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Thread: YOUR dream front end

  1. #11
    Variable Bitrate VmtSquad's Avatar
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    could we get a version for linux ?
    VmtSquad - I sold my soul to Honda!
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    CarPC progress: 95%

  2. #12
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    there ya go Neon, your front end is sparking interest even with the non-mac mob! Linux version I would doubt... no cocoa in Linux... ?

  3. #13
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    I've lsitened to your reasoning on the UI, but I still agree with some of the other replies - I want a UI that looks more "Mac-like". What draws me to the Mac platform is it is in my opinion the best of every platform (think Windows and Linux) - and beautiful to look at.

    My ideal Front End would be a Front Row (Leopard's version) that has Car PC functions built in. It's just so damn elegant and easy to use. The only downfall of Front Row 2.0 is that music no longer plays once you exit the Music "tab". I need to figure out how to change that.

    Navigation that is integrated into a Front Row like application/UI would be AWESOME. Right now I have a Front Row plugin that launches iGuidance inside of Parallels.

  4. #14
    Low Bitrate crimsonaudio's Avatar
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    Yah, agreed TTeuer.

    FWIW, you asked, so please don't be offended, but NBB looks like it was designed by someone with zero graphic design skills - it looks very primitive compared to most OSX software. It doesn't have to look just like OSX, but at least spend the time/find someone who cares about the visual aesthetic enough to make it worth using. As it stands, I'd prefer hunting and pecking through OSX while driving than using something which looks so primitive.

    Again, not meaning to offend, just shooting straight.

  5. #15
    Newbie NeonBoomBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crimsonaudio View Post
    NBB looks like it was designed by someone with zero graphic design skills
    lol, we did interview a number of competent graphic designers to help us out but in the end all but one wanted money... i guess we should have held out for someone who didn't smell like rum/vomit and has both eyes but hey, his daughter is my age and cute (and has both eyes) and he works for cheep beer so for now he's all we have...

    Take a peek >>> www.neonboombox.com

  6. #16
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cybix View Post
    I've been playing with Qcar, it's very nice, and works very well, but touchscreen navigation is an absolute nightmare. You really MUST have a rotary controller to use that thing properly
    An interesting observation. Could you perhaps be more specific? Which part do you find difficult to use - the menus or the browsers for selection of items? Have you used one of the themes with buttons on the edge of the screen? We are at the moment aware of several small issues with touchscreen, but the few customers of ours who are using touch screen have not complained... One of these issues is the unability to do "back" action in fullscreen view without the buttons.

    Anyway, it is always good to know what works and does not work for people, so your response (in QCar forum) would be appreciated :-)

  7. #17
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    Lists are small, and sometimes difficult to pinpoint with a 'touch'. The buttons have icons which aren't really descriptive or give an indication of what they are or do, and there's a lot of them. Like you said, getting out of full-screen mode isn't possible (that I know of).

    How can I theme/skin QCar?

  8. #18
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    OK, back to topic :-)

    The ideal front-end would have the following:

    - Modular architecture with the option of adding plug-ins, ideally with "safe mode" where only modules with some sort of certification would work. The architecture should also create a very secure sandbox so a module cannot crash the application if an error occurs.

    - Coherent GUI, designed primarily for ease of use. No crappy animations and stuff that only distracts the user. Controlled by either a rotary controller, steering wheel buttons, buttons along the edges of the screen (quite common approach in avionics) or a touch screen. Voice control would be nice, but at the moment, this is rather problematic due to external noise.

    - The GUI should be resolution and screen size independent (i.e. vector based or some smart approach with bitmap resizing). Its layout should be configurable (i.e. in QCar we have different layouts for LHD and RHD).

    - The app should support external hardware inputs for the most common functions (buttons for sound mute, a potentiometer for volume setting etc.)

    - Full support of speech synthesis for reading the GUI (on request or after a short delay) as well as data and warnings.

    - The core functionality should be: navigation, media playback, phone controls and perhaps a radio. Additional functions: internet access (with smart usage of the information retrieved - traffic info, weather info, speed trap warnings, POIs etc.) and car monitoring.

    As for the Mac-like or not-Mac-like, I agree with NBB. It is a specific device that requires a specific approach. Look at iPhone+Mac and Windows XP/Vista + Windows mobile. Apple did design a very different GUI while Microsoft tries to stick with the concepts from the desktop (menus, design of particular widgets). If I show a Windows Mobile device to my father, he will immediately recognize the system as Windows. With iPhone, he won't know it is OS X. And look at the usability of these two GUIs.

  9. #19
    Variable Bitrate NeonDev's Avatar
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    Judging by the way this thread has veered towards the look of Front Ends I'd have to say that must be a very important feature in the "dream FE" indeed.

    To me the color isn't that big of a deal, it's how the UI elements look. For example the buttons in NBB and QCar have no connection to the OS itself while AMP and CFE have that "jelly bean" look common in OSX.
    Please tell me there is more to it than the shape of buttons.

    No, i'm saying that for me (who loves the Mac platform and is using a Mac in spite of it's current limitations/lack of support for in car computing) that if the front end doesn't feel like it is an OSX App then there is no reason to use the Mac over Windows which has a much higher level of supported features (and there I would argue that you should hide what the OS looks like ).
    If NBB looks neither Mac nor Windows like then we accomplished our goal I think
    See the beauty of OS X is more than skin deep. There are more reasons to use it than its looks, I think you will agree there.

    Exactly my point actually. So why not show it for what it is?
    I thought I was...

    Actually the Aesthetics have always been the main factor in how Mac OS (and later OSX) applications were supposed to be designed. Find an old Mac programmer (from back in the 80s and 90s) and ask them about the design standard documentation. Now it's nice and easy to read it electronically, but it used to be something like 6 or 10 feet worth of books
    Ha ha no offense to anyone but I want to stay as far away from the Apple of the 80's and 90s as possible. I wasn't a Mac user till OS X came about but the only similarities I see are the menu bar and the location of the window close widget. No "aesthetics" seem to have been taken at all (thank god)

    Kids these days
    definitely got me there



    It is clear they everybody is going to have varying opinion on the subject of what a car front end should look like. That is why there is more than one right? we are all certainly trying to match the core functionality for the most part (or at least what we feet the core functions should be).

    Neon Boom Box is just two people trying to bring one more choice to the mac users. We hope they appreciate it no matter how they feel about the way it looks ;-)


    - Modular architecture with the option of adding plug-ins, ideally with "safe mode" where only modules with some sort of certification would work. The architecture should also create a very secure sandbox so a module cannot crash the application if an error occurs.
    I definitely agree there, and am trying to accomplish this with NBB, however I must admit I have seen zero interest thus far. Granted my SDK need alot of polishing, but it is there.

    Clearly I disagree on the animations bit ;-)

    - Full support of speech synthesis for reading the GUI (on request or after a short delay) as well as data and warnings.
    oh yeah gotta have that

    As for the Mac-like or not-Mac-like, I agree with NBB. It is a specific device that requires a specific approach. Look at iPhone+Mac and Windows XP/Vista + Windows mobile. Apple did design a very different GUI while Microsoft tries to stick with the concepts from the desktop (menus, design of particular widgets). If I show a Windows Mobile device to my father, he will immediately recognize the system as Windows. With iPhone, he won't know it is OS X. And look at the usability of these two GUIs.
    that is a wonderful point. the iPhone not only looks different but interacting with it is totally different.

    out of curiosity may I ask how the interface of Qcar is made? I have never seen anything like it (at least for mac) and I certainly have no idea of how to skin any cocoa controls to look like that (if it is even a cocoa interface)

    @everyonelse

    its clearly very easy to say something doesn't look mac like, but if other mac users (i.e. myself) are having trouble picking up what you are putting down, maybe you should try explaining some DETAILS that make it so awful instead of simply ripping our poor one eyed alcoholic graphic designer a new one
    check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

  10. #20
    FLAC Machinehead's Avatar
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    One thing you can draw out of this thread so far, each person has their own ideal ascetics for a front end and you'll never please everyone. Personally I could care less if the Front End looks mac-like or not. Function is much more important than form.

    But ultimately the ideal front end should be customizable enough such that each user can fairly easily make it function and look how they want. IMO, that's the weakness of StreetDeck, Centrafuse, Amp, Frontrow, etc. It's not easy for the non-programmer to change the look of front end.

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