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Why do we need car Front End software?!

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  • Why do we need car Front End software?!

    Playing around with MediaCar today and dealing with some problems I couldn't deal with I asked myself that same question. And I want to share my thoughts with you.
    I can do with Windows desktop whatever I want. I can make it to look how I like it. I can put any icons for any MP3, DVD, GPS, etc. programs I need. I can make the Taskbar and the Desktop touchscreen friendly. I won't be limited to use a particular software like most Front End does. And the most important thing
    will be, and I'm pretty sure about that, everything will run more smooth and stable.
    Don't get me wrong. I'm steel using MediaCar, I know ME etc. and I appreciate their author's work. These guys are doing great job for our community. And I'm grateful!!!
    The only reason, I can think of, for using such an apps is everything looks more integrated, more all in one, but I can live without it for achieving stability and reliability. If I'm missing something let me know.

    Just my thoughts. NO OFFENCE.
    <>My previous Car PC<>

  • #2
    I can not answer for the other guys. They probably have their reasons.

    As for me, I made AiPC for a couple of reasons. Having the winblows desktop on a car just does not seem right. It does not look like it belong there. So I created AiPC for my personal use but I shared it with the rest of the pople.

    Also, my interface seems like it came out of the factory. It looks one with the car and it looks pretty nice IMO. At the end of the day, you are limited to what I put on the software but it looks more professional.

    Also, I am not sure about the rest but AiPC was created with "me" as the main user so it's prefect for me. There are things with ME that I am not too found of and I refuse to pay 25 bucks to Gnet. Now I have a software that is better than GNet (using the same program to creat it) and it's free!
    - Lwin M. Maung
    If it's stuck, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway

    Comment


    • #3
      Front ends just make it easier to do things. If done correctly, it will make it take less time to do the same things you could on a normal desk top. The idea is that you don't need to the full functionality of a desktop in your car, and you don't want to use a keyboard or mouse. So, you choose a limited number of features to have access to, and make them available in the easiest way to access.

      The programs we have access to now for windows are not ideal. They are sort of a cruch to make a desktop seem like an embedded device. Eventually, rather than just having easy access to those few features we readily need, the computer would actually include only those features. This will allow to a more purpose built machine, or embedded device. That will one day mean fast startup, rock solid stabilty, and fully, explicitly, integrated functionality.

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      • #4
        the idea of a frontend is simple. Someone decides to make one then 100 users demand their features get put in.. driving the coder to the breaking point so they go on a killing spree Sorry I had to say something funny.. Its been a long day at work
        '98 Explorer Sport
        http://mp3car.zcentric.com (down atm)
        AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
        80% done

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, I can't speak for anyone else. Expecially since I'll be running straight XP for the interface, customized to suit. I was almost thinking about running a front end, just because they're so easy to use. If you can get everything you need all in one easy-to-read display, why not? Passengers in my car could control the computer without needing a tutorial from me. Not that I want a lot of people touching my computer, but if they do, they won't break anything. Plus, for the cool factor, some of the skins you people make look way cool!

          The other thing I can think of is screen resolution. Again, my comp will be running at least 1024x768, so I won't have so much of a problem. Although, driving at 60mph and wanting to change a track or launch GPS or something, it's much easier to do with a large, clearly labelled, button, rather than a small link or having to navigate the start menu. Besides, Windows looks kinda lame running at 640x480 with huge fonts (in my opinion).

          Anyway, I guess it's up to personal preference in the end anyway, I just thought I'd share my opinion.

          Regards,

          Kris
          How Much Horsepower Can I have And Still Go To Heaven?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by hijinks21
            the idea of a frontend is simple. Someone decides to make one then 100 users demand their features get put in.. driving the coder to the breaking point so they go on a killing spree Sorry I had to say something funny.. Its been a long day at work
            No. Unfortunately its not funny. It is all truth. And that was the hole idea writing that. I'm talking particularly for MediaCar. It was stable running software for me from v.1 to v.1.7. And since then I can't get it to run properly in spite of all coyote's efforts to do it such a program. Let first achieve stability and then do
            anything else.
            <>My previous Car PC<>

            Comment


            • #7
              Stable Application is needed before features are added. That's why I make my own frontend. If you don't like other people's frontend, make your own
              - Lwin M. Maung
              If it's stuck, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway

              Comment


              • #8
                the problem is that at certain point, once you made a stable software and you add even only one new feature the castle you have built could act like a domino.... it goes down...

                apart this, a front-end is a must because you can't have a windows desktop, which has been made for other purposes in other environments. You need to have a simple and effective way to use your media library, just like a head unit does, but with the almost infinite possibilities of a x86-based platform. You could also do this by hardware like a set top box but this requires engineering effort that only companies can support.
                -NicGalla-
                custom-made aluminum case | MK2.8+ PSU | EPIA 800 | 256 Mb DDR | 120 Gb 7.2k WD | Wireless Chieftec mouse & keyb | Trust USB Keypad & USB webcam | Majestic TFT 7" 16:9 | WinXP & ME2 | connected to factory head-unit in a PT Cruiser 2.0L

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Seraph
                  Stable Application is needed before features are added. That's why I make my own frontend. If you don't like other people's frontend, make your own
                  Lucky you.
                  I know lot about hardware, but when comes to coding don't look for me.
                  Thats why I respect people like you and the other code gurus in this community.
                  <>My previous Car PC<>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nijel
                    Lucky you.
                    I know lot about hardware, but when comes to coding don't look for me.
                    Thats why I respect people like you and the other code gurus in this community.

                    What kind of front end are you looking for? I have yet to install mediacar but from screen shots I've seen it looks real nice. I like ME but it's missing a couple of things. I am looking for a software that is flexible enough to put what ever application and run it. Modular to be exact so that there is a primary app that runs modular secondary apps. That way, if one of the secondary apps fail, the primary and other secondary apps don't go down. You just have to deal with the one that failed. Otherwise, if you have a huge integrated application, you have trouble and flexibility issues. I used to program a lot. Now I just run databases and networks. But I still code from time to time.
                    - Lwin M. Maung
                    If it's stuck, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have done a lot of work on popular software.. mainly for open source but its all the same.

                      The main problem with this scene is that every user wants all their hardware supported and they want a certain way directories are played, whole directory or recursive. I'm seen mediacar start off as a stable app and not its getting a lot of bugs. Its the same with Media engine.

                      The thing that really ****es me off is others on this board flamming developers cause they don't wanna add in a feature. Yes I've seen a lot.. most get deleted but i've seen them.

                      Frontends are great but in my almost 10 years of programming, you have to stay on track and if a user comes to you and say i wanna do this.. stick to your route. Look what happened to cobra.. everyone and their mom wanted this and that feature added and its now bloatware.
                      '98 Explorer Sport
                      http://mp3car.zcentric.com (down atm)
                      AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
                      80% done

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        hijinks21 :

                        You got it. That's why I keep saying do things in modules. You don't want to add every thing in there. You want a video player that plays a certain way, make it but do it as a module. So you have 2 types of video players rather than one that plays a ton of different ways. The more complicated a program gets, the more bugs it will have. Demands are good. That means people are using your front end and they like it. I am not sure about the rest but if I can't make it or if I am not going to add a feature requested, I say no. Most developers gets pressured into doing a ton of things. The key is you do it for yourself and if others find it useful so be it, otherwise, too bad. I know it's a bad way to communicate but sometimes, it's the only working way to have a good software and not a bloatware.
                        - Lwin M. Maung
                        If it's stuck, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I agree that it is an impossible task to make one program that satisfies all users, we all want to use different GPS softwares, and I for one do not have any Radio hardware yet, so that button should not be on my interface. Some want a picture viewer and automatic camera picture download etc. I donít (well for now ).

                          I think the best solution is probably a pluggable interface. Someone writes an open framework, and everyone can contribute plugins to this framework. Plugins for GPS (different programs), Radio, TV, DIVX, Picture Library, Calculator etc.

                          The framework would provide the common UI to make the interface coherent, and the plugins will provide the subset of features that each user will be interested in.

                          This is a relatively simple software concept. Most really popular software can be modded/extended/skinned.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Seraph,

                            I couldn't agree more. I think thats why there needs to be a group effort here. All one would need to do is to make a core that you add on modules or plugins to. Then you release a api or such for how to create plugins to interact with the core and you're set. Its a bigger task them I make it mainly cause users like their own look so it would have to be something completely skinnable.

                            As for the requests I agree again. if the developer hates that they are adding it its gonna die. I use to own a pretty successfull web hosting company and when users would ask for frontpage support I'd tell them to learn FTP. User requests are good in that they bring new ideas that the dev team might say that would be cool.

                            In my experience with some users in this scene is that they ***** and moan if their request isn't filled then start to flame. Now i can see flaming an app you have to pay for but dont flame a freeware solution.

                            I code a lot in the *nix field and my experience is the only time users contact you is to say something is busted and they want it fixed asap or why it sucks and what you should change. Rarely you get users commenting on all the free hardwork you put in.

                            On a side note.. i'd be all for being a code manager for a group effort but I don't even have a windows machine.. cept for the gf's but thats an emachine. I'd love to get a group effort going but I hate windows at the same time and 95% of the people here use windows

                            edit: on a side note it ****es me off when people say add bluetooth support so my phone can control it.. Well if you want it added and the dev team doesn't have a blue tooth phone donate one.. but they never do but yet still demand that feature.
                            '98 Explorer Sport
                            http://mp3car.zcentric.com (down atm)
                            AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
                            80% done

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hijinks21
                              I'm seen mediacar start off as a stable app and not its getting a lot of bugs
                              I not agree completely, it is true that the last V1.8.3 had a critical bug in the audio player because I made a change between V1.8.2 and V1.8.3 and I forgot to modify only one nam of variable, I made a patch for that now. I think that V1.8.3 + patch is quite as stable as V1.0
                              www.media-car.fr.st
                              The first Belgian PC fully integrated in a car :)

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