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Messages - los93sol

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Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: October 08, 2008, 10:31:03 pm »
Cool, I was curious about this as I navigate with the keys on my keyboard and found several buttons that don't navigate logically as represented on the screen.  I'll have to play with this as I have some ideas to change the layout to improve the navigation.  I'm interested to see, since I'm using a designobj # in those fields, and a designobj can be a single or group of objects/buttons, will it remember which specific button had focus last and return to that button when navigating back to that designobj.  What I mean is you have two columns of buttons for example.

DesignObj 1          DesignObj 2

Button 1
Button 2              Button 4
Button 3

Logically you want the buttons in DesignObj 1 to be a 'group' so that if you navigate between columns starting with button 3 to button 4 then back you should focus where you left off at button 3.  Likewise if you navigate from button 1 to button 4 then back it should return focus to button 1.  I'm thinking this is not how it works though based on some of the navigation behavior I've seen in LMCE, but hopefully I'm wrong...I'll find out soon enough!

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: October 08, 2008, 09:13:36 pm »
Absolutely, that's my plan.  The more I'm using LMCE the more it occurs to me that UI2 is fine, I don't need to re-invent the wheel, but it needs a LOT of polish, I'm going to start with the home screen first to start learning.

I have two more quick questions...the screencasts make more sense this time through and I am confident that when I get back to my dev environment at home I'll be able to accomplish some things this time around.
1. How can I submit my changes for review to be included in the trunk?  I understand obviously that access to the trunk is something I must earn and prove a thorough understanding before any such access is given, but I'd like to be able to submit my changes to you before posting as a patch for critiquing (sp?) since you're the resident HADesigner expert.  :)
2. I see in HADesigner the IsTabShow help boxes for the design object, I also see in the screencasts the D and R next to two of the four boxes there, am I correct in thinking this serves as an onup, ondown, onleft, and onright directive for navigating with keyboard arrows or arrows on a remote for instance?  If not, is this a feature of HADesigner and is it covered in the screencasts as I haven't gotten all the way through yet, just thinking as I go.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: October 08, 2008, 05:28:51 pm »

I've been reviewing your screencasts in my downtime to get my head around HADesigner a little better.  It does seem a bit cumbersome to use, but maybe that will change once I'm more familiar with it.  I might not have gotten far enough into the screencasts, I'm about 70% through them now, but I have a few quick questions.  I do not have all of the devices that need to be designed, I do not have a Symbian phone, or a PDA so testing on those devices is not possible for me.  Is there some way to emulate the UI running on the hardware within HADesigner so it can be simulated as close as possible?

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: October 06, 2008, 04:52:20 pm »

I have been setting up a dev environment to start working on the GUI.  We haven't exactly seen eye to eye on things and I'd like to put that behind us and move forward.  The next few weeks are very busy for me so I will be putting time into this whenever I can, but you'll likely start seeing me in the channel more and more in the coming weeks.  So far I have HADesigner running and connected to my LMCE box, now I'll learning how to make this all work and going through your screencasts again.

Users / Re: Few questions about external receivers
« on: September 29, 2008, 08:28:52 pm »
I am not a fan of controlling devices with IR transmitters and found this document on controlling DirecTV receivers through their USB (really just a masked serial) port.  Does anyone know if the channel banner would be or is normally hidden when controlling these devices over serial?

EDIT:  Just adding a link to a resource with a testing tool for reference

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: September 27, 2008, 04:34:09 pm »
....grumble....grumble....orbi...grumble...fu..biter...grumble grumble.

Alright I'll try HADesigner, I'm going to be getting an environment setup, is it possible to use it local on the LMCE box?  If I remember correctly it is only a windows executable...still think that hardly makes sense, but maybe I'm missing something

Users / Few questions about external receivers
« on: September 26, 2008, 03:05:56 pm »
I have some questions for those of you using external receivers as it is apparent the HDCP-20 is vaporware.  I'm now looking at other options using one of the new Hauppauge cards that caps component video.  In my opinion that is reasonable for HD since broadcast HD won't be above 1080i anytime soon and is rarely a 1080i source anyway, usually 720p sources rebroadcast at different resolutions...okay...before this turns into discussion about all that jazz here is what I really want to know.

I understand how the box is controlled by LMCE, but don't you end up with slop all over the screen with the box's GUI and menus then LMCE's GUI laying over the top of that or how is this situation handled?  It's something I've always just assumed could not be dealt with and so have never bothered to ask.  For me it was always a deal breaker so I've decided to look into this further and see if maybe I've just been ignorant to some simple solution to this problem.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: September 26, 2008, 01:12:04 am »
Okay, I've been thinking more about this and I would like to see what your thoughts are on this as a proof of concept.  It is apparent that to do this properly it would require a serious amount of work, but I think I know how to do this in such a way that it could be done quickly.  XBMC supports python scripting that can be run from within the skin in numerous ways.  Since LMCE is designed so that its functions can be called from various devices I would assume that means a python script could be written to act as a liason so LMCE would effectively be run in the background of XBMC, but it would demonstrate what can be done for LMCE skinning through their engine.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: September 22, 2008, 08:33:08 pm »
I might be misunderstanding something here, but doesn't the fallthrough system address the multiple devices by allowing you to render different graphics, layouts, even actions per screen and per device?  That system can be utilized to load up lower quality images, the defacto standard for XBMC is to use .png format, but it will also accept lower quality bitmaps, jpegs, etc.

Unfortunately, I'm not so good at code, I learned just enough c++ to get my hands a little dirty with XBMC, and was able to implement some things after much explanation from the developers there and countless hours for each small change.  I will attempt to read through it and understand what's happening, but can you point me to some good starting points, what files in the source and any specific functions or classes I should be looking for.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: Better Media Organization / Browser
« on: September 22, 2008, 07:02:02 pm »
Hari, can you explain how the current player is hooked into LMCE?  Could the player be replaced or is it hardcoded into LMCE? 

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: September 22, 2008, 06:57:50 pm »
I lost the thread where this came up with before and I explained a bit about how XBMC's skinning engine is designed with a fall-through system that could be applied for supporting multiple platforms.  The way their system works is you would have a folder structure like:

--Any replacement skin files that won't scale properly
--All main skin files here
--Any replacement skin files that won't scale properly
--Any replacement skin files that won't scale properly
--Theme 1
---All images for theme 1 here
--Theme 2
---All images for theme 2 here

When a skin is loaded at PAL resolution, all the skin files are loaded from the PAL folder and used to display the skin.

When a skin is loaded for any other resolution for example, 720p, all skin files are grabbed from the PAL folder and any files that needed to be tweaked to scale properly to 720p are loaded from the 720p folder.  So if you have a home.xml file in the PAL folder and not one in the 720p folder then home.xml is used and scaled to 720p from the PAL folder.  If you have a system.xml file in both the PAL and the 720p folder then the one from the 720p folder is used.

This fall-through system could be used to support different or tweaked skins on different devices without the need to recreate the entire skin.  Obviously some things should be designed to display on a TV, some on web pads w/touch screens, and some on smaller handheld devices like PDA's.

They also have a "theming" system in place that allows you to use the same skin files, but load images from different folders.  What this means is you can have, for example, the same skin, but in different colors.  This way a skin can be revamped to match your room better fairly quickly and with minimal effort by simply changing some color pallettes in photoshop.

It also allows the skinner to declare variables and call them using different routines so you can create skin-specific settings as well.  When used properly a skinner has the option to let the user decide which screen they want to see.  These settings could also aid with supporting multiple devices since obviously some PDA devices are touch screen, some aren't, some phones have full qwerty keyboards and some do not.  There are several variables that can be accounted for using a system like this.

The architecture is what I feel really needs some discussion since I do not know everything about LMCE, but have been around and dug into XBMC code enough to know and understand how it works.  My understanding on LMCE is that everything is exposed through device codes, and the entire system is controllable through these device codes.  If that is correct then the XBMC skinning engine works quite similarly.  They expose control of their software through action codes.  So for example you could have an action code like or mediaplayer.skipforward.  Those are then applied to a button or any other control in the XBMC skinning engine.  I'd be interested to know more about what ideas you guys have as far as whether LMCE could be controlled in a similar manner.  Again, my understanding is that this is very close to how LMCE works already.

There is another piece of the XBMC skinning engine that is very interesting, and that is the animations that can be done, a skinner can create a flashlike animated menu with as little as 10 incredibly simple lines in an xml file.  Animations can be fades, slides, etc, and vectors can be applied to these animations for more advanced skinners.

They also expose a plethora of visibility conditions ranging from basic button.hasfocus() to any of the action codes available.  There is literally no end to the possible combinations that can be used.

That said, this is a very brief introduction to what can be done with their engine.  I personally would like to see some interest in integrating XBMC into LMCE and letting it handle media organization, playback, etc., but I realize that is likely a HUGE undertaking and one that would likely require a cooperative effort from several people.

I do agree that the current HADesigner is capable, but even with all the screencasts and the amount of work Thom has put in trying to help people understand it, the system is just too difficult for people to get their heads around.

Again, I did talk with JMarshall (wrote almost all of the skinning engine for XBMC), and he said if anyone from LMCE is interested to have them get ahold of him, he can be found on the boards at, or on #xbmc on EFNet.  I'd like to hear what ideas you guys have to apply the features of XBMC's skinning engine to LMCE.

Just one more thing I'd like to point out is there are literally dozens of people who have a sound understanding of the xml based skinning system from the old underground xbox scene, most of these guys are still around and actively creating skins, and new ones are popping up all the time.  Those users could very well show interest in applying their talents to LMCE as well if it were as simple as what they're used to.  I've seen at least 5 LMCE users skinning XBMC in recent months so they are out there.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: Better Media Organization / Browser
« on: September 22, 2008, 05:06:59 pm » how XBMC has been doing it for years now...  ;)

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: September 22, 2008, 04:42:14 pm »
I have used HADesigner, it's simply a wretched hack of a design.  If it is so great then fix the fucking home screen with it or let's start talking about the problems with it and coming up with a solution to implement.  I find it ironic that you put all this work into the MAME skin and making the screencasts to promote HADesigner, but haven't bothered to fix the most obvious and simple alignment issues.  That's pathetic!

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: September 22, 2008, 03:18:00 pm »
You guys are all missing my point entirely, the fact is there is only a handful of people who know enough about the framework to make a change.  It's not as simple as just get in there and do it, it needs to be thought out thoroughly and discussed.  That is my whole problem with this project, nobody is willing to discuss or look at different options for systems that are obviously broken.  Sure, I could just start hacking away myself, but then you'd be no better off than you are currently, it would be just that, a hack.  At some point you have to stop putting new code in and start working towards cleaning up the existing stuff and making changes to fix architectural problems.  I want to clarify too I said XBMC's skinning engine could be easily adapted, I never said anything about implementing it.  That's where this needs to be discussed.  I realized that this isn't so much of an argument since nobody is denying that there are problems with HADesigner.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: GUI Improvements
« on: September 21, 2008, 05:00:09 pm »
A few things to note...

Yes I watched the screencasts and will not use the HADesigner under any circumstances, it is way too cumbersome and drastically overcomplicated.  I've said this before, but the guy who wrote HADesigner has even stated that it needs replaced and was a hack to get something usable out quickly.  It was NEVER intended to be used this long.  That said, why keep bothering defending it when the same guy has also stated that there are bugs with it that have not been fixed or even attempted to have been fixed since it was put out.

Dont worry about taking off the gloves, I obviously threw mine aside when I decided to make this thread.  You should however note that I did make the statement that when the standpoint of HADesigner changes and the devs and people who are able to fix that current problems do so that I'll gladly help and contribute.  You're beating a dead horse continuing to use the HADesigner, it is clearly broken.

Finally, call it screaming if you want, trust me, it is not.  It is unbelievable to me that when showing off this system to your friends/family that nobody is embarassed by the UI, even the "nice" UI looks awful, have noticable bugs from the time the system is booted.  Again, I'll gladly help once a reasonable system is in place, or at least considered.

BTW...XBMC's skinning engine could easily be adapted to handle all platforms with little effort in recreating the entire UI several times over. ...I loved the comment about getting a room with them, you must share my views and/or stance on the issues considering you normally fire right back.

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