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Thread: What would the ultimate front end be?

  1. #51
    Maximum Bitrate P3rv3rt B3ar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sama View Post
    @P3rv3rt B3ar - I looked at JMF recently, and focussed mainly on getting DVD to play through it. I was hoping for an out-of-the-box solution but faced many problems, and solutions out there use directshow wrappers, which would pretty much solve the video realm. Perhaps mp3's are implemented, I'm not too sure, but I'd bet a couple of dollars WMA and the likes are not as easy. I will investigate a bit more though. If you have any pointers for me, poke away
    Sorry, i never returned this thread again, after making my comment about media framework, until now... actually all my latest programming (everything for a year or so, have been c++ or c#) but Java is still my strongsuit... but i by no means have greater knowledge on mediaframework, i just once coded mp3 playing with it... so i knew it could handle atleast that... I didnt know when writing my comment how is framework implemented on native platforms under the hood, though my bet on windows side would have been directshow and now u have confirmed it. Lately ive been doing a lot of stuff with directshow and i think its honestly awesome architechture. So in theory u could achieve any playing (be it music or video) with javas mediaframework trough directshow, but in practise only question is, how much control over lower levels (directshow) we lose in abstraction to platform independent level (framework). If u ever find out answer to that question... let me know... cause im also damn interested about this. Also do u have idea what JMF uses on linux side?

  2. #52
    FLAC sama's Avatar
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    I'm clueless when it comes to linux. I did look at direct show and it's only supported through 3rd party wrappers. out of the box, I think the JMF uses it's own rendering engine. I would expect a similar apprach on linux. in my experience, any java api willl share as much as it can between platforms, and only the very lowlevel bits are implemented on a specific platform. this is evident in the comms api.

    having looked at this VLC player however, it's great. it has a web interface, a telnet interfce, a command line interface, and a native interface. it works on multiple platforms and it plays just about everything out of the box! I think the choice has been made

  3. #53
    Newbie SoulCoughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peoples View Post
    as we've come to learn with FP and RR, open source is huge. On top of this verison management would be another huge step. I would love to be part of a group project, using subversion. Also I do like the idea of cross platform, but like stated before codecs, filemangement,navigation etc can get difficult. I'd be interested in doing a group project similar to pycar, but with wxpython (a graphics library that uses native apis).

    I think the program should definatly be programmed around the file navigation(db) and playback support, and plugin support. Look and feal are completely meaningless since adding skin support can all be done later. Even adding flash support can be done at the end. If network functionality could be built in early on, turbo cad's idea of a webpage front end would be totally doable, as a branch off of this project.


    I propose either Java, C++ designed around a cross platform graphics library, or Python. My recommendation is python for ease of use and rapid development.
    I would LOVE to see this happen. A cross platform frontend would really be a boon to the community. Has headunit been forgotten?

  4. #54
    FLAC sama's Avatar
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    This project is pending until I get my car's hardware sorted. I am very almost done with that. I've got all the power issues, sorted, bluetooth, gps, you name it. I only need to wire up and as soon as that's done, I'll have all the time in the world to code this front end.

    I've been messing with .net and have decided to go back to my base language, java for x-platform. I hope to have a proof of concept to test on linux mid September sometime.

    The plan so far is this:

    The architecture will be MVC using Java. Which means the user interface will be completely decoupled from the players and file system etc.

    The media player will be the multiplatform VLC, using network calls to talk to it from Java. This is useful as the hardware can be distributed, so that multiple carPC's and/or multiple interfaces can be used together. Moreover, the different hardware components can be hosted on different platforms. So a multiplatform car should be possible! Of course, typical usage will be to host everything on one machine.

    What I'm aiming for is a sort of Zen-Frontend, where you have all sorts of interaction with the interface. Imagine you click a button, and it weaves like it's in water, and an insect flies away and lands somewhere else. So for that, the view (presentation layer) will be a Flash module. For lower spec machines, a lower spec flash module can be used with less movement. If that's too slow, then a different technology can be used for the presentation layer, like winforms.

    Through reflection (a coding principle to interrogate classes in real time), an actionscript object model will be generated at compile time on the flash side. A runtime synchronisation mechanism in the controller will make sure that Flash can access the model and can receive/fire events. With those details aside, this means that the front end can be written purely in flash. The pertinent issue is getting video to play through flash. This can either be done ia transcoding streams, which VLC does easily but at a CPU cost, or by rendering a video overlay on top of flash. I've yet to prove that this is possible with VLC.

    It should also be possible to use multiple screens, running different flash players, to access different parts of the front end. so kids in the back can be viewing a dvd, whilst the driver uses a GPS.

    Speaking of GPS, I've yet to find something decent that will work on linux. I've seen a few open source solutions, but nothin decent enough. I also don't know anything about mac! In any case, for GPS, there will have to be a platform specific plugin.

    Speaking of plugins, every module will be a plugin to allow others to develop. Using just a few interfaces and well defined coding practises, plugin developers can disregard the flash component as a presentation layer and effectively just code services. So take an OBD interface as an example, the developer will do the relevant calls to drivers and present methods such as getRPM(), getSpeed() etc. These will be exposed to the flash interface.

    Through the design I have drawn up so far, it will be possible to add and remove plugins at runtime. I'm not sure how useful this is, but it's a by-product of the design. Perhaps it can be used when pluging in a device, to enable that part of the interface. So if a data logger is not usually used, but the driver wishes to add it for a short while on a track day, a restart is not required. the plugin can just be enabled by plugging a device in. plug & play support I guess.

    thoughts? comments?

  5. #55
    FLAC sama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chanman View Post
    Seeing all these front-ends using WMP and Winamp for video playback, how come no one uses VLC (www.videolan.org)? It supports Win/Mac/Linux and codec are not required.
    dude, I've got VLC working now, doing exactly that it should from Java. This will be a multiplatform frontend after all

  6. #56
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    Great

    Wow, it´s great to hear that!! Cross platform!! GREAT!!!!

  7. #57
    FLAC sama's Avatar
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    I've been hard at work, doing what I set out to do a few months ago. And I've finally got some results.

    Here are some highlights of progress so far:

    • Pure Flash Skins (swf movie)
    • High Performance (tested on Epia 1000).
    • True Plugin Architechture (plugin code is independant of Flash interface)
    • No need to download any codecs, can play EVERYTHING out of the box
    • Multiplatform Win/Mac/Lin (GPS apps won't be to begin with)


    check this video out for a teaser. You can find much more info about Velocity, it's architecture etc. by clicking here

    I'm now at a stage where I need some input to the Media management functionality.

    I've attached a skeleton flash movie below of the interface. It doesn't do anything, so it's better to read these points before you click the link at the bottom!

    • Presentation is of no importance at the moment. Remmeber, this is Flash and anything is possible. What matters most is functionality. So try to think of things you'd like to be able to do when driving or when parked.
    • I've put all the functions on one page for visiblity, of course in a real interface implementation, this would be divided into seperate views, some parts tucked away, etc. For now, it just shows a load of buttons, so you'll have to use your imagination!
    • Note that a lot of buttons are combo buttons. If you click on the button, it'll perform the default/last selected action. Or you can select a more specialised action from the drop down list by pressing and holding a button. This is very much like the photoshop style buttons. And if a combo-button name has "..." affixed to it, that means it doesn't have a default function, and if it were coded properly it would just open the combo box when clicked.
    • It's also worth noting that Velocity will (optionally) keep its own statistics and meta information to speed up searches, and allow convinience queries like "what songs have I never heard?" or "which songs do I always skip?"


    Things I'd love to hear opinion on are:

    • intuitiveness of this combo button approach
    • the level of information / cluter / grouping
    • any useless functions
    • any missing / desired features
    • queries which you think would be useful when driving
    • anything I haven't thought of, that you think I should have asked you, and ofcourse the answer to it!


    Here's the Velocity Media UI

    If it doesn't run right away, just download the file, and drag and drop it onto ie/firefox (more suceess with firefox it seems).

  8. #58
    Newbie Churchill's Avatar
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    Looking good so far Mr Sama. Very keen to see how this progesses and will try to give my input where possible as I am keen to see this approach work.

    but for now, which are you?

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
    Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

  9. #59
    FLAC sama's Avatar
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    I see oppurtunity in every difficulty, but I'm a pessimist generally!

  10. #60
    Low Bitrate ikon240's Avatar
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    ambient light measurement

    Quote Originally Posted by sama View Post
    Whacky Ideas
    - Ambient light measurement to control skin gamma / night mode

    Suggestions? I kindly ask that you keep the category headings or add new ones, and to keep point seperated. It would really help in collecting these later.
    I recently bought a V1 radar detector and i know it has an ambient light sensor on it that is used by the display. I know there is a cable that goes from the rj11 jack on the V1 to a usb end. Software exists that is a remote display for this detector via your pc. I don't think any such software exists for mac yet (correct me someone ). I would be curious to know if that software could give you the led power-level or the light sensor reading directly (from the V1).

    sorry if i didn't and someone has already said this!

    -ikon

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