Paint.NET v3.31 is on the way

I’m shooting to have a version 3.31 release by this Thursday, May 1st. There’s a nasty bug that’s come up in the v3.30 code base that I need to fix! The problem occurs with my use of the native Win32 API, SHGetFolderPathW(). If your Documents or Pictures folder is on a network share, and that path is unavailable (network down, haven’t typed in credentials, etc. etc.), then Paint.NET will almost certainly crash when you go to Open or Save. The fix is simple enough, of course, but this is causing a lot of headaches and an inbox full of crash logs for me.

In other news, the weather here in Kirkland is great* and I’ve got the week off. I can finally reliably finish Green Grass and High Tides in Rock Band on Expert (4 stars), and Grand Theft Auto IV comes out tomorrow.

* Well, for now … who knows what tomorrow will be like!

Paint.NET merchandise store is now open!

I signed up for a Cafepress account awhile ago but never got around to adding merchandise to it. This weekend, I finally uploaded all the images and set up the products:

The Official Paint.NET Merchandise store:
Paint.NET Merchandise Store

There are shirts, a mouse pad, mugs, stickers, buttons, hats, and a tote bag. If you have feedback on the selection, either leave a comment or join the discussion on the forum here:

Over the next week I’ll add links to the store added in other places, such as the main website. For now I’ve got the link here on the blog and on the forum. Cafepress doesn’t leave much room for profit, so this is mostly a promotional tool. Which means that if your intent is to send $20 to Paint.NET then we’re both better off if you donate directly. Purchasing a $19.99 shirt via Cafepress only nets me $1 or $2. If you want a shirt, then by all means buy one – but if you want to donate, then just donate 🙂

I’m not sure why I didn’t do this two years ago, it was rather easy to set up and the response so far has been very positive.

Paint.NET v3.30 — Final release now available!

It’s finally here! You can grab it via the built-in updater from the Help-> Check for Updates menu item, or go get it straight from the website at


Changes since v3.22:

  • New: Italian translation.
  • New: Ability to save PNG’s at 8- and 24-bit color depths.
  • New: Ability to save BMP’s at 8-bit color depth.
  • New: "Auto-detect" bit-depth option for PNG, BMP, and TGA file types. It will analyze the image and determine the lowest bit-depth that can still save the image without quality loss.
  • New: "Fragment" blur effect, by Ed Harvey
  • New: The "Polar Inversion" distortion effect has been enhanced to allow changing the rendering offset, and the behavior for "edge" pixels (clamp, reflect, or wrap).
  • New: For developers, added a Color Wheel control to IndirectUI for use in effect plugins.
  • New: For developers, added ability to customize certain properties of the effect configuration dialog via IndirectUI.
  • New: For developers, IndirectUI can now be used to write configuration UI for file types.
  • New: For developers, IndirectUI has a new radio button control type for enumerations, and some new property constraint rules.
  • Changed: Most effects and adjustments, including plugins that use IndirectUI, have been visually refreshed. The new look is cleaner and more compact. These changes are shown in more detail at
  • Fixed: Various UI issues with the Levels adjustment.
  • Fixed: When pasting text into the Text tool with Ctrl+V, it would hide the nub for moving the text.
  • Fixed: If the startup tool was set to the Zoom or Pan (Hand) tool, then the toolbar would render incorrectly.
  • Fixed: Thumbnails for PDN images now include transparency, which improves their appearance in Windows Vista.
  • Fixed: In some cases, an exponential property slider would get "stuck" at some values when using up/down keyboard keys. This mostly affects some effect plugins.
  • Fixed: When using keyboard navigation, sometimes the File menu would scroll its items out of view.
  • Fixed: Some crashes that were tracked down to out-of-bounds coordinate values in certain effects.
  • Fixed: The installer would fail if Paint.NET had never been installed before, and was being installed to any non-default directory. This bug only affected version 3.22.

Paint.NET v3.30 Release Candidate 1 is now available!

Well this has been an interesting release to push out the door … all sorts of interesting hurdles have come up including hardware threatening to fail, myself being really busy with other cool stuff at my day job, translators with food poisoning (they are better now thankfully!), and pyrochild’s computer refusing to work with a test build (pyrochild is an active and popular member of the Paint.NET forum). Have no fear though, it’s almost ready to go! I had a few code changes since Beta 2 so I decided to push out a Release Candidate instead of a "Final" build tonight. If all goes as planned, the final release will be pushed out this weekend.

As usual, you can get this build from the built-in updater (Help -> Check for Updates), or by downloading it straight off the website:

Changes since Beta 2:

  • Fixed: Various UI issues with the Levels adjustment.
  • Fixed: When pasting text into the Text tool with Ctrl+V, it would hide the nub for moving the text.
  • Fixed: If the startup tool was set to the Zoom or Pan (Hand) tool, then the toolbar would render incorrectly.
  • Changed: Enabled some compiler settings which improve security via support for DEP (/nxcompat), and Windows Vista’s Address Space Layout Randomization feature (ASLR) (/dynamicbase).

As an aside, on April 1st the GIMP website had an interesting version of the Wilber image, and I have adopted it for my forum avatar for the time being …

Validating .NET/RESX translations easily with LINQ-to-XML

One of the tools I finally decided to sit down and write was a "ResXCheck" utility. RESX files hold the string resources for many .NET programs, including Paint.NET. At build time, these are compiled into a binary format and then stored in a DLL, or a RESOURCES file (Paint.NET uses the latter). The binary format is simply more efficient to access at run-time, and resgen.exe can even be used to convert between the two formats.

Essentially, a RESX is an XML files with a big list of name/value pairs. I will refer to these as string names, and string values. The XML looks like this:

<data name="GradientTool.HelpText">
  <value>Click and drag to start drawing. Holding shift constrains the angle. Right mouse button reverses colors.</value>
<data name="GradientTool.HelpText.WhileAdjusting.Format">
  <value>Offset: {0}{1} x {2}{3}, Length: {4} {5}, Angle: {6}°. Holding other mouse button will move both nubs.</value>

The RESX files for translations are in the same format and should have all the same string names. The <value> elements should have different text in them however (it should be translated!). At runtime, both the translated and original RESOURCES files are needed — the latter is used as a "fallback" in case a string is not defined in the translation. Whether this is an error is up to your translation process and resource loader code. Sometimes you want that behavior, such as if you have the base "EN" (English) translation and then some strings must vary for "EN-US" (U.S. English) or "EN-GB" (British English). You can store common string definitions in "EN", although usually it is better to completely duplicate the content, and use a tool to maintain the duplication.

Having worked with RESX files on Paint.NET and elsewhere, the following problems come up:

  1. You could use the same string name twice. The RESX compiler will simply grab one of them, either the first or the last (I can’t remember). This is a problem if you go to update a string later and you change the wrong one. Then, your changes might not show up in the main program and you won’t know why. And you’ll have a heck of a time figure it out.
  2. A translation could be missing some string names. If this happens, generally the fallback text (usually English) will show up. That is probably not the desired behavior, although in Paint.NET there are a few places where it’s okay. Translating a technical acronym for a pixel format, such as "A8R8B8G8", isn’t really necessary.
  3. A translation could have extra string names defined. This is likely to happen if strings are removed from the original RESX, but the translation hasn’t been updated yet. This will not cause any errors, it is just extra cruft that can accumulate if you don’t pay attention (most professional translation teams have tools which handle this case automatically).
  4. A string value could have "malformed" formatting tags. In the XML listed above, the second text has formatting tags such as {0} through {6}. These represent values which must be supplied at runtime by the application. There are two hazards here. One is that you could have formatting that String.Format(…) doesn’t like, such as having a { without a closing }, or vice versa. The other hazard is if a translation defines extra formatting tags, such as if a {7} was added above. Then your application will crash when it goes to apply formatting to that string. This is mostly a problem when strings have not yet been updated for a newer version. The translation may define fewer formatting tags, and this may or may not be an error. You may have a formatting tag that represents a piece of text that is not necessary to display in a particular translation.

Luckily, all of these can be checked for with some simple automation, which is what I have done with ResXCheck. I will be including its code in the next Paint.NET source code drop (for v3.30), and plan to tag it as "public domain" (just the utility, not Paint.NET itself). In the mean time, here’s a little utility function that can help you load a RESX and convert it to an IEnumerable of type KeyValuePair<string, string> (duplicate string names are not removed — this is important for being able to check #1 above).

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Xml.Linq;
using System.Xml.XPath;

// Given a file name for a RESX, returns a non-consolidated list of string name/value pairs.
IEnumerable<KeyValuePair<string, string>> FromResX(string resxFileName)
    XDocument xDoc = XDocument.Load(resxFileName);

    var query = from xe in xDoc.XPathSelectElements("/root/data")
                let attributes = xe.Attributes()
                let name = (from attribute in attributes
                            where attribute.Name.LocalName == "name"
                            select attribute.Value)
                let elements = xe.Elements()
                let value = (from element in elements
                             where element.Name.LocalName == "value"
                             select element.Value)
                select new KeyValuePair<string, string>(name.First(), value.First());

    return query;

To check for duplicates, a simple query such as the following is all that’s needed:

var resx = FromResX("strings.resx");

var dupeItems = resx.ToLookup(kv => kv.Key, kv => kv.Pair)      // 1
                    .Where(item => item.Take(2).Count() > 1)    // 2
                    .SelectMany(item => item.Select(val =>      // 3
new KeyValuePair<string, string>(item.Key, val.Value));

// 1 — converts from KeyValuePair<string, string>[] to IEnumerable<IGrouping<string, string>> — essentially a list of keys, each of which has a nested list of values
// 2 — finds any key which has 2 or more values in it. the "Take(2)" is an optimization
// 3 — convert back to a list of key,value pairs (probably not necessary if you use the "T-SQL" style syntax)

You can then do a foreach() over this virtual list and print out the key,value pairs. I could have written that query using the more succinct "T-SQL" style query syntax, but I hadn’t yet learned it when I wrote that part of the code. ResXCheck was a little project I took on to force myself to learn more about LINQ. Surprisingly, it only took about 2 minutes to learn the more compact query syntax.

I’m quite happy with LINQ. It’s letting me do some powerful data manipulation with very succinct, expressive code. And it’s very simple! I’ve already found a few mistakes in my RESX files, and they will be easy to fix. This tool will also help volunteer translators who publish their translations on the forum. I know it is hard to validate these things for correctness sometimes, especially for problem #4 list above.

Oh and for fun I made the utility parallelize the processing so you can validate "N" number of translations at the same time. Sadly, on my quad-core box it only dropped the validation time from 560 milliseconds down to 300. If I only have 50 more translations, then I could really stress it! 🙂