Development thoughts – The DNA ToDo list 2012-07-05T05:36:10+00:00

Home Forums Feature requests Development thoughts – The DNA ToDo list

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  • mrdna
    Participant
    Post count: 220

    Ok, been promising myself to get this organized and posted for a while now and today turned out to be the day? I?ve had a running todo list going for a couple months now but haven?t posted it as with just about every new version some things get removed from the list and a thing or 2 may get added. With releases going hot and heavy for a while there it just didn?t seem practical. It may still be impractical in a general sense, but whatthehell? πŸ™‚

    MENUS, POPUPS, AND RIGHT-CLICKS

    Systray flyout menu should collapse when it loses focus (currently if you right-click open the sytray menu you must select an option or it?s persistant.

    Add tabble (and tabbled file?) search ability to systray flyout

    Add internet address to Tabbles via right-click/kybd shortcut

    Import/export structures/dbs needs a complete make-over. As the PCW article noted, there are several things about the menu structure that can be improved but this is by far the most needed. Quite honestly, this alone will have a major impact on the usability of Tabbles. I have been thinking on this aspect for a while now but have yet to sit down and map something out to submit as a potential solution primarily because I believe that it should be looked at as a part of Collaboration and Profile abilities. (With this list finally posted, getting that nailed down is my next project? πŸ˜‰ ) This needs it?s own thread and I?ll try to lay some groundwork within a week or so.

    PROGRAM DETAILING

    Program title bar notes DB/str loaded

    Force/filter file extension when loading db/str. No reason the user should be presented with every file in the folder when they?re looking for a db. Also consider shortening the db extension to a standard 3 letters. (IE; *.tdb, *.tbl, or the like. Quick google showed me a good extension can be found without conflicting with currently popular program extensions.)

    Start adding ?are you sure?? dialogues when loading and saving (with filenames) and other applicable locations. While an UNDO button would be nice, the idea is to stop a mistake before it occurs rather than fixing it afterwards. This philosophy should be applied program wide.

    Ability to edit; URL of internet address, Tabble name in property box, font and/or size, grid spacing, tabbles label.

    Logical OR ? This is part of the ?Logical Trinity? in my opinion and is important. The NOT could be brought out a bit too. To make operands more useable perhaps in the file window at the top where the operating tabbles are placed, the symbols that appear between the tabbles (?+?, ?-?, ?&??) can be turned into toggle buttons that cycle between the operators AND, NOT, and OR.

    Merge link/unlink panels, (add rename active only if single file selected) ? Yes, this has been something I?ve harped on for a while now. This is major.

    Merge hide/unhide panels ? This is also major, however I think it can be addressed within the ?Profile? idea. As I said, I?m working on an idea that will encompass dbs, structures, collaboration, and the profile idea that should be useful for both businesses and home users.

    Ability to run rules manually.

    ISSUES

    Hang/crash when creating a tabble, slow/hitching draws, memory use ? I think these are all related but don?t have the coding experience to narrow it properly. Some of these issues have been noted since way back in September by the GotD folks and most recently in the PCW review. While it may not be re-creatable on demand, I?ve experienced some things consistently and others occasionally.

    As I?ve noted elsewhere, RAM and video use needs some serious refinement. This, I think, is one of the make-or-break issues with Tabbles.

    Tabbles is a beautiful program. The way it re-arranges itself on view changes and the tabble moving to the tabble bar in the file window are most cool but they are CPU/RAM intensive and, even on a gaming machine, it hitches or, worst case, stalls the program for sometimes several seconds.

    This issue is particularly jarring when you notice that the search boxes in both the program window and in the file windows are lightening fast…

    PHILOSOPHY

    When the number of tabbles in the main window has an effect on additions and draws then I believe that form is over-riding function. This, in my opinion, is a very bad road. The PCW review should be re-read a few times as I think he?s on the money in this regard.

    "PCW" wrote: Tabbles is under active, ongoing development, so we can hope someone will decide raw responsiveness and adherence to Windows interface standards are more important than scalable vector-graphic icons. When this happens, Tabbles will be a clear winner.

    The purpose and attractiveness of Tabbles should remain with its unique function. Form can be refined at leisure. Also, hiding tabbles should not be a ?hidden requirement? to the program?s usability.

    The question ?What problem does it solve?? should be taken out back and shot. The problem with relying on this question as a standard for program development input restricts potentials. This was well illustrated when we began calling for a standardized menu bar. The only way we could get it in there was to hammer on the ?learning curve? problem and it took a while for even that to be accepted. Further windows standardization has been stalled by application of this question. The logical OR request is where I?ve really come to dislike this question. Quite honestly I?ve come to see this question as a way to minimize input that is not completely enough presented or that may be hard to code. This doesn?t mean you should coddle and run with every scrap of an idea anyone blathers out, but a much better question would be ?How would this improve Tabbles??

    If you?ve read this far then I hope you?ve remembered a couple important things; I?ve used Tabbles since September?s GotD offering and I love the program! I have 4 dbs and in my primary db there are over 3000 files and nearly 1000 tabbles. My dad, son, and wife also use the program and I integrate their questions and issues also. While I may critique the program, my intent is to do what little I can to keep Tabbles improving and make ?Tabbling? a widely known verb. πŸ™‚

  • Maurizio
    Participant
    Post count: 196

    Thank you MRDNA. I have bookmarked it and will read this thoroughly as soon as I’ve finished a change I’m doing in Tabbles.

    BTW, since your list evolves over time and invites inline comments from other people, a google wave might be more appropriate. If you create one, I’ll contribute to it (e.g. mark things done over time). My address is [email protected].

  • Andrea
    Keymaster
    Post count: 893

    Hello mrdna!
    We quite missed you, welcome back and thanks for your long post! πŸ˜€

    "mrdna" wrote: Ok, been promising myself to get this organized and posted for a while now and today turned out to be the day? I?ve had a running todo list going for a couple months now but haven?t posted it as with just about every new version some things get removed from the list and a thing or 2 may get added. With releases going hot and heavy for a while there it just didn?t seem practical. It may still be impractical in a general sense, but whatthehell? πŸ™‚

    you’re most welcome πŸ™‚

    "mrdna" wrote:
    MENUS, POPUPS, AND RIGHT-CLICKS

    Systray flyout menu should collapse when it loses focus (currently if you right-click open the sytray menu you must select an option or it?s persistant.

    Not sure this is feasable…it seems like a standard windows control… I’ll talk to Maurizio about this.

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Add tabble (and tabbled file?) search ability to systray flyout

    good point! in Tag2find you can do that… so I think we should too :mrgreen:

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Add internet address to Tabbles via right-click/kybd shortcut

    Did you notice that you can drag’n’drop from the address bar of IE/Firefox/Chrome into a tabbles? There is a little thing that you can drag’n’drop next to the address bar, you can use it to drag’n’drop the url to the desktop or to a folder too…
    Anyway, we’re thinking of asking someone (we have an idea already to whom) to make a plugin for Firefox so that the Quick-tag window can be invoked from Firefox… would this be good enough?

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Import/export structures/dbs needs a complete make-over. As the PCW article noted, there are several things about the menu structure that can be improved but this is by far the most needed. Quite honestly, this alone will have a major impact on the usability of Tabbles. I have been thinking on this aspect for a while now but have yet to sit down and map something out to submit as a potential solution primarily because I believe that it should be looked at as a part of Collaboration and Profile abilities. (With this list finally posted, getting that nailed down is my next project? πŸ˜‰ ) This needs it?s own thread and I?ll try to lay some groundwork within a week or so.

    Yes, we agree on that 100%. As I mention in some other thread, we’ll soon be working on the shared-tabbles feature: such feature will need a re-coding of the whole import-export of dbs, and therefore I guess we’ll catch the ball and do also the thing you mention here. Anyway, it would be great having some input from you on how to improve this set of functions.

    "mrdna" wrote:
    PROGRAM DETAILING

    Program title bar notes DB/str loaded

    Force/filter file extension when loading db/str. No reason the user should be presented with every file in the folder when they?re looking for a db. Also consider shortening the db extension to a standard 3 letters. (IE; *.tdb, *.tbl, or the like. Quick google showed me a good extension can be found without conflicting with currently popular program extensions.)

    ok…I’m writing a note on this. This is a kind of thing that we tend to de-prioritize as only super-advanced users can use it. Also, we’ve been discussing several times about the possibility to make Tabbles portable/mobile, meaning to give the chance to the user to run it directly from a USB drive, with the db and all the paths saved relatively (they would work no matter what letter the drive is using). I guess this would also limit the need to change/move databases, isn’t it?

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Start adding ?are you sure?? dialogues when loading and saving (with filenames) and other applicable locations. While an UNDO button would be nice, the idea is to stop a mistake before it occurs rather than fixing it afterwards. This philosophy should be applied program wide.

    Are you referring to loading/saving databases?

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Ability to edit; URL of internet address, Tabble name in property box, font and/or size, grid spacing, tabbles label.

    a zoombar (like the one in Office 2007) would do… isn’t it? πŸ™‚

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Logical OR ? This is part of the ?Logical Trinity? in my opinion and is important. The NOT could be brought out a bit too. To make operands more useable perhaps in the file window at the top where the operating tabbles are placed, the symbols that appear between the tabbles (?+?, ?-?, ?&??) can be turned into toggle buttons that cycle between the operators AND, NOT, and OR.

    Yes…this has been asked many times, and I guess we’ll have to do it at some point πŸ™‚

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Merge link/unlink panels, (add rename active only if single file selected) ? Yes, this has been something I?ve harped on for a while now. This is major.

    Uh, I remember that Maurizio tried to do it recently (I was also involved with the GUI and the testing but it didn’t quite come any conclusion…honestly I can’t remember why but there was some underlying problem….

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Merge hide/unhide panels ? This is also major, however I think it can be addressed within the ?Profile? idea. As I said, I?m working on an idea that will encompass dbs, structures, collaboration, and the profile idea that should be useful for both businesses and home users.

    You’re talking about hide/unhide tabbles? If so, I have some good news: hide/unhide functions have already been removed since now you can put a tabble into another one…hiding it somehow. We have to work on some clever visualization modes that will allow you to see the tabble hierarchy as well as all the tabbles with some sort of filtering possible. (an alpha/preview of this should be available tomorrow or something) :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    "mrdna" wrote:
    Ability to run rules manually.

    yes! this has also been asked many times!!! Useful feature indeed.

    "mrdna" wrote:
    ISSUES

    Hang/crash when creating a tabble, slow/hitching draws, memory use ? I think these are all related but don?t have the coding experience to narrow it properly. Some of these issues have been noted since way back in September by the GotD folks and most recently in the PCW review. While it may not be re-creatable on demand, I?ve experienced some things consistently and others occasionally.

    As I?ve noted elsewhere, RAM and video use needs some serious refinement. This, I think, is one of the make-or-break issues with Tabbles.

    Tabbles is a beautiful program. The way it re-arranges itself on view changes and the tabble moving to the tabble bar in the file window are most cool but they are CPU/RAM intensive and, even on a gaming machine, it hitches or, worst case, stalls the program for sometimes several seconds.

    This issue is particularly jarring when you notice that the search boxes in both the program window and in the file windows are lightening fast…

    Ok, generally speaking, when developing an app, first you make it work, then you make it stable and you optimize it. We’re still actively adding features (as you hopefully noticed) therefore we’re still switching between "make it work" and "make it stable". At some point Maurizio will sit for a few of days on a profiling tool (needed to evaluate the performance and improve them) but this has to be done after there is no more core feature being developed…and we still have a couple to go. There are probably a lot of points where the load of RAM and CPU can be improved…
    Another reason (apparently a bit more cynical…but in the end quite reasonable) is that we prefer spending times on the things that create perceived value when the user first sees the application, rather than tuning up features that only expert users can benefit from. If you think of it for a minute you’ll realize that by definition the expert users are not the majority of the users and if they’re expert they’ll probably be able to find a workaround on their own (which to me seems the fact that you have 4dbs…).

    "mrdna" wrote:
    PHILOSOPHY

    When the number of tabbles in the main window has an effect on additions and draws then I believe that form is over-riding function. This, in my opinion, is a very bad road. The PCW review should be re-read a few times as I think he?s on the money in this regard.

    I’m not sure I got you on this one… could you please elaborate a bit? :O

    "mrdna" wrote:

    Tabbles is under active, ongoing development, so we can hope someone will decide raw responsiveness and adherence to Windows interface standards are more important than scalable vector-graphic icons. When this happens, Tabbles will be a clear winner.

    The purpose and attractiveness of Tabbles should remain with its unique function. Form can be refined at leisure. Also, hiding tabbles should not be a ?hidden requirement? to the program?s usability.

    The question ?What problem does it solve?? should be taken out back and shot. The problem with relying on this question as a standard for program development input restricts potentials. This was well illustrated when we began calling for a standardized menu bar. The only way we could get it in there was to hammer on the ?learning curve? problem and it took a while for even that to be accepted. Further windows standardization has been stalled by application of this question. The logical OR request is where I?ve really come to dislike this question. Quite honestly I?ve come to see this question as a way to minimize input that is not completely enough presented or that may be hard to code. This doesn?t mean you should coddle and run with every scrap of an idea anyone blathers out, but a much better question would be ?How would this improve Tabbles??

    The pcworld guy was kind enough to write us offering feedback πŸ™‚
    I wrote him back suggesting that he updates his video-drivers or tests Tabbles on another pc… we are 99,9% sure that that guy has a video-driver issue… the problems he describes can all be explained by the fact the WPF is drawing the Tabbles graphics using a software renderer instead of the the video-board.

    Besides: at the same we got this review and based on comments from other people, we’ve been thinking about making the interface look&feel more "standard" where standard = like Office 2007 or Outlook. It’s indeed not a lot of work and we could always give the user the chance to switch to the current "greyish/Mac-ish" skin.

    "mrdna" wrote:
    If you?ve read this far then I hope you?ve remembered a couple important things; I?ve used Tabbles since September?s GotD offering and I love the program! I have 4 dbs and in my primary db there are over 3000 files and nearly 1000 tabbles. My dad, son, and wife also use the program and I integrate their questions and issues also. While I may critique the program, my intent is to do what little I can to keep Tabbles improving and make ?Tabbling? a widely known verb. πŸ™‚

    We know that, we’re really thankful and we hope that you’ll be keeping up the good spirit as our little community is a strong motivating factor for us at this point πŸ™‚

    Thanks again and happy new year! πŸ˜€

    Andrea

  • mrdna
    Participant
    Post count: 220

    Maurizio; I haven’t used google wave yet. Will take a look at it and I’m certainly interested in your thoughts!

    Andrea; Thanks much, was a busy holiday and always stressful for me. Some year I’ll figure it out and relax… πŸ™‚

    "Andrea" wrote:

    MENUS, POPUPS, AND RIGHT-CLICKS

    Systray flyout menu should collapse when it loses focus (currently if you right-click open the sytray menu you must select an option or it?s persistant.

    Not sure this is feasable…it seems like a standard windows control… I’ll talk to Maurizio about this.

    Actually this is standard windows behavior. Right click on any icon in your systray that evokes a flyout menu then left click anywhere else except on the menu and you’ll see the flyout menu go away. Basically, when the flyout menu loses focus it goes away – except for the Tabbles flyout menu.

    "Andrea" wrote:

    Add internet address to Tabbles via right-click/kybd shortcut

    Did you notice that you can drag’n’drop from the address bar of IE/Firefox/Chrome into a tabbles? There is a little thing that you can drag’n’drop next to the address bar, you can use it to drag’n’drop the url to the desktop or to a folder too…
    Anyway, we’re thinking of asking someone (we have an idea already to whom) to make a plugin for Firefox so that the Quick-tag window can be invoked from Firefox… would this be good enough?

    Do know about the drag and drop, but most url collection occurs on a machine that doesn’t have Tabbles installed. I drag and drop to thumb drive folders than synch it onto the main machine when I get home.

    That sounds like what I was talking about, yep. To check that we’re thinking of the same thing; highlight the URL in the address bar, right click on it, the menu has an entry to "add to Tabbles" which invokes an add tag panel without having to switch focus to Tabbles. Good enhancements would be detecting the web page’s title and then running auto-tagging rules on it. Perhaps even treating it like a new file where it’s auto-tagged and a pop-up allows you to add more, etc, rather than opening an alt-a at all!

    An alternate or additional) idea would be saving the URL as a shortcut file, like what is created when dragging the address into a tabbled folder. The shortcut file automatically takes the web page’s title as the file name which then triggers auto-tag rules. The downside (?) might be that you would have to either prompt for the save dir, or (better) define a default dir in the options menu.

    "Andrea" wrote:

    Import/export structures/dbs needs a complete make-over.

    Yes, we agree on that 100%. As I mention in some other thread, we’ll soon be working on the shared-tabbles feature: such feature will need a re-coding of the whole import-export of dbs, and therefore I guess we’ll catch the ball and do also the thing you mention here. Anyway, it would be great having some input from you on how to improve this set of functions.

    Excellent! If you guys have a skeleton of an idea already on this do open a thread! I’ll try to get my ideas on it together and coherent and get em posted soon.

    "Andrea" wrote:

    PROGRAM DETAILING

    Program title bar notes DB/str loaded

    Force/filter file extension when loading db/str. No reason the user should be presented with every file in the folder when they?re looking for a db. Also consider shortening the db extension to a standard 3 letters. (IE; *.tdb, *.tbl, or the like. Quick google showed me a good extension can be found without conflicting with currently popular program extensions.)

    ok…I’m writing a note on this. This is a kind of thing that we tend to de-prioritize as only super-advanced users can use it. Also, we’ve been discussing several times about the possibility to make Tabbles portable/mobile, meaning to give the chance to the user to run it directly from a USB drive, with the db and all the paths saved relatively (they would work no matter what letter the drive is using). I guess this would also limit the need to change/move databases, isn’t it?

    LOL! I think I didn’t explain well enough. Sorry, Andrea, my fault.

    The first one is about having the filename of the currently loaded database displayed in Tabble’s title bar. At the top left corner of most program windows is the program name and either the file loaded or some description of ‘where’ you are. Currently firefox top left reads; Tabbles forum – post a reply – Mozilla Firefox 3.6 beta 5.

    By ‘force/filter the file extension’ I meant filtering out seeing the files that you can’t load. Since you can’t load a txt file into Tabbles then why display it in the restore/load window? In a dir with alot of files you end up seeing alot of files you can’t load anyways so why not filter out the files you can’t load and only display the files you can.

    When backing up/saving a database Tabbles defaults to ‘db.tabblesdb’. Two things here; First, shorten the default file extension to 3 letters (IE db.tdb), and second, make the default filename the filename of the currently loaded database.

    As to making Tabbles thumb drive portable? 😯 You know I been wanting that forever! πŸ˜†

    "Andrea" wrote:

    Start adding ?are you sure?? dialogues when loading and saving (with filenames) and other applicable locations. While an UNDO button would be nice, the idea is to stop a mistake before it occurs rather than fixing it afterwards. This philosophy should be applied program wide.

    Are you referring to loading/saving databases?

    Primarily, but it can be applied other places as well, such as when one is about to clear all tabbles on multiple files… πŸ˜‰

    "Andrea" wrote:

    Ability to edit; URL of internet address, Tabble name in property box, font and/or size, grid spacing, tabbles label.

    a zoombar (like the one in Office 2007) would do… isn’t it? πŸ™‚

    Actually there’s 5 things there, none terribly important, but not zoom… πŸ™‚

    "Andrea" wrote:

    Logical OR

    Yes…this has been asked many times, and I guess we’ll have to do it at some point πŸ™‚

    😈

    "Andrea" wrote:

    Merge link/unlink panels, (add rename active only if single file selected) ? Yes, this has been something I?ve harped on for a while now. This is major.

    Uh, I remember that Maurizio tried to do it recently (I was also involved with the GUI and the testing but it didn’t quite come any conclusion…honestly I can’t remember why but there was some underlying problem….

    Yes, he posted me about having a problem. In any event though I want to keep this on Maurizio’s mind because I think it’s important to solve. Having to use 2 windows to manipulate the tabbles on a file is rather a pain when you have files flowing through a system.

    "Andrea" wrote:
    You’re talking about hide/unhide tabbles? If so, I have some good news: hide/unhide functions have already been removed since now you can put a tabble into another one…hiding it somehow. We have to work on some clever visualization modes that will allow you to see the tabble hierarchy as well as all the tabbles with some sort of filtering possible. (an alpha/preview of this should be available tomorrow or something) :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    Ouch… Uh, I’m not sure I’ll be using much of the nesting tabbles as it would add upwards of 3 or 4 useless tabbles to every file. And if you’ve taken out the hide/unhide? I assume all tabbles become visible? Oh my… 😯

    "Andrea" wrote:

    The purpose and attractiveness of Tabbles should remain with its unique function. Form can be refined at leisure. Also, hiding tabbles should not be a ?hidden requirement? to the program?s usability.

    The question ?What problem does it solve?? should be taken out back and shot. The problem with relying on this question as a standard for program development input restricts potentials. This was well illustrated when we began calling for a standardized menu bar. The only way we could get it in there was to hammer on the ?learning curve? problem and it took a while for even that to be accepted. Further windows standardization has been stalled by application of this question. The logical OR request is where I?ve really come to dislike this question. Quite honestly I?ve come to see this question as a way to minimize input that is not completely enough presented or that may be hard to code. This doesn?t mean you should coddle and run with every scrap of an idea anyone blathers out, but a much better question would be ?How would this improve Tabbles??

    The pcworld guy was kind enough to write us offering feedback πŸ™‚
    I wrote him back suggesting that he updates his video-drivers or tests Tabbles on another pc… we are 99,9% sure that that guy has a video-driver issue… the problems he describes can all be explained by the fact the WPF is drawing the Tabbles graphics using a software renderer instead of the the video-board.

    Besides: at the same we got this review and based on comments from other people, we’ve been thinking about making the interface look&feel more "standard" where standard = like Office 2007 or Outlook. It’s indeed not a lot of work and we could always give the user the chance to switch to the current "greyish/Mac-ish" skin.

    It did sound like he was experiencing out-of-the-ordinary slowness and I don’t doubt you’re right, however I have mentioned that I’ve experienced slowing on occasions and high mem use as well and bad drivers aren’t the problem.

    I think closer to my point is the fact that the number of tabbles showing can affect Tabble’s performance dramatically. Form over Function. I was actually rather surprised when Maurizio noted that a couple hundred tabbles visible was alot and it turned out to be the cause of the hangs and crashes I was having. Nesting tabbles may somewhat mitigate the number of tabbles visible at any one time but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem. (which I think will crop up again anyways, but we’ll see…)

    I assume that by ‘look & feel’ you also mean ‘menu commands & layouts’ too? πŸ˜‰

    Anyways, hope that clarifies a bit, and I hope for an even more successful year for Tabbles in 2k10!

  • Andrea
    Keymaster
    Post count: 893

    Hello mrdna,

    many good point in your reply. I summarized them and emailed them to Maurizio (since I’m a little bit in stall now, I try to do some secretary job to keep myself busy :mrgreen: )

    thanks again!

    A.

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