2023-03-15: APP 2.0.0-beta14 has been released !
IMPROVED FRAME LIST, sorting on column header click and you can move the columns now which will be preserved between restarts.
We are very close now to releasing APP 2.0.0 stable with a complete printable manual...
Astro Pixel Processor Windows 64-bit
Astro Pixel Processor macOS Intel 64-bit
Astro Pixel Processor macOS Apple M Silicon 64-bit
Astro Pixel Processor Linux DEB 64-bit
Astro Pixel Processor Linux RPM 64-bit
[Sticky] Astro Pixel Processor 2.0.0-beta1 is finally here !
Astro Pixel Processor 2.0.0-beta1 is finally here 🙂 !
We (Mabula, Wouter & Vincent) have decided to move to version 2.0.0. The reason for this is that this is a really big release that is running on a new and very recent development platform enabling us to make Astro Pixel Processor ready for the future.
Furthermore, the old APP version numbering was not very logical in terms of understanding what a big or a small release entailed. So going forward:
- A major release for instance will move from 2.0.0 to 3.0.0.
- A general release will go from 2.0.0 to 2.1.0 and
- small updates and/or quick fixes will go from 2.0.0 to 2.0.1.
We have migrated the whole code base from Java 8 to Java 17 and this enables us to fix several issues on the newer operating systems, especially on macOS.
To make Astro Pixel Processor compatible with Java 17, we had to modify parts of our code base and also some dependencies on external libraries have changed, especially for the OpenGL image viewer for hardware accelerated image viewing.
To make the image viewer perform optimally on all platforms (Windows, macOS & Linux) we decided to detach the image viewer completely from the main window. Especially on macOS and Linux, this greatly enhances the performance of the image viewer. On Windows, performance is also enhanced notably. You can expect great image viewer performance on all platforms.
OpenGL is also running natively on the new Apple M1 hardware.
Memory Management and Performance
The new development platform enabled us to completely remove the option to set the amount of RAM memory for APP with the CFG button. APP can (and will if needed) use as a maximum about 98% of any computer's RAM amount for processing. For most datasets, APP will consume much less, it will only consume what it needs. So users no longer need to concern themselves with how much RAM APP may use.
The internal memory management has changed quite a bit for this APP version which means that it will consume memory only when it needs it for processing or for performance, resulting in significant better data throughput for the whole application, especially notable on strong computers with much RAM and many CPU Threads. APP will scale much better with more RAM and more CPU Threads in this new release.
You can find benchmark comparisons of APP 2.0.0-beta1 versus 1.083 here. The conclusions of the benchmarks are:
- the new development platform gives us 20-30% performance increase depending on the hardware configuration. You can see that with more RAM and more CPU Threads the performance increase grows illustrating that it scales better now with RAM and CPU power.
- The native macOS M1 compilation gives about 20-30% performance increase for Apple M1 hardware computers when compared to running an intel compiled version of APP on a M1 Apple computer.
Settings and projects save/load
The main new functionality of APP 2.0.0 will be the ability to save/load settings and whole projects.
This first beta release makes a first start with save/load settings. This version has a new CFG menu, including new sounds to select from to warn yourself when APP completes a long process.
The following will be remembered by APP between restarts of the application:
- working directory
- general console output enabled/disabled
- tool tips enabled/disabled
- sound on process completion enabled/disabled
- sound on process completion tune
- application window positions and dimensions
- image viewer mode OpenGL/CPU
The CFG menu also has a Reset to defaults button, so you can reset all these settings to the defaults if you need/want this.
The next beta should provide the ability to save/load the settings in the processing menus 1) - 6), after which we start with implementing save/load of complete projects.
3 application windows instead of 1
By detaching the image viewer from the main window, we gain best performance in the image viewer. By doing this, it also made sense to detach the frame list window and give it it's own window. To not get too many application windows, we decided to remove the general console window and simply show it in the main window at the location where you can also see the file metadata/header. Furthermore, we used to have pop ups for saving files or other progress monitors. All these progress monitors are now shown in the main window, so pop-up progress monitors have been removed completely.
Processing of RGB & monochrome data
APP can now process both RGB and monochrome data at the same time. Previously, it would break down in the normalization engine. Now, you can normalize monochrome data with RGB data and vice versa.
Updated application installers on all platforms
For Windows, the installer now allows you to create a desktop icon and the entry of APP in the Windows start menu is just Astro Pixel Processor. It is no longer placed in a folder called Aries Productions.
On macOS, the DEB package still looks the same, but it now is correctly signed and notarized by Apple, see below at macOS installation (signing, notarization).
On Linux, the RPM and DEB packages have been improved and we also provide installers for HiDPI support now. Unfortunately, our development platform does not allow the code to detect the desktop scaling factor setting due to non-uniformity in the Linux world when it comes to desktop scaling. The HiDPI installers will scale the application with a factor of 2.0x, so if you find that the fonts/interface components are too small on your monitor to be able to work with APP, install the HiDPI version and the APP interface components and fonts will be enlarged with the same factor of 2.0x.
macOS installation (signing, notarization)
The new development platform has enabled us to now be able to make correct macOS installers removing all installation issues on the new macOS versions. We previously could already sign the application correctly with our code sign certificate, but Apple would not allow a Java 8 based application to pass notarization, which made it impossible for us to make correct installers. We are very happy to announce that this beta release is completely signed correctly and has passed Apple's notarization process which means that if you download this 2.0.0-beta1 version and install it, macOS will instantly approve it as a safe application.
macOS M1 (arm) hardware support
This APP version has a separate M1 installer, because we have compiled it completely and natively on the M1 hardware including OpenGL support and LibRaw support. Everything is running on the M1 hardware natively giving a big performance increase. Please note the benchmarks here. The new M1 version is roughly 50% faster ! 20% faster because of the new development platform and about 30% faster because of the native compilation on the M1 hardware. Depending on the exact mac computer, the performance increase will vary a bit of course.
macOS application NAP, Operating System sleep
Additionally, this new version communicates with the macOS operating system to prevent macOS putting Astro Pixel Processor to NAP/SLEEP when you are doing something else with your computer or when the screensaver starts. It also prevents macOS from sleeping when APP is performing a long task. So this new version can process optimally on macOS and macOS will only put APP and itself to sleep when APP has finished the long task.
LibRaw support for both macOS intel and M1
LibRaw is now compiled on both intel and M1 hardware so on both platforms you will get native RAW file read speed through LibRaw.
We fully intend to provide much more and quicker updates going forward from today utilizing the new version numbering as explained at the start of this topic.