Release plans for Beta 2 (0.2) (1 Viewer)

Frodo

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  • April 22, 2004
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    The first beta release (0.1) was focused on adding all kind of new functionality to Mediaportal. And if you look back, we started somewhere in february/may and now we have a fullblown HTPC application

    Now its time to think about the second beta release which we are already working on. The beta 0.2 release will focus on the following 3 quality aspects:

    - Usability
    - Performance
    - Stability

    Usability
    This means we'll make MP more usable for the advanced and beginning users. Things we're thinking about
    - improve support for mouse / touchscreen users
    - show meaning full messages when something goes wrong.
    An example of this is the tvguide. In the past this just showed an empty screen when there was no tvguide available. Now it tells the user that there's no tvguide available. Another example: the RSS feed now tells you when it cannot download the requested RSS Feed

    Performance
    MP is taking up 2 much performance in my opinion. Our goal for Beta 2 is to use 0% cpu when browsing through the GUI
    When playing video/audio or viewing TV the cpu% used should be the same as in any other application like windows mediaplayer or other htpc applications

    Stability
    Now that we have a nice HTPC full of functionality its time to make things stable. This will be done from inside ->out.
    Meaning we'll start stabilizing the Core engine of Mediaportal first.
    This includes
    - Skin engine
    - playlist management
    - video/audio players
    - tag readers

    when the core has stabilized we'll continue with stabilizing the plugins of Mediaportal.

    When working on stabilizing the code, i'll also add more documentation to the sourcecode it so it will become easier for new programmers to read & understand the code. Hopefully this will attract new developers

    Please notice:
    During the development of Beta 2, we'll keep fixing bugs reported in the forums and will listen & implement new features to keep you guys happy

    Request. Please only reply to this thread if you have idea's on how to improve Mediaportal on these 3 points! Other bugs / feature requests should be posted in the correct forums


    Frodo
    and
     

    Frodo

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    It seems people cannot read so I tell it again
    any posts not related on improving MP on those 3 points will get deleted
    Frodo
     

    Mars Warrior

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    Usability
    = Integrate the Configuration into MP itself.
    - nice for first-time users and first-time setup
    - avoid the going back-and-forth between configuration and MP
    - fully configurable using remote
    - able to change things (like adding paths for music/video) run-time

    = Make the configuration part more intelligent
    - if user enters TV, if no TV defined and TV cards found, enter TV configuration wizard, or give error and ask user if configuration wanted
    - same for Radio
    - auto-configuration option for TV/Radio. Configuration will search for installed cards, country and codecs and configure them. The choosen codecs should have some priority in the sense that MP chooses the best codecs for use in MP

    = Add more support per country out-of-the-box
    - XMLTV or any other program to fetch the EPG

    = Migration support for database contents
    - tv export/import
    - radio export/import
    - general setup (music/video) export/import

    = Even better: upgrade possibility which retains all settings...

    = Add the manual (PDF??) in the setup, so after installation users do have a very nice manual which the MUST read before asking questions...

    Performance
    = No extra comments on points already described by Frodo, except:
    - should we compare with other software, I mean in the forum there are many discussions about MP being slow compared to other HTPC applications, but those are different, don't use DX9 etc?!?!?!
    - do we need a reference system to be able to compare the performance gain over every improvement????

    Stability
    = Which parts are unstable now???
    - In other words which parts should be focussed on?
    - code reviews by some developers??
    - would need guidelines on how-to-make-c#-code-more-stable (use of exception handling and what to do...)
    - the use of FxCop as this might reveal some bad-practices regarding performance, stability and security (besides all the naming stuff).


    PS. Will add more in this posting if thinking of more things ;)
     

    Frodo

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    About your comments.
    The main focus for me will be on those 3 points.
    Offcourse adding new features/options may make it more usable for a specific group. But with usability i mean the current set of functionality
    and make that better usable, more understanding
    Most of your points about usability is about new options in the configuration. this is not exactly what i meant

    Performance
    Like i said 0% cpu when browsing the GUI
    when playing video,music,... then MP should use the same amount of %cpu as windows mediaplayer or other media players
    No need for reference systems, the requirements for MP are already available on the website.

    Stability

    >Which parts are unstable now???
    check the forums i would say

    >In other words which parts should be focussed on?
    already told that. First the core of MP, when thats done the plugins themselves

    >code reviews by some developers??
    Everybody is free to review the code, however you'll have trouble finding
    devs which like todo this. Besides that code reviews often leads to discussions about coding style and other non-relavant issues.

    -would need guidelines on how-to-make-c#-code-more-stable
    There are a lot of books, websites, courses and other ways to get this information

    -the use of FxCop as this might reveal some bad-practices regarding
    I dont think this will lead to more stable code. It will lead to code which adheres to the FxCop rules, which is again a coding style

    Frodo


    PS. Will add more in this posting if thinking of more things
     

    jcee

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    November 23, 2004
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    Usability/Stability (Please do not flame me if there are some "feature suggestions inside" as I think they are mandatory for usebility)

    = Get rid of the "Videodecoder set to empty string" bug (I have to doublecheck every time that its set to PAL_B) Maybe this is already fixed and/or does not belong here

    = Fix or revise autotune, or take it out for the time beeing

    = Improve switching from different parts. Especially when switching to/from myTV or enter/leave timeshift mode it takes several seconds (up to 10 on mine)
    This someone gives a bad feeling.. If no improvement possible how about popup messages saying "Switching to.. please be patient" ;-)

    =Better/more EPG handling.. others than XMLTV(?)

    =OSD!! In fullscreen mode (myTV) !!!
    Fade in channel name for several seconds, otherwise you loose plot: I (e.g.) ended up on the Svideo/composite channels, which only gave black screen and a delay.. so I pressed multiple times the remote and due to the input buffer after recovering it didi lots of unintended channel switches... :-(

    = as above: more status info, in timeshift mode show delay to live stream.

    = Reduce the DX9(?) overhead.. (maybe for the time beeing) to speed up gui navigation... I think ppl can live with some more flickering (or whatever for the moment instead of slow response)



    only my 2 cent..

    (BTW: I did not have enough time to proove if everything now works with my PVR150, do you need any more input? .. still some things to fix for the next beta?!?!)
     

    Mars Warrior

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    frodo said:
    Offcourse adding new features/options may make it more usable for a specific group. But with usability i mean the current set of functionality
    and make that better usable, more understanding
    Most of your points about usability is about new options in the configuration. this is not exactly what i meant
    I assumed that 0.2 won't be out tomorrow, so things could still be added in these areas. I will have to narrow it down now ;)

    frodo said:
    Performance
    Like i said 0% cpu when browsing the GUI
    when playing video,music,... then MP should use the same amount of %cpu as windows mediaplayer or other media players
    No need for reference systems, the requirements for MP are already available on the website.
    Oops, reading is difficult with a headache. Missed your explicit goals by a mile or two...

    frodo said:
    Stability

    >Which parts are unstable now???
    check the forums i would say
    Well, that's not what I meant. Many of those problems mentioned have something to do with faulty configurations (corrupted files, drivers, codecs). That MP does crash or shows a black screen under those circumstances was not what I meant with my question, I was more thinking about does MP crash or freeze while watching TV, listening to music, or for instance while continuously switching channels, toggling timeshifting on/off, etc.

    frodo said:
    >In other words which parts should be focussed on?
    already told that. First the core of MP, when thats done the plugins themselves
    The technical order is clear, but I meant which functions in relation with the question above, so TV or Music or DVD in general as I would be happy to stresstest a function orso in order to find bugs and get it more stable...

    frodo said:
    >code reviews by some developers??
    Everybody is free to review the code, however you'll have trouble finding
    devs which like todo this. Besides that code reviews often leads to discussions about coding style and other non-relavant issues.

    -would need guidelines on how-to-make-c#-code-more-stable
    There are a lot of books, websites, courses and other ways to get this information
    This was more like a question if you would think the review way is a feasible way to improve stability, as my fear is exactly what you describe about useless discussions, which are only made worse by all those books and websites describing several conflicting guidelines. Even FxCop changes its guidelines once in a while to name something...

    frodo said:
    [-the use of FxCop as this might reveal some bad-practices regarding
    I dont think this will lead to more stable code. It will lead to code which adheres to the FxCop rules, which is again a coding style
    FxCop indeed has its primary focus on naming conventions and coding styles, but on a previous project FxCop surprised me by revealing the source of about 10% of the outstanding bugs...

    And last but not least:
    Could you give an idea about the target date for 0.2??
     

    waeberd

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    One thing that pops up in my mind:

    Usability
    * unify / improve GUI navigation:
    + Standard keys like <ESC>, <RETURN>, <F3> ... should always work "the same way" in all screens.
    + unify the usage / display of "BACK"-buttons (when to use / how does it look like - button or listitem? ).
    + always remember usersettings ("view by" toggle buttons etc.) in all plugins
    => how about writing this stuff in a small "plugin writers guideline"!?

    Cheers,

    Daniel
     
    A

    Anonymous

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    hi.
    thanks for developing such a great application! 8)

    usability:
    what i wanna see in 0.2 is out of the box support for more hardware like tv cards, lcds, remote controls.
    but the greatest thing would be built-in codecs like mplayer or vlc. installing all those codecs is very very disturbing.

    greetings from switzerland,

    sven
     

    mr_minning

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    This is what I think really would improve usability:

    - I agree with waeberd concerning usability (standard keys, unified usage..).

    - I'd really like to be able to navigate though MP with my TV off, using only an LCD and RC (i.e. whatever is high-lighted, green in the GUI, should be seen in the LCD). This would make MP a really powerful Jukebox.

    Good work!!!
    /S
     

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