As my good lady will tell you, most of my evenings and weekends over the past couple of months have been taken up working on the next version of John’s Background Switcher and at long last I’ve drawn a line under it and released it. You can download it at the usual place.
I’ve really enjoyed working on this version for several reasons. Firstly – as I mentioned before – I’ve been using FogBugz to its full potential to manage the development process, the specifications, every piece of work I’ve done, emails to and from users with suggestions or problems, and the discussion forum functionality to manage beta testing. FogBugz is a joy to work with, has made my life infinitely easier and the quality of this version of JBS has been helped greatly by it.
I also took the opportunity to redesign the program icon (you can see the full sized Vista version at the start of this article) which was rather fun. I used a program called RealWorld Icon Editor which made it easy to create a full 3D model of the icon and export it to the various formats I needed. If I had more time I’d have designed all the menu icons using it too but since I didn’t I opted to use some of the graphics created by Mark James in his superb silk icon set. And they’re free too! 🙂
I’ve fixed loads of bugs and added a host of new features along with as many requests as I could do without compromising the simplicity of JBS. I wrote about my favourite new feature – snapshot scrapbooks – the other day but there are plenty more things in there that make it a lot better. I also added two new photo sources in addition to Flickr and Phanfare – namely smugmug and Google Picasa web albums. As an aside, I particularly like smugmug and suspect I’ll start using it to manage my own photos instead of Flickr.
I spent a lot of time speeding things up. For example the number of people using multiple monitors continues to grow, and if you’re using snapshot scrapbook mode you could end up with around 10 pictures on each screen, so 20 or 30 in total. If all these photos haven’t been downloaded already (and therefore cached) then that could take quite a while – so it goes without saying that they need to be downloaded asynchronously and now they are across all modes. High memory consumption was also an issue with the previous version and I’ve put a lot of work in reducing that problem.
I now digitally sign the application itself as well as the uninstaller (in addition to the installer which I signed in the previous version). This may not mean a lot to most people, but Windows Vista prefers digitally signed apps (for one thing) and it also means that you can be sure that when you install JBS it hasn’t been tampered with by evil forces.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the people who helped me by beta testing JBS and providing me with lots of bug reports and very useful feedback. I know you’ve got far more interesting things to do than find bugs in JBS but I really appreciate the help. So thanks guys! It’s made my task a hell of a lot easier knowing that a lot of issues I’d never have found are now fixed so everybody else gets the benefit.
Anyway, there’s a host of cool new features in the new version of JBS so go and give it a try. It’s completely free and if you don’t like it, just uninstall it and it’ll remove every trace of itself from your computer. You can’t lose! 🙂