable piece of software in production at least doing cg movie! :)

  8. This is exciting. And for the bug complainers...come on. If it's such a big issue then perhaps take up programming. When has Adobe, or AutoDesk released software bug free. It's always about new features, because that's what's exciting.

  9. Campbell Barton (ideasman42) on

    @Dorro, Even the GSOC projects that `pass` dont always result in acceptable code that we can use in blender, sometimes the task is *complete*, but buggy, or very slow... theres a whole load of reasons. its a shame ofcourse but hard to avoid.

    @mallow, I thought most functionality from 2.4x was back. can you say what you miss?

  10. @Campbell Barton: What I miss the most is change sequence feature in blender`s video sequence editor. It`s number 1 in the Video Sequencer TO DO list:
    http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:2.5/Source/Development/Todo/Editors
    But it`s there for some time now. Could anyone know when it is planned to be done? It would be really cool if it would be brought back to blender. Blender 2.5 already has cool features. Video Seqencer is really cool either. But that one feature is crucial when editing videos.

    Or maybe someone knows a workaround? When I work on animations, preapring animatics for example, I render every scene of the video to separate folders as image sequences (PNG mostly). I edit them and put together with VSE. When I (or one of my clients) need to change one scene, I render this scene only again. Now in 2.4x I could change the old sequence to another simply selecting image strip, hitting C and pointing new folder. This funcionality is gone in 2.5x. I could just add new strip with newer scene rendered, you may say, but it`s only easy when no strip effects are added to the image strip. When you have effects added, transitions set and such, it gets really hard to change few sequences :(

  11. ...but don`t get me wrong. VSE did get some cool features. I finally can use 32 bit WAV in it and few other audio formats. I bet it took much work to get all those new features done. But removing this one funcionality - changing sequence - ruins my workflow. It would be great if just knew when the feature is going to be added. I could decide then to wait or to buy new app for editing.

  12. mallow, yeah I agree regarding the step by step thing, but this is the main problem with most open source software. People work on whatever they like, leave if they don't allowed, and only those that paid are willing to do things other people don't like, since its a job and they have to do it.

    i don't know who work on what or own which module, but people come and go. AFAIK, the removal of .mov is also due to (other than library) is that nobody want to maintain / work on it any longer? So the short term solution is to remove it (for now) and implement it another way (add on?) but it seems while a lot people need the functionality, nobody want to work on the add-on.

    This step by step thing is what pissed me off 1998 - 2010. Almost all open source game engine (mostly 3d) is too busy being a tech demo by implementing (usually buggy and half baked, just to say "This engine can do this! LOL! We are AWESOME!!!" ) and never went around working on the basic and crucial things.

    Came UDK and Unity and blow everyone out of the water. (Doom/Quake engines come first, of course, but only as code and mostly limited to FPS).

    I did raise this concern to Ton a while ago and it is a good thing that now we have recurring donation. Blender Institute need more paid developer to work on things nobody want to touch ( just look at To Do's and Simple To Do's).

  13. Fable Fox, you made some good points about open source development issues. Still, I think that Blender is one of the best (if not THE best) managed open projects. It`s great that along with the app itself, the management is getting better. The recuring donations is a great example. But it all could be improved, I think. It`s great that people would have the chance to pay for selected task. Not evryone can afford that, though, but there are general blender donations. Maybe some of those money could be spent on most requested features? I`m talking about something similar to ubuntu`s brainstorm:
    http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/ideas_in_development/

    Users would vote on the desired features/TO DOs/bugfixes. It could be also the place where users can post their ideas, feature mockups and such. Where do you post your ideas right now? When I go to: http://www.blender.org/community/get-involved/ I see a mailing list option (which I don`t use, I just preffer online solutions, where everything is in one place), the mediawiki link pointing to non existing page and link to blender.org forums, where there`s no (or is just hard to find) subforum regarding feature requests and ideas. I really think that there should be one easy to find place/website with feature requests, ideas and mockups. There should be visible link to it on the blender`s website. Or even better - it could be integrated with blender like submitting bugs under Help menu. Many developers do great work to improve blender. But not every user knows how to code. I think many people would love to help improving blender by submitting their ideas. It would be great if Blender Foundation made it easier to do.

  14. Last fall's version of 2.5 let you do a work around by selecting the file name within the sequencer under the Strip Input menu and simply changing the name to that of the new image.

    Now you can try this. In your file browser/finder, whatever you use on your computer, just replace your old image with the new by putting that newer file in the same folder with the same name. I deleted the old file first, but if you were updated within Blender by using F3 for a save, you could just save over/confirm replace. I tried both methods and the image updated in the sequence editor immediately. If it doesn't, try going to scrubbing, and then going back to that spot.
    Good luck,

  15. Hi, Pam. Thanks for trying, but that still doesn't work as it should. Your solution is fine with single image - when there`s only one image replaced by another. The problem is with image sequences. Then you had to change the name of every image. When you select one frame and change image name under Strip Input -> File, only this one frame is changed. All the other names stay the same. Changing Path of the images doesn't work right either. When you click folder icon in Strip Input -> Path you can browse through folders and accept them with Enter. You can`t select images. They`re not clickable. So... you can't select images with different names, you can't select images starting with different name (like for example frame number) nor you can't select different number of images.

    About replacing image with new one in the folder - again, it works great when there's one image. But when there's more images, with different names, named with different frame numbers or the there's different number of frames in general... It just doesn't work.

    P.s. When you want to refresh images in the VSE, you don`t have go through scrubbing. Just click Refresh Sequencer button.

  16. Thanks, knew about refresh as well, just another way to do it.
    The only other work around I guess would be finding someone who'll write a renaming script. That's not me, sorry, not a programmer. I guess you just have to think of Blender 2.49 as a program you use just for the sequence editor. At least you can run 2.49 + 2.5 at the same time.

  17. mallow,

    regarding the idea brainstorm:

    1) there is more than enough ideas
    2) there is already an idea / wish list channel (i think)
    3) there is already a similar website to what you mentioned but for blender, i think it was nathan that set it up? forgot the link though, but people votes for the needed most idea.

    still, as for the votes part, remember that there must be a programmer/s that willing to work on it. ATM, I think paid developer are tied up with bug fixing (and related To D's there and then).

    Yeah, Blender is a great open source project, since there is no fork going on. Ton knows how to make everyone happy (still, BI actually willing to host a fork! ha ha! - i think because code must be open and under the same license, so there are thing can be learn / taken from :-) )

  18. Fable Fox: Yes, you`re right. There is indeed such website. Totally forgot. It`s http://www.blenderstorm.org/
    But why on earth it`s not integrated with Blender, not mentioned on blender.org's Get Involved website and doesn't look like being official way to get in touch with blender devs?

    The problem is not there isn`t wish list channel. The problem is there are too many channels, one harder to find than other. One official wishlist channel would be easier for users to use and for devs to deal with. So they wouldn't have to reply to questions repeating through all the current channels.

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