Breezer 2013 Release Candidate is out!

Today we are proud to announce the release candidate of Breezer 2013! There is some work to do, but our testers give us the green light for the release!

We call it: the fall edition.

What we've done since beta 7

I try to summarize:

  • Stability, predictability, usability. The entire staff (developers, testers and the support staff) put all the energies to make this release more stable and to fix every user interface inconsistency we found.
  • Fix every hard-to-replicate bug. It's a tiring job we know, but we receive many feedbacks about errors which prevent Breezer to run correctly, or at all. We contact each tester to find out what's going on on their workstations and we finally solved every bug we were aware of.
  • Improve browsing and previewing experience. We know since Breezer 2012 that some audio cards (especially the chipset-integrated found in laptops) behave differently, causing clicks, pops, misalignment and such problems, we tried to mitigate those problems with a new option (found in the options window) which, when active, tells Breezer to be more gentle with the audio card. Obviously turning on this option has a small performance impact.
With this release we also updated the user interface with the final theme which is more clear and easy on the eyes.

Looking forward

We already shifted the beta time bomb (since beta 6) to 1st january 2014, so you have plenty of time to check it out. In the meantime we hope to release Breezer 2013 on 23 November 2013. I'll keep you update here and via our Facebook page.

Also we confirm here that both Express and Pro editions will use a per-user licensing scheme, which means that the license we sent to you (simply a text file) could be used to activate any number of workstations you may have. We think this is a more fair licensing scheme, obviously each license is watermarked so any abuse could be tracked, and the license revoked.

For the most curious one a complete list of what we've done is here

You could download RC bits here.

Suzy Rossi
Revel Software - Relations

What happens?

Since March we didn’t post anything here and we know that many of you are waiting for the first beta of Revel Breezer 2013 and want to know what happens, we stayed in touch with you thru this blog, Facebook an forums even within few days after the earthquake (which destroyed our offices) so what happened?

Focusing on what matters

First of all we can officially inform you that Revel reView 2012 and Revel BringBack 2013 found a new home. We decided to sell the IP and rights to another company which, we are sure, and we got a precise commitment, will continue to develop and improve them in the future. We make that decision because we want to deliver the best sample library manager for Windows, and we want to do it with our users, listen to their needs and focus on what matters. You know, we’re a small dev company so the passion is our driving force.

We decided to keep in-house Revel Ignito 2010 because is one of the most important piece of Breezer: the tagging/meta engine. So we didn’t let it go.

As you may imagine, during the negotiation we cannot talk about it, and even more we cannot share any information about our strategic decisions. We even stop the site update. Now we take the opportunity here to say: please excuse us!

One of the driving force behind our products was (and is) the direct contact with users, their feelings and feedbacks, so that silence had, and will have a cost. Many of you were very disappointed and we understand that.

Since users are our first priority technical support to all customers who have purchased, or will purchase, a license of reView up to June 2013 will get tech support until the end of 2013 then our staff will divert requests to the purchasing company. For business customers extended support, which means QFE (quick fix engineering support) will continue till 30 June 2014.

Ok, and now where is Breezer 2013?

First of all we got the final UI, please see below. Obviously during alpha, and beta stage we eill tweak it a little (more clear and polished) but it is near the final stage.

Click to see full size

Fully scalable and vector UI

Many users with giant monitors asked us: "please, please make that button bigger, the text bigger, this icon bigger etc." now you could scale the UI up or down as you like. With that solution, we satisfy laptop users as well as studio users with multiple monitors and usually quite far from their point of view. Every icon was converted from bitmap to vector so you do not loss any clarity, we’re working on text clarity.

In the screen capture you could also see the redesigned options window.

Wave annotation support

A friend of us work for a big broadcaster which works mostly with interviews and very long samples so he need a way to add a text note where needed (as many other radio users). You may say “hey wave files had riff metadata for that” which is, of course, true, but remember that we need to support, WMA, MP3, AIFF, REX and more formats looking forward. A nice plus (thanks to Ignito, the underlining database engine) is that annotations can be shared across the network, if the database file is on a network disk.

Other improvements

Here you'll find a short list of other changes or features:

+ File/folder cut, copy, paste, delete and move (via drag'n'drop) features. Be carefull when playing with those things.
+ Standalone layered player, it can work without Breezer active.
+ Windows XP 32 or 64 bit compatible (report if not).
+ A database manager with diagnostic and backup tools.
+ Handling of WMA files (experimental).
+ Tons of fixes in the playback engine.
+ Standard MSI installer (bye bye clickonce). So your preferred uninstaller will work as expected.
+ Built-in news feed support and auto update. Here we need your help to test it.
+ Better error reporting system (bye bye email) now we have a cloud service which handles error reports and updates.
+ Refined user interface and many typo errors were fixed.
+ Improved activation dialog.
+ Faster note detection both in the layered player and Breezer.
+ Redesigned options window, now much more clear.
+ Windows 7 taskbar progress and jump list support.
+ Since the tag library can be quite big we added a full text search feature inside the tree.
+ New play from the middle option.

Also internally we've automated many processes so we can deliver faster and without common errors a new release.

Looking forward

We have tons of other things that we want to share with you but the main two areas in the coming weeks where we will work on:

1) Upgrade the site, which will be much more clear, modern and useful. Also looking forward we have a collaborative space where anyone could suggest a feature or signal a bug in our software.

2) Kick out the first Breezer 2013 Alpha. Too many things slowed the development (see above) and we're excited to launch it.

That's all for today. Hope that we've clarified the situation.

Best regards,
Suzy Rossi

Breezer 2013 Series - The renewed user interface

Ok, we know, we had a good user interface, easy to use and beautiful. Over a year of users feedback confirm just that. So how to improve it? Where we need to work more? How we can accomodate tons of new features in the same space? Those are few questions that drive ou UI development work.

Fortunately we have a good UI designer here [promo message: our boss] which come up with some good ideas taken from Microsoft's new "Metro design language".

IMPORTANT: REMEMBER THAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT AN ALPHA VERSION SO THINGS WILL CHANGE AND IMPROVE. THAT POST IS ONLY ABOUT THE IDEAS BEHIND THE NEW UI NOT ABOUT THE DETAILS.

The toolbar

More features means more buttons, links, controls and such and since the beggining of Breezer 2013 development we fill the toolbar with tons of them but from the telemetry (usage reports sent by our users) we discover that some are rarely used while others needs more attention from us.

The first change you'll notice is that the buttons losts their border (aka chrome) this is consistent with new UI design trends and this small change makes easy for us to add two more command row. In those two additional rows we put the rarely used commands. Thanks to the telemetry from our users we choose for example to move the options and about button (rarely used) to a more discrete position.

To reduce workspace chaos we add two child menus: views to switch between Folder, Tag or Hybrid view and widgets under which you'll find every external window like the layered player or the harmonics anlyzer. When you don't need those menus just click again their button an they will disappear.

The redesigned toolbar

The context menus

We take the opportunity to redesign our context menus because we have many new commands to put in place somewhere (like the new cut, copy and paste commands) in the file/folder view and elsewhere.

The reorganized context menu

We reorganize also the previewing options switches. Now you can switch on or off them with just a right click, anywhere in the workspace. In Breezer 2012 you must go under the program options and/or do a right click on the player controls, quite counter-intuitive.

We fix also an annoying bug which sometimes prevents the context menu commands to work, they appear in gray, as if they where disabled. This will never happen again with Breezer 2013.

The folder and file view

Another area where we work hard was the file and folder views. We spent a lot of time on those boxes because they are the two parts of the workspace which are most used by anyone who use Breezer. Both needs to be fast (I'll discuss the performance improvements in a separate post) and clear.

The folder view was redesigned from the ground up to be more intuitive and readable. We increase the text size and hot-track color contrast and we introduce a new feature called parent-tracking which (when you put your mouse over a folder) highlights every parent folder, so you have a clear view of where the current folder is. You need to see that feature in action to appreciate it.

With Breezer 2013 we want to make things clear and one long time user Solaris (he follow us since the first alpha) ask us to introduce another feature related to the folder view. He want to hide forever a particular folder (how many, you decide) why? When browsing a network store of 20 TB (I'm not kidding) you have tons of folders and 90% of them have nothing to do with his music-production work. With Breezer 2013 he will just right-click on the "Invoices" folder and choose "hide". If one day he will take a look to his invoices he could go under the program options and re-enable it.

As a last note if you need more screen real estate you can show or hide folder/file icons directly under the program options.

Delay, echo, bpm and note calculator

The BPM tap pad

Another area where we improve over Breezer 2012 is the BPM tap pad that allows you to find out how many bpm has a sample. In 2013 edition we added a note-delay calculator. how to use it? Just enter the bpm of the song you're working on and it will give you the length in milliseconds for several note values then you can set your delays, pre-delays, reverb etc... It will also calculate the Hertz modulation for each note value too!

Great tool for setting modulation effects like Tremolo, Vibrato and... oh yeah, LFO's! All in a compact and super-easy-to-use widget.

Please note that the user interface is not mature so expect some changes in the future.

Your workspace, your style

Breezer 2013 allows you to apply a custom background image to the workspace (and you can adjust it's opacity as well as other opptions) as shown below.

This may seem only a subtle change, but is a change that allows you to make your copy of Breezer unique!

Putting all together

So how does look like the new user interface? here is it. 

How Breezer 2013 looks like

In the end

I haven't the time to explore deeply every change, so I write down only a short list of the most important:

  • We commisioned a new set of icons. High-contrast, clean and easy to read.
  • Show or hide file and folder icons. Need more space? just hide them.
  • Folder tree mouse hot-tracking. Moving your mouse over a folder to highlight its parent path.
  • We have redesigned the layered player which now uses only icons (no more text buttons).
  • The options window was heavily reorganized to make things more clear.
  • No more annoying scrool bars, you will se a scroolbar only when you need them.
  • Full Windows 7 Task bar support.

I hope that this post will stimulate a constructive discussion. Tell us what do you think and if you have any suggestion use the "comment" button below! We will take care to evaluate each suggestion.

Regards,
Umberto Giacobbi and Michael Sclepp - Revel Software

 

 

 

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Founded in 2002 Revel Software is a dev lab now focused on delivering an affordable and complete sample library manager for Windows.

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