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Thread: Harmony - Mac Front End Worklog

  1. #41
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    any good things happen over the weekend with Harmony?

  2. #42
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    This looks to be the best useful front end yet...

    Being a professional graphic designer I will also note that this is the most eye pleasing custom front end yet also, my only suggestion (idea, hope, prayer) is that you somehow incorporate Front Row into this. You're the designer and would probably have a better idea, but what if it was just in the Apps section or another tab at the top. When you clicked the button Front Row would initialize. When you ESCed out of FR you would be back at your previous screen, which would be Harmony.

    I like the layout and the name. Keep up the good work! Hope it's even more amazing by the time I start/finish my install!

  3. #43
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    I'll introduce myself now, as well. I'm working with Bugbyte and MinicoopS007 on the Harmony frontend app, specifically the usability and graphics for future releases.

    For now we're focused on an insanely simple interface to play your iTunes music and XM radio. (Keep in mind that for most users, their screen is little more than a quarter of the size of the Harmony screenshot on page 1 of this thread.)

    Front Row is gorgeous, but it's designed for leisurely use on a large screen with your full attention. God bless ya if the screen in your car or maybe RV is big enough to make it worth running. While you're parked, of course.

    Paul

  4. #44
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    would it be faster to say take an existing interface like ccar and use it temporarily just to get things working?

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINI4cathy
    Front Row is gorgeous, but it's designed for leisurely use on a large screen with your full attention. God bless ya if the screen in your car or maybe RV is big enough to make it worth running. While you're parked, of course.
    I have never used Front Row on anything less than my 17in Powerbook so I guess I could understand what you mean when I consider trimming off about 10 of those inches.

  6. #46
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    Update #8, 4/7/2006

    Minicoop has got some control over the HXM app via the Harmony front end! He shipped me a version tonight that plays both music and runs XM. It's late, so I'll have to set up the XM unit to test it tomorrow.

    After a bit of tweaking, related to a 'playlist' file that we are using for XM channel lists of favorites, I was able to get it to compile. We have to figure out how to make that tweaking go away before we give it out to users.

    Paul has been putting out some cool designs for the NEXT version of Harmony that will pull all of the interface elements together and begin to make the application itself usable.

    Sorry guys, but we're still a little ways away from a release and frankly, it's basically a glorified iTunes and XM player but it certainly feels like we're making progress from our end.

    If you're a developer with some Objective-C skills and want to contribute, one of our stumbling blocks is the inability of AS to deal directly with the serial port. We need to talk to it for several reasons including reading GPS, controlling XM or (maybe) Sirius, LCD displays, and external serial devices (like my servo controller for the computer screen).

    Right now, our kludge is to code separate apps in Java to deal with the serial port. We aren't Objective-C guys right now but if someone could figure out how to either build it into an AS app or show us how to call the Cocoa framework that deals with serial input/output, you'd help push the project forward quite a bit.

    Until then, we're stuck with either a 'code separate Java app' or the necessity to use a serial port scripting addition. We'd really like this to be a zero configuration application and for that reason don't favor the scripting addition approach.

    Tom
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte
    We aren't Objective-C guys right now but if someone could figure out how to either build it into an AS app or show us how to call the Cocoa framework that deals with serial input/output, you'd help push the project forward quite a bit.
    Could you please provide some details? Working with serial port is extremely trivial in ObjC (you can simply use NSFileHandle exactly the same way you would for a disk file). Maybe I can make a small demo to show how this works.

    And calling Cocoa/ObjC methods from AppleScript also does not seem to be a huge problem, although it is a bit more complicated: http://developer.apple.com/cocoa/app...ptforapps.html

    Just a question: why don't you use ObjC as the primary langauge? It is even easier to embedd AppleScript into an ObjC code than the other way around, so you would only have to write the basic skeleton in ObjC and then work with AppleScript on the inside. You would need to learn some ObjC, but it is not a big deal and you would save much more time later when implementing the functions you want.

  8. #48
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    This may have already been asked/suggested, but are you going to incorporate album art into the main display of the program?

  9. #49
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    Jirka - thanks so much for offering some help.

    First, we will eventually go to Objective-C. However, we've all already climbed the hill learning Applescript and some of us are professional programmers and just can't take on one more language at the moment. We recognize the advantages of Obj-C over AS (this serial port issue is a perfect example), but for the short term are going to focus our efforts on making the application easy to use and roughly functional before moving it to the next level. Not to mention getting something out the door

    However, adding in calls to Cocoa routines is consistent with that eventual move and would get our feet wet just a bit in this area. As you said, we SHOULD be able to call the Obj-C framework in Cocoa that contains the serial communications routines. It's just that we don't know exactly where they are in Cocoa and haven't taken the time to figure it out.

    We can learn by example. If you have the time to put together an AS app that takes the name of the file device as input, and shows us how to either send or read data to/from it using Cocoa, that would be a great help to us. (One additional twist is that we may need to send and receive hex data. If there's a way to specify the type of data you are sending to the port, that would be great.)

    @echonull - it's not in there right now, but Paul's got some ideas on how to use it in future versions.

    Tom
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  10. #50
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Have a look at the attachment. It is rather dirty (mixing view and controller) but it works. Basically the controller for the serial port stuff is a sub-class of the NSTextField. This means you can just put it onto a window or a view in Interface builder. It has a few extra outlets and actions, which are "wired" to standard text boxes (for input of the path and the data to write) and push buttons (for connect/disconnec and write data operations).

    From the AS you do not interface with Cocoa code directly, but you set the contents of the text boxes and tehn send "click" (or whatever it is called in AS) message to the buttons. You can easily hide this in your app (for example by placing it within a NSView/Box that you resize and move aside or by putting it onto a hidden tab of NSTabView and only control everything from AppleScript.

    BTW: I always thought that programming is more about the concepts, techniques and ways of thinking. Once you learn these, it is not a big deal to learn a new language. One language more or less, who cares? ;-)
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