[mythtv-users] [RFC] Proposed settings rework

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Wed Nov 4 20:44:43 UTC 2009

On Tuesday 03 November 2009 07:49:03 pm Michael T. Dean wrote:
> On 11/03/2009 07:27 PM, Rod Smith wrote:
> > On Tuesday 03 November 2009 04:07:22 pm Robert McNamara wrote:
> >> Fine Tune Font Size (should be theme controlled)
> >
> > This is one I wouldn't want to see go away. It's been quite a while since
> > I set up my Myth box, but I distinctly recall having to fine-tune the
> > font sizes to get something that was both legible and small enough to fit
> > enough text in the menus, dialogs, etc. for my screen resolution, screen
> > size, and viewing distance.
> This setting applies /only/ to Qt/unthemed sections of MythTV (it's
> actually called, "QtFonTweak," which was both descriptive of its purpose
> and a fun little slurred-together name).  As soon as the settings/setup
> is mythui'ed, the setting will be completely unused in the code.

Currently (in 0.21), there are several font-size options (at least on one 
screen; there may be others elsewhere):

- "Small" font
- "Medium" font
- "Large" font
- Fine tune font size (%)

If you're only talking about the last of those options, then I don't see any 
point in keeping it. The others, I think, should definitely be retained, for 
the reasons I specified. Your comments below make me think you may have 
eliminated these in 0.22 or 0.23, but I'm not sure of that.

> >> OSD Font (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
> >> Font Size (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
> >> Default Caption Font Type (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
> >> ALL the caption font settings (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
> >
> > See above. It might be reasonable to fold these settings up with general
> > UI font settings, though, if that's convenient.
> Since the font face and size determines the amount of space required to
> present the text, it makes a lot of sense to make these theme
> controlled.  If not, then users will see the themes as broken when "the
> text doesn't fit" or "there's all sorts of wasted space."  This is the
> same reason that the UI theme now handle /all/ font face and sizing
> selection--because you can't expect to just stuff any old font/size in
> there and have everything fit properly.
> Even the <size:small> and <size:big> were removed from the UI themes,
> and, therefore, the setting allowing users to select default, small, or
> big fonts was removed.

To what version are you referring, and are you referring to the OSD only or to 
fonts in menus when not playing recordings? I'm using 0.21, and there are 
definitely default, small, and big font options for the menu fonts, as noted 
above. If those settings have been removed in 0.22, then I view it as a 
backward step. A big home-theater setup using 1080i resolution is likely to 
work better with smaller fonts than a little 9-inch analog set in a kitchen 
running 640x480 via composite cables. Different themes can, of course, be 
customized for different screen sizes, but that'll just force unpleasant 
choices on users regarding what themes to use.

I do understand the point you're making, and I have two comments/suggestions, 
one of which will admittedly be a pain to implement:

- Themes might set suggested/default font sizes, but users could still
  override these defaults as they see fit. This should at least help
  take the heat off theme designers.

- The sizes of on-screen elements could be adjusted depending on the font
  size (or the space consumed by the formatted text to be displayed). Then
  if somebody selects a tiny font, the OSD information display could be
  made smaller; and if a huge font is selected, it could be made bigger.
  This would eliminate your doesn't fit/wasted space objection. I don't
  know how much effort this would take to implement, though -- perhaps
  enough that it's not a practical possibility.

> Before they were removed, themers had to write 
> the theme with one size, then go back through and re-test/adjust all
> 100+ screens in the theme 2 more times for the other 2 sizes.  Because
> of the amount of work this was, none of the themes really did this
> properly (and many left out one or both of <size:small> and
> <size:big>--so the settings seemed to be "broken" when in fact the
> themes were incomplete).  Generally the themes all worked well on one
> size and not on others (basically, they worked well on the setting the
> author specified)--and to make matters worse, the one size that worked
> was different with different themes.

I acknowledge that this is a problem. I just think that removing font-size 
options from the user interface ends up trading one set of problems (for 
developers) for another set of problems (for users). OTOH, since I'm using 
0.21, which still has the font options, and since I've got my system set up 
the way I like it, I may be overestimating the seriousness of the issues 
created for users.

> >> Display live preview of recordings (will be theme controlled)
> >
> > This is another item that really does vary a lot from one installation to
> > another. I found the previews distracting, and worse, they slowed things
> > down enough that I didn't like them. (They made the UI sluggish.) This
> > performance degradation is likely to be worse on systems with weaker
> > CPUs, so it's perfectly reasonable for a person to want to disable live
> > previews in favor of static or no previews.
> sed -i -e '/<livepreview/d' CPUHungryTheme/*.xml
> (making up tag names, but you get the point--just edit the theme if you
> must use a theme whose author likes live preview, but you don't want it)

Using sed (or any other editor) to alter a theme is hardly user friendly! This 
is exactly the sort of complicated technical mumbo-jumbo that user interface 
settings are supposed to eliminate. Even somebody who's familiar with sed 
would need instructions to know what to change in the theme file -- certainly 
I wouldn't know what to change, and as I'm not a theme author, I'd need to 
spend quite a while to track it down. A settings option like what we've got 
now, OTOH, is easy enough for anybody to tweak.

Rod Smith

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