Progress report for July and August

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September 5th, 2010 – Severin

Besides providing community service and preparing for two exams, I found the time to work hard towards the release of LottaNZB 0.6. This post highlights the most important additions and changes.

Messaging Infrastructure

The new messaging infrastructure makes it possible to display questions, warnings and errors within the main window, such that they can easily be noticed and acted upon by the user. This has been made possible thanks to the new InfoBar widget introduced in a recent version of GTK. Such a message will for example be displayed if there are incomplete HellaNZB downloads that can be imported or if no news server has been defined. Doesnt it look gorgeous?

Redesigned and Customizable Main Window

The arrangement of LottaNZBs main window hasnt changed for quite some time. This is probably also due to the fact that it has already been quite streamlined and compact. However, theres always room for improvement.

Firstly, the toolbar has always included two button to move the selected download up or down, respectively. However, in many cases, you will want to move a download to the top of the download list, causing it to start immediately. Previously, you were required to do that using drag and drop or by opening the menu of the Up toolbar button. In LottaNZB 0.6, a thin sidebar has been introduced that offers all tools necessary to reorder the download list. Additionally, one can also start a download using its context menu. Thanks to this change, theres now more room in the toolbar for future additions!

Next, the information bar containing the download speed and the amount of data and time left has been moved to the bottom of the window. Also, its elements have been arranged in such a way that changes to them are less frequent and less distracting. This is also in line with the design of LottaNZBs bigger brother, Transmission.

Finally, its now possible for you to customize the main window by hiding the toolbar, infobar and reordering pane, giving you a clean look at your downloads. LottaNZB can still be controlled using keyboard shortcuts and the menu.

Streamlined Server Editor

The dialog used to add and edit the information about your news server has become a lot more compact. Compare it to how it looked like two years ago. The check-box used to enable and disable SSL encryption has become more visible and advanced features like the support for backup servers are hidden from novice users by default.

New Documentation

Thanks to the great work of Sander in 2008, LottaNZB 0.3 and later shipped with a detailed DocBook-based documentation. However, it wasnt updated during the following releases and got more and more out-dated.

For LottaNZB 0.6, the documentation has been rewritten from scratch! Its now based on Mallard and aims to be more useful and understandable than ever before. It includes information on how to use the advanced features of LottaNZB, like remote access, but still covers the basics for people who are new to the application.

Besides, Help buttons have been added to many windows and dialogs throughout the application, pointing directly to the corresponding help topics. The goal is to provide this documentation online as well.

Lots of Bug Fixes and Optimizations

As always, lots of minor and major errors have been fixed with the goal of making your experience of LottaNZB 0.6 as smooth as possible, once its released. Besides, I also try to make sure that LottaNZB adheres to the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines, ensuring the best-possible integration with your GNOME desktop. This mainly included the capitalization of window titles, headers and menu items.

Wrapping Up

LottaNZB 0.6 is indeed shaping up nicely and its getting closer to a release every week. Still, its not possible for me to give you an estimation on when it will actually be released. There are still quite a few flaws that need to be ironed out. You can already test LottaNZB 0.6 today using the daily builds. Also, the screenshot page has been updated. Because of the new features and documentation, there are many new strings to be translated! Contributions to the translation of LottaNZB into your language are highly appreciated!

Stay tuned!