Status update on my software decision - scale tipping to Cinemar...

Dean, would you entertain a little barter? i do some Q/A for you in exchange for a free license? I have lost work i did a few times because i closed the window and at the save prompt, the cancel button is missing... standard is Yes/No/Cancel, interface editor prompts have only yes/no. I clicked the far right button twice out of habbit (wanting to go back and check the work i did) of course that is not cancel as i've been used to since the 90s - so i lost my stuff...

When adding widgets, the window gives only done/revert... (again save/cancel at a minimum would be the standard). You must click "Done" to leave the window - not intuitive nor good (true in other areas too like window manager) Worst thing here is that for example, is the Inc/Dec widget... If you open the properties, you can't cancel by clicking "done" until you fill in the "string field" - users need the ability to cancel their navigation.

and more really minor stuff:
In the file menu, you should be able to select last few accessed files/interfaces...
Help menu should offer a link to doc be it online or stored in the install, not just "about"
context menu item on widgets/templates should be called properties not attributes for consistency in my opinion...


thx
-brad


if no chance for such barter, that's ok - i hope this is helpful.... i really am interested in helping you guys see the pros and cons and areas for improvement and not being a jerk. If no ones said anything yet about these issues, i'm surprised. I can't get on David so much because their editing interface is totally not a standard SDI enclosed window at all (which i am not advocating either!) :unsure:
 
You probably want to read the Action Guide in the Learn -> Technical Documents section at this point. It will explain the most fundamental concepts of CQC and how you make things happen. Once you understand those concepts, everything basically works the same way. The very, very short version is:

Every device has attributes that have names. Somewhere inside that box there's a thing called Volume and the box exposes a thing for you change the value of Volume and see the value of Volume. CQC models devices in the same way. Every driver exposes the functionality of a device as a set of named attributes that you can read and/or write. Those attributes are called 'fields'. So if you want to make things happen, the most fundamental operation is to write values to the fields that make the thing happen that you want to happen. The fields available for each driver are documented on the driver documentation page for that driver (Learn tab -> Supported Devices.) Sometimes they are dynamic, i.e. they will depend on what the device offers up because of the way it's configured, and other times (most times) they are statically defined at the time that the driver is written.

Each driver has a name, called a 'Moniker' that must be unique with the CQC network and identifies that device. So if you have an A/V receiver driver with the moniker "LivingRoomAudio', you would typically see the field name as "LivingRoomAudio.Volume", indicating the field named volume in the driver named LivingRoomAudio. You can move that driver around to a different machine and so forth, but as long as you keep the same moniker, it won't matter because that's what is used to locate it. CQC is a very dynamic system, based on a technology known as an ORB. The reason this is a good thing is that such a system allows all of the 'back end' services to advertise their services to client programs in a central place. So it doesn't matter where that service lives, the clients will find it by just going to this 'name registry' and finding out where it is. There are lots of other benefits to ORBs but that is a key one for the end user.

The way you make things happen is through an 'Action', which is just a list of operations to be carried out, but it also can include logic like "Only do X if Y and Z are true". But the bulk of an action is just going to be commands. Commands are in the form:

Target::Cmd(parameter 1, parameter2, etc....)

So you choose a target (the thing you want to send the command to, such as a static text widget to show some text, or a driver to write to one of its fields), then you choose a command that that target provides, and then (if applicable) you select the parameters (the values) you want to pass to that command. So this standard scheme is used no matter whether the action is doing graphics stuff in the user interface or handling a scheduled event somewhere in a server in the background. The only thing that changes is what targets are available, because that depends on what kind of jobs need to be done.

There are a few common targets that are always present, no matter where the action is:

1. System - Common stuff like pause, text to speech, run a program, basic comparisons (<, >, ==, etc...), that kind of stuff.
2. Devices. Allows you to read and write driver fields, wait for drivers to become read, wait for a field to reach a certain value, etc...
3. Macro Engine - Just has one command currently which is to run a CML macro. This is the 'escape clause' that lets you invoke CML to do something that's just too complex to do at the action level. Generally only required for very advanced stuff.
4. Local and Global Variables - Proivdes 'scratch pad' storage of information for you to use in your actions. Locals are just for use within the action, and globals exist across actions to pass information around between them. These add a lot of power to the action system.
 
Dean, would you entertain a little barter? i do some Q/A for you in exchange for a free license? I have lost work i did a few times because i closed the window and at the save prompt, the cancel button is missing... standard is Yes/No/Cancel, interface editor prompts have only yes/no. I clicked the far right button twice out of habbit (wanting to go back and check the work i did) of course that is not cancel as i've been used to since the 90s - so i lost my stuff...

OK, I just fixed that for the next release. Another couple hundred for the free license :)
 
Brad,

I use mainlobby now. I wish that I would have given the charmed quark stuff a closer look before I spent the money. I have no idea if it is superior, but I'm not entirely happy with the cinemar stuff. You're right about musiclobby. It has not been a good interface to my music collection. It's been basically unchanged for a long time while many other new plug-ins have been introduced. Support is basically through the user forum with varied results. The graphics can look very good, but take significant time to set up anything custom. There seems to be a host of developers that come and go with ML and the effect is evident. The general feel is of software that has been developed 10 years ago. I'm not entirely unhappy with ML, but you're doing the right thing by checking each option. If it weren't for the higher cost and yearly maintenance fees, I'd try charmed quark stuff myself.
 
Batch #1 - this is my initial feedback on the admin interface - others are forthcoming, but i need to get back to chores and the kids for now...




First menu item should be File, not Administer
submenus items should have short keys
Menu items should have short keys
help contains no help file in any format
CQC field browser must use close button - "X" window navigation is disabled
CQC field browser , when minimized creates an icon outside of the MDI frame on it's own . It should either be in the MDI frame (or treated as a regular minimized and separate window on the start bar)
CQC field browser, the free text field in field info is always white/accessible/clickable even when the field accepts no value
CQC field browser, even when there are values in the free text field, you can cursor click, but can't update… confusing
CQC field browser - in conjunction with other windows veribiage is inconsistent (close here versus done/cancel)
CQC Field browser - when choosing clear triggers, no tab sequence between Yes/No confirmation buttons
CQC Field browser - when choosing clear triggers, the confirmation window exists outside the MDI… if I want to alt tab to another app, it is still on top!
CQC Field browser - In trigger window, tab sequence is only between save and first radio button. Close button is excluded
CQC field browser, in addition to the MDI frame issue, when you close the window it minimizes the entire application if in between you switched to another app
Manage Events - Add New versus Add/New in other uis
Manage events when you enter the window, can't tab through the buttons
Manage events when you enter the schedule window, it appears as though add new is the default option and has focus… should be able to hit enter, but can't
Manage events when you enter the triggered window, it appears as though add new is the default option and has focus… should be able to hit enter, but can't
Manage Events, the quick keys as indicates by button underscores do not work at all (schedule tab)
Manage Events, the quick keys as indicates by button underscores do not work at all (triggered tab)
Manage events has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Manage events should not give delete button priority over change
Manage events - set lat/long buttons have no short keys underscored
Manage events - set long / lat tab order only switches betwene accept / ad the fields, not the other buttons
Security admin - New button versus Add / Add new in others
Security admin - Close should be bottom right most button
Security Admin - reset button is not intuitive as to what its resetting, I clicked it now knowing what it would do and was told it reset my password???
Security Admin has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Security admin - why reset and not change password for users? Change is an option on file menu - should be here to
Edit key mappings - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc (for the selection window)
Edit key mappings - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc (for the main window)
Edit key mappings - tab only moves between edit button, shift / control and the key listing (not the other buttons)
Edit key mappings, button order is not intuitive… delete and close should not be given prioroty above save
System Tests - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Logs - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Logs - tab only moves between query and criteria field - other buttons are excluded
Logs - I think there should be a flush button on the log window just as there is in the menu
Logs - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Client Driver info - Remove should not have precidence over Info
Client Driver info - tab sequence only include close/driver window, not the other buttons
Client Driver info - when choosing remove, not tab sequence between Yes/No confirmation buttons
Client driver info - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Elk Ethernet Driver - no Underscored quick key on Send Changes button
Elk Ethernet Driver - no Underscored quick key on Clear Changes button
Elk Ethernet Driver - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Interface manager - "select" is not intuitive… since you can't do anything else, should prbably be view/preview?
Interface manager - has no min/max/close buttons in title bar, nor left button for close, etc
Interface manager - when choosing remove, not tab sequence between Yes/No confirmation buttons
Main Drivers MDI window - why can't windows be closed… I don't think I need to see available fields for the Elk for example everytime the backend is running
CQC Server admin - short key "C" is duplicated for close and change
CQC Server amin - tab sequence only includes Change, Verbose Log and the upper windows - all other buttons/fields excluded
CQC Server Admin - Host state and Drver state are not enterable / updatable so they should be greyes/disabled
CQC Server admin - has no min/max/close buttons in the title bar, nor left button for close, etc
CQC Server Admin - when you highlight a driver and hit enter it bring up info, even though change button has focus
CQC Server admin - when choosing remove, not tab sequence between Yes/No confirmation buttons
General - since this is an MDI window, the menu should be made dynamic such that it adds/removes related options for each chosen window as well (menu should provide the same if not more options than the buttons do)
General - since this is an MDI window, the the edit / view menus should be there
General - you shoudl not mix MDI / SDI / modal as has been done. If the driver windows are indeed kept in the MDI frame, so shoul dall others
General - inconsistence use of change / modify
General - inconsistent use of short key values (I.e. Close has both L and C)
General - inconsistent use of add/add new / new
General - inconsistent use of remove / delete
General - inconsistent use of info vs driver info
General - inconsistent use of reset / revert
 
First menu item should be File, not Administer

There are no files, so that would be a little misleading. The other stuff I'll put on the list, but they are basically nits that would take a back seat to much more meaty things that people are asking for. But they are things that can be done here and there at the end of the day to get them knocked out one by one over time.

General - you shoudl not mix MDI / SDI / modal as has been done. If the driver windows are indeed kept in the MDI frame, so shoul dall others

Yeh, it might be best to just make the field browser an MDI as well and avoid the whole issue of the secondary frame. However, one of the rasons for the current scheme is that the field browser doesn't get locked up by a modal dialog, so it remains available to browse around and look at fields and their definitions while you are working in other dialogs, which has its advantages. In the end, users could honestly give a poop about general interface design theory, and would probably prefer being able to get to the field browser any time even if it means a mix of MDI and secondary frames. Look at something like Illustrator, which is based completely on this scheme, of MDI windows for editing and a whole raft of floating secondary palette windows. It works pretty nicely.


BTW, I was kidding about the free license. We don't really give out free licenses for this kind of thing. So I wouldn't want you spending hours and hours thinking that you are working your way up to a freebie.
 
I know - i thought i'd just have a little fun :D


(good point on the MDI, i ahadn't thought of it that way... but where this was particulary an issue was in the issue noticed where i close the field browser and it minimizes the whole app...)
 
BTW, all of those 'no min/max/close' button things... Those are all dialog boxes. Dialogs generally don't have min/max buttons. You could argue for the close button, and dialogs generally have those, but just to avoid the question of whether that will do an immediate close or act like one of the buttons, I just don't put them on the dialogs. Using the buttons is unambiguous.
 
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