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Thread: General idea for flexible front end.

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bes51659 View Post
    nGhost3 sounds really great! But its Linux, isn't it?
    Heh, you almost make it sound like a bad thing :P. I think it's important to remember the targeted group for the application. nGhost3 is targeted to be a mobile desktop system, not just a FE. It's to be designed to run on MID, smart devices, and of course, your car. I'm just trying to share the concepts that we are toying with in hopes they may be of value to developers like yourself on the window's side.

    I really hate the idea of embedding applications in other windows. IMHO, it's a hack to work around the limitations of the WM. If you use the WM correctly though, you shouldn't ever have to embed applications. Sure, it may only take a few lines in a config, but really, you can't expect users to do that every time they want to use a new app.

    Look at how mobile OS's work. Ubuntu netbook remix runs a daemon called "maximus" that maximizes applications when they are started. Then there is a panel applet that embeds the window title in the panel and allows tabs to switch to the other open apps. Maemo for nokia, LinuxICE and moblin use the same pattern for the most part as I'm sure Windows Mobile does as well. No window embedding, no editing configs. That's how it should work in the vehicle.

    We need to stop targeting our FE's to enthusiasts, hackers and devs and start thinking about what normal users will want. But, maybe your target is the devs and hackers... to each their own...
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev000 View Post
    We need to stop targeting our FE's to enthusiasts, hackers and devs and start thinking about what normal users will want. But, maybe your target is the devs and hackers... to each their own...
    The best thing, would to have a dedicated "CarPC OS".. No windows, no linux, just CAR OS.
    But, reinventing the wheel, is hard work if one do not get payed for it.

    I know that BMW is planning to use Intel Atom/Ions for the future line of BMWs. And of course, in good old bmw style... "We invent everything our selves".

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarComp View Post
    All front ends now are locked to what can be displayed on screen by what is programmed into the skin. If the skin has GPS, MUSIC, and PLAYLIST buttons on it, that is all you will ever see unless you change the skin.
    A new frontend system needs to be developed that allows the user to choose the components that will be displayed on the main screen (actually plugins would be a good determiner). They should be displayed in a visually pleasing manner (probably a skin definition) but still be flexible enough to allow the user to display 1 item to 20.
    I really like this idea. As someone with zero interest in playing video on my front end, I'm really turned off by all the skins with buttons for DVD and Video (and I'm also vaguely amused by all the plugins that have buttons for both - like DVD isn't video? ).

    Also, I use a 3rd-party application for engine monitoring, which no front end has a button for... I got so annoyed by all the front ends that I wrote my own "launch pad" that just has buttons to launch my GPS and ECU stuff, plus a couple of utilities that I use fairly often. The only other interesting thing it does is display a "back" button over the top of iGuidance. When I find a good standalone music player and phone software I'll add buttons for those.

    It would be kind of nice to have a skinning library so that each of the standalone apps could share a common appearance, though.

    What need is there for inter-process communication, other than having a way for each plugin to take control of the audio output from the music player for short periods?

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    Having a frontend system that is module based with skinning options for the advanced users would be great!

    If you don't have GPS, and XM Radio installed. Then, you would not have any GPS or XM Radio buttons in the frontend.

    The idea of bes51659, by using an AppFlow kinda way of displaying the programs/modules awailable is quite neat, handy, and good looking.
    But just to add a bit to bes's idea... How about that the 2/3 lower part of the screen is this AppFlow thingy, and the rest 1/3 are static custom buttons... (Let's call them quick buttons for easy understanding)

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    Maximum Bitrate bes51659's Avatar
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    Great minds think alike!

    I have been tempted to go Linux. Imagine being able to debug down to the silicon.... But I think it is still to much work keeping track of versions etc. I use Linux at work in embedded system, and that is great!

    But I would still like to push a little for an single-app-RR. That would make it possible to skin some of the more common apps that runs poorly on 480x800 without bothering about all the other apps. Example. TPMS, and phone app. And it can be installed as any win app and you can try to forget that it is acctually two exe's running ;-)

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    I agree with you bes... All though, I am a linux fan.. i think that building a linux based frontend could get screwed up with constant changes in kernel, distros and packages.
    Windows is slower, but allso more stable in it's core coding.

    Building a one app frontend, with appflow style display of modules, gives the coder a posibility to cut all the crap and just build a program that works, and lett others do the fancy dancy skinning GUI thing!

    As the coder finish up the app, he/she could and should, write a little. "this is my app, and this is how you use it".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crinos View Post
    I agree with you bes... All though, I am a linux fan.. i think that building a linux based frontend could get screwed up with constant changes in kernel, distros and packages.
    Windows is slower, but allso more stable in it's core coding.
    Unless you are writing a driver that depends on some kernel API then you will almost *never* have to make any modifications to your application when new versions of the kernel come out. As for packages, it's rare that a library API changes enough to require you to change anything in your application.

    Speaking from experience, and I've been coding through 6 versions of ubuntu now, I've only had to update my code when a new version of gcc comes out and my app no longer compiles. Those fixes are easy and actually make my code more compliant to standards so I have no problem making those changes. Plus, gcc updates like once a year if that...

    I think the benefits of the constant flow of bug fixes and new features from upstream libraries and dependencies outweigh the risks. For example, when a new, easier API comes out for wifi management, I jump all over it.

    Best of all, users who use Linux aren't locked into a legacy version of an OS. Linux is always fresh, clean, fast and free. And it gets better with every release (which can be every 6 months depending on your flavor). You are almost guaranteed that the next version won't be a slow bloated blob that won't even run on your hardware. And if flavor X does run slower, there's always flavor Y and Z that don't suffer the same problem.

    BTW, I don't think that anyone *should* code their FE for Linux. I think they should code their FE for whatever OS they are most comfortable coding and whatever OS they feel is more appropriate for their target user group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev000 View Post
    Unless you are writing a driver that depends on some kernel API then you will almost *never* have to make any modifications to your application when new versions of the kernel come out. As for packages, it's rare that a library API changes enough to require you to change anything in your application.

    <cut>

    BTW, I don't think that anyone *should* code their FE for Linux. I think they should code their FE for whatever OS they are most comfortable coding and whatever OS they feel is more appropriate for their target user group.
    Ah.. I should probably admitt that I have only once made a program for linux, and updated my system, and the program never worked after that. (and that's when I started to code in windows instead).

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    (Sorry for not just editing my own previous post)....

    A crazy ide just struck me... Would it be possible to make a frontend application with PHP?
    I think it would. And with the use of HTML/CSS, the skin can be just the way you want it to be.

    GPS Logger with PHP, possible
    Audio/Video player/controller with PHP, possible
    Audio streaming, Most defenetly possible
    Phone interaction, dunno....

    Think I will experiment a little with this...
    As long as I can get php to talk with my IBUS controller, this could be what I want to do... Just because I can, not because it's practicall...

    A system like this, could run on every possible OS that supports a webserver, php and sql. It would be scalable, since one could build new modules, and GUI can be "shipped" standard, or left to the user to custom build the GUI as they want it.

    It might be a bit slower than other front end system available...


    scrapp??? or a good idea?

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    Edit - I basically threadjacked this thread to tear off on a different idea I have about the future of mobile computing.

    I have moved that thread and some of the comments to here: "Mobile Manifesto"

    We now return you to our regular programming. Back OT!
    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

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