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41st message | this message only posted: 16 Mar 2015 08:18
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from:
JFS
United Kingdom

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: I was pointing out that in later versions of Windows anything which is clickable changes appearance
Many thanks Martin - now I understand. I thought you meant that clickable items created in older versions of Windows did not change appearance in newer versions.

Maybe I should amend my statement to say that these days, the only way of telling which objects are clickable is to hover over ALL of them whereas a previous philosophy was to give them a visual style which made them instantly obvious.

Still, I have learnt that I am a Luddite and out of step with the rest of the world - that is probably why I still hand build all my track...

Best wishes,

Howard

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42nd message | this message only posted: 16 Mar 2015 10:27
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Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Martin
I have to say that I agree entirely with Nigel.  OK, sometimes I have to go through the menus looking for something, but it doesn't affect the way Templot works.  As Nigel says, tutorials, documentation and functionality (in that order?) are more important to match Templot as it is.  Whatever you do, whether it's dialogue boxes or menus, there will always be people who aren't happy and I really don't think changing the core way Templot works will change that.
Cheers
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43rd message | this message only posted: 16 Mar 2015 10:47
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Simon Dunkley
Oakham, United Kingdom



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Nigel is spot on: your menu structure is fine. I sometimes wish items on the menu once clicked did not require me to go back through the menus, but the structure is sound.

What do I mean about not going back through the menus? Things like some of the options on the output side, for example platforms. What would be great would be to see a small rectangle sowing me what the current options are set to, showing the colours for the edge and the fill and also the pattern. If I want to change them, then I would click on Platform and be able to change each in turn via a dialog box with all three items clickable for change, and close the box by clicking on OK.

I would like to have an alternative spreadsheet style data entry system for shoving timbers: timber numbers down the side, attributes across the top. Ideally such that I can copy and paste in and out of Templot (that might be a touch greedy, though). Finally, when shoving timbers, is it possible to change the modality of the functions, so that I can simply click on another option, e.g. twist, or another timber, without having to close the active function display box?

As I am using Templot via Wine, some of what I am asking for may be possible in "native" windows apps, so please excuse me if that is the case.
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44th message | this message only posted: 16 Mar 2015 11:12
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from:
Ariels Girdle
 

 

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I too agree that the menus are fine. It may not be perfect, but it works. If you totally change the look and feel of the product you will become unpopular with many of those who are used to the current structure and gain few new converts. Just look at the reaction most people had to Windows 8.

Far better to put effort into improving the tutorials.
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45th message | this message only posted: 18 Mar 2015 05:12
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Well the voting seems split between adopting Howard's suggestions and leaving well alone.

I must confess that having looked at the amount of work involved, leaving well alone is very attractive. :)

One thing Howard mentioned which did strike a chord with me though is the difficulty of being sure which V-crossing type is currently set, and remembering to change it when needed. It is visible on the template as the presence/position of the turnout radius end marker, but that is often not very obvious when zoomed out, or in view when zoomed in. It is also shown in the data on the info panel, but difficult to spot within the text, and not visible when shrunk.

So I have added a new indicator to show the type of V-crossing for the control template:



Showing:

R = regular
C = curviform
G = generic
P = parallel

Showing in green on white for turnouts and regular half-diamonds or grey for plain track templates.

For irregular half-diamonds, it shows inverted white on green (usually C, but not necessarily).

Clicking it toggles regular/curviform as the two types most often used. A double click opens the full V-crossing dialog.

More about types of V-crossings:

 http://templot.com/martweb/gs_realtrack.htm#xing_types

 http://templot.com/martweb/tut5e.htm
  ("curved" = curviform)

Making room for the new indicator means we have lost the double-click tool-button, to keep the toolbar within 1024 pixels width. The functionality is still there (double-clicking on the trackpad to start your preferred mouse action) but I'm guessing seldom used?

In the next program update. Thanks Howard.

Martin.

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46th message | this message only posted: 18 Mar 2015 08:23
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from:
JFS
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin,

I certainly sympathise with the workload in any change to the UI! And I think that this idea is a very positive step forward - many thanks. I for one will not miss the double click button!

Just a thought - since there are only four options, could a click cycle through the list rather than just toggling between two options? My concern is that it might lull a beginner into thinking there are only two options.

(I have come across beginners who think there are only two peg positions!!!)

Many thanks and best wishes,

Howard.
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47th message | this message only posted: 18 Mar 2015 09:15
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from:
Paul Boyd
Loughborough, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Martin

Howard wrote:Just a thought - since there are only four options, could a click cycle through the list rather than just toggling between two options? My concern is that it might lull a beginner into thinking there are only two options.Yes, I like that idea as well!  Getting the wrong type of crossing is something I've done more than once (I didn't notice the subtlety of the radius end marker!) so to have the setting clearly visible, and to be able to quickly step through the four options, would be great.  If you accidentally click past the one you want, it's not as if you have to click through umpteen options to get back again.

Double-click?  Do people really still do that?  :)

Cheers
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48th message | this message only posted: 26 Mar 2015 13:00
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Hi. I'm a new user of Templot.

Im using it to plan quite a big layout with about 35 points.etc, for a forthcoming irish model, which will be in OO-SF

Right now I am creating simple formations

A big thanks to Martin for this program. Without it the task would be very difficult.

Martin , you asked , what's wrong, well I personally , as a software engineer and user of many modern CAD systems, I would suggest two main areas that struck me.

One is the use of the mouse. Lots of that usage is counter intuitive

Most CAD systems have fairly consistent approach these days. First you build up a set of parts , either from scratch or from templates. These parts then appear as a selectable list on a pane.

The user can then drag and drop such parts where the default action would be to attach itself to the designated " snap " point ( as opposed to peg idea ) , as you drag the new part over the existing trackwork the snap points auto highlight. ( various menus control snap action )

This allows you to rapidly and simply add non complex track and points that you previously define, easily

For subsequent actions on the part you call up context sensitive right click menus /pop ups or access context sensitive menus/dialogs that relate to the selected parts ( or extended selection) you have highlighted

This is the basis of most CAD these days. For templot the idea would be that the user creates " parts " as a library and then in the CAD itself selects and manipulates the parts. Templates etc don't get used directly

The other issues that struck me were

Far too much garish colour , as an Apple Mac user, we now are all fans of less colour , flat features ( LOL ). Simple shades of grey and colour only used to indicate clear consistent message ( red for stop , orange for warning etc )

Avoid the use of loads of keyboard shortcuts and also lots of TLAs , remembering the peg and hole TLAs , I find particularly trouble some . As a rule , these days few cad systems use lots of keyboard shortcuts. It went out of use for various reasons. The mouse should be the primary driver of the software.


When you actually analyise the templot options most can be divided up into options and preferences , options should then be in context sensitive menus, preferences should be grouped together. apple is very good at this.

That would be my tuppence

But. Great software, after I bent my head to your way of thinking , it does a great job. I of course now wreck my head as I switch between 4 design systems during the day.

Ps. I write all of this in the full knowledge of the work involved, so it's merely a commentary.

Dave
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49th message | this message only posted: 26 Mar 2015 13:40
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from:
Paul Boyd
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Hi Dave
Firstly, Templot isn't CAD (except in the most literal sense).  Forget anything about CAD.  CAD experience is not applicable to Templot.The mouse should be the primary driver of the software.No, most definitely not.  Have you ever had serious RSI problems?  Keyboard shortcuts rule, and they're also a darn sight faster than bumbling around with a mouse.
Cheers


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50th message | this message only posted: 26 Mar 2015 17:41
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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madscientist wrote: Most CAD systems have fairly consistent approach these days. First you build up a set of parts , either from scratch or from templates. These parts then appear as a selectable list on a pane.

The user can then drag and drop such parts where the default action would be to attach itself to the designated " snap " point ( as opposed to peg idea ) , as you drag the new part over the existing trackwork the snap points auto highlight. ( various menus control snap action )
Dave

Templot does have sets of parts, built in. They are the various common crossings, switch blades, etc. These are what a real-life track designer uses to plan track work. The problem with your approach is that it's fairly rare that two templates are the same; we aren't slotting together bits of track as you do in a train set. It IS possibly to copy templates, and indeed create your own libraries; I suspect very few people do so because bespoke templates are what are usually needed.

Cheers
Nigel

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51st message | this message only posted: 26 Mar 2015 18:49
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email or PM.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
madscientist wrote:The user can then drag and drop such parts where the default action would be to attach itself to the designated " snap " point ( as opposed to peg idea ) , as you drag the new part over the existing trackwork the snap points auto highlight. ( various menus control snap action )Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments, and welcome to Templot Club. :)

Templot already contains that functionality. It is called F7 snapping. Here is an animation, sorry it is so old:



More about it, and the various options, here:

 http://templot.com/martweb/f7_snap_demo.htm

This is provided mainly as an aid for beginners, because the results are not very prototypical. Real railways don't design complex trackwork this way. Or at least they didn't, in the era most modellers wish to replicate, with smooth flowing curved junctions and station throats.

regards,

Martin.

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52nd message | this message only posted: 26 Mar 2015 20:11
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Paul Boyd wrote:
Hi Dave
Firstly, Templot isn't CAD (except in the most literal sense).  Forget anything about CAD.  CAD experience is not applicable to Templot.The mouse should be the primary driver of the software.No, most definitely not.  Have you ever had serious RSI problems?  Keyboard shortcuts rule, and they're also a darn sight faster than bumbling around with a mouse.
Cheers



I would politely disagree. It's cad like any other cad system. In just the sabe way as a PCB design program is a specific firm of cad or electrical wiring etc etc.

I have offered up some reasons why newbies struggle and it's because templots paradigm is different to modern graphically orientated systems.

I repeat, it's great piece of software. But I can easily see why it's has a considerable learning curve.

" bumbling around with a mouse " , well there the whole GUI revolution dismissed in a phrase Lol
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53rd message | this message only posted: 26 Mar 2015 20:13
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Martin Wynne wrote:
madscientist wrote:The user can then drag and drop such parts where the default action would be to attach itself to the designated " snap " point ( as opposed to peg idea ) , as you drag the new part over the existing trackwork the snap points auto highlight. ( various menus control snap action )Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments, and welcome to Templot Club. :)

Templot already contains that functionality. It is called F7 snapping. Here is an animation, sorry it is so old:



More about it, and the various options, here:

 http://templot.com/martweb/f7_snap_demo.htm

This is provided mainly as an aid for beginners, because the results are not very prototypical. Real railways don't design complex trackwork this way. Or at least they didn't, in the era most modellers wish to replicate, with smooth flowing curved junctions and station throats.

regards,

Martin.


Thanks Martin , I was aware of that. My comments were more as a comparison of GUI orientated cad as opposed to specific templot issues
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54th message | this message only posted: 26 Mar 2015 20:20
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Nigel Brown wrote:
madscientist wrote: Most CAD systems have fairly consistent approach these days. First you build up a set of parts , either from scratch or from templates. These parts then appear as a selectable list on a pane.

The user can then drag and drop such parts where the default action would be to attach itself to the designated " snap " point ( as opposed to peg idea ) , as you drag the new part over the existing trackwork the snap points auto highlight. ( various menus control snap action )
Dave

Templot does have sets of parts, built in. They are the various common crossings, switch blades, etc. These are what a real-life track designer uses to plan track work. The problem with your approach is that it's fairly rare that two templates are the same; we aren't slotting together bits of track as you do in a train set. It IS possibly to copy templates, and indeed create your own libraries; I suspect very few people do so because bespoke templates are what are usually needed.

Cheers
Nigel


Indeed. Yes in modern parlance templots generators of parts would be called " wizards "

It's not that users want whole libraries of set track. I was more drawing comparison about how modern cad orientated system have evolved.

For example. The whole issue of foreground and background templates and the user moving between then could actually be automated such that simply clicking on a piece of track , brings it to the forground. Etc. . This is typical of modern cad. You click to select and right click to context action. Templot does some of this of course , but it's quite non Windows in its approach.

I did not suggest any of these items as criticism. Merely as a response to Martins " what's wrong " comment. To me it's not menus or tinkering , that's merely tidy up . But I can see how the basic Templot paradigm confuses normal windows users and causes newbies issues.

Again I'm extremely grateful to Martin for his superb efforts

Dave
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55th message | this message only posted: 27 Mar 2015 12:58
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
madscientist wrote:The whole issue of foreground and background templates and the user moving between then could actually be automated such that simply clicking on a piece of track, brings it to the foreground. Etc.Hi Dave,

That option is there if you want it. It is called make-on-click mode if you want to try it -- on the program panel window click the program > click-mode options > make-on-click mode menu item. The top toolbar shows orange when this mode is in force. It is necessary to right-click on a template to display its menu.

But it is the difference between the control template and stored templates which makes it easy to build up complex formations from partial templates. During the development phase of Templot2 I tried this mode option to merge the two, but the general feedback was that it made matters even more confusing, and some operations impossible. But the option is still there if you want to try it.

I fear that if you keep regarding Templot as a CAD program you will just get frustrated with it. I don't know where this idea comes from. Nowhere on the Templot web site does it claim to be a CAD program, except in the most general sense of being a computer program which prints working drawings. It was created and intended as a tool for model track builders, not drawing office staff.

There is more explanation for CAD users on the "utterly baffled" page at:

 http://templot.com/companion/index.html?gs_baffled.htm

regards,

Martin.

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56th message | this message only posted: 27 Mar 2015 15:36
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Martin

To me CAD is very generic term and Templot to me is a quintessential CAD application , in that its clearly a Computer Aided Design package. One needs to separate CAD from say , A CAD drawing package, ( which is a particular form of CAD) And compare Templot to more tailored CAD like PCB layout design packages etc

( PCB CAD isn't for office staff either LOL)

I know you get a lot of newbie frustration and you asked yourself " whats wrong"

As a newbie I can clearly see how the Templot paradigm is somewhat different and requires some change of approach from CAD ( as in a generic term ) approaches

Have a look at things like Autodeck's Inventor fusion , to look at a 3D CAD that adopts the same approach as Templot ( i.e. take a basic form and convert it and stretch it etc)

All of this is in the relm of conjecture anyway, because as you said yourself , its not worth tearing it all apart ( and I would agree)

In fact any future work should concentrate in making it handle more track work combination ( Y points etc ) rather then worrying too much about the user interface


personally I dont find it baffling, even if you keep pointing out menu items I miss. !!!. I find I can drive it reasonably well. Of course that doesn't mean I will produce anything resembling a prototype layout

keep on trucking
Dave
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