What I (should) have been working on: new interface for Oculars

Stellarium’s Oculars plug-in have been plagued with interface problems almost since its creation. Originally it was controlled with hard-coded key combinations, but the default ones were not easily accessible on keyboard layouts different from the default US QWERTY one and users complained. Then the plug-in’s author, Timothy Reaves, decided to add an option to change the combinations by entering the new ones by hand. This was somewhat awkward and users complained. Then he decided to use as few key combinations as possible and added a drop-down menu instead. Again, this was not very user-friendly and users have been complaining.

So I decided to look into the ways a plug-in can add controls on the screen – like the button bars in the lower left side of the screen. The result looks like this:

Before, there was a field in the upper right corner of the screen that displayed information about the current telescope/eyepiece. Now in its place is a control panel that allows cycling through the telescopes, eyepieces and sensors by clicking buttons. When the ocular view or sensor frame overlay is not active, the panel retracts, showing only the large buttons at the bottom.

There are several things that need to be done to finish the redesign of the interface, but I haven’t worked on it properly for the last few weeks. Even after the new interface is completed, it won’t help much Stellarium’s problems with the limited options for user interactions available to plug-ins.

The code is here:

https://code.launchpad.net/~daggerstab/stellarium/plugins-gui-improvement

Did I mention that this was supposed to be quick project before I continued my work on other stuff, such as telescope control? I’ve been sitting on some ASCOM and INDI code for long enough to forget what needs to be done with it.

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2 Responses to What I (should) have been working on: new interface for Oculars

  1. Latest look of GUI for this plugin is very nice, thank you

  2. hjacobson222 says:

    Yes. Very nice interface, thank you.
    A nit-picky question: I’ve entered binocular information. It shows up as (for example) “Ocular #0: Fujinon 10×50″. I suggest the string “Ocular #0:” is useful only for the initial configuration. After that it’s not relevant to observing and actually detracts from the pleasure of the experience. “Fujinon 10×50″ is all the information that’s needed to identify the eyepiece view.

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