It's been a while since I gave an update on the QLC+ 5 developments.
Well, they are proceeding, unfortunately rather slow, since I have a freaking busy period and I have to allocate my spare time in between many activities, like a new Raspberry Pi image, QLC+ 4 maintainance and bugfix, moderating the forums which are a mess lately...and of course QLC+ 5.
I'm not ready yet to produce a meaningful update video, but I've started to code some new exciting features that I'm hoping you will appreciate.
Some of the code is actually going into the QLC+ engine, and in theory it could be used by QLC+ 4 as well, but at this point all my efforts go to QLC+ 5, otherwise it will never see the light, and moreover there wouldn't be anything new comparing to QLC+ 4.
I think I solved most of the architectural design implementations for the new UI but there's one little thing that's buzzing around my mind since months, and I still haven't found a final solution for it. I'm talking about the "time tool" which is an essential part of Function editing (and many other things) and that can make the difference between "productivity" and "waste of time".
The tricky part is that in the QLC+ 5 philosophy, setting timings must be fast either using a touchscreen, a keyboard or a mouse.
Today I decided to write this post, to share with you what I am dealing with and to be open for comments and suggestions for the tool design and placement.
As usual, do not use this post to report QLC+ 4 issues (I know, it is ridicolous to even mention it, but I realize there is no limit to people's pertinence)
If you comment, try to explain as much as you can what's your idea in details. A plus is sharing a graphical mockup of what you have in mind.
So, let's start by looking at what we have right now.
That is a monster tool ! To be honest I never liked it and I'm pretty sure some of you hated it while using QLC+ 4.
I tried to reduce the awkwardness of that tool by introducing a direct double click in the Chaser editor fields, to quickly enter a time string, but still, it is a custom case and in some occasions it might not work for everybody.
Let's now see a few design options to improve the situation, and moreover to have a centralize solution that could work well all across the UI.
First of all, here's how the new Chaser Editor looks like (please consider this is still a work in progress...):
Nothing major news there, apart from the bottom area, which introduces expandable sections which I will largely use in the new UI. Oh, and now each entry has an icon, so you can quickly recognize the type of Function you added
And here's my initial idea for the new time tool (leaving aside colors and the not vertically centered text...):
The ideas behind this concept are:
- it is compact
- the title bar shows the time parameter currently being edited
- it has a close button (top right) to hide it
- every button has at least the size of a finger (for touchscreens)
- the central area with the time is by default focused and selected to quickly enter a string manually
- seconds and milliseconds buttons are a bit larger than the others, cause they are probably the most frequently used
- it is a floating tool, so it can be moved around the screen (likewise all the other tools in QLC+ 5)
Now, the dilemma is: where should it be placed ?
My idea is that once a time field is double clicked, it should be displayed "in place". The other idea I had is that once the time tool is visible, pressing the TAB key should move to the next time field (something that is currently not possible with QLC+ 4)
Here's a shot of what I have in mind:
As you can see, the selected Chaser step increases its height to embed the time tool.
The other options are:
- leaving the step height unchanged:
- placing the time tool outside the Chaser editor. More or less what we have in QLC+ 4:
So, what should I do ?