Nautilus & Gtk+ status – 1 year of progress


Today I was having a rough time thinking on how to implement the new GtkPathBar, which is taking more time and frustration than expected given some technological limitations on animations in gtk+ and that responsive design is technologically hard to do.

In the middle of these thoughts, I realized that I was actually discussing these big plans about responsive design for gtk+ with Georges Stavracas, my former GSoC student. I was actually discussing with someone big plans about Nautilus and gtk+. I couldn’t do that 1 year ago, because Georges was not there. Although Cosimo, previous main maintainer of Nautilus, is *always* there if we need him and he reviewed/helped with high impact changes, but he is involved in multiple projects and I personally don’t want to take much of his time.

That made me think about the progress in contributors and technology that Nautilus and gtk+ has made in 1 year. And realized how much it changed, and how good it has become.

In one year Nautilus went from 1 main contributor, me, to 5 regular contributors. That’s really impressive! Not only that, two of these regular contributors are going to be GSoC students this year for Nautilus, congrats Alex and Razvan!

These contributors are random people that got attracted by Nautilus and GNOME and all the plans we have for the project, and I believe we all agree we are having fun chatting around in #nautilus IRC channel, which kinda helps :). They have some specific areas that they are more expert with, and I ask them to review small patches or to discuss some ideas I had for those areas, and usually, my ideas need notorious adjustments, and my patches, changes in the code.

They triage bugs, fix crashes, improve small details all people complain about, do performance improvements, etc. Just today one of these regular contributors improved the copy operation of files in the order of ten times.

No one can imagine how good is for a project like Nautilus to have different developers contributing and reviewing both code and ideas. For one year, I was doing changes freely, and that, even if I try my best, it’s not ideal.

This applies to gtk+ as well. As said, with Georges we share similar areas of responsibility in gtk+, and we discuss and push together for plans we believe are good for the toolkit, so we became contributors to gtk+. Also, it’s important to highlight that gtk+ improved exponentially in the last year, and we have a much more consistency in the code,  that will eventually allow all the big plans we have planned for gtk+, like animations, responsive design, etc.

In conclusion, as far as I can see the development status of Nautilus it’s in its best moment since it was created, and part of that is thanks of the status of gtk+ development and the values and vision of GNOME as a project.

The day ended well after all.