OK, the Adobe people urgently need to fix their buggy software. As much as I am a fan of Lightroom, as much I am a fan of usable software. And Lightroom 1.1 is currently not such a software. While Adobe fixed a lot of bugs with their 1.1 release, a number of critical bugs seem to have remained.
1. Photos fail to export
Today I wanted to export 764 photos from a wedding – urgent stuff to me because the couple was waiting for the DVD. The export process took quite long (2 hours and 10 minutes), but I was doing other exports (resizes of the images) at the same time. To my horror I found that Lightroom stopped exporting after 329 images. It just showed an error message “435 photos failed to export” without any further explanation at the end of the whole process, i.e. after 764 images.
Huh? They can’t be serious about this one. This is critical. I think that IF an image fails to export, they should (a) mention the reason for the failure, and (b) offer to abort the process immediately, maybe with a button offering to “ignore this error for this export”. It is not acceptable to show a progress bar as if nothing had happened, and then tell the truth about the problem to the user at the very end. No, this does not work.
By the way, restarting the computer and re-starting a single export process for the “Error Images” has apparently solved the problem. If the problem was caused by the three exports running at the same time, I suggest that Adobe removes this feature until the software is solid enough to handle multiple export processes at the same time.
2. Database corrupted?
Whenever LR reminds me to backup the database, I usually click “Backup” and wait the few seconds until it has finished. The last successful backup was done on 13/08. Now, the last few days I clicked the backup message away, as I was a bit under pressure. However, LR kept reminding and asking me upon startup. And when I finally wanted to do the backup I clicked “Backup” (with the default “check integrity” checkbox checked), all I got was the error message:
“Lightroom was unable to back up Lightroom Catalog.lrcat. The catalog file you attempted to back up is corrupt and cannot be used by Lightroom.”
To me, frankly, this sounds ultimately scary, resulting in nightmares of all my work being lost. However, Lightroom appears to be working fine, once I press OK > Continue. All the images seem to be there, including the most important recent images!
The Undo function is still not fully working correctly. This is more than just an annoyance because it leaves you with unpredictable results. You better use “Undo” as the last retreat, because you never know how many steps are actually undone by the software. I’d say in 90% of the cases the feature works as intended (i.e. just the last step is undone), however in 10% of the cases any number of steps were undone, including those changes other images you have done before the current image. Not acceptable.
4. The Tab Key
The Tab key is still not working like it should in Development. I can jump from “Temp” to “Tint” to “Exposure” to “Recovery” back and furth without problems, using the Tab key. However, from “Clarity” it does not jump to “Vibrance”? And from “Vibrance” it does not jump to “Saturation”! In fact, the cursor does jump somewhere (it does not stay at the current text entry field). Same with Noise Reduction. I can not jump from “Luminance” to “Color”! Instead Lightroom jumps from “Luminance” directly to “Sharpness Amount” (skipping “Color”). Stupid.
5. Grabbing the focus
And then, why the heck is Lightroom grabbing the application focus while exporting images? I open the Windows Explorer to see which files have exported to the disk already, but Lightroom keeps pushing itself to the foreground, blocking the view on the Explorer window. This silly bug can be bypassed by actively putting Lightroom to the background, but I think a software should not grab the focus when another application has been launched by the user. I admit that this is more an annoyance than the bugs mentioned before. (Apparently, Lightroom does not always do this, so I am wondering what the heck is going on with my installation?)
So, while Adobe seems to be on a good way, it still has a lot of work to do. I am waiting for Lightroom 1.2. It took about four months from 1.0 to 1.1. So 1.2 might be out by end of October. Let’s hope they get their act together this time.
Update: Adobe engineer Dan Tull has left a comment to this post, explaining that they had a drop (an intermediate software release) that fixed additional bugs. And he offers his help to fix the database problem. Now, that’s what I call customer service.
Update II: Lightroom 1.2 is available. Read my review.