[Digikam-devel] [Bug 103350] its too easy to save images

Thomas Lunde thomas at lunde.net
Fri Nov 10 17:48:05 GMT 2006

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------- Additional Comments From thomas lunde net  2006-11-10 18:48 -------
I _never_ want to lose or modify my original images.  Period.

I really like the way that Digikam looks and works, but right now it is just too easy to make a crop, save, and then be upset because the original is gone.

F-Spot has a good system for doing this.  A previous commenter laid out its file-naming scheme, and it is not a bad one.

iPhoto also has a great system for this.  In fact, it has a prominent menu item called "Restore Original Photo" which is enabled because of it.  (And that, too, would be a nice addition to Digikam.  Here is how iPhoto's system works:  On image import, images are copied to ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/YYYY/MM/DD/imagefilename.jpg  If ANY edits are made, iPhoto automatically creates ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library/YYYY/MM/DD/Originals/ (if it did not already exist) and copies imagefilename.jpg into that Originals directory.  It then makes the edits and performs an automatic save to the original location.  

iPhoto is designed so that a user need not be aware of how the file system is structured but, if a user wants to, it is possible to dive in and manually pull out the original file.

Picasa and Aperature (also mentioned above) do their "versioning" in a VERY different way.  These two programs never actually save _any_ modifications to the original image file, except when the user explicitly chooses to Export... an image out of the program's database.  Instead of saving modified images, these two programs keep a database of editing instructions and apply them on the fly to the orignal image to show the user the modified version.  This has a good advantage in protecting the orignal and in not consuming disk space, but it has the disadvantage that any edited version cannot be manipulated by an external program without an explicit Export... step and then a re-Import into the program (which results in a new image file that the application does not associate in any way with the original file).

The upside of iPhoto's system is simplicitly.  The downside is that becuase the same filename is used for both the original image and the modified image (albeit in different folders), it is limited to a single edited version.  F-Spot has the advantage that multiple edited versions can be maintained within the program, bu t (since it uses different filenames) it is more complex to manually handle the resulting image files.  

I think that very, very few images will result the user wanting multiple edited versions, so I think that iPhoto's system is better.  (For the case that the user _really_ wants multiple edited versions, it is possible to duplicate the original file and then perform edits on that "original".)

+1 (and then some) for anyone who can implement the "Restore Original Photo" feature.  Only then will Digikam be suitable for my Mom (etc).


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