Switching from Homeseer to CQC

Rustytek

Active Member
I am certainly not bashing CQC, but have you seen mainlobby? The screen's appear much more fluid, there is more than one font (this is the only thing I really don't like about CQC- this judgment is based on all the pics I have seen have the same font (I think) and it appears like an aged win 95 font). Anyway, I have only looked at pics of CQC but use mainlobby, so my opinion is certainly biased. Good Luck with your transition?
 

toymaster458

Active Member
Rustytek said:
I am certainly not bashing CQC, but have you seen mainlobby? The screen's appear much more fluid, there is more than one font (this is the only thing I really don't like about CQC- this judgment is based on all the pics I have seen have the same font (I think) and it appears like an aged win 95 font). Anyway, I have only looked at pics of CQC but use mainlobby, so my opinion is certainly biased. Good Luck with your transition?
There is more then one font. Any TrueType font will work. I have looked at MainLobby, in my opinion I felt CQC has a better structure to it and easier to work with. You have to remember that the screen shots you seen of mine are of my idea of what I want it to look like. If you are able to design your own graphics for backgrounds, buttons and other GUI looks you can import them into CQC. With CQC you start with an empty slate and work your way up.
 

IVB

Senior Member
Well said. Actually, many of us are using wildly divergent look&feels, including fonts. Plus, there's an artistic-type guy who just joined, who's providing some great, high quality graphics & buttons to the community.

Fonts are also set at the individual button level - My top screen has 3 different fonts, several different sizes.

Main-startupV3.jpg


Here's what some other folks are doing.

IV_mainmenu.jpg


Cold_DenonDVD1.jpg


security_presense.jpg
 

DavidL

Senior Member
A lot of the "MainLobby" experience is difficult to display on a static web page jpg. MainLobby user interace is based in Flash. With that, there are subtle, but important graphical effects that can't be reproduced outside of flash. That is why the best websites are all done in Flash. They Sell. They look great. They look polished, They look professional. They set another standard that that company is then identified with.

Your home, if you treat this HA / HT stuff seriously, should be no different. It is a reflection of the time you and your spouse spent designing the home, it's decor, it's paintings, the carpet, the fauxe painted surfaces, etc. Why would your expensive automation system deserve any less? Especially if it is on a wall mounted touchscreen. Your interiour decorator (pro or spouse) should have just as much to say about the touchscreen scenes as he or she did on the paintings.

To many this is minor. To others it is essential. Just like there are still HTML and JPG websites out there.
 

Steve

Senior Member
David, don't get me wrong because I really do love Flash, but one of the things I fail to see is how Flash would be any better than static images on a touchscreen? If a TS has at least an unpressed and a pressed state you can have the feel of basic button pressing/animation. Since there is no 'focus' on a typical touch screen you don't have that to do animation with. So besides some sort of static animation on a page, what advantage is there to being Flash based? Again, knocking Flash, I love it, but I just don't see the point of it on a touch screen interface?
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
Here's one that I did, just to show some of the stuff you can do in the new 1.6 version:

BnGSample2.jpg


This one shows off some of the graphical capabilties that we now have, with gaussian blurs, gradient text, and reflected text. That stuff isn't being done via static images, but are being done on the fly so you can display dynamic text (from device status and so forth) that is gradient filled, blured, reflected, and so forth.

On the font thing, actually Flash is more limiting because you can only use fonts that are included in the ML package AFAIK, at least that's what I've heard others say. CQC's interfaces can use any fonts you install, so you can download any font you want and use it.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
Here is a nice litle PPC interface I did. The background I drew and imported into CQC to use, but the other stuff is just standard images from the CQC shipped product. You can use any combination of shipped and custom images as desired.

PPCSample.jpg


That's the thing that folks like about CQC so much. You can truly create a look that you like, and aren't limited to what's shipped.

Here is a PPC interface from another user's system. This one uses mostly custom images created for this particular system.

Intf_TV2.jpg
 

IVB

Senior Member
MainLobby user interace is based in Flash...Why would your expensive automation system deserve any less?

Because us non-programmers have no idea how to program in flash, but we do know how to use a mouse. I can point&click my way to setting up a CQC interface setup the way I want, not some out of the box solution designed to appeal to the masses.

I have no desire to pay hundreds of dollars to someone to create my HA/HT interface, which I add/extend on a biweekly/monthly basis.

I deployed CQC into production in December. Here's what my release calendar looks like:

December: Media Mgmt
January: HVAC
Feburary: Irrigation
March: Security (Alarm)
April: Security (Camera)
May: Lighting
June: Skin over my DirecHDTivo, so I use a single UI for all TV

Are you saying that I need to hire a flash programmer every month to update my screens/add new screens?
 

Michael McSharry

Active Member
This seems to be turning into a ML vs CQC presentation format rather than a HS vs CQC control discussion. From the UI design perspective HS is very weak, but like most things in HS it is extensible so other products such as ML can be made to operate with it.

The design of the UI for both CQC and ML does not rely upon a skilled graphic artist or a skilled programmer. They both provide click and drop capabilities with the same relative ease of implementation and required user skill level. Of course it never hurts to have special skills to go beyond what is available out of the box from either supplier.

I am by no means anything more than a novice when it comes to graphics design and technologies. When all is said and done what appears on the screen is a set of colored pixels. The technology used to render them will affect the capabilites available in design UI. When David touts flash I think he is really illustrating the strength of a vector-based format that can be continuously scaled with virtually no loss in the quality of the final presentation. This allows a layout to be done for a 15 inch screen and then ported to a 8 inch one with virtually no loss of quality and with a single scaling action. The same is true for individual buttons where one button structure can be scaled without loss of quality.

Designs that are pixel-based can also be scaled with excellent results when using the appropriate tools are available. The filtering-type tools such as are employed within Photoshop can be applied at any level to create smooth edges and desired effects. It is simply a matter of the degree to which the UI design tool provides these capabilities and the level of user expertise required to use the UI design tool.
Click and drag tools will typically operate on graphic objects and the abilty of the object to be customized and its abilty to blend with neighboring objects is a function of the UI tool provided.

ML screens look good when using the graphics provided. When merged with pixel-based jpg images then quality really suffers. A radar image will look very crisp when viewed from an internet browser, but when viewed as part of a ML scene it will look fuzzy. Compromises exist when the two technologies are merged.

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Both can produce excellent results. Both require effort to become proficient and both will yeild even better results when the designer can augment the built-in features provided by the supplier.

There are really two winners and no loosers in this competition. Both provide excellent capabilties. It is just a matter of deciding on taking the eastern loop or western loop around the city.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
When David touts flash I think he is really illustrating the strength of a vector-based format that can be continuously scaled with virtually no loss in the quality of the final presentation. This allows a layout to be done for a 15 inch screen and then ported to a 8 inch one with virtually no loss of quality and with a single scaling action. The same is true for individual buttons where one button structure can be scaled without loss of quality.

I thought about this a lot when I was deciding which way to go. The reason I went with the raster based system is that, though you can take a screen designed for a 15" system and display it on an 8" system, and it'll look nice, it usually won't be really usable, unless you make the 15" version use unnaturally large buttons, text and so forth which are unnaturally widely spaced. People tend to use the space available fairly densely, and if you create a screen that makes good use of a 15" screen, if you shrink it down an 8" screen, you'll end up with really small text and really small buttons, too tightly packed for anything but a stylus in many cases. In the most common case, of having 12" to 15" touch screens combined with PPCs or other much smaller devices, the size difference really kind of makes it not really worth trying.

So, as a practical matter, and because raster based systems allow for very elaborate looking, highly textured images with relativley small overhead, and because there's just a huge raft of images out there for people to use, and because most people will find it far easier to build something out of images than to learn Flash programming, I went with the raster scenario. It's a tradeoff either way for sure, but I just felt the raster based system had more practical advantages.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
I haven't had that request. However, it would certainly be possible for us to provide a widget that displays, say, a Windows meta file, so that you could display a vector based image if you want to. We've not done it since it's not been much requested. The thing is, if you have such an image, and you know what size you'll want to actually use it at, you might as well just capture it as a raster image and save a lot of overhead. There's no need to draw a scalable image that you never scale.

For SVG, I guess that could be done by just using our ability to embed web browsers in your user interfaces and it could display the image. Folks use the embeded browser to display things like animated GIFs for weather radar and such.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Nice writeup, Michael.
IVB, I know very very little about developing in Flash. That knowledge is not needed for MainLobby. If you want to send me your background graphics, I think it would take about 10 minutes per screen to reproduce your scenes in MainLobby. Neat look, BTW. Original.

One of the differentiating factors is that Cinemar graphics are professionally produced. Yes it is possible to create in Photoshop (that is what the Cinemar ones were originally developed with), in my opinion, it is way beyond 99.9% of users to refine home grown ones to this level. If it were easy, this would not be a differentiating feature.

Not sure I agree on the jpg fuzzy part. My radar images look fantastic in MainLobby. Maybe I am missing your point, Michael. My jpgs that I optionally use, look in MainLobby just like they did in Photoshop. Of course the Cinemar developed graphics looks tons better.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
One of the reasons I went raster is because there are lots of people out there already who are professional graphics designers creating all kinds of images that you can use off the shelf without having to do them yourself. Guys like this:

http://www.blueskyheart.com/dc.html

Go to the bottom of this page and look through the preview pages, there are six of them. There's lots of good stuff out there like that that's just there waiting to be used. Or the vladstudio that Vivek got his images from:

http://www.vladstudio.com/home/

There's just so much of this type or artwork out there you can pick from, that you don't really have to do any of it yourself. And since they are just images, you can do it in a simple point and click environment.
 
Top