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What would it be like? Speculation of Paint.NET on a Mac

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May 20th, 2008: Well, I bought a MacBook Pro. That doesn't mean I'll be writing a Mac version, but I am approaching the Paint.NET 4.0 design from the standpoint of having much more platform and UI-toolkit independence ("UI toolkit" referring to WinForms, WPF, Cocoa, GTK, etc.). Please do not inquire further though, as we'd just be spinning our wheels with speculation ... I have yet to write any Mac code, even "hello world". But I'll at least admit that a native Mac version is desirable.

Today, on May 20th, Rick Brewster made an interesting revision to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). The revision, as seen above, lead me to speculation about additional features Paint.NET would have on a Mac, mainly concerning the dock and other functionality. So, as such, I have decided to open this thread for discussion of features that you would like to see for a Mac port of Paint.NET.

Mods, if you find this thread goes against what was said in the FAQ, please feel free to lock away


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Speculation indeed.

Personally, I'm happy for this topic to continue, only as long there is a clear notice in the first post - better still, the topic title - that this is purely based on muse and concept than confirmed fact or rumour: we don't want people jumping prematurely to the wrong conclusion. Rick has made clear his position on the Mac notion.

With all that said, I'm more than happy to be overruled by another mod or Rick himself may the need to arise.

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I dunno on what point particularly, I just wanted to overrule you. :P

If for some unholy reason Rick sees fit to extend the glory of Paint.NET to the Mac system, I think it should stay the same program, just with a flouncy shell around it. I don't see the reasoning behind having different features in it, other than those that are to retain Mac interface consistency - like Photoshop on Mac (or The GIMP anywhere), the interface would have to be a mess of windows strewn about on the desktop. If the toolbars are kept as an integrated part of the main canvas window, then the tabbed image switcher could stay, but if they're made like most Mac toolbars (designed to appear as separate windows when needed and disappear when not), then the image chooser would probably become a separate vertically-scrolling list (vertical would be better for a stand-alone window because most monitors are widescreen these days so horizontal space is ample).

So, as I see it, a program is a program is a program, regardless of where it's run. Other than changes to coincide with the sloppy interface the "artistic" Mac community seems to prefer, I don't think the program should differ in any great way.

I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance;

I am an organism, an animal, a creature, I am a beast.

~ Becoming the Archetype

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It'll be like having spinner rims on a Ford Fiesta.


The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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It's interesting, because I've always been "against" non-Windows versions of Paint.NET because they would have represented a significant time cost and I didn't see much of an advantage in terms of, for example, growing the user base. Macs are still at 8% or so, but growing. But, here's the kicker: in the subset of users who are interested in downloading something like Paint.NET, I'd estimate that 20% of them would like to use it on a Mac! It's all about which slice of the market you're interested in. Adobe would not continue to develop Photoshop on the Mac if they were not getting a significant return on their investment.

Aside from that, a non-Windows version of Paint.NET is desirable from an engineering standpoint. It would force me to write more "platform agnostic" code, and to do a proper front-end/back-end separation. This then opens the door to all sorts of other features -- if you imagine the GUI of Paint.NET as simply a "shell", then what's to prevent you from writing another shell? For example, a command-line interface. Or a web-driven interface. Or etc. etc. Once you get to this type of separation it's also not far of a leap to consider things like GPU rendering, or other types of distributed rendering. I'm actually in the process right now of doing a bunch of research and prototyping to find the ideal engineering design to accommodate this. Do not take this as a feature promise though :)

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html


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Yes, all of it is very interesting indeed. It would also bring a lot of attention from more outside developers if more of Paint.NET is customizable. I know that I for one would be modding Paint.NET like crazy (Heh, as if I havent ;) ) and it would also possibly create the leverage for Paint.NET to overcome The GIMP in say v5.0 or something. I dunno, everything is still in the air at this point.

@Sabrown: Probably. I have always thought about converting Paint.NET to Java or something just to see how it would all work out.


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...and it would also possibly create the leverage for Paint.NET to overcome The GIMP in say v5.0 or something.

Heck, If PDN were to go Multiplatform In release 4.0, downloads will have doubled before 4.2! A least, I suspect that...

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