SimpleMovieX and Snow Leopard (update)

Update 9 October: SimpleMovieX 3.9.2 is out!

Version 3.9.2 that runs on Snow Leopard is just a few hours away!

I will have missed the end-of-month deadline by a couple of days, because I had underestimated the changes that Snow Leopard is bringing. Let’s review the main points:

64 bit:
SimpleMovieX cannot compile in 64 bit because legacy QuickTime APIs are not available (only Cocoa QTKit).
For 64-bit apps using legacy QuickTime, a 32-bit process is automatically generated by the OS. Could be what happens in the next major release of SimpleMovieX.
The bottom line is that SimpleMovieX 3.9.2 will ship as a 32-bit Universal binary. Not a big deal.

Intel versus PowerPC:
Snow Leopard only runs on Intel Macs. Older PowerPC models can still run SimpleMovieX from Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5 (Leopard).
A small problem arises for Snow Leopard users: Some components of SimpleMovieX are still PowerPC binaries, and they will probably not migrate to Intel anytime soon. In Leopard, Rosetta, the PowerPC emulation tool, would transparently take care of this. But Rosetta is not installed by default in Snow Leopard.
Therefore, Snow Leopard users that haven’t installed Rosetta will be invited by SimpleMovieX to do so, otherwise MPEG functionality will not work. I’m referring to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 here. MPEG4 WILL work.

Supported Operating Systems:
SimpleMovieX 3.9.2 will continue supporting Mac OS X 10.4.11 and higher. There is no intention to drop 10.4 support soon, at least until new major version 4.0 comes out.

Grand Central Dispatch, OpenCL:
SimpleMovieX will take advantage of those technologies passively: GCD and OpenCL will not make SimpleMovieX perform better per se, but the OS and QuickTime can be faster and SimpleMovieX will benefit.
SimpleMovieX will require a major rewrite before it can use them directly. I believe that version 4, a paid upgrade due next year, should really take advantage of the new “state of art”.

QuickTime X:
Here Apple has done a good job confusing everybody. QuickTime X refers to a new player/editor application and also to a new framework.
The application is very limited in editing functionality. If you need anything beyond basic trimming, you will need to install QuickTime 7 application or better, use SimpleMovieX.
Framework-wise, Snow Leopard comes by default with both QuickTime X and QuickTime 7.
SimpleMovieX does not take advantage of the new framework, because of very strong limitations as of 10.6 release. QuickTime X is a work in progress that will need, I predict, 5 years or more to supplant good’ol QuickTime 7.
The bottom line for SimpleMovieX users: It is not necessary to install QuickTime 7 app in Snow Leopard (or to have a QTPro key) to make SimpleMovieX work.

Conclusion: SimpleMovieX 3.9.2 will be equivalent to earlier versions in features and performance. Snow Leopard lays the foundation for the next ten years on the Mac platform, but profound changes are needed in SimpleMovieX to take advantage of it. Version 4.0, a major release due next year, will bring the promise of those amazing new technologies.