WOW, just WOW (and some suggestions)

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kwanbis Offline
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Big Grin  WOW, just WOW (and some suggestions)
Post: #1
I've been a heavy WD TV user for about 4 years now. But for my current setup, I build a PC with HDMI that is connected to my projector. I always heard good things about XBMC, so I decided to give it a try.

Let me start by saying that what the team has done with XBMC is marvelous. The quality of the whole thing is exquisite, with the real gem being the scrapping, and subsequent display, of the series/movies/music information. That is stunning.

I consider myself an expert in computers in general, as I have been working in the field for more than 25 years, doing development, support, etc.. I’m not saying this because I want to rave about myself, but because some of the things I found confusing need to be put on perspective.

I'm using EDEN RC2, under Windows 7 64 bits, and I have 4 external hard drives, 2 with series, 1 with movies, 1 with music.

I have added each hard drive as a source to XBMC under its respective category: SERIES1, SERIES2, MOVIES, MUSIC.

As I said, the most important part for me is the information scrapping/organization. Without them, XBMC would be a very pretty face, without soul. So, lets start:

VIDEO MANAGEMENT

1) TITLE SORTING INCLUDING EPISODE NUMBER: on the SERIES LIBRARY, there is a sort option to show by Title. That is the best one for me. But there is a problem. On some series, Desperate Housewife for example, the scrapped episode titles do not start with the episode number, so you end up with all the episodes sorted alphabetically. What would be great is that the Title sort would sort by "episode - title", or create a view like that.

2) WAY TO SHOW/FILTER FOLDERS WITH UNRECOGNIZED EPISODES: on the FILES category, there should be a way of just showing the folders that did not get recognized, or folders that have unrecognized video files inside. Sometimes XBMC would not recognize all files, and is not simple to spot, so to try to fix it.

3) BACKGROUND MANUAL REFRESH: When right clicking on a series folder, and doing a manual refresh, it goes to the foreground, the scanning, and you cannot do anything else. It would be great if that gets done on the background.

4) UPDATE LIBRARY VS SCAN FOR NEW CONTENT: When you right click on a video folder, you have 2 options that look too similar: "Update library" and "Scan for new content". It is not clear by the names what the differences between the 2 are. Actually, when you select update library, the background operation says scanning for new content! It appears that update library would check all the sources, and that scan for new content would just scan the right clicked folder, but I’m still not sure. I think a more descriptive re-wording of these two options is needed.

5) CHANGE CONTENT OPTION: Change content type would be a better name, as currently is not clear what it does.

6) SHOW YEAR ON MOVIES LIBRARY: The movie views should include the year to the right, like when you group by group of movies.

7) NICE TO HAVE: An option to sort by year and an option to sort by movies/series ponints/ranking would be great.

8) ADDING UNRECOGNIZED SERIES TO THE LIBRARY: How do I add a series that was not recognized to the library? I cannot seem to do that. Let’s say series XYZ is not recognized, I want to manually add it to the library, so that that the XYZ name is shown on the library, and when you go inside XYZ on the library, it at least shows the file names.

9)LIST UNRECOGNIZED VIDEO FILES UNDER THE LIBRARY VIEN: I have the Mazinger Z series. It was recognized, but not the episodes, which I do not know why. So now I see an empty folder on the TV SHOWS entry. Ideally, XBMC should show all the unrecognized video files under a recognized series folder. This is related to (8).

10) QWERTY KEYBOARD: When entering information, the on screen keyboard should be qwerty. It is not, and it reminds me of the first Garmin GPS.

MUSIC

While at first I do not anticipate using XBMC to play music, I use fb2k, I wanted to have my library in it anyway. My music is organized as this:

M:\MUSIC\ARTIST\ARTIST - YEAR - ALBUM\#. TRACK

That said:

1) JUMP TO KEY: If looking at the list of folders (under files), if I press K, I want it to go to the first K starting folder. I have more than 300 folders there, so it takes a lot of scrolling otherwise.

2) SORT ALBUMS BY RELEASE DATE: inside an artist, the albums are sorted by title, and not by year. Albums sorted by year, would be nice.

3) PENDING OPERATIONS COUNT WHILE UPDATING LIBRARY: I'm not sure, but it seems like the music scrapper first goes through all the files, and then starts looking for artist data, and then album data sequentially. It would be great then to show the total number of artist songs done/pending. Where it says "Downloading Artist data (50 of 280)", and then "Downloading album information (200 of 631)" or something like that. As it is today, you have no idea on how much work is missing.

4) FILE PATH UNDER SONG INFO: Under song information dialog, it does not shows the file path, just in case you want to check something, like it does on videos.

GENERAL

1) BACK BUTTON BESIDES HOME: The right mouse button is a little confusing cause some times is a context menu, and sometimes is back, and sometimes is both. We already have a home button, why not add a back button that always goes back one level, as in a browser, just besides the home button? That way, the right mouse button can always be a context menu.

2) GO BACK AT CENTER SCREEN: When returning, let’s say from an albums folder to the general artist folders, the last selected artist folder is shown at the bottom of the screen. It would be better if it shows in the center of the screen.

Please, do not take all this as a criticism, but as constructive suggestions.

THANKS for a WONDERFUL program!

EDIT: make it all more clear (I hope).
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-07 06:01 by kwanbis.)
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #2
Hi there,

1.1 I can only guess that you're using files view here? This is fixed already. The only episode view that doesn't display episode info already is sort by episode title (which ofcourse is done alphabetically, so episode number doesn't matter).

1.2 XBMC will show metadata for any recognised file/folder: No metadata is indicative of nothing found. This will be improved post-Eden.

1.3 Is this from TV Show Information -> Refresh? If so, that's intentional, as the desire is to return you back to the TV Show Information screen. If not, more details.

1.4 You shouldn't really be getting both options - mind giving me an idea of whether you get those two options appearing (files view, or in a tv show?)

1.5 Context menu items are almost always contextual. There's a small number that aren't, such as Update Library and the like. We're trying to get rid of those, or at least make them always appear at the bottom or be designated some other way. If you could make a comprehensive list of the ones that are non-contextual, that would be a useful starting point. A separate thread for that would be good.

1.6 What is shown on the right typically depends on sort mode. By default I think we show rating, but change the sort mode for different right hand things to come up. We can't please everyone here, and attempting to do so is going to be futile.

1.7 That's already there - you can sort by rating and year.

1.8 TV Show information on that tvshow folder -> It will prompt you for alternate search terms (as that's usually the only reason it wasn't identified).

1.9 Agreed, but this is non-trivial. For now, unrecognised episodes are always due to their filenames not conforming to the XBMC naming conventions. You can't do anything about this other than renaming your files or adding new regexps to pick up your particular naming.

1.10 Point taken.

2.1 SHIFT-K does what you want (and there's stacks of other ways to do the same thing).

2.2 Change the sort mode then.

2.3 Actually it's done inline, so we don't know that info. This is something that is planned to be changed.

2.4 The info is there for the skin to display it if they want. I'll let the skinner know.

3.1 The only place you need this is in listings, whereby you already have the parent folder item. Again, assuming you're using Confluence, it has "exit" buttons on every screen that needs them (eg dialogs, fullscreen info etc.)

3.2 It depends where you are in the list actually. I think we can probably do better than we are, however - mind posting a feature request for this?

Cheers,
Jonathan

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.


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(This post was last modified: 2012-03-06 23:47 by jmarshall.)
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #3
I really like this list of suggestions. Even the stuff we do actually have, it shows us a really good idea of how the user is or isn't finding it, and how we can improve on it. If you have any other suggestions or ideas, please tell us. This is one of the most constructive criticism posts I've seen in a while.
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gquiring Offline
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Post: #4
jmarshall Wrote:1.4 You shouldn't really be getting both options - mind giving me an idea of whether you get those two options appearing (files view, or in a tv show?)

Cheers,
Jonathan
It is Files, then get the cursor on a folder and press context. You get both scan for new content and update library.

XBMC: Gigabyte GA-B75M, i3 IvyB 3.4ghz, 8gig ram, m4 Crucial SSD, Saphire HD6450, Logitech diNovo Mini
Storage: TheCus N5550 15tb and TheCus N4100Pro 8tb
HT: Panasonic V10P50 Plasma, Pioneer VSX-1121K, Pronto TSU-9400 remote
Software: Win 7 Ultimate x86, Eventghost, iPad 3 Constellation app
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kwanbis Offline
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Post: #5
Thanks guys for taking your time to respond. It is really cool to see the good reception of my comments, even if some where not correct. That said:

jmarshall Wrote:1.1 I can only guess that you're using files view here? This is fixed already. The only episode view that doesn't display episode info already is sort by episode title (which ofcourse is done alphabetically, so episode number doesn't matter).
You right, I was using probably episode title, instead of Media info. My fault.

jmarshall Wrote:1.2 XBMC will show metadata for any recognised file/folder: No metadata is indicative of nothing found. This will be improved post-Eden.
Right, but I mean, after scrapping lets say 50 series, if some of the episodes on 2 of those series are for any reason not recognized, there is not easy way to tell. Idealy, XBMC would just show a small red cross over the name, or something, or a way to tell XBMC: "please, show me all the folders with unrecognized episodes". Checking the number of files on each series folder against the number of recognized ones is a little slow. I do not know if i'm not being clear.

jmarshall Wrote:1.3 Is this from TV Show Information -> Refresh? If so, that's intentional, as the desire is to return you back to the TV Show Information screen. If not, more details.
Well, I actually think a background manual refresh would be better. Obviously that is my view.

jmarshall Wrote:1.4 You shouldn't really be getting both options - mind giving me an idea of whether you get those two options appearing (files view, or in a tv show?)
VIDEO -> FILES -> enter SERIES1 source -> right click any series folder: you would see both: Update library AND Scan for new content.

Here is a screen shot: http://i.imgur.com/Fgudn.jpg

jmarshall Wrote:1.5 Context menu items are almost always contextual. There's a small number that aren't, such as Update Library and the like. We're trying to get rid of those, or at least make them always appear at the bottom or be designated some other way. If you could make a comprehensive list of the ones that are non-contextual, that would be a useful starting point. A separate thread for that would be good.
I would try to help with that. Tomorrow I would do a review. But keep in mind that i'm no expert on XBMC Wink

jmarshall Wrote:1.6 What is shown on the right typically depends on sort mode. By default I think we show rating, but change the sort mode for different right hand things to come up. We can't please everyone here, and attempting to do so is going to be futile.
Yeah, I understand. Maybe if it simple/useful to implement a configuration option that would say: Show to the right: and then rating, year, etc.

jmarshall Wrote:1.7 That's already there - you can sort by rating and year.
Really? I would check that.

jmarshall Wrote:1.8 TV Show information on that tvshow folder -> It will prompt you for alternate search terms (as that's usually the only reason it wasn't identified).
The problem is that there are many foreign series that are not recognized. For example, I have Las Muñecas de la Mafia (Mafia Dolls). I tried to search for them, and I couldn't make it work. So I rather "force" the title, and have XBMC show the file names when inside the series.

jmarshall Wrote:1.9 Agreed, but this is non-trivial. For now, unrecognised episodes are always due to their filenames not conforming to the XBMC naming conventions. You can't do anything about this other than renaming your files or adding new regexps to pick up your particular naming.
Good to know. I would search for the naming conventions, as only about 4 series where not recognized.

jmarshall Wrote:1.10 Point taken.

jmarshall Wrote:2.1 SHIFT-K does what you want (and there's stacks of other ways to do the same thing).
Good to know. Any reason why the keys are not directly used? Seems to be more natural. As when I press home/end, it just works.

jmarshall Wrote:2.2 Change the sort mode then.
Sorry, haven't seen that option.

jmarshall Wrote:2.3 Actually it's done inline, so we don't know that info. This is something that is planned to be changed.
Great.

jmarshall Wrote:2.4 The info is there for the skin to display it if they want. I'll let the skinner know.
Great.

jmarshall Wrote:3.1 The only place you need this is in listings, whereby you already have the parent folder item. Again, assuming you're using Confluence, it has "exit" buttons on every screen that needs them (eg dialogs, fullscreen info etc.)
Right, but my artist library has more than 300 items, so to use the parent folder, i need to scroll 200+ lines. Obviously i can use the HOME button, but, in that case I need to have the keyboard near me. I think that adding a simple back button besides the home would be simple and effective.

jmarshall Wrote:3.2 It depends where you are in the list actually. I think we can probably do better than we are, however - mind posting a feature request for this?
Well, this program is already so complete, that the little details make all the difference Wink

Ned Scott Wrote:I really like this list of suggestions. Even the stuff we do actually have, it shows us a really good idea of how the user is or isn't finding it, and how we can improve on it. If you have any other suggestions or ideas, please tell us. This is one of the most constructive criticism posts I've seen in a while.
Thanks. I actually make this list cause I'm just wowed by XBMC, and I want it to be as perfect as possible. I'm sure there are hundreds of things to be done, so this is just my suggestions.

gquiring Wrote:It is Files, then get the cursor on a folder and press context. You get both scan for new content and update library.
Correct. Already provided a screen shot.
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-10 17:20 by kwanbis.)
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kwanbis Offline
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Post: #6
Two more things after using Eden with my HTPC:

1) Auto scrolling on lists would be wonderful. MEaning, as i move the mouse pointer to the boton or top of a list, it would scroll slowly.
2) While watching videos, it would be also wonderful to have one left click pause the video, and a second one un-pause it. Having to move the HTPC mouse, is like a virtual mouse, to the bottom of the screen is painful.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-13 05:02 by kwanbis.)
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phil65 Offline
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Post: #7
for 1.3: there´s an addon for that: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=118263
perhaps adding that to the official repo?
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #8
(2012-04-13 04:39)kwanbis Wrote:  Two more things after using Eden with my HTPC:

1) Auto scrolling on lists would be wonderful. MEaning, as i move the mouse pointer to the boton or top of a list, it would scroll slowly.
2) While watching videos, it would be also wonderful to have one left click pause the video, and a second one un-pause it. Having to move the HTPC mouse, is like a virtual mouse, to the bottom of the screen is painful.

for 2: download https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/blob/Eden/s.../mouse.xml

open in a text editor and add the following code before </keymap>

Code:
<FullscreenVideo>
  <mouse>
    <rightclick>pause</rightclick>
  </mouse>
</FullScreenVideo>

Save in userdata/keymaps/

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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dazex Offline
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Post: #9
kwanbis: Since you're technical and good with computers, you'll find that you can remedy some of your outstanding issues. XBMC's power is it's flexibility for personalization.

Case in point, If you want to have a left mouse click while a video is playing to pause and unpause, you'll want to look into the power of keymaps.

Crash course:

Simply make a copy of the mouse.xml keymap file over to your userdata directory. I don't know off the top of my head where XBMC's userdata folder is on Windows. Here's what the mouse.xml keymap that comes with Eden looks like: https://raw.github.com/xbmc/xbmc/master/.../mouse.xml

Then you'll want to add a new section <FullScreenVideo> that redefines what a left mouse click does when a video is playing.

Code:
<keymap>
  <global>
    <mouse>
      <leftclick>leftclick</leftclick>
      <middleclick>middleclick</middleclick>
      <rightclick>rightclick</rightclick>
      <doubleclick>doubleclick</doubleclick>
      <wheeldown>wheeldown</wheeldown>
      <wheelup>wheelup</wheelup>
      <mousedrag>mousedrag</mousedrag>
      <mousemove>mousemove</mousemove>
    </mouse>
  </global>
  <FullscreenVideo>
    <mouse>
      <leftclick>Pause</leftclick>
    </mouse>
  </FullscreenVideo>
  <SlideShow>
    <mouse>
      <leftclick>Pause</leftclick>
      <rightclick>PreviousMenu</rightclick>
      <wheelup>PreviousPicture</wheelup>
      <wheeldown>NextPicture</wheeldown>
    </mouse>
  </SlideShow>
</keymap>
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kwanbis Offline
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Post: #10
Right, I have been checking and you are right, many things can be implemented by customization, and I'm sure that since it is open source, it can be modified if i wanted to.

That said, I believe there are certain things that should be default, and that would greatly improve the experience.

For example, the last 2 things I asked about are the consequence of not ideal mouses on HTPCs, which I assume most people use.

In my case, the mouse I have is part of the keyboard, so there are some things that are more difficult to do than with a normal mouse, because they require more movement, more hands use, or both.

About the pause/unpause of movies, for example, why would the current implementation, that requires you to move a lot, and be very precise, at least on my projecto screen, be better than the one I ask? So, if the one i ask is better, which i'm not saying it is, why keep the worst one as default?

My 2 cents like they say.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-13 23:58 by kwanbis.)
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #11
The vast majority of people use a remote control with XBMC. That's how it's designed.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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dazex Offline
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Post: #12
Don't misunderstand my comment above. There's nothing wrong with you asking and trying to understand why things are the way they are. That's how the project continue to get better. Sometimes there is an explanation. Other times, the answer is just simply there wasn't a big enough request/needs by the user base. It takes a user like to you to bring it up and evoke the change.

As of right now, I can't think of any reason why the single click of the mouse shouldn't pause and unpause a playing video by default. I wonder it affects the touch devices though.
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #13
That's the exact reason, yes. Single click (touch) brings up the OSD for touch devices. Touch devices are by far more useful for XBMC than using it with a mouse, so the priority is for those devices.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.


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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #14
An idea, and something I'm sure has been thought about by our devs, would be an easy way to switch between common sets of keymaps within the GUI. You could open up XBMC and in settings select "mouse-heavy settings" or something like that, so you have the flexibility without having to make a keymap and all that.

Granted there's a fine balancing act between adding such things and at the same time not bloating settings or making things more confusing for other situations.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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kwanbis Offline
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Post: #15
Well, personally I bought this thing: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SZU...02_s00_i00

Is not perfect, but is good. You can see the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6VSZsJkyeU

Since I use my HTPC for other things, I needed something that is also a keyboard.

But if most people use remotes, that would explain not many people having the problems I have.
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