Development update (June 13)

Time for the next commit. This was mostly about streamlining the setup process for the application, but I also added some more new stuff, which felt related. I could have added a lot more features around managing projects, but I postponed those to another time.

What's new

More responsive startup

When starting the application, the window now opens much earlier, showing a process bar while the application is initializing. I decided against using the typical "splash window", because by directly opening the main application window, I can already show the "open project" dialog and let the user choose which project to open, before the application is fully initialized. This probably cuts a few seconds from starting the application to the project being opened. Thanks to Python's asyncio package, which I've been using anyway, this didn't require any significant changes, nor did I have to bother with background threads and how to communicate with the UI, etc. Coroutines FTW!

New "open project" dialog

This "open project" dialog is now a custom widget in the main window (on any new project tab), and not the standard file dialog. In terms of features and usability it probably needs some more polishing, but it should be good enough for now.

Project debugger

And then there's an initial version of a "project debugger". It can only display the list of mutations, and you can "truncate" the list, i.e. remove the latest mutations. This can be useful, if some action got the project into some broken state, so it fails to open. Then you can try to repair the project by removing the offending changes. Hopefully this won't be needed that often by future end-users, but right now during development, this happens quite frequently. So far I have just discarded whatever project I had opened, but at some point I should really start and try to make something proper with noisicaä. Something I wouldn't just toss away because of some silly bug...

"New project" dialog

There's a silly gimmick in the dialog for entering the name of a new project. The project name is pre-filled by a "random song title generator". It comes up with some funny names and who knows, perhaps inspires some awesome noises. The rules for those names come from the Time of Forbidden Spells, which just happened to be the most promising candidate when I searched for "song title generator" on GitHub. The titles are a Metal-style, which might not be everyone's cup of tea, nor the most appropriate for noisicaä, which is more suited for electronic music (at some future point), but I kinda like the results. "Vomit of the Song" 🤘

Bug fixes

Internal changes

I slightly changed the file structure for projects. Now each project has a single directory, and all files are stored in that directory.

And the only significant change I had to make to get the startup process working smoothly was to reorganize the instrument library. At least on my machine it contains a few thousand entries, and initializing that list blocked the main thread for a second or so. I reorganized that code such that the list is now built in smaller chunks. And as a side effect of that reorganization, that work in only done once instead of every time an instrument library dialog is opened. In QT speak: there's now a single InstrumentList object, which implements the QAbstractItemModel API, and all QTreeView widgets share that model.

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