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1st message | this message only posted: 10 Sep 2008 15:41
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from:
John Clutterbuck
 

 

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I am slowly getting to grips with Templot. I like the underlying concepts but I feel the user interface is a bit arcane and would benefit from some of the more recent windows technology such as panels for the content  (templates, shapes, ruler etc.) and properties. I feel this would be more intuitive for novice users and might allow the command set to be rationalised. However, I also know from long personal experience of GIS/CAD development that such a rework of a software product involves a huge investment of effort during which the core functionality rarely moves forward and may even get broken. Therefore I fully understand if Martin ignores such suggestions. If you ever do consider it I'd be happy to provide my thoughts offline.

Anyway I have attached a template containing my first attempts at two turnouts for 7mm scale 2' narrow gauge (O-14). The first turnout is based on a drawing of a Robert Hudson 6' 1 in 6 turnout as published by Roy Link in NG&I magazine and also on the O-14 yahoo group. I don't know how to get the tiebar in the correct position on this turnout.
The second turnout has been produced from a de-perspectified drawing (using GIMP) of the turnout on the loop at Chelfham on the Lynton & Barnstaple. This appears to be a 1 in 8 turnout with 10' switch blades, however I understand many of the main turnouts were 1 in 10 and this adjusts to this OK.

I would very much welcome comments/criticism.

Regards
John Clutterbuck

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Attachment: o14_master_08_09_10_1039_26.box (Downloaded 295 times)
 
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2nd message | this message only posted: 10 Sep 2008 18:01
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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.
John Clutterbuck wrote: I have attached a template containing my first attempts at two turnouts for 7mm scale 2' narrow gauge (O-14). The first turnout is based on a drawing of a Robert Hudson 6' 1 in 6 turnout as published by Roy Link in NG&I magazine and also on the O-14 yahoo group. I don't know how to get the tiebar in the correct position on this turnout.
The second turnout has been produced from a de-perspectified drawing (using GIMP) of the turnout on the loop at Chelfham on the Lynton & Barnstaple. This appears to be a 1 in 8 turnout with 10' switch blades, however I understand many of the main turnouts were 1 in 10 and this adjusts to this OK.
Hi John,

That's excellent. :thumb: It's great to see all Templot's customizing adjustments being used, and especially from the GIMP. Can you post the original photo here?

I don't know how neat the L&B timbering was, but for the square-on timbering you might want to set real > timbering > timber ends in-line.

That's not a tie-bar, it's a switch drive slot -- Templot's best guess at where you need a hole in the baseboard for the drive linkage to a point-motor or whatever. There aren't any adjustments for it, and if it's obviously in the wrong place you can turn it off -- geometry > switch drive mark menu item.

Templot doesn't (at present) have any facility to show the prototype stretcher bars. As with chairing detail, rail anchors, crossing spacer blocks and all the rest, it's assumed that you have prototype information for such details to be added after construction. Templot is essentially about the rail and timbering geometry.

I fully understand if Martin ignores such suggestions. If you ever do consider it I'd be happy to provide my thoughts offline. I'm always happy to hear suggestions, although I would point out that Templot has been in development for 30 years as a one-man project. It's not the product of a professional software house. Most of the things are done the way they are for a reason, although in some cases I have now forgotten what the reason was! :) Much use is made of the menu structure rather than property sheets because that demands far, far, less programming and design effort. I have been working on a modern replacement for the print menu to include PDF output and other new options, and it is taking weeks of work. Based simply as further ramifications of the existing menu structure it could have been released months ago.

But please, please, please, -- if you have any suggestions please make them here on Templot Club. That's what it's here for. NOT direct to me off-line. Please. I keep making this point until I'm blue in the face, but it never seems to sink in. :( If it goes on I shall simply refuse to answer off-line emails point blank. There are many hundreds of Templot users worldwide and I just don't have the resources to discuss Templot on a one-to-one basis with every one of them. If you have problems with ordering or installing Templot, or need a new licence code, then fine. But after that, all user support is conducted here only. Please. :)

Or if you prefer to use RMweb, there's a Templot showcase forum on there at:

 http://www.rmweb.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=64

where you are welcome to discuss Templot.

regards,

Martin.
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3rd message | this message only posted: 10 Sep 2008 19:41
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from:
John Clutterbuck
 

 

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Hi Martin,

Thanks for the feedback and the hints on the switch drive slot and timbering. The original L&B photo was provided to me privately and I don't think I am able to publish it as I know it has featured in published books.

Please rest assured I do understand the issues you face in Templot development hence my comment which you have quoted in your reply. You should be very proud to have produced what is without doubt the current world leading product of it's genre :thumb:

I have also already taken on board the message about using this Forum for all feedback.  However my comment about offline feedback was meant to be an offer of advice/feedback on GUI design if you were ever to consider a radical re-design as I know from personal experience more than one view is very useful but sometimes too many are not.

Having been involved in developing GIS/mapping, CAD and modelling tools since 1976 I have seen many changes in GUI design paradigms, some good some not so good. Getting the balance between ease of use, screen real estate, avoidance of RSI, etc. is very difficult. GUI and graphics tool kits can sometimes offer great promise but often don't allow you to do a couple of very important things you need to do without tortuous workarounds. All have a steep learning curve. The commerical ones far too often force you into expensive upgrades. Some like Wx Widgets http://www.wxwidgets.org/ are free but may require a move to C#/.NET which is another can of worms. I know that having made a technology choice it is very difficult to justify a change without some other big reason. However I believe it is also true that with the ever increasing ubiquity of PC software, those products that deviate too far from the normal look and feel are likely to generate negative feedback. This could open up a market oppurtunity for rivals to exploit with an inferior product (I've experienced this with a commercial GIS product). Whether this itself is a big enough reason to change I'm not so sure.

I must really now try and get on with my work (and some track design).

Best regards,
John




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4th message | this message only posted: 10 Sep 2008 22:00
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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.
Hi John,

Thanks for your kind words and offer of help.

However I can tell you now that there isn't going to be any radical change to the Templot user interface while I'm doing it. And certainly no change over to C, C++, C#, .NET or anything other than the Pascal that Templot is currently written in.

The way it is now is the way that I and many users are comfortable with, and it has been arrived at after many years and countless hours of testing, trying things and creating track plans. The motivation is not current thinking about GUIs or how Windows programs should be done or any other software ideas. I don't actually claim that Templot is a Windows program at all, merely that it runs on a Windows computer.

The primary design consideration is and always has been railway track and the modelling of it. If the best way to do that was to hold the mouse upside down, that's how Templot would work. It's a tool for the modeller's workshop, not the office.

However, I do understand the need for much more documentation, videos, wizards, tutorials and notes to help modellers get started in Templot. Software critics can fend for themselves. So future developments will be directed to that end and to increasing the track design functionality. Changes to the user interface would just get in the way of that.

Did I mention that Templot is primarily about track not computers? :)

regards,

Martin.
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5th message | this message only posted: 20 Sep 2008 17:19
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from:
JimH
Telford, United Kingdom

 

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Martin,

With regard to your comments on creation of a .pdf, would it be possible to use a simple generator such as cutepdf?

This is available as a freeware download and acts as a pseudo printer so that you select the print function and set the printer to print to as "Cutepdf". The program then saves your "print" as a .pdf.

If it were possible to do this it might save you a lot of coding time?

Just a thought.

Kind regards,

Jim

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6th message | this message only posted: 20 Sep 2008 19:15
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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.
JimH wrote: With regard to your comments on creation of a .pdf, would it be possible to use a simple generator such as cutepdf?Hi Jim,

Thanks for your comments.

Yes, you can do this now. There are several of these virtual printer PDF generators available. Such as CutePDF, pdf995, pdfFactory, Win2PDF, and lots more.

Just install it as a printer and print to it from Templot.

The snag is that you are limited to typical printer page sizes. I'm adding a native PDF output to Templot so that you can create very large sizes for printing track plans on a wide-format roll-paper printer, typically say 20ft long and 3ft wide in one piece. High-street poster printing places can print such PDF files for you. But the virtual printer PDF generators tend to balk at such paper sizes. :)

In fact the coding is already done, and has been for some time. If someone wants such a PDF file created from a Templot .box file I can do it for you. The delay is caused by the need for a new user interface covering all the options.

Here for example is one such track plan from Templot as a PDF file:

http://www.templot.com/odds/4m_x_1m.pdf

That's a single page 4m long by 1m wide (approx 13ft by 3ft). The file is about 1MB.

Note that the excellent Foxit PDF Reader (free) opens such large files ok, but the Adobe Reader browser plugin probably won't. So right click and Save As... before opening it with Foxit.

n.b. If you want to print it from Adobe or Foxit readers, be sure to set the page scaling to none, otherwise the template will not be accurate. This is not the usual default setting.

Here are screenshots from Foxit Reader showing part of the above file at 12.5% and 100%. If you set the reader to 100% size, be prepared for a lot of scrolling!

(Please bear in mind that this function is still in development, so what you see here is not necessarily representative of the final Templot PDF output.)





regards,

Martin.
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7th message | this message only posted: 22 Sep 2008 22:04
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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John

Nice to see some else on here with 7mm narrow gauge. After a holiday in North Wales this summer, I came back with the idea of building a small layout. Thanks to a bit of help from Martin I built a seven foot template all be it to 16.5mm gauge of a point which resembles one I photoed on the new section on the Welsh Highland Railway.

Problem now is in the build, mk1 point used C & L 7mm sleepers Peco code 82 with Pandrol fixings and C & L slide chairs, I am reasonably happy with the result but want to improve on it. On reflection I should have used Bullhead rail. On a couple of other forums I have requested suggestions as to how to improve it, so far had no replies.

I would be interested in knowing what materiels you are going to use please in building the L & B point.

John
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