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41st message | this message only posted: 30 Jan 2018 13:19
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Thanks Dave.

An issue with make-on-click mode is that it is not possible to view (or print) the full track plan, because one template always remains behind in the control template. Any attempt to get round this almost inevitably results in a duplicated template when you begin further work.

I'm wondering how you are avoiding this without using delete to the control, and what would be the official GUI solution?

It's possible, and useful, to have a scratch dummy template which is not part of the track plan, and make that the control when you don't want any of the track plan templates to be in the control template. I often do that when posting box files here.

regards,

Martin.

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Nigel Brown wrote: Trevor Walling wrote: ...
                 I think too much worry is expended about people not being able to do this or do that. We keep hearing how Windows users do something this way or that. I don't believe this is true as Windows is changing all the time and its users manage to adapt. The same can be said about Android as well,and Linux is just the same. The key factor is people becoming familiar with a particular piece of software by just using it. I find word processing applications are much the same across all platforms.
..
Trevor.:)
Hi Trevor
Totally agree. Windows "style" is prevalent across most Windows personal applications, but once you get beyond that into serious applications then it tends to fall by the wayside. I became a professional software developer and implementer way back in 1969 and Windows only had marginal effects in many application areas. Over the last few years I've become involved in CAD software for my own uses, first for etching purposes, now for 3D printing applications, and in doing so have tried many CAD programs; very few could be said to have a Windows GUI, and most have a steeper learning curve than Templot.
I think the way to lead people into using Templot is, as is the case with many programs, is to start with some simple requirements, and adopt a prescriptive approach to actually get them to do something useful, while explaining what the actions are about.
Cheers
Nigel
I really reply not  in the context of templot , but in general 

but your view is simply completely contary to the goals of modern apllication software largely running under Windows and to a lesser extent Mac OS , Linux can be largely ignored outside the server market. 
If you look at ( on the mac for example ) modern pcb design , e.g. Diptrace , or 2D cad like Draftsight or the huge 3D Solid works competitor , Fusion 360, you will see that the basics of Apple and Windows " style guides are followed , for  example 


Menus are uncluttered , most selection are via context , 
Toolbars with graphical elements are common 
Most are click to select followed by action 
Grouping on graphical elements is by direct mouse action 
Sorting is done by clicking column headings 
Text select is by mouse and consistent shift key extension 
Drag and drop is implemented 
Cut and paste works as you expect 

Colours are muted , dialogboxes hide uncommon features etc 

Hence the user can approach say Diptrace , see familiar menu structures, understand that " basic " features they use in say Word , also work in pcb layout, or in Fusion360. 

This is not haphazard , this is a result of years of design and implementation by developers in Apple , Microsoft , focus groups , academic research etc and the publishing of countless style guides and examples., the developers docs are littered with it. 

As a result even software like AutoCAD, that traditionally had very esoteric user interfaces , have in the last few revisions , largely begun to conform to the " standard " 

Why is this done ? 

Simply because the purpose is to lead beginners past the initial confusion stages and allow simple things to be done simply , because that's all most beginners want to do,

Of course , complex and powerful software like Fusion 360 ! Can't be mastered by intuition alone, getting to grips with any powerful software takes considerable effort , but we are not talking about " power " users. 

Today , users exposed to 20 years of GUIs expect software to confirm , by and large , to the conventions of modern GUI styles . as an experiment take a modern Word user and sit then in front of a copy of 1984 Wordstar , you'll fall about laughing at the struggles. 

To see how software has been influenced by such style guides , trace the development of MS word , today a very complex and powerful piece of software , 15 years ago it came with a keyboard template , which outlined all the custom keystrokes etc required to drive the software 

Today, Word has a handful of keystrokes and no template , ask yourself why that is ? 

The whole point of a GUI "style" ( which is a rather simplistic term ) is that similar actions across many different software applications are performed in a similar way. This leads the beginner intutiitively through his or her first steps as they progress to intermediate and expert use. It also reduces the need to remember " custom " user interfaces on an application by application basis. 

In this regard Macs are far better at this then Windows as the Aqua interface has remained far more consistent compared to Windows and as a result there is far more " convergence " of user interface amongst native Mac apps. 

Regards 

Dave 



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Dave

My comments are directed solely at the question of getting newcomers started in Templot. I couldn't give a damn as to what other bits of software do, or are trying to do, or may do in future. I don't think it's relevant.

Nigel
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Martin Wynne
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madscientist wrote:This is not haphazard, this is a result of years of design and implementation by developers in Apple, Microsoft, focus groups, academic research etc and the publishing of countless style guides and examples, the developers docs are littered with it.Indeed. But the thing I notice is that without exception they are concerned with productivity business software, where "time is money".

I suggest that hobby software is different. Also of course computer games. It is supposed to be enjoyable to use, and time is not money.

Some folks have said that they find Templot so enjoyable it becomes addictive. I can't believe anyone ever became addicted to using Word.

When not Templotting I am mildly addicted to editing OpenStreetMap:

 http://www.openstreetmap.org/about

The interface bears no resemblance to Word, that's for sure. Or Templot. I can spend hours on there if I'm not careful. :)

Martin.

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Martin Wynne wrote: Thanks Dave.

An issue with make-on-click mode is that it is not possible to view (or print) the full track plan, because one template always remains behind in the control template. Any attempt to get round this almost inevitably results in a duplicated template when you begin further work.

I'm wondering how you are avoiding this without using delete to the control, and what would be the official GUI solution?

It's possible, and useful, to have a scratch dummy template which is not part of the track plan, and make that the control when you don't want any of the track plan templates to be in the control template. I often do that when posting box files here.

regards,

Martin.
I actually have turned off the feature when I needed to do that ( or alternatively I have thrown a dummy piece in the screen to remain as the control ) 
Thinking about a GUI solution ( and this is a bit seat of the pants ) and comparing what one does in other packages like PCB design , CAD , 3D etc 

personally I think the  
one click should always be " select " , this is almost universal in GUI land 
then its usually double  click or context  menu to perform an " action "

so with that in mind 

single click to select
double click to convert the background template into the control ( i.e. if effect a delete to the control ) 
user performs actions

on either (a) selecting another background template or (b) double clicking on another template , the control template loosing the focus , is " returned " to a background and by definition stored  in the storage box , its not possible to produce duplicates using this method 

Copying a control should be done by conventional cut and paste mechanisms , i.e. the  template or control  is selected , Ctrl C'ed  and the user Ctrl Vs the copy ( which can either display on top of the  existing one or under the cursor pos , different software does it differently ) , The underlying control template is automatically returned to the background and the copy becomes the control 
I use the term " returned " as opposed to insert , because insert typically means crating a new entry , i.e. a duplicate 

In my own work with Template , I rarely copy , interesting , because most of the "Make " tools now create the track components I need. 


This removes  make, copy and wipe , in my view which are concepts  that are confusing to the beginner and in reality are not needed any way 

personally I think redesigning the user interface to remove the creation of duplicates would go along way to getting beginners  over the hump.  

But as I said all this is predicated by my previous comments on why bother !

regards 

Dave 






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Nigel Brown wrote: My comments are directed solely at the question of getting newcomers started in Templot. I couldn't give a damn as to what other bits of software do, or are trying to do, or may do in future. I don't think it's relevant.Hi Nigel,

That has always been my approach too. I have never been able to understand that there is any common ground or need to set the paragraph spacing on a printed circuit board. It seems obvious that a user interface should be designed to suit the task in hand, not forced into a common mould.

But there are frequent calls for just that, so I think we should at least maybe listen.

However, I'm still waiting for an answer to my question: "What is the official GUI way to adjust the position of the start of a clothoid transition zone, while observing the effect at the far end of the track several yards away?"

Answers come there none, even from regular CAD users.

In Templot you zoom in on the far end, and then press the [ key. Simple.

Martin.
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The other option martin , would simply to allow the ESC key to " unmake " the control so made in the single click mode , ESC as a " back out " is fairly universal
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Nigel Brown wrote: Dave

My comments are directed solely at the question of getting newcomers started in Templot. I couldn't give a damn as to what other bits of software do, or are trying to do, or may do in future. I don't think it's relevant.

Nigel
you miss the point, todays user comes to a piece of software from a background of " driving " a PC i a GUI environment , where  largely actions are consistent across all types of software 
suddenly you are presented with a user interface , where nothing is familiar, and you wonder why users are confused 

I really dont want to get into a discussion of Templots GUI , unless Martins wants to ( on an academic discussion basis ) But I can tell you that a major issue is the way it implements its GUI , its not that in itself its not a fine GUI , ( it is ) its that is radically different to the conventions adopted 

In this I am addressing Martins frustrations , but as I have said , simply tinkering around the edges  is unlikely to address the issues ( although a way to prevent duplicates would be a useful start) nor is simply producing " yet" another video 

regards

dave 


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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:This is not haphazard, this is a result of years of design and implementation by developers in Apple, Microsoft, focus groups, academic research etc and the publishing of countless style guides and examples, the developers docs are littered with it.Indeed. But the thing I notice is that without exception they are concerned with productivity business software, where "time is money".

I suggest that hobby software is different. Also of course computer games. It is supposed to be enjoyable to use, and time is not money.

Some folks have said that they find Templot so enjoyable it becomes addictive. I can't believe anyone ever became addicted to using Word.

When not Templotting I am mildly addicted to editing OpenStreetMap:

 http://www.openstreetmap.org/about

The interface bears no resemblance to Word, that's for sure. Or Templot. I can spend hours on there if I'm not careful. :)

Martin.
just to be clear, I am not comparing Templot with Word or Word with a PCB design package 
what I am comparing is the consistent way modern GUIs approach similar tasks like 

drag and drop 
group selection 
sorting columns 
extended selections 
common dialogs 

and so forth 

as whether one is addicted to software , thats another days discussion, personally I find Templot very interesting , but at the end of the day I need to get the track plan out of it 

even open street map, which is a fairly light weight package, conforms, you have context sensitive right click , you have graphic toolbars etc , simple menus , with conventional wording ( help , about etc )

and this is is not a good comparison compared to a powerful app like Templot 


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madscientist wrote:on either (a) selecting another background template or (b) double clicking on another template , the control template loosing the focus, is " returned " to a background and by definition stored  in the storage box , its not possible to produce duplicates using this methodHi Dave,

It seems all this requires a possible condition where no template is selected? In other words that the control template doesn't exist?

That's just not possible in Templot. It can be invalidated by reducing its length to zero (try it) but it still exists.

I remember Brian Lewis (former owner of C&L) was much exercised by this in the early days of Templot. He was insistent that the screen should start up with an empty work area, and not have a template which he didn't want drawn across it. I explained that if it offended him it was easily hidden by pressing one key, but I couldn't work out any mechanism for it not to even exist.

Martin.

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 It seems obvious that a user interface should be designed to suit the task in hand, not forced into a common mould.



rather then endlessly debate this , I defer to Apple  and Microsoft , who by and large do not agree wth your perspective 


Thats not to say all elements of an application are common , obviously there are tasks in a PCB design package that are simply not present in say Word 


But all packages do ( or should do ) similar things in a GUI in a similar way 


Selection of elements 
movement of elements 
Dialogs 
menu structures 
the use of Colour 
extended selection 
column sorts 


etc etc 


the basic idea is the user doesn't have to relearn a whole host of common tasks ( or " discover " new ways of doing the same thing ) as they switch from software to software in a muti app environment typical of modern GUIs 

and no, this doesnt mean all software can be intuitively learned, but its a big aid to getting the beginner onto the first steps 
regards 


Dave 

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I can’t help but think that the bulk of this thread should be moved to the “Off-topic” forum, so that Martin can concentrate on the Templot Companion in the way he thinks is best. If people don’t like or understand what’s written, they can either go elsewhere or make an effort to understand what they currently don’t.
Right now, at work, I’m grappling with a data sheet for a battery charger, which tells me how the chip works and how to use it. I’ve realised there’s terminology I don’t understand, but instead of telling Linear Technology to rewrite their data sheets for idiots like me, I’ve gone away and tried to learn and understand the terminology. Now the data sheet makes more sense.

Seems like a very apt analogy to me 😀

Cheers,
Paul

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Paul Boyd wrote: I can’t help but think that the bulk of this thread should be moved to the “Off-topic” forum, so that Martin can concentrate on the Templot Companion in the way he thinks is best. If people don’t like or understand what’s written, they can either go elsewhere or make an effort to understand what they currently don’t.
Right now, at work, I’m grappling with a data sheet for a battery charger, which tells me how the chip works and how to use it. I’ve realised there’s terminology I don’t understand, but instead of telling Linear Technology to rewrite their data sheets for idiots like me, I’ve gone away and tried to learn and understand the terminology. Now the data sheet makes more sense.

Seems like a very apt analogy to me 😀

Cheers,
Paul
as martin continuously says , forums are discussion , you dont have to contribute if you dont want to and no-one including Martin is forced to read or write anything. at the end of the day its an academic discussion 

By the way as an EE with 30 years , data sheets have largely evolved to be consistent across major manufacturers . You tend to get summary features at the start , , a electronic symbol., typically followed by DC then AC characteristics , usually followed by a detailed operational discussion, followed by  information on package options, dimensions, PCB considerations and ordering information 

its exactly comparable to a modern GUI , because say a data sheet that threw all these concepts into a different order would be confusing  to most EEs, for example I would imagine  TI would get plenty of complaints if the filled the first two pages with the JEDEC pinouts and ordering info :D

Dave 

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Paul Boyd wrote: I can’t help but think that the bulk of this thread should be moved to the “Off-topic” forum, so that Martin can concentrate on the Templot Companion in the way he thinks is best.Hi Paul,

The snag is that I did ask for feedback about it.

I should have learned by now not to do that. :)

Martin.

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madscientist wrote:By the way as an EE with 30 years, data sheets have largely evolved to be consistent across major manufacturers . You tend to get summary features at the start , , a electronic symbol., typically followed by DC then AC characteristics , usually followed by a detailed operational discussion, followed by  information on package options, dimensions, PCB considerations and ordering informationBut how do you conform to that format if the data sheet is for a bicycle?

Martin.

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:on either (a) selecting another background template or (b) double clicking on another template , the control template loosing the focus, is " returned " to a background and by definition stored  in the storage box , its not possible to produce duplicates using this methodHi Dave,

It seems all this requires a possible condition where no template is selected? In other words that the control template doesn't exist?

That's just not possible in Templot. It can be invalidated by reducing its length to zero (try it) but it still exists.

I remember Brian Lewis (former owner of C&L) was much exercised by this in the early days of Templot. He was insistent that the screen should start up with an empty work area, and not have a template which he didn't want drawn across it. I explained that if it offended him it was easily hidden by pressing one key, but I couldn't work out any mechanism for it not to even exist.

Martin.
hmmm, 
surely the situation does exist in Templot where no piece of track is currently the control , Im sure thats the case in some cases ( for example after Insert ) 

surely a simple pressing of ESC , simply reverses the click on make and returns the user to the situation just before they hit click , 

dave



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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:By the way as an EE with 30 years, data sheets have largely evolved to be consistent across major manufacturers . You tend to get summary features at the start , , a electronic symbol., typically followed by DC then AC characteristics , usually followed by a detailed operational discussion, followed by  information on package options, dimensions, PCB considerations and ordering informationBut how do you conform to that format if the data sheet is for a bicycle?

Martin.
this is becoming a little existential !! :D
all I am saying , is that the idea behind consistent user actions across software for basic things like selection , movements , cut and paste , drag and drop , colour usage, dialogs etc  is to ensure " as best as possible " that users are presented with " common " actions in a similar way 

Templot is a design package , its a piece of visually driven software , it has actions that are common across many similar software applications ( selecting  things , copying things menus, dialogs, heh  even scroll bars  etc )  its not a bicycle :D

by definition if it was easy for beginners to use, you wouldn't be having this debate 

dave   

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madscientist wrote:hmmm, 
surely the situation does exist in Templot where no piece of track is currently the control , Im sure thats the case in some cases ( for example after Insert )
Hi Dave,

No, it is simply hidden. It still exists.

That's an option after Insert. There are other options you can try -- see on the storage box: options > on store & background from the trackpad > menu options.

The reveal option is fun. That was the default for a while a few years ago.

By the way, if you didn't realise that the control template still exists after storing a copy of it on the background, I think you may have missed the fundamental working method of Templot. That is the essential mechanism which allows the building of multiple overlaid partial templates.

regards,

Martin.

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:By the way as an EE with 30 years, data sheets have largely evolved to be consistent across major manufacturers . You tend to get summary features at the start , , a electronic symbol., typically followed by DC then AC characteristics , usually followed by a detailed operational discussion, followed by  information on package options, dimensions, PCB considerations and ordering informationBut how do you conform to that format if the data sheet is for a bicycle?

Martin.

oh , having looked a data sheet for a bicycle in the meantime 

The data sheet (more a brochure) conforms to what I would expect , I find summary features and a picture at the start , in the middle i get more details , at the end I get ordering information , contact  information and addresses 

hence my " expectation " as a novice bike buyer is enhanced because the information is presented in a format that  I tend to be familiar with. 

there being only so much mileage we can get from this analogy :D

dave 

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:hmmm, 
surely the situation does exist in Templot where no piece of track is currently the control , Im sure thats the case in some cases ( for example after Insert )
Hi Dave,

No, it is simply hidden. It still exists.

That's an option after Insert. There are other options you can try -- see on the storage box: options > on store & background from the trackpad > menu options.

The reveal option is fun. That was the default for a while a few years ago.

By the way, if you didn't realise that the control template still exists after storing a copy of it on the background, I think you may have missed the fundamental working method of Templot. That is the essential mechanism which allows the building of multiple overlaid partial templates.

regards,

Martin.
Thats fine, in essence whether something is " hidden " or not there is somewhat of an esoteric discussion , using click to make  and pressing " ESC" to then hide the control etc is in effect the same as the control going away ( for a beginner) 
As of yet I have no requirement to use partial templates I find the Make functionality has covered most circumstances including a big layout of a prototype with 46 points .  Im sure in time I will have to grapple with it , but in the end , Im just trying to design and build 00-sf track work  not get a MSC in templot :D

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Martin Wynne
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Well at least we agree that Templot is not a bicycle. :)

But I'm not convinced that it is simply a variation on a Word Processor or a Spreadsheet.

I think it is something completely different, and works better for not trying to be such a thing.

Having learned to drive a car, I don't expect the knowledge to be much help in flying a helicopter.

The problem for beginners is that they do sometimes expect that.

regards,

Martin.

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Martin Wynne wrote: Well at least we agree that Templot is not a bicycle. :)

But I'm not convinced that it is simply a variation on a Word Processor or a Spreadsheet.

I think it is something completely different, and works better for not trying to be such a thing.

Having learned to drive a car, I don't expect the knowledge to be much help in flying a helicopter.

The problem for beginners is that they do sometimes expect that.

regards,

Martin.
the analogy isnt correct martin, after all Templot is a software application with a graphical interface .  IN that , it has common features with many other such applications.  
I dont think  trying to present Templot, as to so " wierd " as to be considered unique really stands ups to inspection. 

SO the user arriving at " yet another Windows app" thats simply called Templot has a reasonable expectation that actions that are common across Windows apps , works the same way in Templot 

If it doesnt , work like that , thats purely your prerogative, but the result is that you create a learning curve that beginners may find difficult to overcome. Some obviously will and others wont, in the mean time , they will " cry for help " 

Theres no real answer here, there is an option (a) and and option (b) . (a) makes changes so beginners do find it easier to get started ( whatever those changes are )  or (b) , Naw, it is what it is , suck it up , ( you'll find plenty of Unix software like that by the way :D

Dave 

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madscientist wrote:That's fine, in essence whether something is " hidden " or not there is somewhat of an esoteric discussion .... then hide the control etc is in effect the same as the control going away ( for a beginner)I strongly disagree with this.

If I hide this cup of coffee behind this book, I can't see it.

But I better had know it's there, because otherwise I could knock it over and make a complete mess of my desktop.

And if I know it is there, I can have a drink from it if I want.

There is always a control template. It is simply not possible for it not to exist. I think a beginner needs to know that in order to understand what Templot is and does -- which is to adjust that control template to your requirements. If it didn't exist, Templot itself would cease to exist.

regards,

Martin.

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Having learned to drive a car, I don't expect the knowledge to be much help in flying a helicopter.


true, but generally the door handles on the helicopter work to open the door , and the switches marked " cabin " lights , reasonably do what they say

on the other hand imagine the user faced with the door handle being a button placed behind the starboard flight lamp, the instructor being an expert user, loves this arrangement as , he walks quickly to the chopper, he hits the button as he passes the winglet and by the time he reaches the door, it has sprung  open and he jumps in, No more fiddling with a handle standing in the rain for him !!!

One might reasonably surmise, however,  that the beginner might have issues with simply getting into the helicopter and no doubt the frustrated instructor would be bedevilled with demands to explain how to open the door.

......:D

dave
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Martin Wynne wrote: The snag is that I did ask for feedback about it.

Yes, but most of the "discussion" is not about the Templot Companion!
For what it's worth, my own feeling is that you should write the Companion how you want to, and not try to cater for everyone (I have a feeling that doesn't sound right, I'm not intending to offend anyone!).  If anyone finds they don't understand anything, then they can research or ask for themselves.  That's sometimes the fun bit - finding out what you don't know and filling the gaps!

Going right back to the beginning, how do you define "beginner"?  You seem to be using the definition as a beginner to trackwork, but was that the intent?  In this context, I would define it as a beginner to Templot.  It's a bit like me using Altium for PCB design at work - I know how to do PCB design, but I'm not always clear how to get Altium to do what I want.  Altium's User Guides then tell me how to do what I want, but they don't tell me when I should use stitching vias, or what the effect of having a ground trace between the pads of an inductor in a DC-DC converter circuit might be.  I'm expected to know that general stuff before picking up a PCB design tool.  Same principle applies to Templot, I think!

I certainly didn't know a quarter of what Templot was asking me when I first started using it (from 0.7-something, I think) but once I knew what I didn't know, I went off and learnt about trackwork so that I could use Templot effectively!

Cheers,

Paul

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Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote:That's fine, in essence whether something is " hidden " or not there is somewhat of an esoteric discussion .... then hide the control etc is in effect the same as the control going away ( for a beginner)I strongly disagree with this.

If I hide this cup of coffee behind this book, I can't see it.

But I better had know it's there, because otherwise I could knock it over and make a complete mess of my desktop.

And if I know it is there, I can have a drink from it if I want.

There is always a control template. It is simply not possible for it not to exist. I think a beginner needs to know that in order to understand what Templot is and does -- which is to adjust that control template to your requirements. If it didn't exist, Templot itself would cease to exist.

regards,

Martin.
OK , its semantics, in computers  "hidden" and "not there" are often interchangeable , lots of my deleted files are actually "hidden"  but to the beginner they are " not there " i.e. deleted ( for more info see Facebook legal challenge :D
I fully  get the fundamental idea that in essence Templot is a program that carries out actions on a single "component " the control , in that sense it has a common feature with many similar graphical packages , the " background " in essence simply being a form of historical record of modified control templates 

What we are discussing however is a methodology to make it difficult for users to unintentionally create duplicate facsimiles of the control.  

whether or not that hides or doesnt hide the control is not the issue 

dave

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Paul Boyd wrote: Martin Wynne wrote: The snag is that I did ask for feedback about it.

Yes, but most of the "discussion" is not about the Templot Companion!
For what it's worth, my own feeling is that you should write the Companion how you want to, and not try to cater for everyone (I have a feeling that doesn't sound right, I'm not intending to offend anyone!).  If anyone finds they don't understand anything, then they can research or ask for themselves.  That's sometimes the fun bit - finding out what you don't know and filling the gaps!

Going right back to the beginning, how do you define "beginner"?  You seem to be using the definition as a beginner to trackwork, but was that the intent?  In this context, I would define it as a beginner to Templot.  It's a bit like me using Altium for PCB design at work - I know how to do PCB design, but I'm not always clear how to get Altium to do what I want.  Altium's User Guides then tell me how to do what I want, but they don't tell me when I should use stitching vias, or what the effect of having a ground trace between the pads of an inductor in a DC-DC converter circuit might be.  I'm expected to know that general stuff before picking up a PCB design tool.  Same principle applies to Templot, I think!

I certainly didn't know a quarter of what Templot was asking me when I first started using it (from 0.7-something, I think) but once I knew what I didn't know, I went off and learnt about trackwork so that I could use Templot effectively!

Cheers,

Paul
in fairness, martin asked what he should be doing for beginners, I and others feel that he has already done far more documentation and help videos that a lot of even more complex software has out there and that making more videos in my view isnt the solution 
The discussion has evolved to try and examine what issue beginners might face encountering Templot  and in that thread we have discussed my issue with duplicate background template creation , an issue that others users have also mentioned over time 

in the middle of that we are having a rather academic discussion on GUIs, and helicopters and bicycles :D

I think we also need to be careful about the definition of a beginner and the issue of track work knowledge 

Undoubtably to get the best out of templot you need " some " understanding of real track , how much is a debatable thing. Templot essentially is partially " an expert system " embodying Martins knowledge of real track into software 

I dont characterise beginners are those with or without  prototype track knowledge , I characterise beginners as people that have not encountered Templot before . the fact that the user is a permanent way engineer is not going to help them get going in the first basic steps of Templot , Id wager 



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If anyone finds they don't understand anything, then they can research or ask for themselves. That's sometimes the fun bit - finding out what you don't know and filling the gaps!


taking a leaf from Mr Rumsfeldt

a user that has a known unknown can largely search for an find a solution , assuming the documentation is actually there in the first place

a user with an unknown unknown , struggles far more . because they dont " get it"

getting the user from the unknown unknown to the known unknowns is the issue

one option is " suck it up", or as we say RTFM , whether the manual actually exists or not and is in fact intelligible

the other option is to examine if its worth providing features that aid beginners
whats not useful imho is creating more pages of a manual , when the basic problem probably isnt there in the first place 

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Hi Martin

I have been following this thread with interest as a comparative new comer to Templot. In terms of helping people get into Templot via watching videos I would like to suggest a route that I think would be useful to many and progressive in its approach. My idea is to slowly develop a through station. Each of the steps below should be a separate video with talk over commentary as that, I think, is easier for you to do and keeps the flow better

Step 1
Set gauge. Starting with the default turnout in a curve convert it to plain track. Show how F4 can be used to change the length, explain peg, how the peg can be changed ends, how F6 can be used to change the curvature, how F7 can be used to move it, how F8 can be used to rotate it, how Ctrl-F10 can be used to swell. Save the template.

Step 2
Change the plain track to track with a turnout, change the hand, change the face, F5 to change the size, explain switch sizes, Ctrl-F9 to roam, Ctrl-F5 to orbit, F3 to change approach length, Ctrl-F12 to change exit length, geometry - different standard exit lengths. Save the template.

Step 3
Make branch track, explain that new track is now the control and turnout is on the background, make turnout control again, delete branch, make return track, mint from current new turnout, convert to plain track, F7 move and snap to return track. Open storage box and explain contents. Explain Insert to write control to background. Save the template.

Step 4
Make turnout the control, split approach track, make turnout the control, split exit track, make double track turnout side, quit, explain track spacings, change turnout side spacing, make double track TS, make return curve the control, extend it, change curvature to nearly align with double track, click double track, peg align tools, make transition, try left, try right, choose correct one, make transition, use extend/shorten to link transition to return curve and double track.

Step 5
Make original exit curve the control, extend it, insert turnout in it, make ordinary crossover, trim tracks to new turnout using zoom in and mouse action to change sensitivity.

Step 6
Convert new turnout to half diamond, convert half diamond to full diamond, trim track again to fit.

Step 7
Template mint from current, change hand, geometry invert curving, F7 to snap to end of diamond, Ctrl-F5 to orbit, peg to 9, F3 to extend to meet diamond.

Step 8
Maybe this is adventurous but make half diamond the control, convert diamond to single slip. At least this shows that making a straightforward slip is not impossible.

I'm sure that there are many, many other things that can be added to what I have listed but I think this would cover quite a lot of what many people want to get out of Templot for starters. Other things could obviously be built onto this developing station as the traffic increases and the line is fully doubled and the station yard and engine shed areas become busier, the local branch track gets built then doubled so there is a double junction, the curves get tight in one bit so the track spacing has to be increased, transitions are needed between straights and curves and between reverse curves and on and on. 

There should be encouragement for new users to go through the menus and to just try using different features in a gash layout remembering that no one will die as a result of getting anything wrong there. Especially important should be the concept of not starting to plan their wanted layout until they are quite comfortable with making all the features they want in their final product. More haste, less speed should be the motto.

I think I have dug a big enough hole for myself now and will retreat into it while the flak flies!

Cheers

Fraser

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thats some " order", there are hours and hours of video in what you suggest

I mean " explain switch sizes " is probably an hour in itself 
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madscientist wrote: thats some " order", there are hours and hours of video in what you suggest

I mean " explain switch sizes " is probably an hour in itself
Not necessarily if the explanation says that a 4 is only found in sidings and a 10 or bigger is more likely on a main line and that the switch sizes must change as the angle changes  and that further details can be found at http:// . . . .

The object as I see it is to get potential users actually driving the program and becoming familiar with its processes and let them acquire the necessary knowledge of switch sizes etc from external sources or from pages in the companion.

Fraser

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FraserSmith wrote: madscientist wrote: thats some " order", there are hours and hours of video in what you suggest

I mean " explain switch sizes " is probably an hour in itself
Not necessarily if the explanation says that a 4 is only found in sidings and a 10 or bigger is more likely on a main line and that the switch sizes must change as the angle changes  and that further details can be found at http:// . . . .

The object as I see it is to get potential users actually driving the program and becoming familiar with its processes and let them acquire the necessary knowledge of switch sizes etc from external sources or from pages in the companion.

Fraser
but if you look through the existing videos , you will see almost every concept has already been covered in one form or another .Theres a lovely video of Martin designing over a sketch and producing a set of sidings etc 

I mean a simple video demonstrating the roam feature is several  minutes long, what you suggest is hours of video and many hours to produce it 

will users even sit through something that long , I doubt it 

I think its unrealistic to expect the user to be hand held through a complete creation process, Does Autocad videos do that , no , by and large they are used to illustrate a certain feature 

its a big ask , in my opinion , and its just my opinion 

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it should also be remembered that videos are not necessarily the best or only way

some people are kinetic learners, they are best shown physically

others learn best from printed text , that they can peruse in their own way and at their own speed

Others like video

The trouble with video is when the user following it does something wrong and cant understand how he got there or how he gets out of it .

I teach sailing, you cant learn to sail from a video , ultimately you have to go out and make a balls of it , which is why er have a rescue service

whats templot rescue service , Martin !!! :D
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Martin Wynne
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FraserSmith wrote:I have been following this thread with interest as a comparative new comer to Templot. In terms of helping people get into Templot via watching videos I would like to suggest a route that I think would be useful to many and progressive in its approach. My idea is to slowly develop a through station. Each of the steps below should be a separate video with talk over commentary as that, I think, is easier for you to do and keeps the flow betterHi Fraser,

Many thanks for that.

It is in fact exactly what I'm working on. To replace the old "track plan" tutorial from 2000 which did much the same for the first version of Templot.

However, the videos will not have a spoken commentary. It is just too much effort to do and synchronise with the screen, and almost impossible to edit afterwards if it contains mistakes or important details are missed. It also multiplies the video file size for downloading by a factor of about 5.

Instead I have settled on the interactive FBR video format with frequent pauses to read the notes. This seems to be the best hybrid format of being able to watch what happens, and read a text-based explanation, but without being faced with a long page of text.

However, before we can start the first video in the sequence I have been setting the groundwork with a few basic concepts which are not necessarily obvious. For example "hand" in Templot is not the same meaning as "hand" in the Peco catalogue.

I asked for feedback about what I have done so far, and what I was really wanting to know is about the tone and style, and the information delivery rate. It can be more or less chatty, it can be dragged out, or packed into a few longer more frequent notes. The actual length of the video clips is quite short without the pauses.

Also, that is just the "Templot Explained" beginners guide. There remains the rest of the Templot Companion, which is the reference section and will be mostly plain text and screenshots as before. In fact mostly updated from the previous version. So where in the videos a detailed explanation is needed, it will be a clickable link into the reference part of the the Companion.

This unfortunately leads to a chicken and egg situation over which to do first. When first published the videos are likely to have such links going nowhere, but with the best will in the world I can only do so much at a time.

What is important to me is that I do all this only once. If Templot needs some basic changes in working method those changes must be made now, before I go any further with the Companion.

regards,

Martin.

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madscientist wrote: I teach sailing, you cant learn to sail from a video , ultimately you have to go out and make a balls of it But ultimately you have to practice, practice, practice. After the first few swims after tentative gybes you either learn to almost sail by the lee before you gybe and realise that you have to cross the boat quicker to keep the balance or you keep swimming or you give up ever gybing and always tack instead or you give up sailing. When you go back you will see that that the former above is how they tell you to do it in the video and youthen realise the significance of what was being said. You then go back out there and practice again and again until it becomes second nature. (Gybing explained)

That practice is what is needed with Templot and it's something that many will avoid just like some avoid gybing and as a result they will never be able to go where they want with their track planning. It really is a case of the more you put in the more you will get out. Yes Martin's interface is non-standard but he was there first and it's Microsoft that has ignored his method of working and has feather bedded users into believing that you don't need to think very deeply about how to do things. When you see the way in which most users create documents in Word you realise that the vast majority of them don't have a clue about how to use the program correctly. In any case it is a pretty crap piece of software where loads of things just don't work properly. On the other hand WordPerfect was an exceptionally good word processor. 25 years ago in it's DOS incarnation it could do everything properly that Word still cannot do as the underlying document structure is so much better than that used in Word. It's very much a VHS/Betamax situation where the better solution has been beaten by the poorer product backed up by better marketing. The Function key based approach of WP worked then just like Martin's Function key approach has worked with Templot. That doesn't suit everyone but it is what it is and if you want an extremely flexible and powerful template creating piece of software then you have to accept it. I like it as it is just as I liked the WP keyboard template. Yes it's hellishly frustrating initially to remember where everything is but slowly, with repetition, the fog clears. It could have been kept more simple but then the program would not be as capable as it is now. There is no way that the interface is going to change, unless Martin has found the Elixir of Life, so we have to accept it as it is and get on with it. If that means that some try it and give up then so be it. The warnings that it is not a "join bits of track together" program are there in the opening web pages. Perhaps it should say here be dragons to keep the timid away. What is really needed is for Martin to say that for the next 3, 6, 12 months he will not be able to answer simple questions while he works on the Companion and let others on this forum answer them. As that work progresses the increasing body of the Companion will become more able to answer most of the usual questions so releasing him to do more work on the Companion. On the other hand he might need to have a programming fix every now and then!

Enough of me telling Martin what he should and shouldn't do.

Fraser

 

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Hi Martin

I hadn't realised the problems associated with the narrated videos so I see why you chose the FBR format.

Your videos such as the "Templot Explained - hand and direction" are just about right in speed of introduction of concepts. I think you could cover more topics to include more of the items I listed in Step 1 above as they are basic template manipulation techniques that get used in many situations but keeping the video to three minutes or less. I don't think they want to be dragged out as they can be watched over again if needed. You could always put in "More information may be found at (link) where Link may be empty to start with but it's a placeholder for when you get time to expand on a topic. The "may" can be taken two ways: in some pages there may be information, in others there may not.  At least you don't then have to re-edit the videos.

That then answers your chicken and egg situation question. The links will go somewhere but it may just say that it's a placeholder for information that may be created in the future. You should put a note to that effect at each section in your new Video List page so that users are aware of the dynamic nature of the Companion and that only certain pages will hold content for the time being.

I fully understand your need to do this only once and I think you could (should) freeze Templot in its present state. Others may like to offer their support for this idea. It currently allows users to do everything that they could possibly want to do now that you have automatic slip and tandem turnout functions. I can't imagine what else people could possibly want. Ok some might want to be able to make double slips over irregular diamonds but there is a way that they can do that if they really have to.

Maybe you also need to put a sticky note in the "I wish it could" section to say that program development work has been temporarily suspended while the Companion is fleshed out. Existing users, well those who use the Forum anyway, will be well aware of the situation and I hope would be understanding of your desire to get the Companion updated. Yes they can leave suggestions but they must realise that no action will be taken for n months. Again other users may offer their support of this idea too.

The two big questions you have to deal with are a) whether you can ignore the lure of another bit of programming and b) can you ignore at least some of the requests for help?

HTH as it's well past bed time

Fraser



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Well said Fraser!

:thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:
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I agree with Fraser ... Martin, we are grateful beyond words for what you have given us and I for one am very happy with Templot just the way it is. An up-to-date Companion complete with FBR videos will be the icing on the cake.

Judi
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Leicester, United Kingdom

 

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Just for my two penn'orth, I agree with Fraser as well.  :)

Charles

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from:
Tony W
North Notts., United Kingdom

 

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So do I.
Regards
Tony.

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