It's been quite a while since the last update, sorry about that! A few people have been asking about the next release, so I figured I should release a new update. So here goes...
The Ponyscape project is currently on hiatus.
I am working on a new project that will be the basis for the next full version of Ponyscape. This project is a full-featured vector suite that I am building from scratch in C++ using the Qt Framework. I have yet to work out the complete details, but I will keep you all posted as to how the project is progressing. In the meantime, here's some information in an FAQ form:
Q: Why are you creating a whole new vectoring suite instead of continuing to use Inkscape? What prompted this?
A: Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Inkscape. I think it's a great piece of software and I loved working on it. Unfortunately, a lot of the codebase for Inkscape is messy and combines old coding techniques with new ones, which can get very confusing. It was a constant struggle to try to find the root cause of crashes, and changing some small things could eventually lead to the entire program being locked up or crashing completely. It was very difficult for me to receive bug reports from the Ponyscape users whose root cause was from something very deep in the code (and often not caused by any changes from my development).
A couple of things sealed the deal for me when making this decision. The latest beta of Ponyscape began having issues when a dialog was moved, and any attempt to trace the bug was futile. Additionally, while retrofitting the Objects dialog for submitting to upstream Inkscape, the blur slider began to cause random crashes which I was unable to pinpoint. Too much of the Inkscape code would need to change to get it to be clean and modular enough to a point where fixing bugs would be relatively easy. I wish the Inkscape team the best of luck and I know that they will continue to produce a solid vectoring program, but working on the codebase was too frustrating for me.
Q: Will this vector suite be free and open source?
A: Yes! I plan on releasing this project under either the LGPL, GPL v2, or a dual license as soon as I have something tangible to go off of. Once it is open sourced, if anyone would like to help contribute to it, you would be more than welcome to! I would like to keep the code in a clean, strict format though, so if you would like to join the development team you would need to have a pretty extensive understanding of C++ and code optimization (knowledge of the Qt framework and the SVG standard would help too). I may start a kickstarter for the project once there is enough work put in to demonstrate its feasibility.
Q: Why choose the Qt framework over Gtk (or any other)?
A: The Qt framework is open source and is focused on cross-platform compatibility. This means that a lot of code that would need to be specially written for Windows, Mac, or Linux can now be written in the same way for all three platforms and the Qt framework takes care of Operating System specifics. This makes the code a lot cleaner and allows the project to focus on new vector functionality instead of fixing compatibility issues. Additionally, the Qt framework is available for a lot of different platforms, including Android. It's possible that a version of this vector suite could be made for Android-based tablets (which would be really cool)!
Q: When will this be released? It sounds like it will take a long time.
A: Working on a project such as this from scratch has it's benefits in terms of a timeline. The code is very clean and organized so it is easier to expand new functionality. Working in a small development team means potentially being able to rewrite entire parts of the code if need be. Additionally, because the project is aimed at being modular, it's easy to work on individual components without necessarily disrupting others. Lastly, working on a new codebase is a refreshing breath of fresh air, and actually a motivation to continue developing new features. Hopefully I will have something which is somewhat usable within the next couple of months.
Q: What about the ponies?
A: The vector suite is going to be geared towards professional vectoring, however it will be very modular and brandable. The professional version will be released along with a Pony-branded version which will be the new Ponyscape.
So hopefully that gives you a quick update on what I've been doing and the future of Ponyscape. Once I open up the code, any suggestions for new features, user interface designs, etc. will be more than welcome!