What would you like to see in DesktopX 4.x?

By on April 3, 2009 1:52:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums External Link

ZubaZ

Join Date 11/2001
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What sorts of features would you like to see in the 4.x series?

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April 3, 2009 2:06:09 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I would like to see templates of sort, perhaps a visual editor. 

Take DashCode for example.

 

Dashcode editor

 

Dashcode Templates

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April 3, 2009 3:17:13 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

A system tray.

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April 3, 2009 3:58:47 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Scripting

  • Command line support to build gadgets/widgets from a dxpack and a config file [1]
  • Integrated support for script components (with event handling), so we can receive script events from a DestopX script [2]
  • Better ActiveX controls
    • Password mode for the edit box without having to use a custom font
    • Expose and document more properties (some useful ones are already available but not documented like OnKeyDown events for listboxes)
  • Expose animation properties to script (total number of frames, interval, flags)
  • Proper debugger support for DesktopX scripts (so we can debug scripts in VS or Script Debugger with call stack/variable windows and breakpoints)
  • Zip/Unzip functions available from script [3]
  • Better cloning support (clone groups/use template/etc.)
  • Fix the bug that prevents using more than 2 plugins in a gadget/widget.
  • There is a lot of things to steal take inspiration from in Yahoo Widgets in terms of proper integration (using external ActiveX objects is nice, but each one has a different API, making using a lot of them a mess. And you can't connect to events easily, see [2])

[1] I'm post-processing dxpacks from outside DX to merge external scripts, modify scripts with #define/#ifdef/#ifndef, switch script components to release mode, etc. I'm using another instance of DX in a VM to export so I don't have to remove the dev version, load the final dxpack, export and then go back to the dev version. Being able to export the resulting dxpack directly from my build script will save me a lot of time!

[2] You can create a "controller" component that do all the work and receive other component events from there, but it would be cleaner to have that in the main script. It will save all the 1-line functions to forward DX events to the controller.

[3] Last time I checked the only Zip component universally available was the zip folder support in Windows, but the license doesn't allow third party use and it showed a progress dialog when unzipping. Exposing zip/unzip functions like in Yahoo widgets would be nice.

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April 3, 2009 4:11:54 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Island Dog,
I would like to see templates of sort, perhaps a visual editor. 

Take DashCode for example.


OMG, that would be awesome!

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April 3, 2009 4:35:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I would like to see templates of sort

Yep , some kind of WYSIWYG would be great for complete nOoBz like me...

 

perhaps a nice free cash dispenser ?

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April 3, 2009 10:15:40 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I am still very new to desktopx, but one thing i would really like is better support for system tray on vista.  And an updated media player with more features.  Thats all that i can think of now.

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April 3, 2009 11:02:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

  I shall have to ponder on this and come back with a wishlist.

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April 3, 2009 11:15:51 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting sViz,
  I shall have to ponder on this and come back with a wishlist.
Between you, littleboy, romanDA, and CerbroJD I don't think there are enough devs at SD. 

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April 4, 2009 11:15:44 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Big wishes:

#1 TEMPLATES

Fully functional templates: Like the ones ID posted, where all the basic work is done and you just need to modify the look, or if you know how, modify the code and add more functions. The code for these templates should not be neglected either; they should be fully commented, streamlined, and easy to understand if you have basic knowledge of vbscript.

Component templates: Much like the ones we have in the DesktopX tutorial folder; rotating object, growing object, glowing object. Stuff that can be imported and used as part of a larger theme or widget. You could use the component as is or just take the script and use that.

#2 Pre-Configured Objects

This is pretty much to reduce the amount of time a user spends making choices, configurations, combinations of choices and configurations, and choices between combinations of choices and configurations.

The basic idea is to have a palette with virtually every conceivable object a user would want just one click away from creation. That means if I click on the button marked ‘folder shortcut’, it will create an object that is pre-configured and only needs an image & target. If I click on the button marked ‘object with states’, it will create an object that has the mouse over, mouse away, mouse down, and mouse up states already added. If I click on the button marked ‘mask’, it will create an object with the appropriate image (a square one, not round) for use as a mask. If I click on the button marked ‘text object’, it will create a text object (instead of an image object which I have to change into a text object.)

 If I click on the button marked… well, here’s a video of what I mean: LINK

#3 Limited Builder Mode

I think DX needs a mode that bridges the gap between client and builder. A mode with training wheels, if you will.

So you’d have Client which is for end-users, Limited Builder Mode that’s for end-users turned new builders, and then pure no-holds-barred Builder Mode for users more familiar with the DX builder environment.

The limited builder mode would be more intuitive than the freestyle builder mode. This might be where you could implement #2.

It might also have some kind of central editor like ID mentioned. The editor could have quick access to only the most frequently modified properties of an object: name, parent, group, size, x/y coordinates, image (or text), visible, movement, activation—kinda like a revamped object navigator/object list. I imagine the information in the editor would change depending on which object you’re interacting with, e.g., if you click on an object, its information would show up in the editor and you can make quick changes without having to open up a properties window. I’ve actually made an object that does that, though, it works on mouse over instead of click, and it doesn’t work for child objects.

#4 An undo function

I can’t tell you how irksome it is to have to redo mistakenly deleted objects.

 

Smaller wishes:

#1 System tray & and other fixes

Fixing several of the bugs mentioned on the forums and bringing back the system tray.

#2 Expand the Script Wizard

We have script wizards for most activeX objects but I’d like to see one for regular objects. Take all the object/system callbacks listed in the Developer’s guide and list them in a script event wizard.

#3 Expand Auto Complete

DX auto completes Functions and Subs. Couldn’t it to also auto-complete Loops and Conditionals?

 

That’s all for now. A few weeks back I was doing some scripting and I thought "man, I wish DX could access such and such via script" … now I can’t remember what that was…    I really should've written it down.

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April 4, 2009 1:02:02 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
Dang sViz you beat me to it. That's exactly what i was going to suggest. Yeah right like I even understood half of what you just said.
 
But after watching the video by sVis, Here is what i would like to see in DX 4. To see sViz put in charge of the creation and development of DX 4.
 
Like I said I don't understand half of what sViz said but the parts i do understand I agree with. As I an many others have mention a lot of skinners stay away from DX because like me they can't write the scripts. I do think the template idea is a great one. I have been able to understand the scripts a lot better when I have used a script by sViz or RomanDA when they have supplied a template along with the script. It makes it so much easier when you can see the mask and objects all ready in place.
 
Black Knight mention that he would like to see and update to the media player with more features. I don't think that will happen because a few years back I believe it was Brad that said there would never be an update to the Dxplayer because it was written by a third party. With that in mind would it be possible to just get rid of the DXplayer completely as it is now and just start over and do something like the Xion player.
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April 7, 2009 2:12:19 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I don't know anything about DesktopX except that it's a great, versatile program, but I'm thinking that somebody should track down Vad_M and get his input. He probably has a big wish list.

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April 16, 2009 6:00:13 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I see that I've missed some important things! As always...

What can I say? I have had many thoughts on this subject. But I forgot a lot of them during this time... However I'll try:

1. Fix for WMI control. Some WMI scripts doesn't work on Vista without hacking the System Security Settings through auxiliary functions... 

2. Full access to Windows API to create more usefull performance meters and administrative desktop applications. It would be great to see support for Visual Basic 6.0. DesktopX will be incredible in this case!    

3. Full access to ActiveX controls. In particular - to Windows Media Player 11 (in Vista). As well I found a lot of bugs in this area when have tried to work with ListView, TreeView, ImageList, etc... DesktopX stops working and requires a reboot from time to time.

4. Support for Windows 64bit...

5. Expand the possibility of scripted animation. At least for images that has frames stacked verticaly.

6. Add "minimize" or "hide/unhide" option to Object Navigator.

7. Please, fix a bug with fonts in the Script Editor.

That's all I remember right now.

P.S. How much monthes/years we will waiting for DX 4.x? Do I really have a chance to be alive and see this Great Day?

 

 

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April 16, 2009 9:53:43 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Include all the scripts that are available here at WC forums and sViz's Script Helper as 'templates'.

An advavnced DX player.

Low resource usage when using large animations.

Ability to import objects one by one or as a group from a dxtheme.

have a palette with virtually every conceivable object a user would want just one click away from creation.

I would like to see templates of sort, perhaps a visual editor.

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April 17, 2009 8:52:37 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Add "minimize" or "hide/unhide" option to Object Navigator

YES!!! I use the object navigator constantly and it makes no sense that it doesn't have a minimize button.

Also, the keyboard shortcut for select all (ctrl+A) does not work in the Script Editor. It seems to me that above any new feature, it would be really nice to see some of the current features fixed and working properly.

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April 17, 2009 8:28:07 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

P.S. How much monthes/years we will waiting for DX 4.x? Do I really have a chance to be alive and see this Great Day?
Yes. 

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April 17, 2009 8:37:28 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Also, the keyboard shortcut for select all (ctrl+A) does not work in the Script Editor

There are people still using the script editor? It doesn't have any debugging facility integrated so I find it pretty much useless for any script bigger than 20 lines. All my scripts are external, that way I can actually attach a debugger and look at object values / place breakpoints. Now if only I could do the same for internal scripts...

I'm curious how other people debug their scripts, as maybe there is some stuff available I overlooked.

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April 17, 2009 10:05:10 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

well, here’s a video of what I mean: LINK

Damn!  That is awesome!!! 

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April 17, 2009 10:19:50 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

All I can ask for that hasn't been mentioned here would be 2 small things.

 

1. A way to toggle sounds in DX. People are always asking me how to kill those annoying sounds, while others, like myself, like them.

2. A way to turn off labels on the shortcuts added to DX. For instance. When I make a DX theme, after uploading it to the gallery, I add my shortcuts to the drag and drop menus. About 64 to 80 of them. Then I export it as a widget. I can make the label color default a magic pink, but when you export as a widget, that is nullified. So I have to go properties for each of the 64-80 icons and delete the text. It is ugly and cumbersome to have the text left there...especially if it is something like, "SureThing CD Labeler Microboards Edition 5." Takes up a lot of space in a menu. A simple way to toggle labels would save me a lot of work.

3. ( I know I said 2.) A simple way to have said drag and drop shortcuts to lock into place, rather than doing it one at a time for all 80 shortcuts. sViz has created a template that locks the shortcut, and removes the text and it works very well, but not all users know how to script. Of course, I can go into object navigator and highlight only the shortcuts and right click and lock in properties, but a simpler way would be nice.

 

Other than these 3 things, I can only think of one more request.....God-Like powers hard coded into DesktopX !!!!  

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April 18, 2009 4:31:15 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

P.S. How much monthes/years we will waiting for DX 4.x? Do I really have a chance to be alive and see this Great Day?

Yes.

Dear Zu, you are always encouraging me.    So I'm very calm and happy now!    

I'm curious how other people debug their scripts, as maybe there is some stuff available I overlooked.

It's funny but I'm one of those strange people.   Just a little habit...

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April 21, 2009 6:28:25 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

One more important detail!

Many of us likes use the DesktopX Form to create simple Toolbox or Control Panel for their widgets/gadgets. No doubt - this is very useful addition to DesktopX. But there is one unpleasant problem. We don't have any chances to edit the size of its elements (like TextBox, Combolist, etc..). As well to change their position inside the Form and the distance between each of them.    As a result - the final product looks like unfinished...

So please add the ability to edit (customize) DesktopX Form and its elements. It would be really great!

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April 21, 2009 7:00:34 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Still listening.  Thanks!

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April 22, 2009 7:45:48 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Another impotrant thing... It would be great to see *.avi in the list of Supported Formats (Object -> States -> Appearance -> Image) to use the real animated textures in the widgets/gadgets skinning...

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April 22, 2009 12:20:33 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums
I think that there are several improvements that can be made which fall into 4 main categories:
1. Bugfixing
2. Additional functionality
3. Developer tools
4. Ease of use tools

1. Bugfixing
In addition to those already mentioned ...
Fix AX control bugs e.g. ...
Control.Border = False is broken on the DX Edit control
Sometimes controls don't appear on loading until they/their parent is moved
On crashing sometimes a duplicate of the last object in the navigator is created. This causes subsequent problems and crashing until manually removed from the theme2.ini file

2. Additional functionality
Some simple things could be added like improving tooltips
a. Allow a custom background
b. Allow custom font
c. Control over positioning relative to cursor
d. Maximum width/auto wrapping

3. Developer tools
Improve the Object Navigator
a. Ensure that it defaults to a sensible font so I don't have to manually uninstally fonts like Batang he to get it to display correctly / allow font choice to be saved globally
b. Make viewing more sensible - allow a tree view so children can be hidden unless I want to see them
c. Allow colour coding so I can quickly and easily find a specific object
d. Fix sorting - if I click to sort using a column how do I get it back to the default view without closing and reopening the Navigator
e. Allow me to exlude certain objects from export. In scripting objects are often created dynamically (e.g. calendars) and it would be easier to allow objects with certain names to be excluded when you "Select All"

4. Ease of use tools
I think that there have been a lot of valid points made above and I like the concept that you presented sViz, but I think we need to step back and make sure that this model is extensible.
Let me explain further ...
The key thing is that we have templates already. That is one of the key benefits of DX, in that you can load widgets and tweak them. These are our templates!

For example here is a perfectly functional calendar and here is the article explaining how to use it.
Whilst this is 5 years old it is still totally valid today.

Likewise, if you want weather then here is an equally old, but equally functional object.

What we need is an agreed standard for how we publish and utilise these within DesktopX.

Once we have this then what sViz proposed in the video is totally doable and extensible, because new "template" items can be added in a structured way (probably a tree/dropdown rather than icons because this is more flexible).

Users can create their own template item whether this is a complex set of objects, or a simple template for a text object or mask as per the video.

A standard implementation method is what will be required to sure that object names are not duplicated. Though clever use of programming (Object.Parent and Object.Name) we can ensure that all object names are relative and therefore it would be easier when cloning (using a method different to the current one).

Finally I believe we need a standard way to interact with the user. These template objects need to know where to get and put information in a structured way. Several years ago I proposed a CUI (which stood for common user information), which basically was an XML file when standard information was stored (Example of the draft).

OK, I think that's enough of a document for now.

I'd be delighted to assist in the development of this sort of thing. It's just the sort of thing that would encourage me to spend more time with DesktopX. However, what I (and I expect other developers) need is some reassurance that this sort of hing would be implemented and that the time spent working on this wouldn't be in vain.

Look forward to hearing what other people think.

M.
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April 25, 2009 11:09:02 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Also a few words about DesktopX E-mail Notify plug-in...

Certainly this is very useful addition! But it doesn't alow us to check incoming messages on Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo (and on a few other popular Web Mail Servers). 

At the same time the similar plug-in which included to the Wincustomize Toolbar can do this! So I think that DesktopX Developer Team can make us very happy if they finally decided to modify the DX plug-in and it will work no worse than the similar part of WC Toolbar!

Let's wait...

P.S. Hey Martin! You've wrote a great article!

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April 25, 2009 12:31:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I just started with DesktopX, but one thing I'd like to see, is a way for DesktopX to use Themes that are marked "for this or that resolution ONLY". One in particular is the LCARS Theme by HG_Eliminator which can be found here.

I browsed the entire gallery, and you have no idea how many great-looking Themes I had to discard from consideration because they were only for certain resolutions that I cannot/do not wish to use.

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