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Request for Comments: Show Editor and Show Scheduler

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I am now starting to look at the design of Phase 3 of LOR Hub, which will (as along as priorities are not re-arranged) be my next project.  I would like to solicit your comments.

Before we get started, please know that I'm only talking about the actual Show Scheduler and Show Editor programs in the suite.  I am not talking about SD card show creation at all.  I am also not really talking about Simple Show Builder - while in fact I am keeping it in mind (more on that in a minute).

Personally I found SD card creation confusing, and I think Show Editor is worse - a LOT worse.

Let me give you an example of how we re-designed the SD card building.  We plan on using the same user interface concepts  with show builder as we have with SD creation Note:  I understand that SD and PC shows are very different from one another.  What we are not doing, and don't need to discuss, is changing HOW PC shows work.  PC shows should work exactly as they do now.  What we are talking about here is how things fit together and if there are options that can be simplified.

This is the old SD card builder in HWU:

HULORMP3

Here is the new LOR Hub version (sneak peak!  Not yet released):

image.png

image.png

The idea is that it is much more task oriented and flows in a way that hides options that may not be needed while still allowing power users at everything. Everything that the HWU can do is here - with the exception of setting the clock on the MP3 director which is going to remain in the hardware utility - that is a 'hardware' function after all!

It's a surprising difference, isn't it?   The Hub version is MUCH more 'friendly' looking.  It's open, airy, and logically makes sense.  I'm going to do the same re-design of the Show Editor.  So you can expect to see the double pane file edit/add/remove, those collapsible sections, and a general re-arrangement into something that is more 'task' friendly.

This is the existing Show Editor:

ShowEditorMusical

 

So you tell me:  What do you find confusing when using the Show Editor?  How would you make that LESS confusing? What parts of it do you use most?  What do you use least (or not at all)?  If you could eliminate something, what would it be?  

While I am happy to listen to constructive suggestions for HOW shows are run, this is more about how shows can more easily be created.  Any 'how' suggestions will be added to the wish list, but are not going to be a part of this effort.  I am also more than happy to listen to comments about the new SD card process - however that overall design is pretty much set in stone - I'll do my best to address them but can't guarantee anything there.

Schedule Editor also suffers from some confusing UI issues.  Displaying dates/times is never easy since you have to find a relatively compact way of displaying a LOT of data.  One thing I do know is that we are going to somehow make it apparent that there is a 'priority' system when it comes to schedules (I saw this in a recent forum post).  I'm not 100% sure yet, but I think it may be easier to have schedule editor know about 'Repeating' shows (now called Weekly) and 'One-Off' shows (now called 'Yearly'). 

image.png

So again, please let me know what you like, and what you don't like.  What you use, and what you don't use. 

And as always:  Discussions that also include Solutions or Suggestions are taken FAR MORE seriously than just complaints and rants

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@DevMike  Here are some of my biggest confusions with the current Scheduler modes (Week and Calendar)  (might be a user error 😕 )

1) They don't seem to work together. It is an either or

2) No way to just mass clear either a day or the whole week.

3) A real PITA trying to remover a 1-5min show (I tried making an all off show because lights were being left on, even with All Off ticked) from the schedule

What I was expecting was the ability to work on a YEARLY (master) schedule,  nesting Monthly, Weekly and Daily schedules. Schedule period levels would have logical priority.

(I was trying to add Next weeks schedule)

Take K6CCC's year round yard lighting. That schedule runs UNLESS there is a conflict ( usage assignment for that period from a finer level), the weekly elements run unless there is a day scheduled. The exception runs instead and has an option to block resumption  of the coarser level for the period this is in effect. What I am trying to say is the Yard show won't run/resume at the end of today's schedule but will resume at the next UN-conflicted period )

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Keep in mind that I always run from a PC so my comments are based on that as opposed to running on a director.  On the show editor, any chance of adding the ability to shut down a show based on a trigger - similar to the current start show on a trigger.  The best example of why is a landscaping show that runs all night (as mine does).  Although I found a cheater workaround to end the show based on a trigger (when the sun comes up), it would be nice to have that functionality built in.  Other than that, I have no issues with the Show Editor.

On the Schedule Editor, as The Ducks said, I make use of both the weekly and calendar schedules and have no issues with how to make that work, however his points 2 & 3 are very valid.  It's a royal pain in the backside to remove a one minutes scheduled test!  It would be nice to be able to save a schedule with a filename and later load that schedule.  For example, I normally have my landscaping show in the weekly schedule.  Come time for the Christmas show, I have to completely re-write the schedule.  At the end of the show season, re-write the schedule again to get back to the landscape schedule.  I am NOT suggesting that the existing weeksched.lsc and yearsched.lsc files change, but rather that I could save for example my landscape schedule as landscape.lsc.saved and then setup for Christmas and save that as Christmas.lsc.saved.  Then from the Schedule Editor, I could load Landscape.lsc.saved and that would load that into the editor.  Upon saving, that would over-write weeksched.lsc to make that the active schedule.  Make sense?  Yes, I found a cheater workaround to this one as well, but it would be nice to have it built in.

 

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In regards to how you set the time that a show will run in the schedule editor, I think it might be pretty cool and intuitive to simply be able to click and drag between two points in time, and "paint" an event. Then you would right-click that event and choose which file / show would run within it. Those events could be color-coded and copy/pasted to other days of the week. I find that when I try to add a show to the schedule, being thrown into a separate window breaks up the work flow. Just an idea I had. Also, being able to clear multiple shows at a time would be amazing. It is very tedious to delete them one at a time. Thanks for taking input from us. I can't wait to see whatever it is you come up with.

 

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I would like to see a warning that another show already exists.

I received an error after 7 days of HD and friends here trying to help me figure out why my show would play an hour and stop on certain days and play fine on others.

Initially thought it was a  sequence compression problem, worked for a time. Only because I started the show manually with SOD. After reimporting manually compressed sequences.

Not one person asked me to look at the scheduler. I just happen to stumble across it inbetween Halloween and Christmas.

I do not remember the error I received but I did update my HD ticket (if that helps).

Personally I never had a problem building SD cards for my testing mini director. Build in HU/ MP3 tab.

We have warnings/ error messages for a bunch of problems some in which doesnt make any sense for the end user but does for the programmers so just one more alert wouldn’t hurt.

JR

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I run all my shows from my laptop.

Show Editor- Haven't had any issues and like the current setup.

Schedule Editor-

I agree that it's a bit of a pain to delete short "test shows" as they seem to disappear in the time frame.

When adjusting the schedule and the error comes up saying "The end time you have chosen conflicts with another show.", it would be nice to have an option to overwrite the existing time frame you are trying to change.  Like k6ccc (Jim), I run my landscape lights and my exterior house lights (yes, my house lights)  through the scheduler.  I usually run my light shows until 10:00:00 then start my house lights program at 10:00:01.  On nights I want to run the light show longer, it would be nice to just change the end time of one and have it automatically change the start time of the next after the new end time instead of having to change both, in the correct order to make it work. Maybe something along the lines of "Would you like to overwrite and delete the current scheduled show" or "Would you like to reschedule the existing show to begin at the end of the new scheduled show."  I dunno, just spit-balling here.  Thanks for all you do Mike.

Edited by Little_b

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My gripe with the Show Builder (the one to create SD cards) is that there is not a way to save the list of files that you recorded to the card.   For example: If I create a show and then at a later point adjust a sequence or decide to add another sequence to the show I have to start all over building the show.  One option would be for the Show Builder to have the ability to select and read a file that was created by the Show Editor.  Even better would be for the Show Builder to be able to process Show Editor files and be able to save a file in that format.

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All my shows are from a show PC.   I have never used the director or the calendar.     I am not too familiar with S5 options already available there.   All of this is from an S4 perspective.

The schedule editor is the tool which I find hard to use along with playing options.

Situations which come up.   Already mentioned by others...

  • Someone is visiting before or after hours who wants to see 'the show' or possibly a particular song. 
  • Test the show or a song within the show before or after hours

My options are..   

  • 1) Turn off the schedule and start SOD of the planned show..   
  •     Now I have to remember to turn off SOD or the show runs all night   and reenable the schedule
  • 2) Turn off the schedule and turn on SOD for one song..
  •    Oh right... I have not built a show file for each song and SOD requires a show.
  • 3) Turn off the schedule and open SE to play the one song they want to see with control lights
  •    doh   forgot to set loop at end  so when I get back outside I  have missed a minute and its not looping. 

More flexibility would be great 

  • Be able to run a SOD when schedule is enabled but is not active.  Add end option to play until schedule starts. 
  • Be able to run SOD for a song or multiple songs without a show.   Maybe a songless 'shell show' where the selected songs are added on the fly to the musical or animation section.
  • Extend a running show by some amount of time without changing the schedule. (next week not impacted)
  • Start a scheduled show early without changing the schedule.  (next week not impacted)

Schedule UI 

  • Save/Load schedules to pick which is being edited and which is active when enabled.
  • Visible list of available shows with click or hover over content summary
  • Drag a show from list and drop into the Schedule boxes
  • Grab and slide start and end hours up or down
  • Click to split a box into two or consolidate two adjacent into one 
  • copy paste a day into another day
  • Extend or shorten a running scheduled show and player detects the change. 

 

 

 

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Using LOR since 2005, I guess I'm pretty set in my ways (old school) and love using the Show Editor and Schedule Editor with the "Week" option. Never even touched the Calendar option.

For me, it's so simple to just create a show in the Show Editor, then go to the Schedule Editor and add the show and times. Check all the days that apply and done. Don't need to touch it all season unless I adjust the times.

So not sure where the confusing part is coming from and maybe I'm missing something. Even when I first started, I never had a problem with learning how to create a show and schedule the show.

But 12+ years of using LOR, there wasn't many options back then anyways.

BTW, I'm currently a S4 user.

Edited by Santas Helper

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Santa, Changing something seems way warder than it should. Like you, I used the Week schedule.

Originally, I ran 2 shows every night (The main, and the rest of the night prop). I went back to change the 2nd show so I had a different prop left on each night.

( 💡 Run a 'random" show from a list as a scheduled item ) That was tedious

DevMike I like the Left right list look. Many of the apps I have use > for Add, < for remove selected in the center area

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2 hours ago, TheDucks said:

Santa, Changing something seems way warder than it should.

I guess I'm still missing something. What's hard about changing something in the Schedule Editor?

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26 minutes ago, Santas Helper said:

I guess I'm still missing something. What's hard about changing something in the Schedule Editor?

Maybe I am doing it wrong. Got a week scheduled? There is no Multi-select remove. I had to remove each show-block entry, one at a time. Only adding something for ALL WEEK seemed easy

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1 hour ago, TheDucks said:

Maybe I am doing it wrong. Got a week scheduled? There is no Multi-select remove. I had to remove each show-block entry, one at a time. Only adding something for ALL WEEK seemed easy

Probably not doing it wrong. I schedule with the Week. 

I see where if you have multiple shows daily and need to change it daily, although I wouldn't understand all the need for changes since I have only one show scheduled each night.

I guess because I only have one show nightly, I don't see need for changes in the software.

Edited by Santas Helper

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5 hours ago, TheDucks said:

Maybe I am doing it wrong. Got a week scheduled? There is no Multi-select remove. I had to remove each show-block entry, one at a time. Only adding something for ALL WEEK seemed easy

Yes, a multi-delete would be nice.

 

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On 1/25/2019 at 9:50 PM, basis21b said:

My gripe with the Show Builder (the one to create SD cards) is that there is not a way to save the list of files that you recorded to the card.   For example: If I create a show and then at a later point adjust a sequence or decide to add another sequence to the show I have to start all over building the show.  One option would be for the Show Builder to have the ability to select and read a file that was created by the Show Editor.  Even better would be for the Show Builder to be able to process Show Editor files and be able to save a file in that format.

Hub does this.

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Some of this has been mentioned by others, but thought I'd chime in.

I've got a few clients that run via computer. Here's what would make my life easier.

Being able to load a whole new schedule in easily. Like others, I know the hacks, but it would make it easier. One client has 3 different 'settings' before/during/after Thanksgiving-Christmas. I've got file named for each, and swap them out as needed, but it would make it easier to simply change the entire schedule at one.

And "If/then" type setting would be nice. I have to schedule a 15-30 minute show (musical) to run every 2 hours, and the rest of the time is static. It'd be kind of nice to set the main start/stop time for the static part, which would run all day, and then be able to schedule the musical shows at the same time, with them having priority. If they ever change the times those shows run, it's going to take a long time to set up the new schedule.

This "If/Then" would have helped on another client this year. Their schedule was such that every night I had 10+ shows scheduled from 6-Midnight. The 'static' times (well, animation only) ran when the music wasn't going. The musical shows in this case varied in length quite a bit, so the scheduling was a bit more complicated.

Actually, when I think about it, in both cases a 'play once' for the computer based shows would have been a HUGE time saver. My guess is that would be in the Show Editor. "Play songs once" then "Filler Sequence"
There have been a few times I wanted to remove more than one scheduled show at a time. This would be nice to have.

 

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On 1/25/2019 at 2:19 PM, Little_b said:

On nights I want to run the light show longer, it would be nice to just change the end time of one and have it automatically change the start time of the next after the new end time instead of having to change both, in the correct order to make it work.

That's where a calendar based entry comes into play.  For example, if I'm having a party and want the evening landscaping show to run until midnight instead of the usual 22:00, schedule a calendar event for the landscaping show from 16:00:00 until 23:59:59 (note that the evening landscaping show wont actually turn on lights until it gets dark because it is set to start on a trigger - and the trigger is a light sensor that triggers when it gets dark).  One limitation with that however is that a calendar entry can't cross midnight.  There is a sort of workaround for that by scheduling a calendar based show up until midnight, and then the same show from midnight until whenever you wanted it to go, but that can have undesired effects if you have startup and / or shutdown sequences.

 

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On 1/26/2019 at 1:49 PM, Santas Helper said:

I see where if you have multiple shows daily and need to change it daily, although I wouldn't understand all the need for changes since I have only one show scheduled each night.

This is my weekly Schedule Editor for year round landscape lighting.  You can see there is an evening and an overnight show.  The two thin lines at 0745 and 1545 are a one minute "show" that cycles a relay (relay contacts don't like to work as well when they never switch).  For the minor holidays where I run different lights, I use a calendar based show entry.  These are: Valentines day, St. Patrick's day, World Autism Awareness Day, Police Memorial week, Independence Day week, Fallen Firefighters Memorial week, and  Halloween.  The first three of those are a single day, and the rest are about a week.

Schedule_Editor_Landscaping.png

Prior to using MIIP, my Christmas show schedule was a little more involved:

1600 - 1700  Yard speakers on

1700 - 2100  Christmas evening with yard speakers

2100 - 2200  Christmas evening show without speakers (runs until 2300 on weekends)

2200 - 0630  Christmas overnight show (starts at 2300 on weekends)

0745 - 0746  Relay pulser

1545 - 1546  Relay pulser

All that changes several times during the season, so being able to save a configuration and reload it would be very handy.

 

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Jim

I thoght a trigger had to be a pulse (momentary contact closure).

could you post your Poto detect circuit and a tip on programing.  I understand that the trigger can NOT be on a controller running in enhanced mode (not an issue as I have a Gen2 in my collection)

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7 hours ago, TheDucks said:

I thoght a trigger had to be a pulse (momentary contact closure).

No.  I have multiple triggers that will result in a constant signal.  Below are my current inputs (the ones in yellow are active).  The two light beams are the only ones that are close to momentary.

image.png.c106b87a993a43e43b8d89c270a44bee.png

7 hours ago, TheDucks said:

could you post your Poto detect circuit and a tip on programing.

I'll see what I can dig up for it.  I am using a fairly simple Op-Amp based voltage comparitor with a photocell.

 

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Thanks for the suggestions so far!  We are definitely aware that we need to step up our game when it comes to logic for starting and stopping shows, what happens during shows etc.  I've been discussing with Dan adding a date range for repeating shows and one of his first comments back to me was that we need to be better at schedule options.

I'm still trying to convince him that the first of these schedule options should be this date range thing.  For example, what Don said: 

23 hours ago, Don said:

Being able to load a whole new schedule in easily. Like others, I know the hacks, but it would make it easier. One client has 3 different 'settings' before/during/after Thanksgiving-Christmas. I've got file named for each, and swap them out as needed, but it would make it easier to simply change the entire schedule at one.

That is exactly what I am (was?) targeting first.  You could create 3 different shows, one each for before, during after thanksgiving/christmas.  Schedule them so that 'Show 1' runs from date 1 to date 2, then show 2 from date 2 to date 3, and then show 3 from date 3 to (next year's) date 1.  With that in place, you would only need to touch the schedule once a year.  In fact, you could (from what I envision) go ahead and schedule a thousand years into the future if you like.

IE:

image.png

So Every Sun,Mon,Tue, and Wed from 01/01/19 thru 07/03/19 starting at 6PM and stopping at 10PM, run the show called Jan to 4th.lss

You could then schedule something else to run between those dates on thr-sat.  Or have different times, or 2 different thu-sat shows with 2 different date periods/etc.  Schedule 2020?  No problem.

 

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Being able to add 10 or 15 minutes to a playing show with just a button click would be nice.

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Mike

I was envisioning something more like a ToDo app, where you could see (drill down) day, week, month, year.

Looking at anything above a Day, you would see) schedule bars 1 for each show. Would look something like Borlands /Starfish Sidekick, except it would just schedule shows

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36 minutes ago, DevMike said:

Thanks for the suggestions so far!  We are definitely aware that we need to step up our game when it comes to logic for starting and stopping shows, what happens during shows etc.  I've been discussing with Dan adding a date range for repeating shows and one of his first comments back to me was that we need to be better at schedule options.

I'm still trying to convince him that the first of these schedule options should be this date range thing.  For example, what Don said: 

That is exactly what I am (was?) targeting first.  You could create 3 different shows, one each for before, during after thanksgiving/christmas.  Schedule them so that 'Show 1' runs from date 1 to date 2, then show 2 from date 2 to date 3, and then show 3 from date 3 to (next year's) date 1.  With that in place, you would only need to touch the schedule once a year.  In fact, you could (from what I envision) go ahead and schedule a thousand years into the future if you like.

IE:

image.png

So Every Sun,Mon,Tue, and Wed from 01/01/19 thru 07/03/19 starting at 6PM and stopping at 10PM, run the show called Jan to 4th.lss

You could then schedule something else to run between those dates on thr-sat.  Or have different times, or 2 different thu-sat shows with 2 different date periods/etc.  Schedule 2020?  No problem.

 

If there would be an error message incorporated into that, that would have saved me 5-10 days of HD tickets and posts here. Since the stop date would have prevented the error in the first place.

Nice

JR

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23 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

Mike

I was envisioning something more like a ToDo app, where you could see (drill down) day, week, month, year.

Looking at anything above a Day, you would see) schedule bars 1 for each show. Would look something like Borlands /Starfish Sidekick, except it would just schedule shows

 

 

Yes, I understand what you were saying.  There are actually several different development things being talked about.  One is the not-so-good presentation layer of how shows are scheduled.  We will always have a 'week' view a lot like we currently have.  BUT We plan on adding to (or re-arranging, or whatever) those views so you can envision what is going to happen and/or easily add/etc.  That's what you are asking about and is most definitely going to be looked at and changed.  I already have ideas swimming in my head that have your suggestions in mind.

We then have the 'new options' part of this development (which I didn't think we would need to do, but those changes could actually influence the UI).  One of those (and something I see as simple to add) would be this new 'stale dating' of repeating shows.  Nice start and stop dates so that you wouldn't have to delete everything and schedule new shows on that date.  Those things are not mutually exclusive.

 

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