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Feedback on AMX tools

I was talking with an AMX dealer today who was in for training and he mentioned a few things that irritated him about NL Studio and TPDesign4 and things that would be nice to make things easier and faster from start to finish. Always good to get feedback like that. You never know what some ideas can generate down the line. That got me thinking about what features other people wish were in the tools or what features would make it easier/faster to get things done. What things are irritating? What things are good? What do other tools do that you really like?
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Comments

  • PhreaKPhreaK Senior Member Posts: 966
    My absolute dream would be to have an eclipse plugin written for NetLinx. That would allow the use of a single (amazing) IDE for the full development cycle of Duet based projects. There has been a massive amount of research and effort put into creating Eclipse as it exists today, a lot of that would be extremely useful in AMX based software projects.

    With TPDesign the most useful request that comes to mind is to have a way to assign a class or a style to a button. Sort of an extension of colour pallettes so that colours, borders, background and chameleon images etc can be defined. When you are tweaking it is then just a matter of making the modifications in a single point and it will then update the other buttons utilizing that style.

    Another feature which would be awsome would be an chameleon and background images scaling implimentation similar to Adobe's 9-slice scaling. It would work nicely with the style based defination so an asthetic could be defined which would then be flexible enough to apply to objects of different size.

    Once again rgelling, thanks for actually speaking to the people utilizing your products, it's a rare thing.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    Rick,

    Thanks for chiming in and asking for our opinions! Something I'm dying to have (and maybe it's possible with Eclipse, though I doubt that will happen any time soon) is to have a "code beautifier" / "code formatter." If I open up someone else's code who may have come from a Java background, you may see something like this:
    BUTTON_EVENT[dvTP,nBUTTONS]{
    	PUSH:{
    		// DO SOMETHING
    	}
    }
    

    Or perhaps an "inexperienced" programmer (or one just stuck in their ways) like this:
    BUTTON_EVENT[dvTP,nBUTTONS]
    	{
    	PUSH:
    		{
    		// DO SOMETHING
    		}
    	}
    

    I want to be able to load up anyone's code, and have it format things the way I want to see it (in our example, like this)
    BUTTON_EVENT[dvTP,nBUTTONS]
    {
    	PUSH:
    	{
    		// DO SOMETHING
    	}
    }
    

    Code formatting is very important when debugging, or viewing someone else's work. Instead of trying to decipher the code because things aren't lined up how you'd do them, we could just jump right into debugging. This is why most probably put the tab stop settings in their code somewhere, so if someone does look at it - it's not completely messed up and representing how the coder designed it.

    Also, it'd be super nice to have a drop-down of all the defined devices in the "Control a device" and "Emulate a device" dialogs; the drop list could have a "Custom..." selection where you could fill in the blanks yourself. But I HATE having to look up the device I want to test out - I know the name almost all the time, just not the device number. This would mean having to fix the current problem of when adding a device it doesn't show up in the list.

    Those are probably the first two things that come to mind.
  • Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated Programmer Posts: 1,917
    I would like the ability to select and copy/paste multiple pages/popups in TPD4.

    I would also like the ability to put popups and pages into folders for organization. This would be separate from their group (ie does not make them mutually exclusive when displayed on panel). Maybe have a choice to view by group or by folder?

    I would like to be able to give popups and/or buttons a layer value. This would be an integer value used to decide what is on top (highest value = button that is pushed). This would be very helpful as right now the above popups works for status, but is useless if I need to display a warning popup (or doorbell).

    I would also like to add my support for the plug-in support for Eclipse.


    Jeff
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    Spire_Jeff wrote: »
    I would also like the ability to put popups and pages into folders for organization. This would be separate from their group (ie does not make them mutually exclusive when displayed on panel). Maybe have a choice to view by group or by folder?

    On the topic of organization, I would love to see folders used in the resource manager. I want all of my logos in one folder, all of my buttons in another, all of my icons in their own folder and all of the backgrounds in their own folder. (Of course - let us make & name the folders.) The basic structure of references in the panel (including popup page directives) is through XML. The imagines don't necessarily NEED to be in their own folder when transfered onto the panel, but just in TPD4.

    Currently, I need to rename everything with a prefix, that way they are grouped when I go through my resource manager, such as tv_<name>.png for my TV logos, xm_<name>, btn_<name>, bg_<name>, so on and so forth. This can be a pain when you get a group of icons that don't follow that convention (but the use of a program called ReNamer has helped a lot.)

    Anyway - again my 2 cents.
  • John GonzalesJohn Gonzales Junior Member Posts: 609
    Been mentioned already but I'd like to second this...

    In TPD:
    1. Ability to cut/copy/paste multiple pages at once
    2. Ability to scale graphics and buttons

    Also would like to have a "purge" feature that could alert you to any unused icons, bitmaps, fonts, and pages and give the option to purge them from the TP file.

    Like PhreaK said, thanks rgelling for taking time out to hear our thoughts on the software.

    --John
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    +1 on the purge of unused graphics; I can see the danger though if they are used for dynamic buttons (i.e. weather icons) - but if combined with my folder request - one could potentially exclude certain graphics from being purged.

    Nice idea John!
  • felixmoldovanfelixmoldovan Junior Member Posts: 197
    Besides all the already mentioned, some small annoyances or suggested improvements

    For TP Design
    - Alpha for border
    - Custom shaped buttons/areas (especially for floor plans)
    - Generate panel preview as exe
    - Group/Ungroup buttons (and align/space groups)
    - Global poups or page group popups with layer Z-order (a volume bar for a room, source independent, always on top on any page from that room)

    For NS
    - Right click on call/function name -> go to call/function definition
    - F1 -> keyword sensitive on cursor (not only when fully selected)
    - duplicate device defined warning
    - Ctrl-H (replace) would be nice to stay on the last used scope (selection vs whole file). Arghh... Happened not once...
    - Custom section (expandable/collapsible) for better structuring the code
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    - Custom shaped buttons/areas (especially for floor plans)

    I think this is already possible. I'm not exactly sure how, but it had something to do with only pushing the active part of the button/image (not the transparant part)

    Look at the AMX Demo that comes loaded with the older touchpanels...
  • felixmoldovanfelixmoldovan Junior Member Posts: 197
    yuri wrote: »
    I think this is already possible. I'm not exactly sure how, but it had something to do with only pushing the active part of the button/image (not the transparant part)
    Look at the AMX Demo that comes loaded with the older touchpanels...

    I presume you are talking about active touch vs bounding box... I agree that would be a way of doing it, but I was asked if something could make my life easier :-)
  • DiogoDiogo Junior Member Posts: 65
    I think the Netlinx Studio and TPDesingn should have an better integration.

    We all know Netlinx Studio is for code and TPD is for panels, but this may be possibe.
    Double click in a button on TPD, jumps to your source code and put the cursor on the respective button/level event (or even create).
    Just like some IDE's in the market such as VB, Delphi...
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    I thought of something else . . . how about the long-lost feature of "custom" borders?

    See posts 4 to see how I did it, and 14 to see the result. Perhaps just give us more than 1 Custom Border reference, how about 5 or 10? And then the ability to "import" left, right, up, down and each corner for the custom border. Could be another tab in the resource manager.

    http://www.amxforums.com/showthread.php?t=598
  • DiogoDiogo Junior Member Posts: 65
    One bug that should be revised is the "Ctrl+Backspace" in the studio

    The commmand not delete a word, executes a delete.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    Diogo wrote: »
    One bug that should be revised is the "Ctrl+Backspace" in the studio

    The commmand not delete a word, executes a delete.

    +1 - very annoying!
  • JohnMichnrJohnMichnr Junior Member Posts: 276
    TP Design -
    -open multiple files at once (shift highlight)
    -Allow docking menus to the left side of the main window area (used to be able to do this)
    - +1 on teh scalable graphics in the buttons I'm sick of bouncing graphics back out to photoshop cause I want to shrink my buttons down 10 pixels

    And My all time personal most annoying feature, having to close the touchpanel file in TP Design, to transfer it with Studio!
  • alexsquaredalexsquared Junior Member Posts: 166
    +1
    Diogo wrote: »
    I think the Netlinx Studio and TPDesingn should have an better integration.

    We all know Netlinx Studio is for code and TPD is for panels, but this may be possibe.
    Double click in a button on TPD, jumps to your source code and put the cursor on the respective button/level event (or even create).
    Just like some IDE's in the market such as VB, Delphi...


    Man, wouldn't that be nice. This could come in so handy.
  • edgelitocedgelitoc Junior Member Posts: 160
    And My all time personal most annoying feature, having to close the touchpanel file in TP Design, to transfer it with Studio![/QUOTE]


    agree to this statement, I have always encounter it, especially programming on site where you have a limited time only.
  • HARMAN_icraigieHARMAN_icraigie Technical Trainer II, Harman Professional University Posts: 544
    edgelitoc wrote: »
    And My all time personal most annoying feature, having to close the touchpanel file in TP Design, to transfer it with Studio!


    agree to this statement, I have always encounter it, especially programming on site where you have a limited time only.


    If TPD4 is open why don't you just transfer the panel file from within there, connecting through a virtual master?
  • ipssheldonipssheldon Registered User Posts: 106
    I agree with the idea of adding folders to TPD4 as a separate way to organize pages, popups, and resources. But I'd add that why not provide a folder view that displays all of the above on the left side bar. The top half would be the pages/popup folders, followed by the resource folders (graphics first, then audio files) and such. I may need to edit properties for a dynamic image while on a page and/or copy an image. Why not be able to simply right click or double-click the image on the left bar to open that UI.

    Programmatically, how about a command or feature to allow a Netlinx program to move a button on the fly. I realize that it may not be possible to create a button from within a program, but how about the ability to set the coordinates of a button on the fly. This would allow the TP designer to create a generic interface and allow the program to set the button coordinates, in the same way that the program can set other properties.

    The other ideas are all good as well.

    Sheldon Samuels
  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470
    Wish:
    ipssheldon wrote: »
    Programmatically, how about a command or feature to allow a Netlinx program to move a button on the fly.

    Granted:
    SEND_COMMAND dvTP,"'^BMF-',cAddress,',0,%R',cLeft,',',cTop,',',cRight,',',cBottom"
    
  • ipssheldonipssheldon Registered User Posts: 106
    Cool. I'll give that a shot. Thanks.
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    Colzie wrote: »
    Wish:


    Granted:
    SEND_COMMAND dvTP,"'^BMF-',cAddress,',0,&#37;R',cLeft,',',cTop,',',cRight,',',cBottom"
    

    no f*cking way! :D

    the %R embedded code isn't found in AMX-PI. Is this a secret?

    edit:
    can i also check the current coordinates of a button/popup?
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    Colzie wrote: »
    SEND_COMMAND dvTP,"'^BMF-',cAddress,',0,%R',cLeft,',',cTop,',',cRight,',',cBottom"
    
    yuri wrote: »
    the %R embedded code isn't found in AMX-PI. Is this a secret?

    Chad, thanks for posting this. I knew it was possible, but as yuri pointed out, I couldn't find it in AMX-PI. I'll second his question - is this documented somewhere?
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,159
    yuri wrote:
    no f*cking way!
    Way.
    yuri wrote:
    the %R embedded code isn't found in AMX-PI. Is this a secret?
    It was in the now defunct Software History. I don?t know why it never made its way to AMX-PI.
    yuri wrote:
    can i also check the current coordinates of a button/popup?
    Nope, that?s not one of the properties currently supported by Custom_Event.
  • Danny CampbellDanny Campbell Senior Member Posts: 311
    icraigie wrote: »
    If TPD4 is open why don't you just transfer the panel file from within there, connecting through a virtual master?

    That always seems to take longer than using Studio.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    Colzie wrote: »
    Wish:


    Granted:
    SEND_COMMAND dvTP,"'^BMF-',cAddress,',0,%R',cLeft,',',cTop,',',cRight,',',cBottom"
    

    Does this work or is it a joke? To position a button, why would you need four coordinates? Can you move and resize with the same command?
    Paul
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,159
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    Does this work or is it a joke? To position a button, why would you need four coordinates? Can you move and resize with the same command?
    No joke, it works. Yes, you move and resize with the same command.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    Joe Hebert wrote: »
    No joke, it works. Yes, you move and resize with the same command.

    Strange. I have asked TS many times about this and was told no command existed. Perhaps they only tell their best dealers :) I guess there is no way to query a button's position?
    Paul
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    a_riot42 wrote: »
    Strange. I have asked TS many times about this and was told no command existed. Perhaps they only tell their best dealers :) I guess there is no way to query a button's position?
    Paul

    See post a few above here, but apparently there is no way.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    jjames wrote: »
    but apparently there is no way.

    That's what they said about moving buttons too.
    Paul
  • Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated Programmer Posts: 1,917
    Getting back on topic, I just ran into an issue where being able to view two touch panel trees next to each other would be nice. I need to copy pages from a main template to the actual touch panel file and the constant up and down scrolling (made worse by only being able to select a single page/popup at a time) is a bit annoying and a waste of time. It would be nice to be able to open two instances of the workspace browser and copy/paste between them (or drag and drop to copy).

    Jeff
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