Xtorrent 2.0 has been under intensive development recently. There have been over 40 releases since the first 2.0 builds in August. I’ve tended to mention each update to the fans on the Xtorrent Facebook page rather than on this blog, but for the sake of keeping everyone informed, I thought I’d highlight some of the more important changes made in the last few days and months.
Xtorrent 2.0 v94 is the latest feature release, bringing Quick Look support to Xtorrent. Just like in the Finder, you can hit the spacebar on any selected file in a download and it will pop up a Quick Look preview of the content. If it’s an image, you’ll see the image. If it’s an audio file or movie, it’ll start playing right within Xtorrent. Naturally, this works best when the file is completely downloaded, but for many file types it can still present a reasonable preview even if the download is still in progress.
Xtorrent 2.0 v90 saw the introduction of support for magnet: links, an emerging standard that some websites are starting to use. These are convenient because with a single click you can have Xtorrent open immediately, ready to start downloading the torrent. The problem is that these links lack any torrent metadata (the description of the files and content of a torrent), so it’s necessary to find the torrent first before any data can start to flow. However, Xtorrent’s clever design means that in most cases the torrent can be located and started within seconds.
Xtorrent 2.0 v88 added a randomize port preference and saw an overhaul of the port-mapping system, meaning the last remnants of open source code in Xtorrent (the miniupnp port mapping library) could be swept away.
Xtorrent 2.0 v85 saw the addition of a DHT (distributed hash table) system for finding peers based purely on the torrent’s unique identifier, without needing to talk to a tracker. This supplemental system for finding peers means more peers for everything – normal torrents, trackerless torrents, and torrents whose tracker is unresponsive.
Xtorrent 2.0 v77 was the first 64-bit release of Xtorrent and brought big performance benefits, especially for users on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Since then, additional optimizations for 64-bit have been added.
All along the way there has been a constant attention to performance (CPU usage, memory usage, and network speed), with the goal of having an app that runs incrementally faster every release.