This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Hanno .
February 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm #10674
Hanno, I downloaded and installed your posted 12blocks version 2.07 this weekend from this topic [url:38vt9t68]http://forums.hannoware.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=424&sid=eec4ef0f8122e2ce384b214397b9a07c&sid=eec4ef0f8122e2ce384b214397b9a07c#p1453[/url:38vt9t68]. I have some issues I’d like to bring up, I’m sure you are aware of them, but I wanted to mention them.
1) Your new method of variable display, pin display, and timing diagram. On previous versions, these were located on the right side of the screen, and were fixed size and location. On your new version, they are "drop in" wherever it is convenient on the sheet. Honestly, I’m not real crazy about this change. The window gets in the way of code, has to be re-sized on adding variables, and is generally much less useful than the old layout. This applies to the other two drop in pieces as well. Please consider leaving them the way they were in the past.
2) There is quite a lot of what I call "flakiness" of clicking and dragging of components. On several occasions, when clicking on and moving a component, the component would disappear or shift in position while moving the mouse. Releasing the left mouse button would drop the component in the correct place most of the time, but it would occasionally place the component way up on the code page.
3) Undo is still not something that works very well. I realize that you are probably working on this, but it still is pretty frustrating to have code pieces disappear forever.
4) The variable list is persistant among other code windows. If I am running code in one tab with the variable list for that set of variables, moving to another tab with other code still has the variables from the other code tab in it. This includes the window size of the variable list. Each code tabs variable list needs to be sized for that particular sheet, and have the variables from that sheet, even if they wont’ be updating due to the code running in another tab.
5) Although not a bug per se, there seems to be a level of "roughness" to the program that needs to be cleaned up by now, and seems to be getting worse. I don’t want to be too critical, because I like the potential 12 blocks has, but I want to bring this up. I see that you are constantly adding new "features" to the program, but I’d like to see some stability to what is there already if possible. I had really wanted to start demonstrating this program to beginner programmers and such, but I’m a bit leary of the weird behavior I’m seeing just performing simple stuff like cutting, pasting, moving components, etc. That really detracts from the good things about the software.
6) Feature request: My number one biggest thing I have right now with 12blocks is where it puts all the code. I wish that when starting a new project, I could create a directory, and ALL of the code snippets could be put in there, the pieces from the hardware, the spin folder, the media folder, etc. I would like to be able to archive a project, and all of the files necessary to compile and run the code are contained in one zip or rar file. Same with extract. This would definitely open up your software to a much wider range of people, of which are your primary targets; beginning young coders and inexperienced coders with propellers. To post a code snippet, a person would have to provide the 12 blocks file itself, the various pieces of code that he/she modified to add to the 12blocks library, and any spin files that were needed to compile. It would also be nice for the archive file to generate the spin code with the archive, so folks without 12 blocks could run the code from the prop tool. #6 seems to me to be low hanging fruit, and I daresay, is one reason folks may be scared away from using 12blocks. I find it incredibly easy to code in, especially with the built in Viewport tools – BUT there is a lot of tinkering behind the scenes to make that happen, such as getting OBEX objects marked up with the XML code, figuring out where all the code snippets are, etc. Ideally, you should be able to navigate to the folder created for you project from inside the Propeller Tool, open the 12blocks-generated spin code file, and compile and run it. Once you get to that point you’ll get a lot more interest in it I’m sure.
On a side note, I have marked up 5 or 6 OBEX objects for use in 12blocks. Have you thought about a subforum about user created 12block addons? I’m sure these could be useful to someone, there not hard to mark up, but I’m sure some of that is beyond kids or new programmers, but they could easily use the blocks created from them. I have just finished modifying the GPS object for the newer GPS modules in Parallax’s store, which may be useful to someone. I also have code marked up to provide blocks for an H48C, HM55B, SHT11, and the LISY300AL modules. Anyone interested in these? I’m definitely interested in any someone else has marked up, since I’m always trying new modules out.
Thats all I got right now. I’m sure I’ll find some more this week, since I’m working a project right now in 12blocks, and I’ll post anything more if I find it.February 14, 2012 at 7:11 am #11764
Thanks for the great comments.
I’ve finally taken gotten back to basics and fixed the low-level logic that fixes the copy/paste, insert and undo/redo problems. This also allows moving multiple blocks (selectable with lasso or ctrl-click) and then undoing- pretty complex. I’m torn about the simplicity of "view values, etc" and the ability to build or load files with several configured views. I’ve simplified getting a similar "view" as you could do previously- this also fixes the variables persistance issue. I like your idea of saving an "archive" that will work anywhere anytime. I’ll create a subforum for marked up objects, great idea!
HannoFebruary 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm #11763
Thanks for the quick reply!. I have a suggestion about the view variables, etc. drop in blocks. Don’t get rid of them, by all means keep them. Some folks may like that ability. Just allow the user to turn on or off the ability to display them as they were, maybe just a menu drop down or radio button. This will allow both options to be available, and could allow you to expand that functionality along the lines you are currently looking at. I’d be really stoked about the idea for the archive. I come from the industrial PLC world, and one of the things I really miss when delving into the world of embedded micro-controllers, such as the Prop, is being able to save to one archive file. There’s nothing wrong with having a bazillion directories for various files, I understand there is a need to keep things separated, however, industrial PLC manufacturers have gotten around that problem, simply by archiving into a single file the libraries, along with the source code file. When extracting the archive the user is given the option to overwrite or not to overwrite libraries that are stored in a central repository. Keeping the instanced library for a given project in a directory, eliminates that problem. The only added downside to that is that it forces the end user to know where the latest "up to date" library file or files are. I personally wouldn’t mind having many different iterations of the same library file, since in the Prop world, most folks have no problem going into an existing OBEX object and modifying it in some manner to their particular needs.
Carrying the "archive" concept one step further, and you could create a couple of empty directories that an end user could put additional files into, that would be part of the zip archive, such as a pdf datasheet documentation folder, electrical schematic folder, and perhaps a setup documentation folder, such as howtos, install, etc. These could just be empty directories that the user could choose to use, and would be handy. We do that right now on our company network for new projects, with a template of folders that you can just stick things related to the project. A fully fleshed out project such as the Plant Whisperer that Jeffo did is a good example of that. There were PDFs, BOMS, schematics, etc, that would have been nice if they had been archived into one file. With today’s bandwidth and speeds available having an archive file 10 or 20MB wouldn’t be such a big deal.February 18, 2012 at 7:08 am #11762
Thanks for the good thoughts! I’ve uploaded v2.08, try selecting multiple blocks with ctrl click or lasso, then copy/cut/paste and undo/redo!
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