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Scheduler Enhancements / Improvements / Bug Fixes / Wish List - add yours

Discussion in 'xLights (Nutcracker)' started by OzAz, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. OzAz

    OzAz Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    Hi All and particularly Keith,

    Concept and Reasons
    I've been pondering for a while things I'd like to see enhanced/improved/fixed in the xLights Show Scheduler and Playlist function, and was interested to watch Keith's video "xLights Standalone Scheduler Concept" on youtube.

    I know a lot of people don't use xLights' built in Playlist and Scheduler, but there are some that do. For instance, there are people migrating from LOR who already have a PC for running their show so they have no need to immediately obtain something else (eg Pi and FPP). Newbies starting out have enough to learn, without the added pressure of learning how to set up a Pi, for instance. Some people just have spare PCs lying around and couldn't be bothered buying something else to run their show, even if it costs only fifty bucks.
    Another reason to improve xLights Scheduler is that it makes xLights look a little less polished than some other sequencing software. Xlights is a fantastic program at a fantastic price (free) with amazing abilities but the Scheduler section lets it down a bit (IMHO).

    What You need to do !!
    Remember these are just my opinions based on my observances.This thread is not to start a war on Pi V PC, so please just respond with things you would like to see enhanced/improved/fixed in the xLights Show Scheduler and Playlist function.

    Enhancements / Improvements / Bug Fixes / Wish List
    So here's some suggestions/ideas for improvements/enhancements that might be considered if any of the busy programmers has some spare time and inclination (I'm aware Keith may already have some of these covered in his Standalone Scheduler Concept):

    1. Have the ability to automatically turn the lights on and off (‘output to lights’) from the show scheduler itself.
    When creating show schedule have 3 options
    Turn lights on automatically (‘output to lights’) at start of show
    Turn lights off automatically at end of show
    Leave lights on
    These are options so that users can still manually set ‘output to lights’ or to leave ‘output to lights’ permanently on. (see bug issue below)

    2. Have the ability to add individual days to schedule.
    Seems only way is to have block of dates but only have the show run on some of them. Would like to be able to select a show/playlist then select individual days or groups of days.

    3. Have the ability to instantly (on-command / interactive) play a whole playlist.
    Handy if you want to start a show from the start “on-command” (eg a group turns up, you (re)start the show for them and then the show returns to repeat playing as before)

    4. Play more than 1 sequence at the start or end.
    a. Have the 1, or more, sequence(s) play only at the start, and/or end, of the show.
    If a show schedule has x number of sequences, which are constantly repeated, then would be good to be able to better select a single (or multiple) sequence to play only at the very start, and/or end, of schedule.

    5. Have the ability to randomize playlists.
    Say you have several playlists each about 15 minutes long (eg 1. singing face songs, 2. current hit songs, 3. instrumental tunes, 4. classic christmas tunes) have the ability to randomize the playlists between show time hours.

    6. Have the Playlist 'Play Item' or 'Play All' run the House preview

    7. Overlap check. If running several different playlists in a row, a check to make sure you haven’t accidentally programmed one to start before the other finished (could include a check for longest song that might still be playing past finish time).

    8. If computer restarts for some reason, have Scheduler restart automatically. Can restart xLights automatically but doesn't always enable lights and enable scheduler when it restarts. (see point 9)

    9. Have the show scheduler as a separate program so the whole of xLights doesn't need to be open. - Appears Keith's already on this. :D

    Bugs/Issues:
    The Playlist 'Play All' doesn't appear to work properly. If you select one sequence and then click 'Play Item' the xPlayer starts but if you click 'Play All' the playlist starts but no xPlayer appears.

    Whilst idle with 'output to lights' turned on there is a considerable amount of network traffic. I measured about 200kbps extra on the WiFi and I'm not even using the wifi to control anything.

    Conclusion
    So that's my thoughts and wish list, if anyone has any other constructive ideas of things they'd like improved or extra features they'd like in the Scheduler post them in this thread.


    Cheers
     
  2. Fing

    Fing Full Time Elf Generous Elf

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    Hi


    Some other ideas...
    I look like using my pixels for a stage show that my local amateur theatrical group is doing later this year. perhaps a manual "cue" type control that allows you to select and start/stop a fseq. at will?
    perhaps the sequences are listed in order with a run/pause/stop button on each?


    Cheers
    Fing
     
  3. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    1) Ability to be able to change my playlist while it's playing. I like to work on songs and add them while the show is playing.

    2) Ability to update the FSEQ file while the show is playing. Even if I'm updating the song that's currently playing.
     
  4. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    I would like to be able to modify the setup (network stuff) without it scrolling to the top after each entree or edit. I am sure some of you know what I am talking about.... :eek:


    Also, since I know horizontal matrix imports still has a few quarks...mostly with font types I think...any chance to re-visit this in the future.. I can provide (.sup) files as needed. Let me know via PM when you have time.


    Would like to select multiple texts in a matrix for example and change the font type, size as a group...have not been able to do this, so let me know if this is already a feature.


    -Blu
     
  5. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    bluzer it was supposed to be "scheduler" related requests...lol
     
  6. bluzervic

    bluzervic 65,768 Channels, 185 Universes

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    Dang it..., thats what visiting other countries will do to ya ::)
     
  7. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    The issue with fonts imported from SuperStar is a big problem because we used different concepts. SuperStar created a custom file for each font where it defined exactly how to draw each font. I looked into it because for a matrix I like some of the SuperStar fonts better than anything that's installed on a typical PC. xLights uses the fonts installed on the system to display text. I have all the files used by SuperStar to draw fonts but they are a home grown proprietary format not an official font file you can install on a PC. So if someone wanted to create font sets from this data I could get it to work. I don't think I have time to draw all these font sets. The only other option to fix it would be to use those data files to draw pictures so all Text would be imported into a Picture effect.
     
  8. keithsw1111

    keithsw1111 Full Time Elf

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    This will be fixed in 2017.01
     
  9. keithsw1111

    keithsw1111 Full Time Elf

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    Guys we need to manage expectations here. Everything mentioned is possible and many are even easy to do. The bigger challenge is adding them all without ending up with some god-awful mess that no one can work out.


    I need to manage the complexity of the UI and the underlying code. Remember this also needs to be tested and proven to work in the vast majority of circumstances before anyone is going to be willing to use it in a live show ... every piece of complexity provides another edge case that may or may not be tested.


    My plan at the moment is to try to get something done by the end of Jan ... it wont have everyones features in it ... some will never make it in. But I will try to handle the bulk of common scenarios ... just sometimes you may need to click more than one button to make something happen.
     
  10. Ralphyf1

    Ralphyf1 New Elf

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    Hi keith,
    I am in your keep it simple and get it working camp. I agree with a separate scheduler- I can see lots of advantages down the track, but I think if it gave us what xlights scheduler does now it would be a good jumping off point. Good stuff Keith.
     
  11. Ralphyf1

    Ralphyf1 New Elf

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    Hi again Keith, On reflection, When I started with Xlights earlier this year the hardest part was was the huge number of options etc. It would 'be nice' if the new scheduler had a 'simple' mode or have the new one but leave a simple one in Xlights. Cheers and thanks
     
  12. keithsw1111

    keithsw1111 Full Time Elf

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    We are going to remove the scheduler from XLights. It will help make XLights simpler and it is downright ugly to use.
     
  13. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    One thing I'd like to be able to do is to copy a playlist. For instance I'd like to create a playlist that contains ALL my songs, then copy that and delete, rearrange, add songs. Why? Because I plan on doing some of my old songs just once or twice through the month in 2017, so creating a playlist of 40 songs once then deleting 30 of them 28 times is way easier than creating 28 individual playlists
     
  14. Gilrock

    Gilrock Full Time Elf

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    I expect it to be better than the FPP. If we are going to mess with the scheduler code it needs to be the best player on the planet. :)
     
  15. keithsw1111

    keithsw1111 Full Time Elf

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    I'll accept that challenge
     

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