Friday, March 10, 2023

Maps and GNOME 44

 So it's that time that occurs twice a year when we're approaching a new GNOME release, this time 44.

In Maps there's been some polish touching up some of the rough edges in 43.x (from the GTK 4 port).

For example keyboard navigation of the search results is back.

Also, the focus handling of the entry is fixed so that the quirky flickering (re-popping up the the results popover when typing a space into the search entry) is now gone.

Also thanks to Christopher Davis for fixing up the styling of the results!

We also had contributions from an anonymous user improving the style of some labels, among others the tooltips of the headerbar buttons.

Adrien Plazas has worked on making the „Export as Image“ dialog fit on phones.

Unfortunately an issue has come to our attention with the way the „go to“ animations works, resulting some times when covering large distances (for example when selecting a search result far away) that results in throttling from the tile server (HTTP 429, „too many requests”). This results in empty tiles showing up at the destination (and one needs to sometimes wait a while before Maps gets the view refreshed with new tiles (after restarting to force re-trying).

 As this results in a really bad user experience as a work-around we have disabled the animations for now (the animations when zooming is still in place, and of course panning the map view still works as usual).

I also cherry-picked this for the 43 branch, and will probably also cut a 43.4 with this change (versions prior to 43.0 is not affected, as the animations in libchamplain uses another algorithm, first zooming out „high“ (a low zoom level) before moving, resulting in less intermediate tiles compared to the “fly to“-like animations now used in libshumate.

 We will try to come up with a better solution in libshumate soon. Either reverting to an approach like that in libchamplain, or try to implement our own rate limiting of some sort during animations to avoid firing off too many requests.

 Meanwhile at the libshumate side James Westman has been busy working on the vector tile support implementing label support among other things.

He is also working on a vector tile style using the GNOME color palette in light and dark variants.

This can be trying out on

 There will also be some other things coming for the next development cycle for GNOME 45, but let's save that for next time!

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