Rockbox Technical Forums

Support and General Use => Theming and Appearance Customization => Topic started by: Paul Slocum on March 08, 2007, 07:23:09 PM

Title: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Paul Slocum on March 08, 2007, 07:23:09 PM
I think the HP140 (and maybe other targets) built-in themes need an overhaul.

First of all, they need to be named with more descriptive names and they should probably all use CamelCase.  Currently some are all lowercase, some have underscores, and some have camelcase.  And names like "engineer2" don't make any sense when there's no "engineer1".  This is a pretty easy fix.

Second, several of the themes on the latest version I have don't work right in that they have text overlapping with graphics.  These either need to be fixed or removed.

And finally, the built-in selection of themes just isn't that good.  It's been pretty much the same themes for a long time, and I'm sure there are much more impressive themes that people have put together.  None of them make use a grayscale.  The built-in set should include the best for that target's resolution and capabilities.  Maybe the community could decide on a few...

EDIT: I realized this may only apply to the iHP140 and related targets since some of the other targets have dramatically different WPS's.

-paul
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 08, 2007, 08:43:00 PM
Authors have to submit their theme by way of the Flyspray tracker for them to be included.

Because authors don't include a license document with themes they post on the wiki, we can't just take those themes and choose to redistribute them.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Mikerman on March 09, 2007, 11:20:55 AM
I agree that more iHP-1xx themes/WPSs would be nice, especially with graphics of some type (as may be possible on the iRiver players).

Thanks for raising this again, Paul--and have you submitted one?

;)
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Paul Slocum on March 09, 2007, 03:02:20 PM
I have made one or two before, but the WPS code has changed dramatically since then.  I'll update at least one and submit it.  

Also, WPS now supports grayscale but I don't think any of the built-in themes make use of it.  IMO most of the included ones should since it looks a lot more impressive (and maybe also the default one.)

For good themes that haven't been submitted to flyspray, we can just ask the authors to submit them.  Maybe I'll do that...

This one looks particularly impressive:
http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/WpsIriverH100#beveledRBX_by_MathieuStempell

-paul
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: bascule on March 09, 2007, 03:13:16 PM
Because authors don't include a license document with themes they post on the wiki, we can't just take those themes and choose to redistribute them.

Is there a standard licence anywhere we could copy? I'd like to submit one of my efforts.

This one looks particularly impressive:
http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/WpsIriverH100#beveledRBX_by_MathieuStempell

That one also gets my vote. It was my default theme for a long while... :)
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 09, 2007, 03:44:39 PM
Well, if you're submitting them for inclusion in Rockbox by way of Flyspray, you'll basically be asked if the GPL is acceptable, I believe, since that's what Rockbox is released under.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure where the guidelines are posted for submitting them via Flyspray for inclusion are. Your best bet is to try asking someone in IRC. I just did a quick search, but didn't find them, and someone there might be better suite.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: bascule on March 09, 2007, 04:06:14 PM
OK
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Dwyloc on March 10, 2007, 10:36:33 AM
None of them make use a grayscale.

I was under the impresion that you needed to have a patched build to use grayscale on the h120 http://www.rockbox.org/tracker/task/5627

On the topic of WPS's and themes for the h120 I feel that all the default themes for the h120 should also support the LCD remote as it is supplied with the player as standard.  Having themes for the h120 bundled  without remote support makes rockbox looks less professional.

I also agree that the some of the current themes could do being renamed to make their naming more consistent.

I would love to see these issues resolved as part of the work for the 3.0 release now rockbox is quite stable on the h120.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Paul Slocum on March 12, 2007, 11:10:40 PM
No patch is required to use grayscale WPS.  That patch you linked to is to make white transparent so you can overlay text and graphics, which none of the themes I've tried use (but could be cool).

I was wrong about some of the themes not working, except for Unicatcher which changes my fonts to garbage for some reason.  The problem before was that the fonts are no longer included in the builds, and I had done a clean install.

I've tried several of the WPS's on the wiki and my favorites that I've tried are beveledRBX, circleskin, gblaster, and SimpleHelv.  SimpleHelv is very clean looking, and makes nice use of grayscale.

Themes I would personally dump are:
ipodVOL (do we really need THREE slight variations on iPod looks?)
rockbox_default (really boring and makes poor use of the screen like it's designed for a smaller screen, does anybody really use this?)
unicatcher (doesn't work, and is difficult to recover from since it makes the font unreadable)
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 12, 2007, 11:17:20 PM
You can actually overlay black and white images with text, just not grayscale ones.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: JdGordon on March 13, 2007, 12:39:26 AM
Authors have to submit their theme by way of the Flyspray tracker for them to be included.

IIRC wps and themes should not go in flyspray, only on the wiki and rockbox-themes.org, _if_ a theme is deemed good enough and works on all targets then it would be included...
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 13, 2007, 12:44:17 AM
The procedure used to include posting themes to flyspray if you wanted to submit them for actual inclusion in Rockbox.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: bluebrother on March 13, 2007, 03:35:26 AM
Is there a standard licence anywhere we could copy? I'd like to submit one of my efforts.
The procedure of submitting themes to get included into Rockbox is described here: http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/SubmitWPS

But we have quite a couple of WPS in Rockbox, I'd rather prefer adjusting all distributed wps' so they are available on all targets. Of course stating the GPL as license for a theme in the WpsGallery would be good...
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Dwyloc on March 13, 2007, 06:22:52 AM
Themes I would personally dump are:
zesayer (just kinda boring)

No please don't drop zezayer is my favourite theme of the h120 as it packs so much information on to the screen in a very clear way.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Paul Slocum on March 13, 2007, 01:30:43 PM
I removed zazayer from my list for removal and gave a little more detail...
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 13, 2007, 01:52:31 PM
I use Rockbox default, though I usually remove the peakmeters.

I really don't need much more than that. Some people like their themes to just be purely informational, rather than shiny.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Paul Slocum on March 13, 2007, 09:59:26 PM
cool, fair enough, but I think that the actual default theme should be one that looks a little more polished.  Rockbox firmware should be competitive with commercial firmware in every way, including aesthetics.

Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 14, 2007, 01:47:37 AM
That requires someone submitting a theme that works on all of our players, and is also good looking, and agreed to be good by the devs. A tall order, to say the least.

For example, how much, or how little should a default theme show? How different is it allowed to be on different targets?

One day there will be a nicer default, and there has been discussion on the matter for a while, but it hasn't, yet, been changed to something.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Mikerman on March 14, 2007, 10:16:32 AM
Simply as a point of discussion, I wonder if a default for each player can be set to "on" for each build, something that best shows Rockbox for the player.

Of course, this is a small issue, as one simply can switch to a WPS of one's choosing after installing Rockbox.  So not sure if this merits any time or effort.  And, of course, it would involve value choices over what's deemed "best" on each player.

And having the "basic" default does have an advantage--it's like a clean slate, to compare to/build off of.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Paul Slocum on March 15, 2007, 02:10:53 PM
When people first boot up Rockbox they should be wowed.  As devs I think you're too familiar with the project and you know where to go change themes, know that it's an amazing project and worth sticking to, etc.

Users who are immediately impressed when they boot up Rockbox for the first time are more likely to go immediately post on their blog and spread the word about Rockbox, and users on the fence are more likely to stick with Rockbox through any learning curve frustrations or bugs.  First impressions are important, and I'm sure you know that a strong, enthusiastic user base is the best fuel for open source projects.

I just love this project and have seen it reach a new level of maturity recently.  I want to see it do the best it possibly can.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: bluebrother on March 15, 2007, 04:10:32 PM
When people first boot up Rockbox they should be wowed.
Why? We're not selling a product, we're just doing a firmware for personal fun. I really don't see a reason why to try like commercial products do. I really prefer focussing on functionality. Users coming only because of the look of Rockbox ... I think they missed the point, and if they don't use it because it's not fancy I don't consider them as a loss.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: jaybeee on March 16, 2007, 04:58:32 AM
^^ I think that's a little short-sighted tbh.

You never know what is going to happen in the future. Bet you didn't think this (http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/AustriaMicrosystems) would happen.

Sure, I came to Rockbox for functionality, and my god it gives me it.

I do think that "tidying up" the supplied themes/wps's (supplying better ones etc) is a very good thing. Sure, the authors need to help out here and I don't see why they wouldn't; after all they helped out to create a theme/wps in the first place. Equally the default theme needs to be improved. Whilst I'm sure there are a few people (Llorean for example) that leave the default on, I willing to bet most people change to something a little more polished (that I believe is good term to intimate what we're getting at here).

In the same way the functionality is "polished" so should the gui. Ok, a tenuous analogy, but you get my point.

Once again, I know this is a spare-time project and anything and everything that has been done and is still being done is amazing; it truly is. I've donated and I'd hope that all Rockbox users have too. However, such discussions need to take place to allow progression to be made; we're not having at go at anyone. Ok it may not be a high priority for the Devs for example, but to highlight what some/many(?) users feel is important helps those amazing Devs to keep in touch with the non-Dev community. Mind you this forum does that.

This isn't a rant (honest) and I'm not having a go at anyone. Far from it. Just helping (I think) to clarify what I think Paul was getting at.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 16, 2007, 05:06:55 AM
You have to remember: The devs want to keep in touch with the DEV community.

Rockbox grows by getting more interested developers, who then contribute more. Most of the developer sorts are interested in functionality.

While it's true many people feel it would be nice for the devs to work on UI shinyness ando ther such things, to be honest there's not a compelling reason to do so. Most or all of the developers agree Rockbox could look prettier. But if you're a developer, and you look at Rockbox, and you see audio freeze bugs, voice interface problems that prevent blind people from being able to even use it, battery life issues, tons of not yet implemented hardware, and then you loook in the other direction and you see people saying "You guys should make it prettier" it's somewhat frustrating.

There are so many tasks on the table, and making it prettier doesn't actually _benefit_ the project, on a grander scale. Making it work better means more people can use it who just couldn't before. More audio related functions that appeal to technical users helps to bring in developer interest, which in turn helps the project grow further. More shiny helps to bring in non-technical users, who flood the tracker with feature requests for things that the software can't already do, ask questions that are answered in the manual, and otherwise increase the support load.

I know it's a very, very, very cynical standpoint, and I'm exaggerating it, because surely there are nontechnical users that certain features appeal to, as well as technical users that like shiny, but overall shiny is just going to tend to having a very low priority because there's a large list of things that need "Fixed", and those should always take priority over things which need "Polished."

You have to remember, as long this project is not being sold, all non-contributing (and by contributing I mean developing) users add to the project is a number (how many we're installed on), word of mouth to spread it (a good thing) and increased support time (not necessarily a good thing, those of us running support are also volunteers, and our tempers do have limits, I'm sure many of you have occasionally seen me chew out a forum member who's pushed it just a little too far).

So while I'm not saying "More shiny" is a bad thing, it really doesn't have a lot of advantages to speak for it.


Just as a note, I would never want to suggest that we don't _want_ more users. We certainly do, every project does. I'm just stating that from a cold, mathematical standpoing there's a cost involved with attracting more people, and that cost is significantly worse if the software itself is not in a solid position (which to me means "At least a release candidate, if not a release") because you're introducing users to work-in-progress code.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: jaybeee on March 16, 2007, 05:26:10 AM
^^ good point well made. Makes sense. And I thought my post was a long one!  :D

If anything, then perhaps this thread will prompt those peeps that created some themes to add them to the tracker (http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/SubmitWPS) so they can be included in the standard builds.

Cheers

Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: bascule on March 16, 2007, 06:17:06 AM
I was going to chip in with a similar stance to jaybeee (Unique Selling Point, attract users, professional image, etc.) but Llorean, as usual, has successfully demolished those arguments:

...there's a cost involved with attracting more people, and that cost is significantly worse if the software itself is not in a solid position (which to me means "At least a release candidate, if not a release") because you're introducing users to work-in-progress code.

We see this so clearly with, in particular, with the iPod arrivistas...

/me goes off to think about porting my TextBox WPS to all targets and adding to the tracker...
/me wishes the time fairy would come along and grant me a whole day to myself every week ;)
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Dwyloc on March 16, 2007, 07:11:07 AM
While it's true many people feel it would be nice for the devs to work on UI shinyness ando ther such things, to be honest there's not a compelling reason to do so. Most or all of the developers agree Rockbox could look prettier. But if you're a developer, and you look at Rockbox, and you see audio freeze bugs, voice interface problems that prevent blind people from being able to even use it, battery life issues, tons of not yet implemented hardware, and then you loook in the other direction and you see people saying "You guys should make it prettier" it's somewhat frustrating.

I quite agree that this is not really something that the core developers really need to be spending their time addressing as I am sure they feel that their free time spent working on Rockbox is better spent working on improvements to functionality and fixing more serious issues.

I am also of the opinion that there are at least as many people who use rockbox who do not have the programming skills to work fixing technical issues with Rockbox, but do have the skills to help improve the look and UI of Rockbox.

More shiny helps to bring in non-technical users, who flood the tracker with feature requests for things that the software can't already do, ask questions that are answered in the manual, and otherwise increase the support load.

I also agree to a certain extent that this is also true but as the default look and UI of Rockbox improves new users should have less questions feel they need to ask before they can start making full use of Rockbox.

For example if the default rockbox wps was changed for less CPU demanding wps without peak bars less people would start their rockbox experience with audio playback issues and making support requests on the forms and IRC.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 16, 2007, 07:13:22 AM
There's a very high probability that when the default WPS changes, it won't have peakmeters for that very reason.

And people who can improve the UI are freely welcome to submit patches. Nobody's going to stop them. So these users who lack the technical skill for more in depth work but can do UI work are fully welcome to submit patches.

I don't see how most of that conflicts with what I said, since most of my statement was regarding the core developers. :)
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Paul Slocum on March 16, 2007, 02:57:15 PM
But this isn't something developers need to spend time on.  Non-developers could create a uniform, nice looking default WPS for all targets.  It's just a matter of switching the default choice once it's done.

And in any open source project, some users inevitably become developers.  More users translates to more developers, which means a stronger project.  That was my point in talking about gaining users.

I'm a embedded systems programmer and I would jump in if I didn't already have way too many side projects.  And actually, I'm more likely to become an active developer on an open source project that looks professional and doesn't skimp on UI design (like a lot of open source projects do).
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 16, 2007, 04:00:31 PM
So, to attract people interested in UI design, like you, we should have an already good looking UI?

Anyway, the WPS isn't the UI, it's just a single screen. I assumed by "UI" you meant the full user interface including the interaction with the menus, etc. Those certainly require a programmer.

We're already considering multiple themes as possible default ones, and if I'd know this conversation was solely and entirely about the default theme, I'd have had a lot less to say. ;) When you started mentioning "UI" though, I thought we'd passed into the "Programming time is necessary" category.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Dwyloc on March 16, 2007, 10:10:43 PM
So, to attract people interested in UI design, like you, we should have an already good looking UI?

No the project just need to continue being open to new idea's and patches (like it is today).

Anyway, the WPS isn't the UI, it's just a single screen. I assumed by "UI" you meant the full user interface including the interaction with the menus, etc. Those certainly require a programmer.
Yes I quite agree, but reprogramming menu's is not quite as changing as fixing audio playback bugs.

I would also like to say at this point what I am really impressed with the new menu system and its small icons and the new root menu.  Both of which I was not expecting to like that much.

As normally I use the always use the file view as bookmarking is not supported in database mode and I listen to a lot of audio books with my DAPs. But I find my self using the database view alot now on my h120 and I previously never used it as its that easy to bookmark my audio book in file view then search for some music in the database view with the new interface.

I am also impressed with just how good the icons look in the new menu system with both my h120 and ipod nano and would love to have the option of customising them at some point in the future.


We're already considering multiple themes as possible default ones, and if I'd know this conversation was solely and entirely about the default theme, I'd have had a lot less to say. ;) When you started mentioning "UI" though, I thought we'd passed into the "Programming time is necessary" category.

Sorry I started out this discussion just looking to come up with some idea's for renaming the existing wps to name them in more consistent way (like renaming engineer2 to engineer or add an engineer1) and making sure that they all also had matching rwps for the LCD remote.   But I seem to have got side tracked again ;D  

I am happy to say I think we are now looking for the same type of future changes / improvements but are just fraising it in a different way.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: bluebrother on March 17, 2007, 06:59:41 AM
I would also like to say at this point what I am really impressed with the new menu system and its small icons and the new root menu.  Both of which I was not expecting to like that much.
Main menu. Main menu. Main menu.

If it was a root menu everything would be needed to back out to that menu. As this isn't true it's the main menu.
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Mikerman on March 17, 2007, 10:19:51 AM
sorry about that.  The wiki calls it that (RootMenu) and so that's what I first got accustomed to.

http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/RootMenu
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: bluebrother on March 17, 2007, 10:51:46 AM
That's how it was called while it was worked on. It was agreed to understand the resulting menu as the new main menu, not a root menu (as a root menu would imply a hierarchy that simply isn't present)
Title: Re: iHP140 Built-in Themes Overhaul
Post by: Llorean on March 17, 2007, 12:05:52 PM
Yes, the official name is "Main Menu".

Some of us still accidentally call it the "Root Menu" out of habit from typing that during development discussion. Feel free to "Don't you mean 'Main' menu?" at us as well. :)