As the early announcement on my Patreon page, I have started a new ImageGlass app which called ImageGlass Preview. Since then, I have received lots of questions about the difference between 2 apps, and the future of ImageGlass. To clarify the concerns (which I didn’t have time to do it), I will explain the roadmap of ImageGlass in this blogpost.
ImageGlass and ImageGlass Preview are two different apps.
Don’t let the naming confuses you, they are actually two different apps for different purposes, different users, and not to replace each other.
- ImageGlass is a lightweight, versatile image viewer, written in C# WinForms using .NET Framework, supports Windows 7 SP1 or later. The latest version is 7.6.
- ImageGlass Preview is a modern, versatile image viewer, written in C#, using Universal Windows Platform (UWP), only supports Windows 10. It is still under development, and there is no public release yet.
The limitations of ImageGlass
If you follow ImageGlass’s Github, you can see some issues about performance which cannot (or is very hard to) resolve. It’s about hardware acceleration, and slowness of startup time.
ImageGlass uses WinForms UI framework which born in 2002, 18 years ago. WinForms’ controls are rendered using GDI+, and GDI+ itself is not hardware acceleration.
Another common topic about ImageGlass is its startup time slowness. This is typical of .NET Framework applications; even though, there are some tricks to optimize it. The slowness often happens in the first time you run .NET app after starting PC because .NET Runtime will compile the codes and load into memory. However, it’s much faster when you run from the second time.
Due to these two limitations, lots of awesome ideas about a fancy, beautiful UI were rejected.
Goals of ImageGlass Preview
ImageGlass Preview uses UWP platform which is the latest cutting-edge technology of Microsoft. The apps built with UWP has the beautiful Fluent design system, flexible layout, transition, and great performance.
ImageGlass Preview is designed for high DPI devices, works great on touch screens and trackpad gestures. It focuses on viewing functions with a beautiful, modern UI, and convenient UX. It loads image fast, responsive, and able to display big image files.
ImageGlass continues to receive updates and new features, version 8.0 will be releases in 2021 and use .NET 5.0 runtime, while ImageGlass Preview is progressively developed with the basic features of ImageGlass.
- v7.x will be small updates; mostly contains bug fixes, improvements, and some small features.
- v8.0 will contain breaking changes as it will use .NET 5. New features are also expected to introduce.
- v8.x will be small updates, bug fixes.
For ImageGlass Preview:
- v0.1 will be the first public alpha release, for those who want to try it. There will be probably 5 alpha versions from v0.1 to v0.5 to collect feedback from the early adopters.
Basic features could be: Zoom modes, Thumbnail viewing, Full screen, Slideshow, Window fit, Frameless,…
- v0.6 will be the first public beta release. More features will be added: File manipulations (Copy, cut, delete,…), Color picker, Cropping, External editing app, Theming, Localization, Image frames/pages extraction…
- v1.0 is expected to have most of features of ImageGlass v4.0.
- Is ImageGlass WinForms dead?
No, I will still maintain, fix bugs, add new features as usual. But the release may take longer, or with smaller updates.
- What features will ImageGlass Preview focus on?
It will progressively have basic features of ImageGlass: Zoom modes, Windows modes,… and more customizable layout, keyboard shortcuts…
- Is ImageGlass Preview to replace the current ImageGlass?
No, both two apps will live together, for different purposes, different users.
- Is ImageGlass Preview being planned for a commercial product in the future?
No, it will be free (literally, no need to pay, no in-app ad) and open source as same as the current ImageGlass.
- Can I install and run both two apps in a same PC?
Yes, you can. It has different name, and uses different protocol,… ImageGlass Preview should be installed from Store. For more details, I will talk about it in a separated post.