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Mark Balla

Improving the MB icon editor into a LAVA icon editor

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Due to the great feedback that I am getting I wanted to solicit Ideas from other members.

The current version of the icon editor can be found here in the CR.

An alternate icon editor that LAVA members prefer was created by ThSa on the NI forums (Dark side) and can be found Here

If anyone has links to other icon editors that they use please post a link to them in this thread.

I would like to collectively work on features to improve the icon editor.

Initial thoughts:

The Icon editor was not intended to do anything with graphics. So it will take some rearchitecting or creative thinking to add them to the program.

The ability to take the icon and break it down into its text, frame, and color components is a very important function to me and adding graphics greatly complicates this.

as a starter I like the idea of having selectable frames and maybe we could place a glyph in the corner only.

All Ideas are welcome.

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Here are my though on this topic.

In order to be widely use, a new icon editor has to implement all existing functionalities of the NI icon editor with a very similar UI. Any additional functionalities (such as Mark Text editing capabilities or such as ThSa quick glyph dropping, or any other) should be added on top.

UI wize there are a lot of way of doing this. What makes it quite an undertaking is that the NI icon editor has a lot of functionalities to start with (all the key modifier on all the tools etc..).

PJM

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QUOTE (mballa @ Aug 12 2008, 06:46 AM)

Due to the great feedback that I am getting I wanted to solicit Ideas from other members.

The current version of the icon editor can be found in the CR.

An alternate icon editor that LAVA members prefer was created by ThSa on the NI forums (Dark side) and can be found

If anyone has links to other icon editors that they use please post a link to them in this thread.

I would like to collectively work on features to improve the icon editor.

Initial thoughts:

The Icon editor was not intended to do anything with graphics. So it will take some rearchitecting or creative thinking to add them to the program.

The ability to take the icon and break it down into its text, frame, and color components is a very important function to me and adding graphics greatly complicates this.

as a starter I like the idea of having selectable frames and maybe we could place a glyph in the corner only.

All Ideas are welcome.

I posted an Icon Editor that plays with both text and graphics. It is quite well developed, but tuned to my liking... :D I really like the idea of coming up with the LAVA Icon Editor. That would be very cool. I would love to help out with that!!

Regarding PJM's comment, I had not really considered (ever) mimicking the NI Icon Editor functionality because I wanted to avoid completely all that pixel manipulation when I create my icons. However, I can understand his point that to be widely accepted it has to at least feel comfortable at first glance and while using it.

Philippe, were you envisioning keeping the ability to individually edit each of the three icons (B&W,16,256) ? Would there be any problem with just applying the 256 Color icon to the other two?

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QUOTE (JDave @ Aug 12 2008, 10:08 AM)

I posted an http://forums.lavag.org/JDev-Tools-t11537.html&p=49250#entry49250' target="_blank">Icon Editor that plays with both text and graphics. It is quite well developed, but tuned to my liking... :D I really like the idea of coming up with the LAVA Icon Editor. That would be very cool. I would love to help out with that!!

Regarding PJM's comment, I had not really considered (ever) mimicking the NI Icon Editor functionality because I wanted to avoid completely all that pixel manipulation when I create my icons. However, I can understand his point that to be widely accepted it has to at least feel comfortable at first glance and while using it.

Philippe, were you envisioning keeping the ability to individually edit each of the three icons (B&W,16,256) ? Would there be any problem with just applying the 256 Color icon to the other two?

Dave,

I like what you did with your icon editor. The UIs are great although I have to confess that I am having a hard time figuring out what some of the toolbar button do.

In regard to a LAVA Icon editor. I think we could probably get away with editing only the 256 color icon (although there are some use case where editing each one independently is required).

I start working on such an icon editor about 6 years ago and I even made a doc about all the NI icon editor functionalities. I will see if I can find what I had (so far no success).

The reason why I think duplicating NI Icon functionalities is a must is that every time I use a custom editor I end up CTRL+. because it does not do something I need to do (ex: copy image from clipboard and more) which end up being more time comsuming than just using NI icon editor in the first place.

PJM

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I hate making icons! I only use text on my icons. I would like to be able to type some text and it gets translated to tiny fonts and auto-fit into multiple lines. Can someone add this? Also, I think it would be awesome to combine all the features into one super LAVA icon editor. Super in functionality however simple and intuitive to use. There is the challenge. Adding features is easy, making them obvious and intuitive is the tough part.

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QUOTE (PJM_labview @ Aug 12 2008, 12:07 PM)

I like what you did with your icon editor. The UIs are great although I have to confess that I am having a hard time figuring out what some of the toolbar button do.

In regard to a LAVA Icon editor. I think we could probably get away with editing only the 256 color icon (although there are some use case where editing each one independently is required).

I start working on such an icon editor about 6 years ago and I even made a doc about all the NI icon editor functionalities. I will see if I can find what I had (so far no success).

The reason why I think duplicating NI Icon functionalities is a must is that every time I use a custom editor I end up CTRL+. because it does not do something I need to do (ex: copy image from clipboard and more) which end up being more time comsuming than just using NI icon editor in the first place.

I will post an image with descriptions on those buttons.

What would be the use cases for editing each one independently?

If you had a document on those NI functions, that would be great !

It would probably be worthwhile to amass a list of desired functionalities (like copying from the clipboard). The solution currently for my implementation is to save that image to the correct image folder and then it would show up in the image search. Though I had considered adding a functionality for importing an image into my 'library'. It wouldn't be hard to extend that to include importing the image currently in the clipboard. I definitely agree that if the user has an image in the clipboard, they should be able to paste that onto the icon somehow. Ctrl-v should work.

QUOTE (Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 12 2008, 12:22 PM)

I hate making icons! I only use text on my icons. I would like to be able to type some text and it gets translated to tiny fonts and auto-fit into multiple lines. Can someone add this? Also, I think it would be awesome to combine all the features into one super LAVA icon editor. Super in functionality however simple and intuitive to use. There is the challenge. Adding features is easy, making them obvious and intuitive is the tough part.

I configured my editor to translate/parse the filename to tiny fonts and auto-fit into multiple lines. That way I only have to name the VI once. I don't know if that is quite what you are asking for. Are you thinking more of a single string control to type into?

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Here is the screenshot of what I was attempting to do several years ago (this was at a very early stage).

post-121-1218570808.png?width=400

The document below is (if I recall properly) a list of the feature I found in the NI icon editor (which I was thinking to implement in the custom Icon editor).

Download File:post-121-1218571039.doc

PJM

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QUOTE (crelf @ Aug 12 2008, 12:47 PM)

And here it is as an installable ttf (I added numbers and a couple special chars).

Download File:post-8758-1218575037.zip

I found this really fun site where you can quickly generate your own fonts online and save them as a ttf file. Then simply install the font to make it available in any program.

The only downside is that if you try to change the font size to anything other than 10pt in LabVIEW it crashes hard:

post-8758-1218574990.png?width=400

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QUOTE (Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 12 2008, 02:22 PM)

What do you mean by tiny does that mean LV icon 10 point lower case or LV 8 point. Isn't it hard enough to read the current compressd letters

QUOTE (Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 12 2008, 02:22 PM)

and auto-fit into multiple lines. Can someone add this?

How is this different then how the icon editor works now

QUOTE (Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 12 2008, 02:22 PM)

Also, I think it would be awesome to combine all the features into one super LAVA icon editor. Super in functionality however simple and intuitive to use. There is the challenge. Adding features is easy, making them obvious and intuitive is the tough part.

I like the Idea but I'm not sure a one size fits all aproach is the answer. It seems pretty obvious that everyone wants different features.

I think a plugin archatecture might be a better fit here.

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QUOTE (PJM_labview @ Aug 12 2008, 06:12 PM)

In some instance for some type of icon...

You need to keep the three colours because the combination of the non-white borders defines the shape of the icon (and hence it's edge transparency). That said, you could offer only one (the highest colour count) and then just copy it to the others in B&W...

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QUOTE

I hate making icons! I only use text on my icons.

I am with you on that Mike. That's why I love Mark's icon editor. However, for the 5% of times that I want to do something graphical it would be quite nice to have the original editor functionality included.

QUOTE

I would like to be able to type some text and it gets translated to tiny fonts and auto-fit into multiple lines. Can someone add this?

Most of this the Mark's current version of the editor already does. You can specify one header line and up to four lines of text. I assume what you are referring to is to have one textbox (instead of four individual lines) with the editor fitting the text into the four lines automatically.

I am with Philippe on the suggestion that we should include all the functionality of the basic editor. I assume that the original icon editor is protected so that we could not simply add to it?

Without integration of the original features I do not see a large number of users adopting a different editor simply because they are too used to it.

As for the layout, I do like ThSa's layout. It keeps the standard view but adds the tab control on the right. Those tabs would work well with Mark's suggestion of plugins. One tab for Text icon, one for header with graphic, one for the original editor, etc. One thing that would need to be added though is some kind of setup/options dialog that lets the user select the default tab that is shown (or store the last one used).

post-1022-1218588318.png?width=400

I do like ThSa's features although I prefer Marks version of the text icon. Especially the fact that it automatically updates while typing and centers and resizes the text.

I also prefer Mark's way of automatically storing the last color-schemes used. I just wish I could erase some of them :-)

I also like ThSa's 4th tab that allows you to set the description of the VI. One reason why I sometimes don't add a description to my VIs is that I have to go into VI properties and then select description. Just too many mouse clicks. Since I have to edit the icon anyway, I think the icon editor is the perfect place to edit the Description. I would also add the Window Title here.

I am less interested in the other Execution and Appearance checkboxes. Those are more interesting for VIs that the user actually sees which is a small percentage of all the VIs. For those I don't mind opening VI properties.

Anyway, that's my 5 cents (Canadian) worth ;-)

Cheers,

Heiko

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QUOTE (crelf @ Aug 12 2008, 04:45 PM)

You need to keep the three colours because the combination of the non-white borders defines the shape of the icon (and hence it's edge transparency). That said, you could offer only one (the highest colour count) and then just copy it to the others in B&W...

Actually you don't need the 16 colors icon for that. Only the 256 colors and the B&W is required.

PJM

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QUOTE (crelf @ Aug 13 2008, 01:45 AM)

QUOTE (PJM_labview @ Aug 13 2008, 04:03 AM)

Actually you don't need the 16 colors icon for that. Only the 256 colors and the B&W is required.

Unfortunatly the 16 color icon will block the small sized icon.

The CAR ID is 100245

Not on the 8.6 known issues or fixed issues list.

Ton

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Well it looks like the icon editor needs to be updated anyway.

It currently locks up in 8.6 when you choose the color selector. see here

apparently you can't call a subvi UI from the main icon editor. My guess is that the main vi is set to modal through LabVIEW.

I took the icon template vi and used a primitive dialog and the user input express .vi

post-584-1218649184.png?width=400

When I ran it using the primitive it worked fine.

post-584-1218649275.png?width=400

but when I ran the input express .vi with the vi properties set to modal I was unable to enter data or press the ok button and the editor vi locked up. I had to press the X so the main would close and then the data input vi worked.

post-584-1218649481.png?width=400

I'm thinking this will have to be changed to a subpanel archatecture in order to view different subvis.

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QUOTE (mballa @ Aug 13 2008, 01:48 PM)

Here is a workaround:

When this happens, you can click 'pause' on the main editor window, then the color picker pops up, you pick your color, and then you unpause the main editor and everything is working fine again.

Not ideal, but at least it lets me continue to use the editor :-)

Cheers,

Heiko

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QUOTE (hfettig @ Aug 13 2008, 02:18 PM)

When this happens, you can click 'pause' on the main editor window, then the color picker pops up, you pick your color, an then you unpause the main editor and everything is working fine again.

:question: Can you have the subVI pause it's caller dynamically? You'd have to make sure that you unpaused it before the subVI finished execution...

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QUOTE (PJM_labview @ Aug 12 2008, 03:12 PM)

Does this happen when all the colors in the 256 color icon correspond to white? This could be circumvented by forcing the B&W icon to have a black border if it would otherwise be pure white.

In the end, the 256 color icon is the main icon that people will see, and it should roughly define what the other color icons look like. Independently editing the other color options (from what I've heard and seen) is only done because NI forces us to in order to have smaller sized icons. If we could properly convert the 256 icon to the other two formats (including fixing the bug that Ton mentioned) then I think we would be much better off. Having three different icons to edit is confusing to most LabVIEW programmers.

QUOTE (hfettig @ Aug 12 2008, 05:56 PM)

I am with Philippe on the suggestion that we should include all the functionality of the basic editor. I assume that the original icon editor is protected so that we could not simply add to it?

Without integration of the original features I do not see a large number of users adopting a different editor simply because they are too used to it.

This does require some juggling between mouse-drawn objects and auto-drawn objects. ThSa's only allows one at a time, and if you apply the auto-drawing then your mouse-drawn items disappear. Not saying this is bad or wrong, but it is something to be dealt with.

QUOTE (hfettig @ Aug 12 2008, 05:56 PM)

I also like ThSa's 4th tab that allows you to set the description of the VI.

This is a VERY interesting item. To edit the description, you need to know which VI you are editing. This is NOT KNOWN by any property or method available. I really wanted to see how ThSa was attempting it, but it is password protected. In the end, NI really needs to provide this information.

David

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I drew up a quick Front Panel to allow some discussion here. It includes the standard look, plus a tab control on the right for various options. I included a toolbar area on the top for quick access to changing the header and body and frame colors/images. The first box would house any selected image, and the black-on-white boxes would be the FG/BG colors. The dropdown on the top right would be for selection of saved themes/configurations.

post-1519-1218758527.png?width=400

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QUOTE (JDave @ Aug 14 2008, 08:06 PM)

Nice! But it's missing something... like a logo!

http://lavag.org/old_files/monthly_08_2008/post-181-1218760898.png' target="_blank">post-181-1218760898.png?width=400

:D

Hmmm - when people install this icon editor, maybe we could add a little button to the NI icon editor that allows users to switch to the LAVA one?

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QUOTE (crelf @ Aug 14 2008, 05:41 PM)

Nice! But it's missing something... like a logo!

:D

Hmmm - when people install this icon editor, maybe we could add a little button to the NI icon editor that allows users to switch to the LAVA one?

How silly of me. :oops:

I think you have that backwards. When you install a custom icon editor (place a lv_icon.vi file in the plugins directory) it always shows up when editing an icon. You can cancel out of it in such a way that you revert temporarily to the standard LV icon editor, but you can't go back the other way.

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I was hoping to get some discussion on the points I brought up ... But if nothing else,

What I really want is to know if there is some way to know definitively WHO the icon editor is 'editing'. This would be necessary for allowing things like editing the description. Can someone from NI point us in the right direction here? Is it at least something under consideration for future versions of LabVIEW?

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