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Thread: YOUR dream front end

  1. #1
    Newbie NeonBoomBox's Avatar
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    YOUR dream front end

    What would it be?
    How would it look/function?
    Would you control it with a touch screen or something else?
    What functions would it have (ie. music, movies, games...)?

    Be as descriptive as you can! If you want unicorns and lollypop themes, great!

    This will be a great place for all current developers and people thinking about making their own front ends to get a feel for the communities wants and needs.

    So go wild!
    Take a peek >>> www.neonboombox.com

  2. #2
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeonBoomBox View Post
    What would it be?
    Simple to use while driving and configurable to the individuals needs.

    What I mean is that if it takes more than a glance at the screen to be able to read it or find the control you are looking for, then it is not simple.

    As far as configurable, the app itself should be the core that controls it's look and feel while plugins add the actual functionality. This lets the end user decide what things they what loaded which has two benefits. First it doesn't force the user to wade through functionality they don't want/need and secondly it reduces the overall resources the app uses.

    How would it look/function?
    No offense to NBB as it is now and you can go look back at all the times i've poked Jirka for the same thing . It should "feel" like the platform it is running on. What this means is that it's UI elements (both look and placement) should reflect the UI of the underlying OS. To me, if a Mac user can't look at the front end and say "That looks like a Mac!", then there is no point to using a Mac over a Windows box for this.

    Would you control it with a touch screen or something else?
    The App should offer support options for both. Ideally most of us would not like to use a TS, but it is the simplest control method.

    What functions would it have (ie. music, movies, games...)?
    I think Music is the #1 for everyone. Beyond that, that is where making the functions plugins comes in handy. I personally will never load videos or images in my car, so why should I have them taking up UI space and resources (HDD space & memory)?

    I would guess the #2 feature most want is Navigation, but outside of what Jirka is doing that appears to be the holy grail on a Mac at this time.

    A well developed and documented API will allow others to build the plugins for their special needs to that may not be practical for the core developers to spend time on.

    Being able to skin the front end could also be a nice touch too as it gives users and developers that much more flexibility.

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate NeonDev's Avatar
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    It should "feel" like the platform it is running on.
    see to ME the "platform" should be the car itself. I have a red car so Neon Boombox's default color is red, my buddy has a blue car so his Neon Boom Box interface is blue.

    if a Mac user can't look at the front end and say "That looks like a Mac!", then there is no point to using a Mac over a Windows box for this.
    are you suggesting that if it doesn't look "mac like" then it looks windows like? ;-)
    we don't want our FE to look necessarily mac or windows like. the reason to build Neon Boombox on OS X is simply due to the awesome power of cocoa and that we feel like the mini is the best choice in hardware.

    the funny thing to me is that it is the power of cocoa that lets me alter the look of our FE to NOT look like the OS it is on. I simply don't see why the OS should matter to anybody when the front end itself should be the acting OS (IMO), maybe I am the only one who feels like the ultimate FE would almost never require the user to navigate outside of it.

    With that said what makes a Mac program mac like to me is functionality coupled with ease of use. Aesthetics is secondary to function, and even then as long as the Front end doesn't look like *** that makes it alot more mac like than most windows FE's IMO.

    By all means if anybody feels like Neonboombox is hard to use or is ugly as sin PLEASE say something. I would love to fix any and all usability issues.

    sorry if I hijacked the thread at all...


    In case anyone decided not to read that...

    To me a dream front end should look as factory as possible. I want my car to look professionally done, that goes for the hardware install as well.

    I want big buttons and easy to read text. I don't want to have to navigate a bunch of screens to get to anything that I will want to access while driving.

    I also would love decent voice commands so that I don't have to navigate screens period.

    the biggest features I want is music GPS with navigation bluetooth phone integration and some automatic sync capabilities so when I pull into my driveway or plug my ipod into my car everything gets synced. everything else after that is pure gravy to me ;-)

    oh almost forgot I've got a thing for neon accent lighting in my car that absolutely must pulse to the music
    check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

  4. #4
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    I like the NBB interface. I don't think the front end should tie into the OS theme at all. I don't see the point.

    There is ONE main thing I really want in a frontend and that is ease of use with a touchscreen first and rotary controller second.

    I want something that actuall scrolls, or has page up / page dwn buttons for my movies/music. There's nothing worse than a UI that just doesn't navigate well.

    I just want to be able to find the track I want to hear, and fast. Scrolling is nice, but imagine if you could press a button and a keypad came up, and you could punch in the first two letters of a song, and it zoomed down to that area in your song list? You get the idea.

    Fast navigation! big buttons, all things you've mentioned, the rest doesn't matter.

    I found the 'AMP' navigation awful. It took me a long time to get used to it. It has still set standards however.

    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

    I think NBB is heading in the right direction, I'll load up the latest version tonight and check it out.

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate NeonDev's Avatar
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    if you could press a button and a keypad came up, and you could punch in the first two letters of a song, and it zoomed down to that area in your song list? You get the idea.
    that is an awesome idea that I will have to steal ;-)
    that is once i finish the basic functions of the module

    out of curiosity do you feel like neonboombox would scroll better if it scrolled as you drag you finger as opposed to how it does it now by having to drag to the top/bottom of the list?
    check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

  6. #6
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    I have good ideas

    I'll get back to you on the scrolling thing. When will the latest release be avail? I'll install and test and come back with some thoughts on the scrolling...

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate NeonDev's Avatar
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    it should be available now at our website

    thank you for your help in testing. post your thoughts in the neonboombox forum
    check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

  8. #8
    Low Bitrate crimsonaudio's Avatar
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    I agree with Dave - it should look like OSX. Those of use who use OSX generally love it and are passionate about tit as the interface is so well thought out and looks so good. AMP had the right idea, IMO - it looked just like Front Row for the most part but integrated touch screen control, war-driving, even a browser.

    For me to be interested, it has to look like it belongs on my Mac.

  9. #9
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeonDev View Post
    see to ME the "platform" should be the car itself. I have a red car so Neon Boombox's default color is red, my buddy has a blue car so his Neon Boom Box interface is blue.
    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.

    are you suggesting that if it doesn't look "mac like" then it looks windows like? ;-)
    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 ).

    the reason to build Neon Boombox on OS X is simply due to the awesome power of cocoa and that we feel like the mini is the best choice in hardware.
    Exactly my point actually. So why not show it for what it is?

    maybe I am the only one who feels like the ultimate FE would almost never require the user to navigate outside of it.
    In an ideal world I completely agree with you in this regard. But for someone that is used to using an OS, then the FE should act the like the OS. That way it's not like a life long Windows user sitting down and trying to be productive in OSX the first time out of the gate.

    Aesthetics is secondary to function
    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

    To be perfectly correct, none of our Apps (including AMP and CFE) meet the Apple design standards.

    By all means if anybody feels like Neonboombox is hard to use or is ugly as sin PLEASE say something. I would love to fix any and all usability issues.
    That wasn't my intention at all. We each have our own tastes. You asked what I thought the "perfect" FE would and I explained

    I want big buttons and easy to read text. I don't want to have to navigate a bunch of screens to get to anything that I will want to access while driving.
    Absolutely agree.

    oh almost forgot I've got a thing for neon accent lighting in my car that absolutely must pulse to the music

    Kids these days

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

  10. #10
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cybix View Post
    I found the 'AMP' navigation awful. It took me a long time to get used to it. It has still set standards however.
    For all the love of AMP some people have, I actually agree with you. That was why I started CFE. I liked AMP's general L&F, but you had to perform far too many actions to perform simple tasks (like exiting/hiding the app when you have the song info window up (something like 6 or more actions IIRC)).

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

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