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Old 01-06-2011, 07:56   #1
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Route Manager

Here are the posts from the other OpenCPN Version 2.4 Beta Build 523 thread as they are worth to have their own thread (and not hijacking the other one).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Netsurfer
Hi all ...

I am working on the German translation for the latest beta. Thereby I discovered some points concerning the Route Manage and Layers in particular.

The second to last button is labeled 'Toggle Names' but only when opened for the first time. After importing a layer it is changed to 'Show/Hide WPT names'. The other two buttons show the correct label on startup.

It is all about line 667 in routemanagerdialog.cpp (see also 'Toggle Chart' and 'Toggle Listing'

Furthermore the 'Import ...' and 'Export ...' buttons should be disbaled/ hidden on this layer.

Is it intended that all layers disappear on program exit?

Thanks

Gunther
Quote:
Originally Posted by PjotrC
Netsurfer...

Thanks for attentive reading!



The buttons change labels according to the current shown/hidden state of the (selected) layer. At start-up time there is no layer selected, so the label is just a placeholder. True, when going again to a state of no-layer-selected, it might be nicer to return the label to the original (not really meaningful) text. When enabled, all labels are correct. When disabled - labels are guiding reminders only. The same holds for all three hide/show labels, but in the other two cases the initial (disabled) label text would be too long, so I dropped this fancy behaviour...

The 'Import' (renamed to 'Import GPX' as opposed to 'Load new layer') and 'Export' might as well be disabled, but they belong to the dialog frame, and not to the layers tab. I tried very hard to disable them. Two methods of handling the events are still in the code (commented out). One works for Windows, the other for Linux... I did not manage to do it in a way satisfactorily working for all, sorry wxWidgets! Import and Export are not linked to specific tabs anyway, so I hope the users will get used to it.

Currently, yes. The very first idea was indeed to save/restore the layers and their state of visibility. Now, however, I prefer to have the layers as separated from everything else as possible. First reason is layer identification, which is vague. You just load what you find. The second reason is that I view the layers mechanism as a step towards backup, excluding from potential automatic backup all that is already in layers. Experience will show...

Thanks again,

Piotr
Quote:
Originally Posted by Netsurfer
Piotr ...

thanks for your reply and the detailed explanation.

Some thoughts about ...

This lead me to the question if it wouldn't be preferable to have the layer functionality being completely separated from the Route Manager?

IMHO the ability of overlays is one of the most wanted/ useful features ever.
So we might have another (general) overlay functionality (maybe as a plugin?) that possibly interferes/ collides with this one. Or at least is some kind of dual functionality.
Another question hereby would be if the layer functionality would be able to handle other inputs than solely GPX files? How about KAP files, images (jpg, gif, png, tiff) and text areas (in whatever format)?

Back to the actual situation ...

Hmmm ..., what irritates me (and possibly other users as well) is that all other items (files) such as routes, tracks and waypoints remain on program restart. Only the layers disappear ...
I guess they could be stored the same way as the rest?

The actual layer functionality is a perfect way to combine the different types (routes, tracks and waypoints) into just one single file (by exportings all) that then can be easily toggled (show/hide). Also it allows for vice versa by using 'List contents'.
So what I sorely miss is a function which allows to create a new layer from a route, track or waypoint. Or to add each of them to an existing layer(file).

Another question is if it would be possible to split the column 'No. of items' into three ones, divided by the type (route, track, waypoint)?

Next thing is the 'Properties' button. It is always disabled. If this is intended wouldn't it be better to completely remove it?

One problem I discovered with the Route Manager is the following:
When adding a new waypoint via the Route Manager the selected icon is not shown but correctly stored (when checking in the WPT's properties).

Also when using the 'List contents' button on the layers tab all items are added to their respective category - no matter if they are already present/ existing or not. Generally this is no big deal as one may remove them by clicking 'Unlist contents', but it is another irritating circumstance.
BTW: When adding the waypoint via the 'List contents' function then the icon is shown on the WPT tab.

Thanks,
Gunther
Quote:
Originally Posted by PjotrC
Netsurfer,

1. The current layer functionality was simple, easy and relatively fast to make ... I like these things ...:-)

2. Layers do not disappear, if used properly. The proper way is to place GPX files in /layers directory. 'Load new layer' button is for development and testing only (should even go away perhaps, together with 'Delete layer').

3. Lots of stuff is explained in a couple of threads on layers. To create a layer from route, track or waypoint you export it into /layers directory. That's it. No function needed.

4. No of items is for indication only... I expect users to be familiar with the contents, that should better be quite stable.

5. I will display some Properties for layers, or maybe delete the button, if I shall ever be able to rebuild OCPN ... I am at the edge of giving up... :-(

6. Double appearance of contents is perceived only... you probably have really double presence of identical objects: one layer and one regular. See proper usage at point 2 above. Export into /layers and delete the regular object. Then you will have one layer object only.

We should probably move into some focused thread with this not to swamp the beta testers...

Thanks for your questions!

Piotr
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:04   #2
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Re: Route Manager

Piotr ...

Quote:
2. Layers do not disappear, if used properly. The proper way is to place GPX files in /layers directory. 'Load new layer' button is for development and testing only (should even go away perhaps, together with 'Delete layer').
Ah, I accidentally found it in the wiki: The Route Manager and Data Import/Export | Official OpenCPN Homepage

Adding non-user configurable/ selectable paths/ folders is imho a very bad idea. Not only that one has to guess about such features but also ... see the discussion in the comments of FS#497.

Gunther
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:24   #3
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Re: Route Manager

Quote:
Originally Posted by Netsurfer View Post
Adding non-user configurable/ selectable paths/ folders is imho a very bad idea.
Stepwise development... if the main concept holds, nothing is preventing this simple change in the future. But too much configuration possibilities will blur the main picture for many a user. Keep simple as long as possible.

The current setup reflects my view of the layers predominantly as almost read-only, static resource, close to harmonics files, sounds and message translations. 'Store and forget', sometimes update...
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:17   #4
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Re: Route Manager

Quote:
Originally Posted by PjotrC View Post
But too much configuration possibilities will blur the main picture for many a user. Keep simple as long as possible.
Many users love OCPN for its ease of use.
So its increasing complexity is indeed a matter that plays a role ... !

IMHO most of the new features are developed from a programmer's point of view who is an experienced user by nature. But some of them might be problematic for less experienced users.

Choosing a path/ directory via a "Choose Directory" dialog is a proofen concept (just think about the chart selection). Creating folders with given names in a given path not.

And how to know about a feature that could only be used after such folders were created?

As the discussion on FS#497 shows the question of how to handle "shared data" and their associated config options/ settings is a general one. Personally I would prefer to resolve the basic question first, and then implementing new features to ensure that they are conform with the general concept.
The other way around we run into risk of having different features all using a different concept which will make it even harder to find a userfriendly way of integrating them.
And also a lot of double work could be avoided ...!

Don't get me wrong - I love the feature/ functionality!
But I am a little bit concerned about the actual way of how it is handled.

Gunther
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Old 01-06-2011, 13:53   #5
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Re: Route Manager

I'm a "user" for sure.I think I get Netsurfer/Gilletrom 's drift alright...for Windozers anyways...
see,it took years of brainwashing to get the user to grasp the "Browsing to a folder" concept.It's nuts...(it's really DOS ain't it )-why the hell is it "C:\..." but it's what we're used to,now,finally....the default could be My Documents whatever per the path of the OS...
OpenCPN does this for us and even remembers the "MRU" as well,Windoze style when we browse for something a track for instance...so,having gotten our charts,our tracks,our marks,we're comfortable.They are there next time we start OPCN...

Happy,sleepy windoze zombie..

But "usericons"? what's that? A nice feature! but a user Needs to read the manual or see it on the forum to ever know such a thing existed...and they disappear on an uninstall? a "layers" tab? huh? and they disapear when I restart? huh?where's the manual... I need a layers folder? and now they are always on by default on a restart?huh?why?(but I like it and appreciate it's ongoing.I'm just using it to explore the "Hapless User concept)

...But,it's also pretty messy if OPCN leaves stuff behind in Program Files if an uninstall is needed.I get that and agree.Too many programs leave stuff behind.

XPM and plugins are odd for us jpegs but we've seen worse and our calcified neurons can stretch to plugins because they workand it's nice to have extras!but they all disappear on uninstall.(not mentioning the upgrade scenario where plugins left behind don't work anymore)so now we're back to the unusual concept in Win dose of messing around in the program files.They may even be "hidden" from us!(no wonder )

Maybe we should browse to our plugins too?That would encourage users to keep stuff together,in an OpenCPN folder against the day they need reinstall or install on a different computer.Certainly,all our pictures don't dissappear if we uninstall a photoviewer!
"Browse to Plugins?"(allowed extension "_.dll"-not sure how that'd work.too bad you can't create an extension...)
"Browse for your Personal icons?"(".xpm)
"Browse to your "ownship?"(".xpm")
or as a single "Browse to Plugins,Personal icons,"

and the user could select one at a time or "all" while the experienced could use use the CTRL+ or Shift+
not sure if I'm suggesting the RIGHT or even possible approach given that I'm not having trouble and trying to speak for my friends who can't set up their email either is possible but it's an interesting discussion
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Old 01-06-2011, 18:57   #6
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Re: Route Manager

sorry that's so far off!I started thinking on the layers,then to layers folder etc...
I guess I was trying to say,(partly!) that I want OpenCPN to remember...that OpenCPN comes on the way I quit it.Otherwise,a button will do...Because when Hide the layers,I don't want them back on a restart.

The following are really workarounds for the layers function to remember how it's set...
because,as it is,Not wanting layers on restart means nothing in the layers folder or else tunneling and clicking eyeball icons...so Don't get rid of the import button!Just rename it."Load a Temp Layer"It already uses the ini file to find a gpx quickly doesn't it?

Then,if someone WANTS the layers up+running on a restart,they should be able to actually copy a file INTO the layers folder using the Import Layers button.Likewise,"Delete" deletes it from there.But if there's an option,I'd go for not copying,just remembering...maybe a 1 or 0 for the remembered files.
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Old 02-06-2011, 14:34   #7
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Re: Route Manager

I posted a patch to flyspray as follows:

1. suppressing the currently unused Properties button
2. unifying labels on show/hide buttons
3. adding the option (on Etc Toolbox panel) for choosing whether imported layers should be visible or not
4. renaming the import button to "Temporary layer"

Point 3. concerns the layers initially loaded from /layers directory. Layers imported manually via 4. are always immediately visible.

P.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:06   #8
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Re: Route Manager

my comments on layers -

A really useful part of the functionality of any chart program (for me) is the ability for the user to add his own data. For me it is vital as I sail often in un-serveyed or poorly surveyed seas.

I don't mind having to put the layers in folder, but I would prefer to be ably to choose the folder so that I can keep it with all my other GPX resources. This allows me to easily make a backup by backing just one directory. Any un-instal re-install will not affect my data.

I want the layers, that I am currently using, to be remembered by the application and automatically reload on restart.

However - I don't want all my layers to load on restart. I have data for at least four very distinct geographic regions and I only want to load the data for the area I am actually working in. A couple of reasons for this

1. I save my data by area
2. more importantly the large amount of data really affects the performance of OpenCPN particularly when dragging charts. The amount of loaded data needs to be kept as lean as possible.

Summary -
I would be happy if I could keep layers in directory of my choosing.
I want the layers that were loaded on shutdown to reload on start up

Taking things further -
The logical next step would be to have the ability to associate layers, tracks, waypoints, routes, comments, and even chart sets so that a certain subset of your data could be loaded in a single click.

This could be another tab in the Route Manager dialogue. This tab would allow the selection of available data sets using a spinner, an option button would bring up the dialogue to create a new data set another to edit an existing one.

This tab would be labeled 'Voyages', or 'Projects' or something along those lines.

My thoughts... just to put my oar into the fray.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:36   #9
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Re: Route Manager

Quote:
Originally Posted by PjotrC View Post
I posted a patch to flyspray as follows:

1. suppressing the currently unused Properties button
2. unifying labels on show/hide buttons
3. adding the option (on Etc Toolbox panel) for choosing whether imported layers should be visible or not
4. renaming the import button to "Temporary layer"

Point 3. concerns the layers initially loaded from /layers directory. Layers imported manually via 4. are always immediately visible.

P.
PjotrC,
Good oh! looking forward to these.. I'm not watching flyspray as close as the forum.It's not where I should be as a user ..anyways 3 + 4 make especial sense per my "intuitive" rant...while netsurfer and I MAY want "autoload", and Littlechay wants autoload, a switch in "Etc" can be click and forget until it matters.Perfect.
anyways,There's a lot to like about "layers" as it is!)

and,I totally dig, "Stepwise development... etc...Keep simple as long as possible."(pjotrC from post above)so what you are mulling over as "Next"may be a lightning strike to my rambling...


...the routemanager's lowest buttons ("Import GPX","Export All" )don't seem to be a nuisance to me being used to nested windows where buttons are not always relevant to all sub-windows-maybe they could be greyed out or something when layers is "front+centre"...I've seen similar somewhere..but doesn't matter.


...I think LittleChay((if LC won't mind me saying?) and I see the concept of "layers" in a similar way as Users of Ozi Explorer... so that may explain...
But specifically,as discussion points?

Ialso see "layers" as Read Only and they shouldn't be mixed up in the rough and tumble of Routes,Tracks, and Waypoints...I am happy that they Aren't editable.



This is the "rather-have- it-than-not" and "don't look a gift horse in the mouth"... section....

...so,I wasn't at first sure why all the layers wpt/marks show up in the Waypoints window instead of layers window when I click "list contents" I expect them to show in the layers window...but I get that it allows piggybacking on the waypoints buttons ?(simplicity!) so that "layers" tab doesn't need to have the buttons to duplicate functions?... but how to tell em apart?in duplications and the list can be so long.


While listing works as it is,it's a "hmmm" thing....

Some could argue,"Why "list" at all?it's supposed to be a read-only layer and if you want to edit, open the gpx in the waypoints,Routes or tracks?"
(PS Netsurfer: ..and above explains, if I'm not understanding,quote..."So what I sorely miss is a function which allows to create a new layer from a route, track or waypoint. Or to add each of them to an existing layer(file)."per OP because I think this should be done outside of "layers" although it's certainly desirable.)

But I find I use listing, so...
if the "list contents" did list in the layers window,then
which other buttons not already there would be useful in "layers"?

I'd vote for ..."zoom to" a mark - the one I would like in the layers window...andmaybe just maybe the"properties" button although now disabled ( while the dialogue is still Read-only but copy+pastable as they are already...) is still useful.
...Appreciating the "give em an inch,they'll want a mile" aggravation...
Regards!
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Old 05-06-2011, 04:05   #10
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Re: Route Manager

hello,

As co-editor of the French help to OpenCPN I recently tested the tab "Layers" of the "Tracks, Routes, Waypoints and Layers" manager.

I discovered here, the remarks of Gunther on the operation of this tab. I make the same criticisms as Gunther.

In forums where we talk about French OpenCPN, there are many users who are not accustomed to electronic and computer use. OpenCPN becomes increasingly complicated. For these users, the use of software is really difficult

For my part, I ask, if possible, that the four tabs of the "Tracks, Routes, Waypoints and Layers" manager have the same operation.

Buttons in the bottom left:
The "Export all" should do the same in the four tabs.
The command "import gpx" is the same in the four tabs.

Buttons in the right column:
Orders must have actions similar, kind easy to interpret by users.
"Import", "Export", "Properties " and "Delete " should be present and have similar effects.

This will help users to "trust them". ("Avoir confiance en eux")

Best regards

Gilletarom.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:48   #11
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Re: Route Manager

I posted a trivial patch set to flyspray FS#507, implementing the following:

(i) anchor watch is disabled for layer marks
(ii) while right-click-selecting co-located objects, priority is given to non-layer objects

The reason for (i) is that layer marks are read-only, so it is not practical to set or change the watch limit distance. One can always drop a mark nearby and move it as needed.

The reason for (ii) is that regular objects are much more likely to be dragged/edited/acted upon etc. than layer objects, resulting in more natural behaviour.
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