Save + export specification

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[edit] intro

This specification defines a clear separation between saving and export, based on version 2.6.

This change tries to achieve some specific goals:

  1. simplify and clarify the user model: what you see on the canvas is always GIMP content;
  2. enforce that what is on the canvas is only safe when saved as an xcf file—or its compressed variants;
  3. give primary support for a high-end workflow where the work is saved in xcf, and for ‘delivery’, it is (repeatedly) exported to the required format;
  4. give secondary support to workflows where the input and output are the same non-xcf file; the reason for this is not the often touted ‘prosumer photo jpeg–to–jpeg’ workflow, because for complying with the GIMP product vision there is no need for optimising this. A much better reason for optimising are situations where high-end GIMP users have to do some quick touch-ups on graphic files for mates or clients, and send them back.

The basic strategy that follows from the points above is: GIMP opens and saves GIMP files and imports/exports the rest. We make however one optimisation: fold Import back into Open, so everything stays (almost) the same there. Furthermore for the secondary workflow an ‘Overwrite’ menu item is added.

[edit] file menu changes

Currently (v2.6) the Save section of the file menu looks like this:
Image:Save_menu.png

Two new menu items shall be introduced: Export and ‘Export As…’. To avoid too long (== too slow to scan) menu sections, this section shall be split in two:

  • Save
  • Save as…
  • Save a Copy…
  • Revert…
  • <menu separator>
  • Export
  • Export As…
  • Create Template…

The sensitivity of the Export and the ‘Export As’ command shall track that of the Save command. The Export command shall by default map to invoking the Export As… command (just like Save by default invokes Save as).

[edit] keyboard shortcuts

The existing shortcuts in the FIle menu stay as-is. <ctrl>-E shall be used for Export, <ctrl>-<shift>-E for Export As….

[edit] (no) changes in actions

[edit] opening files

It is not the goal of this spec to overhaul the file Open dialog, it and other means of opening files (including via drag and drop) shall remain unchanged.

Well OK, one thing. The Open (as layers) dialogs shall have added to the ‘Places’ section: the last 5 paths from where any files were openend;

What matters is what happens after a file is opened.

[edit] opening a GIMP-type file

After opening a (compressed) xcf file everything works as it does in v2.6.

[edit] opening a non-GIMP-type file

After opening any other type of image file, it is officially imported, and the following shall be different:

  • if the import triggers a new document creation (so not an import as layer, for instance):
    • the title of the image window shall be set to “[<filename>] (imported)-X.Y etc, etc.” where the <filename> is the name (minus extension) of the imported file;
    • the document shall be treated as a new, untitled file;
    • only if the format of the imported file can also be exported by GIMP, then the Export menu item shall have its label set to “Overwrite <filename>”, where the <filename> is the name (+ extension) of the imported file; there shall be by default no menu shortcut for this item, but it shall be a possible for users to add one; The shortcut for the Export menu item shall remain active and map to invoking the Export As… command, sneaky, but true.
  • for every imported file, the layer name shall be set to the name (+ extension) of the imported file;
    • if the file imports into several layers, it shall be name (+ extension) of the imported file plus the layer number; however,
    • if the file imports into several layers and each of them is labelled in the file, then these labels shall be used for the layer names.

[edit] saving files

Save, ‘Save as’ and ‘Save a copy’ shall only save to (compressed) GIMP formats, which shall be the only available format choices in the Save dialog. Only Save and ‘Save as’ shall change the saved-status of the document and replace the document–to–file association.

The Save, ‘Save as’ and ‘Save a copy’ dialogs shall have added to the ‘Places’ section:

  • path of the opened file that started this session with this document (if available);
  • the last 5 paths filled in in any save dialog when any document was saved as GIMP file;

for Save, ‘Save as’, in the save dialog, the default path shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. path last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file;
  2. path of the opened file that started this session with this document;
  3. path last filled in in a save dialog when any document was saved as GIMP file;
  4. user’s ‘documents’ folder of the desktop environment.

for Save, ‘Save as’, the default filename shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. filename last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file;
  2. filename last filled in in an export dialog when this document was exported, this session;
  3. filename of the opened file that started this session with this document;
  4. “Untitled”.

after a succesful Save, ‘Save as’:

  • the title of the image window shall be set to “<filename>-X.Y etc, etc.” where the <filename> is the name (+ extension) of the (compressed) GIMP file. The “(exported)” indication shall be maintained, “(overwritten)” or “(imported)” shall be omitted;
  • if the Export menu item is labelled “Overwrite <filename>”, then the title of this menu item shall be set to Export and map to invoking the Export As… command.

for ‘Save a copy’, in the save dialog, the default path shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. path last filled in in a save dialog when this document was ‘saved as a copy’ as GIMP file;
  2. path last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file;
  3. path of the opened file that started this session with this document;
  4. path last filled in in a save dialog when any document was saved as GIMP file;
  5. user’s ‘documents’ folder of the desktop environment.

for ‘Save a copy’, the default filename shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. filename last filled in in a save dialog when this document was ‘saved as a copy’ as GIMP file;
  2. filename last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file;
  3. filename last filled in in an export dialog when this document was exported, this session;
  4. filename of the opened file that started this session with this document;
  5. “Untitled”.

The type of the file shall be always (compressed) xcf. If users try to ‘save’ to another file format they shall be shown a reminder saying “You can use this dialog to save to the GIMP XCF format. Use File→Export to export to other file formats.”

[edit] drag and drop

Dragging the document out of the main window and dropping it on the desktop environment shall attempt to save the document (being a GIMP file, as a GIMP file) at the location it was dropped.

The filename shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. filename last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file;
  2. filename last filled in in an export dialog when this document was exported, this session;
  3. filename of the opened file that started this session with this document;
  4. “Untitled”.

[edit] revert

The revert dialog box shall remain as-is. For reverting back to the state of opening non-GIMP files, the top string shall be “Revert 'Untitled' to '/<path>/<filename>'?”, path and filename being that of the opened non-GIMP file.

To be clear, here is the list of what revert should revert to, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. the last file where this document was saved-to as GIMP file;
  2. the opened file that started this session with this document.

[edit] exporting files

All non-GIMP file types can be exported via the Export As… menu item:

  • no (compressed) GIMP formats shall be available as format choices in the export dialog;
  • the ‘Save as’ dialog shall be recycled for the export dialog; the dialog title shall be “Export Image”;
  • this export dialog shall have added to the ‘Places’ section:
    • path last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file (if available);
    • path of the opened file that started this session with this document (if available);
    • the last 5 paths filled in in an export dialog when any document was exported;
  • an export shall not change the saved-status of the document, or replace the document–to–file association;

In the export dialog, the default path shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. path last filled in in an export dialog when this document was exported;
  2. path of the opened file that started this session with this document;
  3. path last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file;
  4. path last filled in in an export dialog when any document was exported;
  5. user’s ‘documents’ folder of the desktop environment.

The default filename shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. filename last filled in in an export dialog when this document was exported;
  2. filename last filled in in a save dialog when this document was saved as GIMP file;
  3. filename of the opened file that started this session with this document;
  4. “Untitled”.

The type of the file shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. the type last chosen in an export dialog when this document was exported;
  2. the type of the non-GIMP file that started this session with this document;
  3. the type last chosen in an export dialog when any document was exported;
  4. the zero-day default: png.

After a successful export:

  • the Export menu item shall have its label set to “Export to <filename>”, where the <filename> is the name (+ extension) of the file exported to; the command shall now truly map to the export to function.
  • if there is no document–to–file association,
    • the title of the image window shall be set to “[<filename>] (exported)-X.Y etc, etc.” where the <filename> is the name (minus extension) of the file exported to;
  • if there is a document–to–file association,
    • the string “ (exported)” shall be inserted between the filename and the “-X.Y etc, etc.” part of the title of the image window.

[edit] overwrite original

  • Overwrite shall export the current document to the non-GIMP file that is mentioned in the menu item;
  • if for some reason this file can not be written (e.g. file server gone, no permissions), then the standard handling as used for saving files shall be used, where any mention of saving in the title shall be replaced by exporting;
  • Overwrite shall not change the saved-status of the document, or replace the document–to–file association;
  • after a successful overwrite, the title of the image window shall be set to “[<filename>] (overwritten)-X.Y etc, etc.” where the <filename> is the name (minus extension) of the non-GIMP file that is mentioned in the menu item.

[edit] export to

  • ‘Export to’ shall export the current document to the non-GIMP file that is mentioned in the menu item;
  • if for some reason this file can not be written (e.g. file server gone, no permissions), then the standard handling as used for saving files shall be used, where any mention of saving in the title shall be replaced by exporting;
  • ‘Export to’ shall not change the saved-status of the document, or replace the document–to–file association;
  • After a successful export, if there is no document–to–file association,
    • the title of the image window shall be set to “[<filename>] (exported)-X.Y etc, etc.” where the <filename> is the name (minus extension) of the file exported to;
  • if there is a document–to–file association,
    • the string “ (exported)” shall be inserted between the filename and the “-X.Y etc, etc.” part of the title of the image window.

[edit] save state and export state

  • the ‘*’ at the start of the title of the image window shall be used for save state to (compressed) GIMP files exclusively;
  • for the same changes the ‘*’ is added to the start of the title of the image window, any mention of “(overwritten)” or “(exported)” shall be omitted from it. Since the save and overwrite/export states can be different, the adding and omitting can happen at different times. Note: when “(overwritten)” or “(exported)” is omitted, the “(imported)” part does not return to the title of the image window.

[edit] export options

Nobody likes clicking their way through export options dialogs. So we will put the brakes on them:

  • there shall be one export options dialog:
    • export conversion information that needs no user choices shall be omitted;
    • the generic export choices and the file-type specific export choices shall be integrated into one dialog;
    • the whole string “Your image should be exported before it can be saved as <file type> for the following reasons:” shall be omitted.
  • if there are no export user choices then there shall be no options dialog;
  • if there is an export options dialog it shall not be shown when the document is used to overwrite original and the file format is not lossy and all the export options can be determined from the original file.

The export options shall default to, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. the export options used last time when this document was exported to the same file type;
  2. the export options used last time when any document was exported to the same file type;
  3. the export options used in v2.6.

[edit] lossy file formats

Lossy graphics file formats are defined as those who cannot be read into memory and written back unmodified to file without loss of fidelity.

[edit] document name

The document name, as used all over in the UI to identify an open document, is always naming a GIMP entity, i.e. a GIMP composition that can be saved to (compressed) xcf. The document is never a png, gif, tiff, jpeg, et cetera and should never be named like that in the UI. When we do derive a on-the-fly document name from a imported or exported non-GIMP file name, that is not an association of the document to that file (or its path), just using the identifying name.

The document name shall be, in order of precedence (highest at the top):

  1. the filename of the GIMP file this document is associated with, including file extension; use the full path if that preference is set;
  2. the filename last filled in in an export dialog when this document was exported, this session, minus extension, wrapped in square brackets (‘[]’); the full path shall not be used, even when that preference is set;
  3. the filename of the opened file that started this session with this document, minus extension, wrapped in square brackets (‘[]’); the full path shall not be used, even when that preference is set;
  4. “Untitled”.

[edit] imported, exported & overwritten status

The following statuses shall be appended to the document name, and removed again, as detailed:

  • (imported)
    • set: after triggering a new file creation by opening a non-GIMP file, and reverting back to that state;
    • clear: after saving (as), exporting, overwriting;
  • (exported)
    • set: after exporting (to), and reverting back to that state;
    • clear: when the document becomes dirty (the same changes for which the ‘*’ is added to the start of the title);
  • (overwritten)
    • set: after overwriting, and reverting back to that state;
    • clear: after saving (as), exporting, and when the document becomes dirty (the same changes for which the ‘*’ is added to the start of the title).
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