It is currently September 21st, 2021, 5:38 pm

Ideas

Report bugs with the Rainmeter application and suggest features.
OrionsHope
Posts: 33
Joined: August 27th, 2021, 8:14 am

Ideas

Post by OrionsHope »

I'd do this myself but after my wife got done with me after my last project, this is gonna be on someone else :( Besides, I barely have the skills to customize skins for myself. If these things are already available, I'd sure like to know where. Anyhow, here you go:

1. A hideable grid overlay that can be adjusted from say, 1/4-3/4 inches for the purpose of giving the viewer reference while setting up more complex layouts evenly. It could even be tied to whatever Rainmeter uses when you click on "Snap to grid"

2. A way to change individual items in a batch. For example, I have the Neon Space skin and it uses visualizers, both bars as well as individual lights and when the music plays, they pulse in order. What I want to do is shut off the pulsing in the singles but not the bars. That's all fine and dandy but I've got like 25 little lights dancing all over the place. A global setting perhaps? I looked and managed to stumble across a setting somewhere that stopped all reactions but like I said, I want the bar to keep going.

3. I know the author of Neon Space and maybe others I'm not aware of did this but it should become standard practice to create GUI's for the purpose of altering color schemes, fonts, location, file paths, etc. Make it once and it's yours forever. In fact, make it native to Rainmeter. maybe one global GUI for the basics like name, location, file paths, fonts/size etc. can be set and more personalized ones for the skin in question. It will, of course, have to be dynamic in nature as not all skins have the same amount of tabs but could be done. Perhaps by having Rainmeter have a dropdown list for, say, 40 tabs, buttons, etc. When a skin is loaded, Rainmeter polls it to see how many it needs for the whole layout and the unused ones are either greyed out or hidden. Further dynamics are needed to accurately poll layouts utilizing multiple skins from multiple themes. Lastly, if it doesn't yet exist, a universal naming convention would need to be established as well. Otherwise, name variants will have to be accounted for. For example, if I call a widget a widget and you call it a wudgit, the GUI needs to be able to accurately account for that. Rainmeter is an incredible program but it is geared toward programmers. Now I admit to being a noob here but I spent an ungodly amount of time trying to learn how to change things and after it all, I finally figured out that I could have done all of them at the same time if I'd understood that there are global variables. Still have no clue how to edit them for my own benefit :? If the user experience could be made user friendly, just imagine how this product will explode in popularity! They have to be complete as well so that for every skin, all colors, fonts, font size, etc that you intend for the end user to be able to tweak. Anything too intense and they have to know how to code like the rest of you. For example, on Mass Effect launcher, at first look, one may not realize that while there appears to be 10 buttons, there are actually 24 if I counted my toes right. Three on each of the corners and two on each of the side tabs. It wasn't until I went to edit it that I found the rest. I then had to figure out how to replicate, place, and rename the pertinent NameButtons and other information. Things got really sideways early on when, though I'd never done something like this before, I decided that I wanted the orange buttons to either show up only as that button is moused over or show up in sequential order, either direction would have worked. It would have been nice to have been able to set things once for all the included skins in a nice, simple yet comprehensive GUI. In the example I gave, I would make everything I just described available through such an interface except for changing how the buttons show up. Really, that's a personal problem and not one the dev should have to worry about...although it would be cool if they did. It's a lot, I know, but maybe the work could be farmed out in sections and it gets done as a community. Think of the possibilities, guys O.O Heck, I'd settle for a handwritten how-to to be honest.
User avatar
SilverAzide
Rainmeter Sage
Posts: 1560
Joined: March 23rd, 2015, 5:26 pm

Re: Ideas

Post by SilverAzide »

I understand where you are coming from, it can be challenging to learn when you are just starting out. There are lots of examples in the manual and tips-and-tricks guides that can tell you how these things work, and I'll admit it does help to have a programming background (in something, doesn't matter what).

I won't try to answer all the issues you brought up, but I'll just tell you that it is probably 10 or maybe even 20 times harder to build a theme-able skin than it is to just build a skin. Some authors do make their skins very flexible and/or theme-able, but it is a ton of work that might be completely for nothing if the skin isn't popular. So it is no surprise to me that the vast majority of skin authors don't do it. Most just build something they like themselves and fling it out there for others to use and modify as they see fit. That's kind of the Rainmeter way...

Just my 2 cents.... :)
Gadgets Wiki GitHub More Gadgets...
User avatar
eclectic-tech
Rainmeter Sage
Posts: 4390
Joined: April 12th, 2012, 9:40 pm
Location: Cedar Point, Ohio, USA

Re: Ideas

Post by eclectic-tech »

1.) Alignment Grids 8-)

There is this Config Variables skin to assist in creating a standard setting skin, but it needs to be setup for each skin/suite.

As for the other thoughts, SilverAzide covered why a global setting skin would be difficult and why most skin authors do not create one. :uhuh:
User avatar
death.crafter
Posts: 937
Joined: April 24th, 2021, 8:13 pm

Re: Ideas

Post by death.crafter »

OrionsHope wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 11:21 pm 1. A hideable grid overlay that can be adjusted from say, 1/4-3/4 inches for the purpose of giving the viewer reference while setting up more complex layouts evenly. It could even be tied to whatever Rainmeter uses when you click on "Snap to grid"
This is maybe what you are looking for( it doesn't have a "snap to grid though")
# https://www.deviantart.com/eclectic-tech/art/Alignment-Grids-511750969
OrionsHope wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 11:21 pm 3. I know the author of Neon Space and maybe others I'm not aware of did this but it should become standard practice to create GUI's for...
A simple visualizer skin:
Screenshot 2021-09-04 083850.png
You don't even have to scroll, nice, isn't it?

The things I needed to do to make theme-able with proper and WORKING GUI:
ezgif-1-c41a3d40698a.gif
Imagine I took a month to make this, another to fix the bugs with the settings menu, a few sleepless nights(on weekends ofc) when things were really coming together. And I did all this because I had free time and it's fun when things come together nicely. But not everyone is willing nor have the time to go to such lengths to make a GUI for their skins when they can just be done with a variable file.
OrionsHope wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 11:21 pm In fact, make it native to Rainmeter. maybe one global GUI for the basics like name, location, file paths, fonts/size etc. can be set and more personalized ones for the skin in question. It will, of course, have to be dynamic in nature as not all skins have the same amount of tabs but could be done. Perhaps by having Rainmeter have a dropdown list for, say, 40 tabs, buttons, etc. When a skin is loaded, Rainmeter polls it to see how many it needs for the whole layout and the unused ones are either greyed out or hidden. Further dynamics are needed to accurately poll layouts utilizing multiple skins from multiple themes. Lastly, if it doesn't yet exist, a universal naming convention would need to be established as well. Otherwise, name variants will have to be accounted for. For example, if I call a widget a widget and you call it a wudgit, the GUI needs to be able to accurately account for that.
Sounds nice. But just think about the work involved. And you can't possibly filter all the variables in a skin (and their location), and then make a form dynamically.
OrionsHope wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 11:21 pm Rainmeter is an incredible program but it is geared toward programmers.
I strongly disagree. Yes, you are at an advantage if you have programing experience, but it's irrelevant. If you look at the docs, it lays out all about Rainmeter in an user-friendly way.

Well, my 2 cents.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
from the Realm of Death
My Current Desktop
OrionsHope
Posts: 33
Joined: August 27th, 2021, 8:14 am

Re: Ideas

Post by OrionsHope »

I freely admit that probably 95% of my struggles were due to my ignorance but here is a little more about my experiences so far so you have a better understanding of where I'm coming from. I found the most basic of information difficult to access because I didn't even know enough to know what I needed to know, much less what I didn't know. Know what I mean ;-) I literally had to look up every little thing and it was frustrating as heck. While the Mass Effect launcher solves this to an extent by including a link preprogrammed into it, I didn't even know I needed it, seriously. As soon as I could figure out how, I gutted the path and text and replaced them with my own. All I understood when looking at it was that it was code I didn't understand and therefore couldn't use. Look, you guys need to understand that I'm quite comfortable and familiar with computers. Although it was more than 25 years ago and I haven't kept up on it to a professional extent, I've taken multiple networking, software, hardware, and generally IT related classes. I'm the guy people turn to first...although it may well be that I'm simply closest 8-) Anyway, Google makes me look good, lol. Given all this, I should not have had to struggle so hard to make a go of this. You guys are telling me that to a large extent, all the information I needed and wanted is available and I believe you. However, access to this information is not readily apparent. If a GUI isn't doable cuz nobody has time, how about a universal splash page on every skin listing all links to the how-to's and why-for's? I do get it, 99% of the people (including myself) cannot afford to work for free and even among those that can, not all of them will. This idea would serve as a place of immediate access to a comprehensive (key word here) list of all things Rainmeter so even the complete noob can walk in so to speak and find an answer to their questions. Even a link to a related forum post would work. After all, why re-invent the wheel? This splash page should explain first that there are these things called variables that need to be set for your own location and a general link that explains step by step what needs to be done to each skin to change the paths and other variables. I'm talking bare bones, village idiot, examples up the wazoo, don't even know what a mouse is for kind of basic instructions that will apply to every skin, regardless of the author. The splash page should also give at the very least, an overall number of programmable buttons, tabs, etc; preferably broken down by skin. Once compiled, it is maintained by the individual skinners by correcting changed links, dead links, etc but this should be done at the general level and not the individual theme so that the correct information is available to all. Corrected information could be submitted for approval by forum admins to keep everybody's nose clean and also to make sure that the change is accurate. For stuff that is skin specific, then the author provides their own information and instructions. Explain to them that things need to be changed and show them where to find the information that they need to make those changes a reality and then turn them loose. Would this not be doable? Also, as a side note, could the individual author not make a template that could be applied to all their skins? I know that a lot of these guys are making their own for their own thing and such a thing isn't reasonable at that level but for those like the Neon Space author who are selling their work, having such information available to the buyer would go far towards setting them apart. Even with said theme, yes the settings skin provided much information and instructions but even then I struggled because there was no indication that there even WERE such instructions available or where to access them or whether or not the input had been accepted or whether there had been some kind of error. When you open the settings skin and click on the button to change the information, the color of the dialog box changes to show that it's active but once you hit enter, the box clears what you typed and resets itself with no indication of success or failure.

I guess part of my problem is that I'm looking at this from a commercial point of view and really, at that level, the author should be willing and able to hold the user's hand. I paid the bare minimum of $5 for Neon Space and overall, I got a great bargain as I would have happily paid up to $40 for it if I could have afforded it. The work is that fine, yes. How much more would it have been worth to me to have someone provide something like I described above? I don't know for sure but I'd tack on another $5-$10 for it all day long, every day, and twice on Sundays. All that for creating a generic template splash page once. As an author, you could even put all your personal and or commercial links on it as well so they can check out all your other stuff or reach you with questions. As no-one else is doing it, you as the author will stand even further out from the crowd than you already do. Think about it.
User avatar
death.crafter
Posts: 937
Joined: April 24th, 2021, 8:13 pm

Re: Ideas

Post by death.crafter »

OrionsHope wrote: September 5th, 2021, 11:32 pm I guess part of my problem is that I'm looking at this from a commercial point of view and really, at that level, the author should be willing and able to hold the user's hand. I paid the bare minimum of $5 for Neon Space and overall, I got a great bargain as I would have happily paid up to $40 for it if I could have afforded it. The work is that fine, yes. How much more would it have been worth to me to have someone provide something like I described above? I don't know for sure but I'd tack on another $5-$10 for it all day long, every day, and twice on Sundays. All that for creating a generic template splash page once. As an author, you could even put all your personal and or commercial links on it as well so they can check out all your other stuff or reach you with questions. As no-one else is doing it, you as the author will stand even further out from the crowd than you already do. Think about it.
Believe me, if I were to sell my skins, I would like put comments every other line, in case my customer wants to change things. But that's not the case.

Also in Rainmeter skins most of the things and logics used are specific to the author and you can't find it else where. So he would have to explain every bit, which is kinda too much to do.

And to be honest, I personally wouldn't put comments in my skin, because you just can't manipulate it in the way you want without breaking something, and I can easily say that about a number of skins out there.

The thing is if you want help with a skin you are always welcome in the forum. With the exception of paid skins. Simply because we won't buy it and you can't share it. We are always eager to help out.

And even if you say that you don't know what you want to know, then just know that no one knows what they want to know in order to know something until they break things apart and ask someone who knows. ;-)

And about the usage instructions, or a Readme, if it's a neatly made skin, then you'll surely find instructions as to how to change things. If there isn't then the skin is either made by someone new to Rainmeter or the author just made it for himself and shared it for the sake of sharing. For those skins, all I can say is that either you learn and change things, or use other skins that are easily configurable.

And yes, most of the time the usage instructions are in the download page. So make sure you download from a valid source, DeviantArt for example. If you download from other sources that are not related to the author, there is a chance you'll miss out the instructions.
from the Realm of Death
My Current Desktop
OrionsHope
Posts: 33
Joined: August 27th, 2021, 8:14 am

Re: Ideas

Post by OrionsHope »

Thank you guys for our frank and honest discussion on the current state of affairs, I've learned from it. I want to say one last thing and then I'll leave it be.

To all those authors out there who have put in the time and effort to make such a thing as I describe: my hat is off to you and your work is absolutely appreciated!!! I do, however, have a feature request for the future that is two-fold. First, make an option in your GUI's to change the font size where the skin size allows for it and also be able to change the left/center/right positioning to accommodate the different font size. This part isn't just about customization as it also goes toward usability/readability for older and or otherwise vision impaired. I know because that's one of the things I had tinker with as I fall into the latter category. The second part is more about customization than anything else but would still be fun and that is give the ability to change fonts to whatever they want. I absolutely would expect to be charged for that part, of course.

To all those authors who are either new into selling skins or have otherwise been unable and or unwilling to do what the above mentioned authors do:
I respectfully and politely ask you to seriously consider stepping up your game if you are able to. Assuming the ability to do this here, you people are very much behind the curve and if you are wanting to sell skins/themes for a living, you simply are not providing a competitive product. Tough love, that's all here. My only purpose is to try and help you be successful and no more.

To all of you who have responded to my posts:
It has been a source of fresh air hearing from people who are willing to lay it out for me with no bs! It's my opinion that such things are sadly absent in much of the world today. Thanks again for all your help!
User avatar
death.crafter
Posts: 937
Joined: April 24th, 2021, 8:13 pm

Re: Ideas

Post by death.crafter »

OrionsHope wrote: September 8th, 2021, 5:53 pm if you are wanting to sell skins/themes for a living
...
...
...

W.. w.. what?
from the Realm of Death
My Current Desktop
User avatar
sl23
Posts: 810
Joined: February 17th, 2011, 7:45 pm
Location: a Galaxy S7 far far away

Re: Ideas

Post by sl23 »

OrionsHope wrote: September 5th, 2021, 11:32 pm I freely admit that probably 95% of my struggles were due to my ignorance but here is a little more about my experiences so far so you have a better understanding of where I'm coming from. I found the most basic of information difficult to access because I didn't even know enough to know what I needed to know, much less what I didn't know.
I found that too when I started. I learnt by editing others skins. I started simple, all I originally wanted was a replacement for the old Gadgets on Vista for monitoring CPU and RAM! Now I have hundreds of meters for various things in a small selection of skins.

The manual was NOT much help for me in the beginning, as I found it confusing. I don't think it was quite as well written as it is now, I could be wrong though. That was around 2010/11. The thing that helped me understand a lot about Rainmeter was a brilliant little tool called Rainpad. Why this didn't continue and become something much more integrated I really don't know. But for beginners, I would highly recommend it. It is VERY outdated now, but due to the backwards compatibility of Rainmeter, everything in Rainpad is still relevant.

All that said, READ THIS FIRST! But... you'll have a hard time finding a link to download it though!
User avatar
jsmorley
Developer
Posts: 22290
Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:02 pm
Location: Fort Hunt, Virginia, USA

Re: Ideas

Post by jsmorley »

The manual is a "reference" and not a "cookbook". While this can be hard to jump into when you are brand-new at Rainmeter, the virtually unlimited ways you can do things in Rainmeter just doesn't lend itself to a "cookbook" approach. I agree that the best way to learn Rainmeter is to tear apart existing skins, change them to do what you want them to do, and use the manual as a reference for how to correctly implement stuff. We have worked very hard over the years to make the manual as comprehensive, accurate, and clear as we possibly can, but it is as always a work in progress...