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Thread: New front end in the making, would you like to try it?

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    New front end in the making, would you like to try it?

    Since my introduction to the Car-PC world years back, when Centrafuse and other products were still very young, i have always wanted something better.

    I'm a professionel software developer, so i thought, it must be possible to make something my own.. over a period of 2-3 years, i started over from scratch a few times as i was not pleased with the mockup outcome. Since then i've been working on and off developing ideas and writing lots of code to know if i could end up with something i would use myself instead of any existing front end, and thats where i am today, somewhat.

    From the very begining, i thought big, this should be able to do anything any other advanced front end could do, only more, and better, in time!

    I always thought that the plugin environment in Centrafuse was bad and messy, especially as you need to photoshop your UI as static non-vectoring images. So this is where i put a lot of my time.

    Most of the work has gone into functionallity and NOT design, hence it will get more pretty with time!

    To summerise my project in short, this is what it's capable of today:

    - Full playback support of wav, mp3, aif, ogg, flac, wma and acc music files. More could come
    - Full support of any video file that Windows Media Player can play. Which is allmost anything with the right Codec.
    - Internet radio (streaming)
    - FM and DAB+ (in the making)
    - Mixer
    - WiFi management and connectivity
    - GPS info
    - Full OBD2 diagnostic support (OBD2 adapter is required)
    - Web browser
    - YouTube
    - Sygic turn-by-turn navigation (requires you to buy a licens!)

    Bluetooth phone support will come later

    System requriements:
    - Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8,1 and probably Windows 10
    - Not very old hardware. Tested and developed on a Intel Atom machine, so, quite slow and works just fine.

    I'm looking for people who are willig to give me feedback, good or bad.

    If you are interested in using or trying this, or just want to follow the project, please visit the forum

    or visit our Facebook page

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    Last edited by LasseO; 09-29-2015 at 08:31 AM.
    mspw and Rollus.MkIII like this.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    can you elaborate on that?

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate Project07MACry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    BK, NY
    I am curious. Please send PM.
    I'm pretty sure @Enforcer felt the same way lol
    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

    The Worklog

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    I'm sorry for my absence, i'm in the middle of stripping my engine apart!

    I will message those who PM'ed me later, i'm a little busy right now! Thank you for the interest in this project!

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    I've created a simple facebook page for better communication.. please follow the project on this site, thank you!

  7. #7
    Confusion Master
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    Enforcer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    If you go down to the woods today, You're sure of
    Quote Originally Posted by Project07MACry View Post
    I am curious. Please send PM.
    I'm pretty sure @Enforcer felt the same way lol
    Not quite.

    It's just a post so I get replies to the thread (yeah I know I could manually subscribe, but that's boring)

  8. #8
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    May 2009

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    To elaborate a little about this project, i'v been working on this for about 4-5 years on and off. The main goal is to make a very usable product from scratch, thinking big from the very first line of code. It might not be super pretty at the moment, a lot of layout and design work has to be done, but underneath the hood, things should be very clean, generic and extendable.

    I have focused a lot on using the new technology available, like fx Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), which in short is a "new" way of writing UI for the Windows platform, which is A LOT more versatile, color, transparency and transition friendly than previous methods of writing UI. One thing i didn't like about today's Front Ends, is that most of them are very static in their design, whether its based on static images like Centrafuse or just poorly designed layout or SDK integration. I have chosen to render almost everything runtime, which enables scaling, as WPF is based on vector graphics. In that way, different screen sizes won't have such a negative impact on the usability, and look, as static images often will skew.
    WPF also, in a very easy-to-control way, gives the opportunity to support themes and even user defined color selection of various control colors. Themes, could make the UI look totally different without editing any image or grapichs and could very easily be made by the community and imported to the application.

    Another focus area is that i want to be as much independent of third party software as possible, making an possibly paid product as cheap as possible. The whole sound library is based on totally open source code, and since WPF uses, in background, the Windows Media Player, there is no need for a third party library here too.. Windows Media Player can actually play quite a lot of formats with the correct codec pack installed and even supports subtitles and transparent overlays!

    My vision about FM and DAB/DAB+ support is that the front end should support the most commonly used modules on the market, as much as possible, so no plugin should be necessary. At the moment, i have bought a Monkeyboard FM/DAB+ board and is almost done writing a wrapper for that for native support, others might as well be supported later.

    When it comes to OBD support, i'm a very fanatic car fan, i love fast cars and the technology it brings and have used a lot of OBD diagnostic tools. This led me to write my own OBD parser from scratch, making it just as i wanted and especially for this front end. OBD support is DONE, it works and is very fast.

    I have not yet started on a real Bluetooth integration, but i have talked a lot to several third party companies and have found one that delivers what i want, for handfree support, phonebook extraction and so on.. unfortunately, as it is with any other front end, you are stuck with BlueSoleil, but my research has found that the newer versions works really well. I have done a few proff of concepts.. i'm optimistic!'

    As for navigation, i rested on Sygic. Having tried different products, this is what i chose. It works very well, looks okay but i need to get a hold of Sygic again as it contains a few bugs that, when fixed, will make the integration much better!

    Probably forgot lots of stuff i wanted do discuss, but feel free to ask!
    Last edited by LasseO; 07-15-2015 at 04:03 AM.

  10. #10
    It ain't easy being a green moderator meddler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Steps out the front of Henson's workshop or Sydney
    hmm subscribed. I will have a play when I get time.
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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