[mythtv-users] Programming remote button bindings (WAS: What major features are planned for 0.27?)

Mark Greenwood fatgerman at gmail.com
Fri Nov 30 21:23:17 UTC 2012

On Friday 30 Nov 2012 12:18:57 Michael T. Dean wrote:
> On 11/29/2012 07:32 AM, Mark Greenwood wrote:
> > I was actually trying to help, since usability is my area of preofessional expertise. But I'm getting a real impression that the myth team aren't interested in making the user interface better, they only want more features and more stuff to fiddle with. So I give up, I'll go and try to help out with xbmc instead.
> No, MythTV developers are working extremely hard to try to make things 
> easier for user and to make the user interface better.  However, we have 
> a plan for how it will be done--such that it doesn't just make things 
> easier for you (or other people who have a remote like yours) and at the 
> same time make things harder for other users (with remotes with very 
> different layouts).

At the risk of going over the same old ground again, the kernel mappings of "the play button" to "KEY_PLAY" etc, make the remote layout irrelevant.

Yes, it would be *much* better if we had userspace tools to choose a remote layout the same way we choose a keyboard layout, (that's all the abstraction you need IF *applications* start supporting multimedia keys) but LIRC is not the answer to that - Keyboard layouts are global to a partiuclar system, remote layouts should be too. (IMHO, if that's necessary). LIRC makes the remote layout *application* dependant, which is too confusing for 99% of the population. Me included :)

> What I'm trying to avoid, now, is cluttering up our default key 
> bindings.  Adding a new default key binding is a very painful 
> process--it means that we have to check to see if the user has already 
> mapped that key to some other action in a context that will conflict 
> with the one to which we're attempting to add the new bindings (or just 
> punt and let the users fix all key bindings conflicts that arise--and 
> suffer the problems caused by the conflicts as well as trying to figure 
> out that it's a key bindings conflict that's causing the strange 
> behavior they're observing).  Also, for users who later decide that the 
> default key bindings aren't correct (i.e. the user wants KEY_PLAY mapped 
> to TV Playback|PLAY, even though we had decided our default should be to 
> map it to TV Playback|PAUSE--and, yes, this is likely what you would 
> argue should be the default, which, BTW, would mean that users with both 
> play and pause buttons would have 2 buttons with identical 
> functionality, which, IMHO, is a waste of a perfectly good button), they 
> must go into the key editor and /first/ remove the current binding for 
> KEY_PLAY (from all contexts which would conflict) and then add the new 
> binding.  This makes mapping those keys much more difficult than just 
> "starting fresh."

Yes, I agree. It's a hugely complex problem, binding keys in mythtv. I understand your point of view. My point of view is that there are simply too many keybindings. The best interfaces can be operated with the minimum number of buttons. We've both denigrated Apple remotes, but hey, they work and they only have 5 buttons. Can the myth interface be operated with 5 buttons? Probably not. Is that a limitation of the remote, or of the interface? Maybe that's a point of view.

That aside, as for your Play/Pause question, I'd expect PLAY to, er, Play, and PAUSE to, well, pause. It may be a waste of buttons (I like that phrase) but as a *default* the interface should do exactly what it says on the button. Let the user mess it up later of they wish, but provide default actions that match what's written on the remote (i.e KEY_PLAY = 'Play' and KEY_PAUSE = 'Pause'). That is not going to confuse anyone and will please a lot more. Maybe also the key editor could be more helpful and instead of flatly refusing to create conflicting mappings it could offer to remove the conflicting binding automatically - after all if the user has chosen that they want 'KEY_DESTROYTHEWORLD' to mean 'Show the EPG' then they probably don't want it to mean 'Destroy the World'. I know that's been my main reason for shouting at the key editor in the past - "Just change it you bl**dy stubborn b****rd" is my usual form of communication with it :)

> Key bindings themes will allow us to make it easy for the user (just 
> download a theme, then use it or edit it as desired) while also 
> preventing the problems above.  It will also allow users to apply the 
> same theme on multiple frontends--and even to create new themes by 
> exporting their "finely-tuned over years of MythTV usage with my given 
> remote" key bindings and then share their themes with others.

It's a good idea. The proof of the pudding will be in the usage of the remote, as they say. I wish it every success.

> Mike
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