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Author Topic: (DEV) Iconaton  (Read 4453 times)

August 31, 2008, 10:54:29 AM
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Archaemic

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(DEV) Iconaton
« on: August 31, 2008, 10:54:29 AM »
Frustrated with the lack of free Windows icon editors, and also with the lack of cross-platform ones (hey, I want to be able to develop a Windows program on Linux ONLY!), I decided to write my own. It may be in alpha, but the current prototype is pretty damn stable. It just lacks a few features (like opening executables and saving as icon libraries), and needs to be compiled on your own (because it's alpha and thus I haven't released a build yet), but if you're looking for something to make icons with, keep your eyes on this project. It can also handle .cur files.

http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/iconaton/
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 05:50:22 PM by Sz »

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August 31, 2008, 04:15:11 PM
Reply #1

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2008, 04:15:11 PM »
Hmm. .cur is useful, I guess, but doesn't GIMP do windows icons?

(have we had this conversation before, or did I just imagine it?)

August 31, 2008, 05:02:50 PM
Reply #2

Archaemic

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2008, 05:02:50 PM »
GIMP does do Windows Icons, but it's not targeted to Windows Icons. It supports them fine, but the method for making them is awkward.

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September 01, 2008, 05:05:46 AM
Reply #3

ila

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2008, 05:05:46 AM »
I'll keep watch. I need to customize my computer again, after I lost my visual theme to a reformat, and can not find it anywhere on the internet.

September 07, 2008, 12:05:22 AM
Reply #4

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2008, 12:05:22 AM »
GIMP does do Windows Icons, but it's not targeted to Windows Icons.

There really aren't programs "targeted to" lots of formats.  Making an editor that's very specific is usually overshadowed by one that handles many.  (I sure don't want a program for every file format I use.)  Maybe what you're looking for is a general pixel art editor which handles icons.  Also of note is that many programs like Irfanview (yes, Windows only, but free and should work under WINE) can convert any arbitrary bitmap that it supports into an ICO file, of virtually any supported size or format.  So use Insert-Your-Favorite-Art-Program-Here and just convert it to an ICO at the end.

September 07, 2008, 04:59:03 AM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 04:59:03 AM »
Except that ICO files store multiple resolutions and depths. With this you can tweak all of that manually. Really, the only format you see apps specifically targeted to is ICO, and such program do exist, just not for free. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icon_editor

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November 24, 2008, 12:14:34 PM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008, 12:14:34 PM »
Alpha released. http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=229356&package_id=277857&release_id=642534

I forgot build Qt as universal on my Mac, so no universal binary version of this for a few hours while Qt rebuilds, but I doubt that'll be a problem for anyone :P

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November 24, 2008, 06:11:01 PM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2008, 06:11:01 PM »
As far as I recall, this is true - there are few good ways of making real .ico files with multiple resolutions, so this seems like a good app.

It is good if you are OCD about supporting older browsers when you make your favicon.ico file, too. Many sites chicken out these days and use a favicon.png, but older browsers will only read an .ico.
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March 28, 2009, 03:13:49 AM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2009, 03:13:49 AM »
Beta is out: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=229356&package_id=277857&release_id=671237

There weren't very many bugs to fix, but I did fix all the ones I found. Furthermore, there's a UB for Mac now, and I've upgraded all the binaries to using Qt 4.5.0 (which still has an annoying bug in the Mac version, but what can you do?)

E] Looks like the Mac bug will be fixed when Qt 4.5.1 rolls around, so I guess I'll wait for that before I release an RC or final. I'm too busy with PPHX anyway.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2009, 03:15:35 AM by Archaemic »

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March 28, 2009, 07:55:04 AM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2009, 07:55:04 AM »
The interface is bad and confusing, isn't it?
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March 28, 2009, 01:27:15 PM
Reply #10

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2009, 01:27:15 PM »
The interface for Iconaton? How so? You can't say it's "bad" and expect me to know what about it you think is bad.

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March 29, 2009, 11:22:36 AM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2009, 11:22:36 AM »
You like it? I was wondering if it was a big work in progress thing or not. It doesn't seem to indicate what you can do with the interface, with most things hidden in the menu bar which brings up equally obtuse menu items. Do I even need to come up with a better interface mockup for you to use? Surely you can see the issues yourself.
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March 29, 2009, 11:59:45 AM
Reply #12

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2009, 11:59:45 AM »
I'm pretty used to the interface by this point, to be honest, and I use the program almost entirely by keyboard. But I guess a toolbar or something might help.

How are the menu items obtuse? Most of them indicate pretty plainly what they do. Sure, if you don't know what makes up an icon, you won't know what the XOR and AND masks are, but you don't really need to use those for anything--they are just there because they can be, more or less. Okay, I admit that "generate" isn't the most obvious one either. But Image > Import. Hmm. I wonder what that might do.

Maybe I'll skip a 0.1 release and go straight to 0.2. I have some other things I want to add.

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March 29, 2009, 10:19:58 PM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2009, 10:19:58 PM »
Your menu items are absolutely obtuse. Why is there Save along with Export? Why is there Open along with Import? Why is Import under File and not under Image? What is a hotspot and what does Delete delete?

Anywayyyy:



(thousand hours in adobe fireworks)

Basically this mockup shows an example of how you could integrate all features into the otherwise featureless husk of a window that you are presented with when it starts up.

  • You should not hide crucial functionality in the menu bar. In fact, for an app like this, the menu bar items should be ancillary to the main window which can easily represent every function in a toolbar or otherwise.
  • Variation was a word I chose to represent "image found in an .ico bundle". This could be changed, I am not sure what the real word is.
  • I removed the png toggle because I don't know what it is for. I suppose it'd be better to put that in the "add image" or "generate new variation" dropdown sheet, there's no need to toggle it after the variation has been generated.
  • XOR nonsense should be explained in the dropdown sheet that appears when you click Export or go File->Export. It should be a file format you can pick to save to, alongside regular .ico. No need for more than one export button.

There's a lot I don't like in this mockup. But at least it tries. You need to concentrate entirely on your UI design and spend some time drawing up mockups of how every aspect of the app will work, from the dropdown sheet for generating new images (that one's pretty good as it is, btw!) to the save dialogue, to the help files.. etc.
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March 29, 2009, 11:38:00 PM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2009, 11:38:00 PM »
Okay, yeah, that GUI is a lot better, I will admit. There are some parts of it that I don't think are feasible with the toolkit I'm using (I don't think Qt can do the nice toolbars that Cocoa can do, but I'm not sure), but overall, that's a lot better. I'll look into improving this for 0.2. Note that I won't be rewriting this in Cocoa as the whole point of this one is to be cross-platform! Which Cocoa is not. As nice as Cocoa is.

Also, I dunno what to call the variants either. In the code, they're called IconParts, but obviously I wouldn't use that in a GUI.

I'd like to add ICNS support at some point, but I'm not sure how feasible that is.

As a note, IIRC, the reason Import is not in Image is because the whole Image menu is disabled when there's no icon loaded (which doesn't happen on Mac). And the Image menu pertains to the currently selected image. As for the PNG checkbox, that's for when the variant is saved. It can be saved as a PNG in a Vista icon.

I generally do try to think out my GUIs, but I can see that I fell short this time. I didn't really know how to fill the whitespace.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 11:42:31 PM by Archaemic »

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April 01, 2009, 04:19:20 PM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2009, 04:19:20 PM »
I probably ought to add a little more description text, but this is what's currently in the repository:


Note that the icons up top are probably temporary because Qt has a very limited set of standard icons, so I might make my own.

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April 01, 2009, 10:38:02 PM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2009, 10:38:02 PM »
Oh, how lovely. Good work.

What's the difference between Export and Save? Import and Open? These things are unclear.

Also, on the Mac the title bar should be the filename only (no - Iconaton suffix) and Open/Save doesn't belong in the toolbar. Export is arguable, too.
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April 02, 2009, 12:29:00 AM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2009, 12:29:00 AM »
Blah blah blah, nitpick nitpick. Seriously.

I know they already have descriptive text, but they also have tooltips that have a little more text (that is more descriptive), and I didn't want to jam all that text under the icon because it takes up too much space. Save saves the icon. Export exports the variant to a file. Similar for open and import.

I will address some of these, but honestly, you put open on your mock up and then tell me it doesn't belong. Make up your mind :/

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April 02, 2009, 12:49:56 AM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2009, 12:49:56 AM »
Well, what's the point of your app if not for the UI? I am pretty sure I could figure out a way to do this in the command line.

Save saves only the variant? That is very unclear. I would have thought it'd save an Iconaton project file. Compare to Pages - it saves to .pages but to save to .doc you must use Export.

I think Open should be removed from the toolbar and changed to File->Open .ico file... and Save should be put there too with "Save" and "Save .ico file as...". Import and Export should be changed to "Import image as variation" and Export to "Save selected variation only to .ico..." and put in a Variations menu, probably. Export is obscure enough to be removed from the toolbar, too.

Also, is Add Variant the same as Import? If so, no need for it in the toolbar. If it's different, it sounds like it belongs nearer the variant list.

I still don't like the PNG toggle. I think it belongs in the Generate and Add Variant sheets. Nobody needs to toggle. If you disagree, it is obscure enough to be relegated to the menu bar: Variations->Set selected variation encoding to PNG.

I regret putting open there. It was partially done to show you how you can avoid using the menu bar at all. I also had "generate" and stuff in the toolbar too but I moved it to the variant list because it logically fit there. Keep in mind that I only offered it as an idea that I already had disagreements with (some others: many terms are unclear, total .ico size is not shown, terrible icon ideas, add/generate buttons are not visually connected to the variation list very well, etc.)
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April 02, 2009, 02:23:40 AM
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Archaemic

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2009, 02:23:40 AM »
Well, what's the point of your app if not for the UI? I am pretty sure I could figure out a way to do this in the command line.
I doubt it. That's why I have a CLI utility in there too. (Assuming you used the installer, there should be a symlink to it in /usr/bin--feel free to remove it if you don't want it. It is just a symlink after all.)

Save saves only the variant? That is very unclear. I would have thought it'd save an Iconaton project file. Compare to Pages - it saves to .pages but to save to .doc you must use Export.
Err...no. Save saves the whole icon file. Iconaton doesn't store any data that can't be put into a .ico file because it doesn't generate any data that can't be put into a .ico file! What would be the point? It's for editing .ico files after all.

I think Open should be removed from the toolbar and changed to File->Open .ico file... and Save should be put there too with "Save" and "Save .ico file as...". Import and Export should be changed to "Import image as variation" and Export to "Save selected variation only to .ico..." and put in a Variations menu, probably. Export is obscure enough to be removed from the toolbar, too.
This is reasonable.

Also, is Add Variant the same as Import? If so, no need for it in the toolbar. If it's different, it sounds like it belongs nearer the variant list.
Yes, they are the same. I suppose I could thin down the toolbar to...um. New? There's no need for a toolbar for one thing so simple.

I still don't like the PNG toggle. I think it belongs in the Generate and Add Variant sheets. Nobody needs to toggle. If you disagree, it is obscure enough to be relegated to the menu bar: Variations->Set selected variation encoding to PNG.
This should maybe go in the menu and a context menu. I'll need to set up a context menu, but yeah, reasonable.

I regret putting open there. It was partially done to show you how you can avoid using the menu bar at all. I also had "generate" and stuff in the toolbar too but I moved it to the variant list because it logically fit there. Keep in mind that I only offered it as an idea that I already had disagreements with (some others: many terms are unclear, total .ico size is not shown, terrible icon ideas, add/generate buttons are not visually connected to the variation list very well, etc.)
Okay. I'll clean it up some at some point.

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April 02, 2009, 07:40:02 AM
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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2009, 07:40:02 AM »
I am kinda thinking the toolbar may be obsolete, yes. Only the hotspot thing seems to belong there, but I don't know what the hotspot thing is. New doesn't belong there, it is always in the File menu only (in Mac apps, though on Windows New\Save are normal to have in the toolbar)
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April 02, 2009, 01:48:44 PM
Reply #21

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Re: [App] Iconaton
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2009, 01:48:44 PM »
New on the toolbar doesn't even really make sense in this interface, to be honest. The hotspot thing is for when saving as a .cur only. Which Iconaton can do, so maybe "Save as .ico" isn't really the best choice of wording, because it can save as .cur through the same dialog. It's probably even more obscure than the PNG thing, so it definitely isn't necessary on the toolbar.

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