Evince Your Annotations

I offered to mentor again for the Google Summer of Code. This time for Evince and it’s annotations / bookmarks feature. We already did a design for the annotations a while back so the project should be off to an early start.

Oh, and Joshua Drake of commandprompt.com recently sent a message to the Evince list about sponsoring work on PDF Forms.

Get To Work

A good friend of mine works at Mobile Armor in sunny St. Louis, MO. They are hiring developers and Q/A to work on their security software.

I would describe them as inserting a secure layer of linux underneath most operating systems, this layer can encrypt all data and do crazy amounts of authentication before the user’s operating system boots. They do this for cell phones, PDAs, laptops, and probably more. Take a look at their technology requirements you’ll seen they use loads of stuff like Linux, .Net (Mono), Java, C/C++, yada yada. Email them if you’re interested, link is at the bottom of the opportunities page.


These Are Awesome

Sometimes it’s too funny to see Evince in action. Current FC4 Screenshot and Debian Screenshot (original debian screenshot sent to me). These are known bugs, but to have to view an article on Evince with Acrobat is just precious.

Federal Reserve

Robert: not only is Bernanke going to target inflation but it seems he will be conducting his economic policies in a much more open and predictable manor. I wonder if this is because of his purely academic background or if it’s a better way of approaching central banking. With his 18 year tenure Greenspan was always a little hard to predict how his recomendations would layout, but Greenspan did have years of work experience before taking the job. I’ve put Inflation Targeting on my wishlist so I can get a deeper understanding of what we’re in for. One thing that seems certain from his nomination statements is that short term rates will continue to increase for a while per previous Greenspan policies.


bats in the attic, crabs downstairs

Spent yesterday up at Apple Hill talking with people about the OLPC project. Met Alan Kay and lots of others. Also spent some time talking with Jimmy G.

Alan Kay and others

Lake Champlain

Going back up to the the lake this weekend, Jenny’s family is having a big party that will be a great time.

Saw this in Essex and thought it was for something else

On my way up there I see these signs written everywhere, to even things up a little I erased a bunch and replaced it with Fedora Project. After seeing one sign with this URL, http://www.ubuntuproject.org/ and realizing it was for the kids I feel a little bad now. That’s a joke people


Things are looking really good for Evince, check out the text selection shizzle. I’m really impressed by the whole evince team’s work. Of course I’m dissappointed to see that the acrobat thumbnail logo has to go, it’s a cool feature and I guess we can’t be cool anymore.

Evince’s text selection rocks!



Today’s word is rictus, meaning a gaping grin or grimace. Probably relating to me miss-spelling yesterdays word in the title or possibly other stupid things I did.


Rodrigo makes a bunch of good points in his entry.

The dialogs that Gaim and Evo use are ridiculous and disturbing but just using notification bubbles doesn’t solve that. In my opinion Gaim or Evolution should never tell you, in a dialog or bubble, that it has gone offline or online. The only exception to that is when you actively try to do something with those programs. In Evolution if you try to check your mail or send a message, then it should make you aware that you’re offline and that won’t happen; a simliar for Gaim as well. So I agree that notifications of new mail are low priority and shouldn’t steal focus, but sometimes the dialogs are helpful like in my next example.

For notification history. It seems like there are two problems, one is that we want a way to look at notification history, and two is that an alarm like that shouldn’t go away completely until you’ve dealt with it. For the first part I suggested that something, like the notification area applet catch all notifications and save them. I guess the libnotify daemon process does this, so it should probably be integrated to display those from the capplet. The second one is just a matter of the application being smarter about the type of notification it’s showing. Perhaps evolution alarms should start off as a bubble up item when they first appear and when you only have 15min before they appointment they appear as dialogs. It just seems as though we don’t need to make a one or the other preference, but use the bubbles as low priority and when you’re about to miss your meeting use the dialogs as slightly higher priority.

As far as the implementation goes it doesn’t really matter to me at all what is used. I said the same thing to the Desktop team. I think we should be trying to use the libnotify work as much as possible and work with those guys because they’ve gotten a lot of good work done. However, I get the luxury of demanding the right type of notifications for people using the desktop before the implementations available.

If libnotify is the best thing so far that’s fine with me, they might just have to deal with me whining all the time until we figure out a solution. 😉


Jonathan already talked about this, but it’s too sweet to not show it off. Evince has great text selection support, according to krh it’s the best text selection out there, it even supports themed selection colors!! And I guess Evince has jumped on the bus like everyone else. This opens Evince up to remote control for presentations and allows you to query evince for what documents the person currently has open.


Ok, so David Z didn’t actually threaten to punch me in the face, but he had that CRAZY look in his eye.


I sat down with Dan and David not too long ago and worked out some design goals for NetworkManager. We basically wrote down some experiences we want the person using NetworkManager to have. Also we started on the Network Administrators experience admining and setting up NM. I’ll be posting that stuff soon and we’ll probably get getting a new website to reflect all the new information.


Evince has Rotation and a New Sidebar

Lots of new stuff landed on Evince whilst I was gone. Here are some of the highlights of those crazy new features. Everyone should be using the Cairo Poppler backend by now, otherwise that pain you’re feeling is my boot up your ass.

Anyway, enough chit chat, here’s the screenshots of the page rotation menu items, fancy, but not as fancy as the rotation in action.

Pour les gosses

And the new sidebar that allows multiple thumbnails to be displayed at once, click on the image for a fancy GIF animation.

Y una animación para los cabritos

That stuff is in CVS now, you can try to get it from the usual places.


Evince Featurific

Dual Page and Continuous Scroll (in cvs only)

Evince has been making huge progress and has released a 0.2.1 (unstable) version recently. Since software sales pitches always requires feature lists, so here’s the latest feature craze:

  • Support for DJVU book format
  • Improved backend support for the DVI backend
  • Improved the find bar interaction
  • Badass completion of the document in the entry. bug 172453, mockup (Only works with the l33t version of GTK+ >= 2.7.1)
  • Faster page rendering and zooming
  • No, seriously the page rendering is smokin’ fast, check the logs:
    <krh> jrb: my benchmark went from 1m7s to 27s…
    … later …
    <krh>… now I’m getting 18s

  • Tons of bug fixes
  • Evince Wiki Page

Update: Someone just mentioned to me that Evince is number one on the Best Rated apps in gnomefiles.org


Cha-Cha-Cha Changes

Tons of progress with Evince, in the past 3 days there have been at least 21 commits. Many of the bugs posted previously got patches and fixed. The new release will be out soon

We need to move on the common libpdf at Free Desktop if we want to make any more real progress with pdf support. I’ve emailed the orginal author of Xpdf about this a couple times just to make sure he’s ok with the fork.

And Dave Camp is still in our office.


Calling all Evince Hackers

Evince has an imminent new release coming and is looking to branch off the current codebase pretty soon. However we still have a number of bugs that would be great to get patches for and get into the coming release.

Here’s the list of bugs that I’ve been tracking starting with the cooler ones, the easy ones, and then on to the harder ones that don’t have screenshots or pictures to work off of.

General Stuff

Provide Nautilus Thumbnailer for thumbnailing PDF documents. Take the thumbnail of the first page of the document and overlay a small pdf icon onto it.

Use the thumbnail of the document as the window icon takes the same first page thumbnail and uses it as the window icon for the PDF.

A Properties Page under File->Properties which gives details about the PDF Title, Subject, Author, Keywords, Creator, Producer, and so forth. Look here (verb_FileProperties_cb) and here (pdf_doc_process_properties) for the gpdf implementation of this. This properties page would also give the information about Fonts in an alternate tab.

Visual feedback when opening complex documents possibly similar to the cool visual feedback given when you cancel the password dialog for a document that is locked. A simple progress dialog might due for now.

Easy Patches to Write

Reload Menu Item that allows a person to reload the document using the View-<Reload menu item or Ctrl-R

Space Bar Scrolling allow the space bar to be used to scroll down the page.

Change default zoom to be ‘Fit to Width’ instead of ‘Best Fit’. Should be really easy to do this one.

Per-Document Settings (A Space(ial) Oddity)

Remember Window Size and Position to keep the same document geometry and placement on the screen.

Remember Document Zoom Level so when a person opens a document for a second time they are shown the document at the same zoom level they had left it at when they closed it.

Side Bar Widget

Nicer sidebar widget FIXED! Check this out in the CVS HEAD version of Evince right now.

Disable Index if it doesn’t exist, or perhaps just show the page numbering? Jonathan made a good suggestion of the possibility of just listing page number when there is no official index embedded into the document.


The Grumpy Interaction Designer’s Guide to PDF Viewers

Just use Evince. Evince is reaching a new release mark of 0.2 soon and to celebrate we have a new project web site (go ahead, follow the link). The web site design was done by Diana Fong, our Desktop Visual Designer while I did the HTML and CSS, which if any is the part might be busted.

What’s happened since the last time I blabbed about Evince?

It’s like we’re a real project!

Several people have sent me the link to the lwn article where the Grumpy Editor Series took a look at PDF Viewers and what’s out there. I found it interesting to read his notes on what’s needed in a document viewer and where some of them lacked.

Mostly his argument seemed to boil down to two things: Find is invaluable and keep the UI small and simple. Both of which are things we tried to do with Evince, I noted that he didn’t like the Back/Forward buttons, perhaps it’s worth looking at removing them in future versions as I admit I’m not sure if they are all that useful.

So check out the web site, check out Evince join the mailing list, hop on the IRC channel. Don’t email me about the XHTML errors in the page unless you have a patch that leaves the pages exactly as they are, otherwise I don’t care. 🙂


Viewing your documents, one page at a time

Yup, Jonathan mentioned this before but the last few days of work in December a lot of people on the Red Hat Desktop team had already taken off for vacation so we had a mini-hackfest.


So here’s the story… We pooled whatever people weren’t on vacation together to examine gpdf and ggv and xpdf to see what could be ripped out (like bonobo) and what could be used (like xpdf). Instead of destroying some other application what came out of the mini-hackfest was something new called Evince. Actually Evince had already existed from work by Martin and Marco before, but we (and lots of others) all pooled together making it even better.


Evince viewing the PDF Reference

Document Viewer

What is Evince? It’s a document viewer. It’s kind of the answer to the postcript, pdf, dvi, [insert document here] viewer problem that we’ve always had.

So far it’s not ready to take over for gpdf and ggv and possibly others, but it’s getting there very quickly. It’s designed to be a simple multi-page document viewer, it has support for thumbnails and bookmarks right now. Zooming and most other functions are working or coming along since it is still very much at the early stages of stability.

There are no releases out yet so you’ll have to grab this from cvs gnome/evince. If you’d like to try it out really quickly it is in jhbuild just do

jhbuild build evince

and then run with

jhbuild run evince