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Gimp 2.8 frustrated me: I could no longer open a .png, edit it and easily resave it back to .png. The Gimp developers knew better and made the UI strongly favor saving as .xcf, which makes sense in some use-cases, but not mine.

I found this fix, which made quick uses of GIMP less painful for me: http://shallowsky.com/software/gimp-save/

I'm assuming the new save behavior persists in Gimp 2.9.x, but I don't know.

> less painful for me

I realize that this is common UX jargon, but is it literally "painful" to click "File->Export" rather than "File->Save"?

I frequently hear front-end developer peers arguing that it's "painful" to read 10 or 20 lines of XML. Back-end peers retort that it's more "painful" to look at large complex structures in JSON.

There's a hundred other cases in which this comes up. Are people really walking around in crippling pain, due to various software having trivial differences from their ideal preference?

>> I realize that this is common UX jargon, but is it literally "painful" to click "File->Export" rather than "File->Save"?

One can also make that statement to the person who decided the default save format should be different from the one the user opened. IMHO most people want to save in the format they started with and if they want to change it, something other than "save" is warranted.

This isn't just a problem with Gimp. It's a problem with Photoshop and basically every discipline where there's a bunch of file formats that have varying levels of support for features.

"Open" would then more correctly called "Import" for most file formats. If you want Open and Save to work with all file formats, you'd then need to restrict the UI to operations that work with the file format you have open. Otherwise, you lose data when saving.

>> IMHO most people want to save in the format they started with and if they want to change it, something other than "save" is warranted.

Most people when they save a file expect everything to be there when they open it later. That's only possible when you save using that applications proprietary file format.

If I open a PNG in Photoshop, crop it or resize it, it stays in PNG when I save it. This is such a common workflow that it makes me wonder if you use Photoshop.

I understand your points, but it doesn't mean that there aren't pragmatic UX choices to be made here.

One is potentially destructive, the other is potentially annoying. I know for certain which one I would choose as the default action.

This. It is far too common for applications to default to saving their own .special format, despite opening another fully supported format. Save should always default to file type opened, and .special format when a new file was created. Save As is an easy and friendly enough vector for allowing saving that opened .whatever file as a .special when specifically wanted. It really is unfriendly increased mental load to open a .whatever and have to remember or figure out you must Export to retain your file type.

> I realize that this is common UX jargon, but is it literally "painful" to click "File->Export" rather than "File->Save"?

The main problem I have with it IS the fact that you have to use the mouse. There's no keyboard shortcut (at least on Mac version of Gimp). If you open a .png file, there's no keyboard shortcut to export it (overwrite). You can invoke the "export as" dialog which requires a couple more key presses and a context switch. Once you save it via menu, then the Command+E shortcut starts working, but for the first save not. As someone who works a lot with Gimp, this is the main usability problem I have.

Yes it is.

If I open a .png, and done things to it, and I want to save it, it's because I just want to save a .png. If I wanted to have another format I would "import" the .png, not open it.

If I want to save something else, then I'll go to the save as... And will choose what I want to save.

Having a "save as..." that just gives me the proprietary format and hanging to go to the "export as..." to have other formats is even worst.

> I realize that this is common UX jargon, but is it literally "painful" to click "File->Export" rather than "File->Save"?

I found it mildly annoying at first but then I learnt that the luckily export function has a keyboard shortcut. I can accept that I have to press ctrl+shift+e to export an image ;)

Yes. Ctrl-O edit Ctrl-S doesn't work

there are plugins to turn it back

Just use Ctrl-E vs Ctrl-S, its a pretty common part of my workflow now

XML IS actually more painful than JSON: There's more syntax, and it looks less distinct, especially if it's not properly indented. JSON look a lot cleaner, and the extra metadata that XML provides is rarely needed for casual reading.

Possibly, the more clicking needed to achieve a task does put more strain on your hands which can cause pain. I believe this is why for example VI key bindings are designed to reduce the distance your hands must extend for most common tasks. Reading extra text, XML or JSON can also cause additional eye strain... I think that is why it's okay to describe UX in terms of less or more pain...

It's the same amount of clicking, just that 'save' and 'export' do different things.

No it's not the same amount of clicking. From Gimp 2.7 to 2.8 something that used to be ctrl-s and close window went to ctrl-shift-e, and answering four dialog boxes before getting the image saved and the window closed. Around the time Gimp 2.8 came out, I wanted to edit and save around 50 images (in away that wasn't easy to automate). That (without the plugin that gives the old behavior) would be 200 dialog boxes to deal with that I didn't have to before.

No it wasn't literally painful. But frustrating. Nearly as frustrating as people not accepting that people legitimately use software in different ways.

I wonder if a voice-annotated youtube capture of the process might help capture the pain of the process.

IIRC Ctrl shift e is export as, and ctrl e exports with no questions.

Ctrl-E is not available on newly opened .png files. You need to save at least once for it to work. (At least on Mac version of Gimp).

> I realize that this is common UX jargon, but is it literally "painful" to click "File->Export" rather than "File->Save"?

Anecdotally, this would often just outright segfault GIMP for me. I ended up having to use a different image editing program entirely until this was fixed.

it's a common figure of speech. it's not confusing, given the context. and "more workful" doesn't sound very natural.

Photoshop will save in the original format unless you do something to the image that isn't supported in that format (e.g. adding vectors, layers, layer filters, etc.) Then it will switch to .psd, although you still get the option of saving in the original format with Save As. I think that is a good design.

What would be better is having a dialog that says "You've used some additional features that can only be saved in .psd format: Save as PNG || Save as PSD || Save as something else" with the first being the default for when you press ENTER.

Microsoft Word does that, and indeed the default is the original format.

"%s may contain features that are not compatible with %s. Do you want to save the document in this format?

To save, click Yes. To preserve formatting, click No. Then save a copy in the %s format."

Right. But the difference here is you need to answer the question which is a task. Then based on what you actually want to do, there is an extra step in opening the dialog just to choose the other format etc.. maybe you just want to save in the application default. The point of the version I posted is that each button maps to a direct intention. The message is informative, and the user does what they want. It's not the application asking or warning or assuming anything. It's not the developer imposing anything. Based on what the application can do, the user is presented with the various options that map to intentions.

I strongly disagree. You are arguing for a default that destroys work.

For example, if you open a .png, add a layer, and save, the default would merge the layers.

Default when you hit enter. You don't have to hit enter. Left then enter will get you your PSD.

>The Gimp developers knew better and made the UI strongly favor saving as .xcf, which makes sense in some use-cases, but not mine.

Well, remember, GTK originally stood for GIMP ToolKit. The GNOME DNA is strong within GIMP.

And make no mistake, that's a very GNOMEy thing to do.

Eh, I'd say this is sane and understandable compared to typical "Gnome things".

Well, yes. GIMP and GNOME for the most part diverged fairly early on, save the toolkit, so the infection is less than that of the GNOME project, but it's still there.

some forget that GNOME started very far from where it is now. Look only to Sawfish for proof.

So what would you like to happen if you open a lossy format and then open as layers a .png? Do you want it to downgrade the quality or bump it up? Some people might want the former, some might want the latter. What if Gimp always has to convert the color-space? I wanted CMYK in Gimp at one point, but while there was an importer, there was no exporter. What then? Saving to .xcf was initially a pain (I complained too), but I became accustomed to the new routine, and from a categorization perspective, it makes sense. The dev is blamed either way - either by people accustomed to the old routine or by people who messed up from it and want it changed.

Agree here, there is a reason I am not too fond of some self appointed UX people:

Here gimp devs has chosen to make the nondestructive action the default one - a sane choice given their development resources.

Worst case if you forget to export in the correct format you have to export again.

If it by default saved back to the same format by default then in a worst case you lose hours of work.

UX is about more than shiny, about more than copying Mac, about more than saving a keystroke here and there.

(Hardcore dev here, not UX, not UI.)

Some people create an image editing software that rival Photoshop which is worth a millions of dollars in their own time without expecting anything in return and they work on this for about twenty years and you are frustrated about a sensible change that can be reverted by little configuration or a little plugin?

That was initially confusing to me as well, but it isn't that bad. If you open a .png (or similar) and edit it, there's a button in the File menu (I believe shortcut ctrl-shift-e) that exports directly to the original filename.

After ctrl-shift-e I have to hit enter in response to different pop-up dialogs three times, and then still answer a fourth confirmation when I quit gimp. If I'm editing a bunch of files that's not fun. With the Saver plugin I have it set up so I just hit ctrl-s like I used to, and can exit without being bothered.

There isn't one. Ctrl-shift-e is "Export As" which opens a save dialog. Ctrl-e doesn't show up until you save the file manually at least once.

I liked the new behaviour personally

I totally see that it makes sense for some work flows, including the ones Gimp is probably most meant for. It was frustrating that for the people whose workflows were messed up, the developers were totally opposed to doing anything about it though. Kudos to the plugin author for rolling up her sleeves and providing a way out. Also kudos to the gimp developers for providing a plugin architecture that made such a customization an option.

If they made Ctrl-E work when you load the file for the first time, none of this would be the problem.

I don't understand. Ctrl-e does work fine "when you load the file for the first time".

Even to make extra sure (though I already was), I have tested it on a GIMP 2.8 and on GIMP master just now. That works.

Here, I recorded a video to show the problem:


I tried with 2.8.14 and 2.8.18, both running on Mac OSX. As you can see the Command-E option only shows up after I do "Export as".

Did you try whether it works? If this was in your video, I didn't see it.

I tried, and even filed a bug report. It's "as designed":


The whole idea around this and the way they decided it to work is a mess.

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