Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

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Notsonoble
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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by Notsonoble »

So there's a thread in the developer's section about going to SWT... viewtopic.php?f=7&t=15333

That really affects the look and feel, since it would go back to letting the OS render a lot of the details.

This kinda bugs me, one of my few favorite things about java (especially swing apps) is they look the same from one OS to another, so its easy to play with on whatever I'm running then go and show someone how to get to something on their windows/mac box.
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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by Azhrei »

I wouldn't worry about it. The ideas that have been tossed around (including some mockups during brainstorming) show little or no host-based UI elements. My expectation is that whatever library is used will be a base, with the UI components being implemented using a custom L&F (look-and-feel) so that we get a custom feel for MT. (I'm championing a radial menu approach with auto-docking tabs that slide into the screen edges when not in use. But there hasn't been much discussion about it lately as people are busy with RL.)

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by bstrdsmkr »

Seems like a good time to resurrect and voice my support for a user configurable UI system. I fought with trying to get this working on my own, but my JAVA skills aren't great and it seems there are more technologies/extensions/methodologies to learn in the amount of time that IRL allows me to devote. https://abeille.dev.java.net/ seems to be the preferable approach for this since it's already used in the current gui. To clarify, I'd like to see gui's stored in jar files that users can choose to load, share, and edit. That seems like it would take some of the responsibility off of the main devs and shift it more toward the "non-programmers." I realize that this would still require some programming knowledge, but you wouldn't have to be Trevor to use it =)

Also if there were a way to have custom UI elements launch macros/scripts on events, that would rock. For example:

My currently loaded touch screen ui jar has a button called button_Attack. Also inside the jar there are several files containing script/macro text named: button_Attack_OnClick.js, button_Attack_OnMouseOver.js, button_Attack_OnRClick.js, etc. The interface system would parse these script whenever the associated events were called. Ideally, I think these should be able to contain either JavaScript or MTScript and the system would decide how to execute it based on file extention.

Then when I'm done playing our weekly pathfinder session, I can go to File -> Load interface... and switch over to my Warhammer 40k jar that contains my preferred layout and scripts for that game.

Thoughts?

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by jfrazierjr »

Notsonoble wrote:So there's a thread in the developer's section about going to SWT... viewtopic.php?f=7&t=15333

That really affects the look and feel, since it would go back to letting the OS render a lot of the details.

This kinda bugs me, one of my few favorite things about java (especially swing apps) is they look the same from one OS to another, so its easy to play with on whatever I'm running then go and show someone how to get to something on their windows/mac box.


ummm.... perhaps it's just me, but Maptool looks slightly different on my windows machine than it does on my linux machine. I had thought that TinyLAF picked an appropriate LAF based on the OS. Besides, is there really THAT much difference in the how trees, buttons, etc look from platform to platform? Granted, I don't own a Mac so can't comment, but I expect Maptool run there would look different than one run on windows because of theme support in the LookAndFeel.

To expressly go to your point
is they look the same from one OS to another, so its easy to play with on whatever I'm running then go and show someone how to get to something on their windows/mac box.
, from the things I am understanding, one possible future is a system that might look totally different on different machines (even on the same platform) due to skins(or whatever you want to call it). This would be a far bigger departure than the difference in a button having rounded corners in Mac while having square corners in windows BUT still being in the same relatives screen location.
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by RPTroll »

I understand the argument about Apps looking the same from OS to OS but I don't really buy into it. If you're used to the machine then you're used to the widgets look and feel. As long as the differing UI elements operate the same having the windows render differently shouldn't be a major concern.
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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by jfrazierjr »

RPTroll wrote:I understand the argument about Apps looking the same from OS to OS but I don't really buy into it. If you're used to the machine then you're used to the widgets look and feel. As long as the differing UI elements operate the same having the windows render differently shouldn't be a major concern.


EXACTLY!!! And as I point out above, there are some proposals for 1.4(which of course may not be what is "shipped" in which two different maptools (based on a user configuration) would not be recognizable as the same application by a casual user.

Of course, as I have said before, I quite frankly don't really care so much about the UI, skinning, etc. I am much more of a function over form person and am mostly happy with the current MapTools UI(meaning if I was going to make a personal Maptool build as a new project, any changes to the UI would be only marginally different from what they are today). There is an old saying "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a PIG!!!" (of course, I don't think Maptool is a pig or even ugly in it's current incarnation, just restating my lack of concern for UI specifics as long as things are intuitive and quick to get to.)
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by Azhrei »

RPTroll wrote:I understand the argument about Apps looking the same from OS to OS but I don't really buy into it.

I'm not sure I do either. But to me it's all about possibilities. If we choose to allow the OS to render all components, then we have no flexibility (consider the MS GUI for Windows; users can change the L&F but they can't change the functionality of any piece of it). If we render the images ourselves then we can -- but don't have to -- implement our own L&F and also our own functionality.

As discussed in the other thread, there's also the problem that buttons on Windows (for example) don't inherently provide HTML support, so just prefixing your button text with "<html>" wouldn't work to give them a custom look. Instead, the MapTool devs would need to add an additional layer of code that looks at the string, parses out the HTML, then turns it into something that works in a platform-specific manner. Or just ignore it and say, "Oh, HTML doesn't work on your platform. Gee, that's a bummer." And that's the end of it.

And look at support questions here on the forum: which is likely to generate more requests for help? And of those requests, which would be easier to answer: the ones for a cross-platform implementation or the ones that are OS-specific?

While I don't buy into one-GUI-to-rule-them-all on the basis of L&F, I do believe that combined with the other issues there's a net positive benefit to it.

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by Notsonoble »

Okay, this could be thrown as a current feature request as well, but I really want MT1.4 to start...

Statsheet, the basic built in one at mouseover... the one you can make display properties by placing an * in front of the property name... I want to see that kept, but with some customization ability...
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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by jfrazierjr »

Notsonoble wrote:Okay, this could be thrown as a current feature request as well, but I really want MT1.4 to start...

Statsheet, the basic built in one at mouseover... the one you can make display properties by placing an * in front of the property name... I want to see that kept, but with some customization ability...


Not sure if its 1.4 (if so, it would be late in the cycle due to the other big things) but that is surely on the list. Trevor has talked about using a templating system such as Velocity(I advocate FreeMarker instead). To keep size down, I would perhaps suggest having a full statsheet available via a right click and/or a link on the hover over statsheet to open into a new Frame.
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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Notsonoble
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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by Notsonoble »

Actually I kinda want the ability to set # of rows and columns, and maybe allow scrolling if the number of visible properties exceeds that... also, a different texture as the background, and the ability to set the transparency (of the bkgd, and the token image and text)
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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by KaylaKaze »

Notsonoble wrote:Actually I kinda want the ability to set # of rows and columns, and maybe allow scrolling if the number of visible properties exceeds that... also, a different texture as the background, and the ability to set the transparency (of the bkgd, and the token image and text)


Instead of doing all that to the statsheet, the most sane thing to do would be to just make the statsheet a single HTML frame. Maybe have a campaign property for statsheets, and you can make as many types of stat sheets as you want and assign them to varying tokens. And maybe have a "Default" stat sheet for those who just want the current one.

Of course, it's academic since I don't really believe 1.4 is ever coming out.

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by jfrazierjr »

KaylaKaze wrote:Of course, it's academic since I don't really believe 1.4 is ever coming out.


I can't guarantee a final release, but it is being planned right now as well as some preliminary work actually being tested. However, with the people who are working on it at the current time, UI change is lower on the design criteria, so even if 1.4 had a beta build tomorrow(which it wont!), the UI would likely be fairly similar to todays Maptool.
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by Azhrei »

And remember that we could simply release the next build as "1.4" but that wouldn't mean anything. We (meaning the primary devs) want it to actually mean something.

Unfortunately RL is consuming a lot of time, at least on my schedule. Between now and mid-November I have exactly three weeks in which I'm not teaching. And when I'm teaching (which takes about 50-60 hours per week) I don't have time to work on MT except on weekends and the wife comes first in that situation. ;)

So, be patient. There will be "1.4", but we want to have something with a little glitz to it and the first build will be slow in coming. We're currently trying to get some of the architectural/structural details nailed down. (I say "we" but really Craig has been doing all of that work.)

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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by RPTroll »

Thanks for all you guys do. I wish, oh how I wish, I could help with the coding but for now I'm relegated to pimping Maptool and writing frameworks. That said, you guys are my heroes. Again, thanks for all you do (for real, no sarcasm). :D
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Re: Maptool Concepts: The Next UI, Look, and Feel

Post by wolph42 »

RPTroll wrote:Thanks for all you guys do. I wish, oh how I wish, I could help with the coding but for now I'm relegated to pimping Maptool and writing frameworks. That said, you guys are my heroes. Again, thanks for all you do (for real, no sarcasm). :D

What he said :D. With every nee build I'm glancing through the new stuff and sometimes feel like a happy puppy when something is all of a sudden made possible, like creating a general light setting macro or being able to actually select tokens automatically. So what the troll said. Keep up the good work and know that anything you create will make the end users happy cause we are soccers for nee stuff to try out.

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