There are many facets of this workflow but one which can be easily "fixed" is Batch Convert. Besides of having multicore processing on it, there are other things which greatly enhance the perceived speed of publishing workflow:
Modeless Batch Processing
To see it, select some files, and with the Shift key pressed go to Tools | Batch Processing... You'll see a new tab. Now setup your settings accordingly and press 'Convert'.
The very big advantage in this scenario is that one can work / select more files for publishing, cataloging, rating / color etc. while the processing is done in background.
Some important improvements here:
- Add a menu entry. (It is NOT discoverable)
- Add a configurable shortcut. (Ctrl+Shift+U?)
- Add a dynamic caption to the tab. "Batch convert - (96% done)" (dynamicity is optional imho)
- Add another menu option called 'Add to Queue...' (a central feature in many other programs - ZPS, ASP, IDI comes in mind) which will add the current selected files to the current running batch.
As always, I'm at your disposition with clarification, implementation details etc. if someone needs.