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Subject: Re: Test of viewer
From: Michael O'Quinn (michael_at_oquinn.info)
Date: 2003-04-06


Garrett sent this to me via private email because it had the binaries
attached, and not everyone necessarily wants that in their in boxes. I'm
replying here in the list (without the attachments, of course) so others
can join the discussion if they wish.

On Sat, 5 Apr 2003, Garrett Derner wrote:

> Here are 4 versions.
>
> For the Player, I set the toggle to On-Right. I don't know whether that
> make sense. In case it does not toggle, I am sending one that starts
> Unwrapped and one that starts Wrapped.

It's great to be able to look at text files without crashing! The
toggling works just fine on my Player.

After fiddling with it, I think that the unwrapped version should auto
scroll the line the cursor is on. Maybe that should be an additional mode,
something that could be turned on and off.

>
> Also in case you can use Rec or FM, I am sending those.
>
> Known issues:
>
> Player: Return and Newline characters show up as black rectangles.

Actually, in wrapped mode, something to indicate a new line CAN be kinda
useful, depending on how the text is originally formatted.

>
> Recorder: Proportional fonts are not properly supported; generally there
> is too much right margin.
>
> Both: At this time he is only reading the first 1K of the file; after the
> first K you can not scroll down further.

Will this changed in the future?

One thing I would recommend is making it so we can view not only files
that end in ".txt" but some other extensions as well. .nfo, .log and .sfv
for the downloaders. Maybe .bat just in case. Perhaps this could even be
something that is configurable. Actually, that would be really great,
since that would remove hard coded restrictions on what files are
viewable. (Not a criticism of what's there now, just a hopefully
fruitful area for future growth.)

Thinking about how I might use this, I can see several
possibilities.

One is reading the *.txt, *.log and *.nfo files that come with Usenet
downloads.

Another is typing in the liner notes to an album.

Another is the AMG (All Music Guide - www.allmusic.com) summaries.

Some of these files are just a long string of text, and the lines can
break wherever. With this type of file, wrapping makes a lot of sense.

But some of the files are more structured and formatted. They might look
like...

=====[ BEGIN ]=====
NFO-file created by Post Assistant v0.05
Date : 1-6-02 -- Time : 1:14:12
 
Artist : Pete Namlook & Klaus Schulze
Album : The dark Side of the Moog IX
Source : CD
Year : 2002
Genre : electronic
Label : FAX
ID : PK 08/163

Encoder : Exact Audio Copy 9pb11
Codec : Lame 3.92
Bitrate : 320 44100/Stereo - HQ On
ID3-Tag : Yes, Version 1

Posted By : Japie on 01-06-2002
Ripped By : Japie on 31-05-2002

Where : alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.new-age
Crosspost : alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.electronic
           : alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.2000s

Included : This Info-File (NFO)
             Check File (SFV)
             Playlist (M3U)
             Frontcover
             Backcover
             CD-cover
=====[ END ]=====

...in fact this is part of one of my test files.

This file was hard to navigate in any comprehensible manner, due to the
limitations of the Player's display.

To summarize my rather stream of consciousness above...

(1) Space compression. Set all whitespace to display as only one space,
so not as much horizontal scrolling is needed.

(2) Use auto scroll, just like RockBox normally does with lines too long
to fit the screen. (Actually, this alone would fix a lot of the evilness
of the tiny display.)

(3) Something else?

Another thing that would make browsing a LOT easier (at least on the
Player, I don't know about the others) is to make the for direction keys
actually move in the four directions. I've gotten used to
navigating by pressing Stop (which is in the down position) to go Up in
the directory hierarchy, because I think of it as "Stop looking here and
go toward root."

But as soon as I look at a text file, I was the sucker to move up, down
left and right by pressing up, down, left and right. The navigation,
while consistent with the rest of the RockBox navigation, just didn't turn
my crank while viewing a file.

So, to pull this all together:

(1) Space compression would be useful in some situations.

(2) Reading files other than *.txt would be nice. Being able to configure
to read _any_ file would be REALLY nice.

(3) Navigation should make File Navigation Sense, not RockBox Navigation
sense. (This may violate an (un?)stated credo of the primary developers;
if so, I can state my case in more detail if you'd like. My primary
purpose here is to NOT use the same (shifted) keys for both horizontal and
vertical scrolling. That's just too counter-intuitive.)

(4) That implies something other than Stop (which would become Down)
would be needed for exiting the text viewer.

(5) There are getting to be more modes...
   (i) Not wrapped, with horizontal scrolling via the "keyboard."
   (ii) Not wrapped, with auto scroll on the cursor line, like RockBox
          already does in a lot of places.
   (ii) Wrapped.
   (Iv) Something you called orphan or adoptive. (Sounds like wrapped
          to me, but what do I know?)

(6) Navigation ideas. Maybe a menu to pick the mode would work. So would
key combinations...
   (i) Say press Menu, cursor to the desired mode, and press Play.
          Pressing Menu or Stop would exit back to the text
          screen with the mode unchanged.
   (ii) Use On to exit the text viewer.
   (iii) For quicker changes, use On+Play, On+Stop, On+Left, and On+Right
          to select some of the modes.
   (iv) This way new or occasional users could use menus, while Text
          Viewer Power Users could just use the key presses. (Not sure if
          this has any Real Advantage, but I thought I'd mention it.)

>
> Thanks for helping!

And that YOU for doing the lion's share of the work. This is all my
highly personal opinion, and YMMV, etc. etc.

Michael



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