Breezer 2013 RC 8 is out

26. October 2013 13:39 by Administrator in Breezer 2013  //  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

Today we are proud to release another major update to Breezer 2013, the number eight to be precise.

This time we focus on what our users asked. Better usability and stability. The entire user interface gone under review first by us, and then our testers. From the feedback we received, we think the results are good. 

Widgets and commands reorganization

We grouped and reorganized most of the commands, unified the file metadata panel and the waveform view, inside a tabbed panel placed below what matters: your library. The panel itself can be collapsed or resized as needed, maximizing the space available for your files. 

Thanks to this reorganization, we could introduce a new workspace layout called “Files only”. As it name states in this mode the file list fills the workspace entirely. The file list has another new feature that in Breezer 2012 passed quite unnoticed, the file list incremental search. Start typing inside the small search box and Breezer will highlight matched files directly in the list, useful when your search returns hundreds of files or when digging into very big folders.

Keyboard shortcuts

While working on the UI we also re-organized and increased the number of keyboard shortcuts available. See the attached document for a complete list of them. The most welcome will be surely the ALT+Number gesture, which make easier than ever to switch between favourites. For example, press ALT+3 keys, Breezer will switch immediately to favourite number three. It works with up to nine favourites, and remember that you could reorder or edit them under the program options.

What we fix

We work hard with our users and testers to solve some bugs introduced with the last RC release.

The bigger one are:

  • Sometimes Breezer crashes with an "Infinite loop detected" error.
  • Problems with REX files playback.
  • Solved an ASIO sound driver detection bug (Breezer can't see ASIO devices).
  • Pin folders to favourites, now you could add an arbitrary paths, like \\myserver\myshare. Breezer will pin that folder to favourites and will quickly available.

Also we do a little more fixing a couple of bugs. For a complete list of what we've done in this release read the release notes.

Looking forward

Next update will focus on stability and UI/workflow cleanness. Another thing we hope to integrate is our auto-update engine, very important to us, because we want make sure that you have always the latest bits.

Another interesting news is that contacts are underway with VST plugin makers to see if we could add to Breezer (after final release) an industry standard EBU 128/K-Meter plugin.

Q&A time

We take the opportunity to answer to some questions that we received in the last few weeks, because we think that the answers below could be of some interest for many of you.

Q: I'm organizing my library with Breezer 2013, with final version I could use the same database or it will change?
A: The database format will stay the same. That was a precise choice done when we released the first beta.

Q: When Breezer 2013 final will be released, it will be priced the same as Breezer 2012?
A: We do not know the pricing strategy for sure prices will stay in the "affordable" area (< 100€).

Q: If I purchase Breezer 2012 I can upgrade for free to Breezer 2013
A: No, we plan a discounted price for existing customers, but not a free upgrade.

Q: When Breezer 2013 final will be available?
A: In January 2014

You could download RC bits here.

Suzy Rossi
Revel Software - Relations

 

Attached files:

Revel Breezer 2013 - Keyboard shortcuts.pdf (285.29 kb)

Breezer 2013 demo backgrounds location

19. June 2013 14:25 by Administrator in   //  Tags: , , , , , ,   //   Comments

 

Many asked us where to find the backgrounds we use in our Breezer 2013 demos, like the one you see above. Well if you have installed the beta you alredy had them. They are in the "Installation folder/Backgrounds".

To find the installation folder the fast way is to go in the Options > Tools > Open program location this command opens a Windows Explorer window where Breezer was installed.

 

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

Revel BringBack, first beta online!

9. September 2012 16:51 by Administrator in BringBack  //  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

Within hours we will release to the public the first beta of Revel BringBack, the start menu for Windows 8.

Freely downloadable by anyone it is intended to be an early preview and a way for you to test our work.

Obviously this is for us a very important milestone. We have some issues to deal with like some problems with mouse right-click, the configuration UI which is not polished and more... but we decide to go as we already use it on our workstations.

What is BringBack

Revel BringBack is not a copy of the good old start menu. We kept the philosopy of the Windows 7 menu, but we've improved in many ways. For example:

  • True, modern and clear metro-inspired UI
  • Zero-hack approach, which means that we cooperate with windows rather than hijacking the system.
  • Resuse of existing Windows features, like Windows search, the application and document usage statistics and more.
  • Integration with the task bar with clear, supported, Microsoft API (read deskband interfaces which were around since Windows 2000 era).
  • Recent document grouping (by type, like pictures, applications, documents, source code files etc) and real time search whithin them, just click inside the menu and start typing to see it in action.
  • Full drag'n'drop support to/from the start menu. As an example you could drag any item out of the start menu to the desktop. You could also reorder items with friendly and intuitive drag'n'drop gestures.
  • Gpu accelerated rendering.

What we expect

As usual, we expect a great amount of feedback from the community about errors, glitches, UI inconsistencies and feature requests. So don't be afraid to share your thoughts with us via email or via our contact form. Your contribute will help us to deliver a better and useful start menu!

Please remember that this is beta software, an unfinished product, not refined so expect some bugs or inconsistencies. We've integrated an automatic error reporting system, so please when requested send us the error report. This will help us to better track down the bug and solve it.

Also you could help us by sharing on forums, facebook, voice or by any other means Revel BringBack.

Important: integrate BringBack with Windows taskbar

On some systems Windows will incorrectly resizes BringBack start button (only the first time you show it). To help you we've prepared a short video which will explain how to show and hide the start button, as well as how to resize it.

What's next

In the next two months we will work to resolve all the know problems and we will improve the application following user's feedback.

Last part of the work will be an heavy optimization targeted on speed and memory comsumption. We hope to deliver the final product by the end of october.

Lastly thank you in advance for your support and interest in Revel BringBack.

 

Go to: Revel BringBack Download page

 

Regards,

The BringBack team

 

Breezer 2013 Series - File tagging

One of the most requested feature (and to be honest since the first beta) was to support file tagging and rating.

We cannot deliver it for the V1 timeframe because we knew that such feature, done in the right way, was just too big for us. We need to introduce a database [and thanks to Ignito  that was a quite easy task], the user interface must be reworked and everything needs to be tested again.

We do an internal review of what we want and what our user base wants, then we propose our plan to the most active Breezer professionals to get their feedback. Then we come up with that list:

  • The tag library must be hierarchical. We think that a plain linear structure was not the optimal way to go.
  • No limits on the number of tags that a file could accept.
  • Keep things simple and fast!
  • Support for keyboard gestures (click to add a tag to selection and ctrl+click to remove a tag from the same selection) and full drag'n'drop support.
  • Multi-user and networked studio ready.

Those are all must-be-done features which means that Breezer 2013 must support all of the above. If we miss one we will delay the product launch.

Now let's go to analyze each of the above points.

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.

Hierarchical structure

Everybody knows that a flat, one-level structure is not the best way to organize anything. For over thirty years we're using a parent/child folder structure, so:

  • People knows how to deal with such structures [read: more user friendly].
  • Since those paradigm was out for so long and it has proved to be an effective way for organizing things why change?

Revel Breezer Tag hierarchy

Nonetheless our competitors (both on mac or Windows) don't use that approach or they limit the structure to 3-4 (hard-coded) levels. Instead we choose a hierarchical approach so you can organize your tags in a standard folder structure like Windows explorer does.

To clarify, take a look at the right image. Here we have a Quality tag with five child, a Type tag with various instruments types and under the Drums tag I've just created a New tag, which I use later. Nice.

As you can see Breezer can organize the tag library into folders, and group them by genre, file format, your personal quality standards, by producer or company, or whatever you want. You choose.

To keep things simple we do not distinguish between folders or tags. Each tag can be naturally also a parent for any number of child.

The management of those parent/child relations is very easy, just drag'n'drop a tag over another one to make it a child of it, drag out to make it a parent. 

I forget to say that a tag is color coded so you could apply a color to it and spot immediately.

Library limits

Thanks to Ignito (our object-relational mapper) and the underlying database (SQL Server Compact) we could support tag hierarchies of any depth and an unlimited number of tags for a file with excellent performances.

Obviously there's a system-memory limit but it's hard to believe that someone could need thousand of tags for file. Apart the system memory limitation, there's another problem with such capability. How we could easily manage an unlimited number of tags for a file in the user interface?

We do many tests, with different layouts. The most promising one seemed to be a tag-bar next to each file name where the user can see the tags attached to each file.

We play a little with this approach and we found that was not sufficient we need more to control the "filter by tag" feature. So we introduce another concept that we call "tag-bar".

The tag bar

Just below the file view we put the tag-bar which contains the tags selected and used to filter the view. Below you can see an early preview of it.

 

The main purpose of it is to make easy for you to see what is the current filter and manipulate it.

Keyboard gestures

Now i spend two words on another feature of Breezer that helps (a lot) with the tag selection and manipulation. As we said with the tag bar you could build an impressive filter by adding and removing tags. Nice, but how? With drag and drop? Too time-consuming and complex. Can we find another way to do it? We solved that problem with keyboard gestures.

The concept is very easy. In Breezer two little keyboard buttons gives a different meaning to a click.

For example when you're in the tag library:

Gesture Effect
Click The tag bar will be cleared out of any tag. Automatically the one you've clicked in the library will be added to the filter.
CTRL+Click The clicked tag, if included in the tag bar, will be removed from it.
SHIFT+Click The clicked tag will be added to the tag bar.

The same concept applies to the tag bar, for example a CTRL+Click on a tag will remove it.

Add or remove tags to a file

To add or remove a tag from one (or more) files is just a drag'n'drop operation. Choose a tag from the tag library and drag it over a file or a file selection, and drop it to tag the files. The same concept of keyboard gestures is available here: holding down the CTRL key when you drop the tag

To clarify everything take a look of how the workspace appears now:

Multi-user and network support

Another nice to have (and sometimes a deal-breaker one) is the possibility to "share" the tag library among many users. That means that if you're working in a group every tag, added, removed or altered in any way will be updated instantly to every workstation. This is a huge time-saver feature, because anyone can improve the tag library and be sure that the changes will be available to everyone in the team.

This feature is very easy to implement. Just copy the database file to a network share, point Breezer to it (see image below) and, boooom! you're done!

Regarding the tag database, we choose to give you the maximum control, and access, to your data. For that reason we choose to use a standard database format (SQL Server compact form Microsoft) and to not encrypt anything. That means that you could even extract your data to a custom report if you want to.

OK, for now, that's all folks! The next time I will introduce you to some of the [many] performance improvements we've right now.

Best regards,
Michael Sclepp - Revel Software

 

P.S. Don't forget to take a look at those previous posts:

 

 

 

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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