Aventuras en Málaga y Ronda

Last week was a blast. Spending a couple of days working on Pitivi fulltime and meeting with the awesome GStreamer folks again was a thrilling experience. Not only that, but it happened in the beautiful city of Málaga.

Coming from Montréal, I’m still a bit shocked at the sight of people wearing coats, scarves and tuques in broad daylight at +15°C.

Hell, the weather in Malaga was so consistently mild that even if we were in the middle of January, in the morning I went outside straight from the shower with wet hair, which dried in minutes!

While we’re talking about showers again… Malagans, unlike Bostonians, got the usability of their shower handles/lever/thingie right. However, they completely fail at road signage and urban planning. I thought I’d never see the day when I’d find something worse than the province of Québec, but it seems we have a new winner here:

  • Street names written in minuscule font sizes on buildings (when they are present at all)? Check.
  • Road signs inside the ramps/exits (when it’s too late)? Check. (Québec has that too)
  • One-ways everywhere? Check.
  • Inability to get back on a highway if you take the wrong exit? Check.
  • Roundabouts where you have to yield to people outside the roundabout? Check.
  • Roundabouts with streetlights every 30 degrees? Check.
  • Tiny road signs inside the roundabout instead of on exits? Check.

I found this all quite amusing. Except when Antigoni and I had to get back to the airport and mistakenly ended up on an exit ramp on avenida de Andalucía.

Okay, back to the hackfest.

Notwithstanding the work we did on planes or busy airports and the many discussions we’ve had around tapas, we spent three days doing solid coding, debugging and ass-kickin’ on Pitivi and GES. I’m very happy that, in the process, Antigoni learned some new tricks and knowledge to make her more comfortable with hacking on the pitivi codebase. We also got our shares of laughs too. Like the fact that I ate three hours of Edward’s time trying to investigate why importing clips crunched my hard drive for many seconds… and then realizing that the culprit was not my code nor the gst discoverer, but GTK+ itself.

More precisely:

  • Thibault spent the whole time hacking on GES and answering our questions.
  • Antigoni went concrete/practical by attempting to fix undo/redo for effects, getting more familiar with GES in the process. I’m happy to have been able to answer some of her questions and being able to point out pitfalls in the code: at times, it even seemed like I knew what I was talking about, which is always a great thing!
  • Edward spent nearly the whole time grunting and swearing in French, except when the sound was muffled by his palms:

As for me, I:

  • Fixed image thumbnailing/permissions on the wiki and deleted 1846 spam image files scattered in 1539 folders.
  • Reimplemented pitivi’s clip import process using the asynchroneous gst discoverer, which means that not only does the import progressbar work again, but it is blazing fast and doesn’t block the UI.
  • Cleaned up code, standardized variables and fixed various bugs (such as seeking to the end of the timeline, or making the viewer check the pipeline position only when actually playing… your CPU will thank me)
  • Implemented the ability to save/export the current frame as an image file. Hey, the code was just sitting there in GES, waiting to be used!
  • Got convinced by Thibault to try implementing transitions and timeline video thumbnails myself. We’ll see how it goes.

We stayed one or two days after the end of the hackfest. Thus, on Saturday, pretty much the only day where weather sucked, the superhacker trio went on a touristic ride to Ronda, in awe at some of the alpine beauties of Andalucía:

More pics here.

This week made me realize/feel something even more strongly than before: since Thibault’s massive cleanup, hacking on Pitivi with GES is easy. No more files/modules confusion. No more “massive core” getting in your way. The code can still benefit from some cleanup/simplifications to make it feel more “pythonic” (patches welcome), but it already feels incredibly more agile and elegant. It now feels enjoyable rather than a maintenance ordeal. More like poetry, less like a thesis.

If you were hesitating to contribute to Pitivi, now is an exciting time to take a fresh look at it. We need help and there’s a lot of low hanging fruit that can be fixed. We’ll be happy to help you get started.


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4 Replies to “Aventuras en Málaga y Ronda”

  1. PiTiVi is a strong example of how useful and flexible Python is. I’m interested to see the code after this post.

  2. Just keep in mind that all this is happening in the “ges” branch (not master) on the main pitivi git repository… there are some instructions on the wiki for building with GES if you’re curious, and you can always poke me and others on IRC for some help setting it up.

  3. Interesting trip. I am in England and my sister lives in Ronda, so it was nice to see photos of the place on the GNOME blog. Great place!

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