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[Therion] Interface Comments/Suggestions

From: Wookey
Subject: [Therion] Interface Comments/Suggestions
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 00:26:56 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.13 (2006-08-11)

OK, after a major drawing session, here are a few general comments on
therion/xtherion. I'll send a seaprate mail with things specific to my

1) I get very bored of typing '-subtype invisible' after clicking on
border. Somekind of shortcut for selecting commonly-used subtypes
would be really useful. A dropdown showing available subtypes
according to selcted line would be a simple way to do it (and would
help when you are not quite sure which ones are available). But having
border (invisible) in the main menu next to border would really help.

The problem is that people's favourite lines probably vary with person
and cave, so being able to configure this might be best. (ctrl-B or
ctrl-I to select it would be good for me). This implies a general
mechanism for configuring key shortcuts or favoured line-types, which
may not be easy. But anything would be better than typing '-subtype
invisible' hundreds of times.

2) cross-section drawing.

Overall this is still very tedious - there are various things that
could be done to make it better.

scale: The new update scale button is a big help, but I still find I
have to do things like look up the length of a nearby plan line in the
.svx file in order to find the LRUD info or otherwise get a scale so I
can then set the scale by using the stations (and rotating top right
point so line is at approx 45 degrees). This seems such a waste of
time when the passage width is right there next to the section, and
clearly the scale should match. I can't easily tell if the passage is
2, 5, or 20m wide, but therion already knows. Perhaps the scale for X
on an xsect could default to the same as the dist between the walls
under the section line (and Y is same as X), and N is up the page?
Then the drawer can change that if it is not right.

scrap names:
I got very bored of creating a scrap then having to select it and
change the name to <scrapname>_c1 or whatever. Can x-sects be set to
have such a scrapname by default, incrementing the number? 

Part of the problem is that there is no link between the x-sect scrap
and the section line on the plan/elevation. Only the point has a link.
It seems to me that xsections are logical entities and making sure all
of the line, the scrap and the point are associated is a good thing,
which will help with the grouping of sections into boxes when that is
implemented. Associated with this is the need to give each section a
'display name' or label like 'E3' or whatever. Have I just missed this

xtherion should warn you when you accidentally create lines
outside of a scrap. It is easy to do and slow/fiddly to put right. Is
there ever a valid reason for creating lines outside a scrap? I can't
think of one.

Automatically removing null lines might be useful (a line entry that
just has one point and does nothing but confuse - are these ever useful)?

The xtherion interface needs more work on shortcuts generally as we
use it so intensively. More keyboard options for chanigng between
common line and point types and moving to next
scrap in the scroll list. e.g only showing lines in the current scrap
and showing lines from other scraps collapsed or greyed might do the

I don't believe the 'right click to select line hidden below' is
working. When I have a line at a scrap join on both scraps (because there is an
area join here), I can only selectone line. I have to move it out of
the way to get the other one.

I need a much faster computer and/or more RAM. :-) 

Large files take forever to load or change scale. pdf rendering takes
minutes too, and I can't open a browser and aven and xtherion and a
PDF file all at once. xtherion can get left a long way behind (but at
least it does do all thing you asked eventually). This part is not
your fault, although the tcl of xtherion doesn't help - that is a
really big job to fix, although finding someone to re-write it in gtk
would be very good 

General issue of mixing cave- and map- and project-specific layout

There are layout options that you want to set globally for the
project (e.g. symbol types), options you want to set for the cave
(name, rotate, author), and options you want to set just for this plot
(map-header position, exclude pages).

It is currently difficult to set this up so that it works well. The
newish 'copy' and 'input' commands ought to provide the right
flexibility but I keep finding I am inheriting some inappropriate
settings. I'm not sure about this - it probably isn't therion's fault,
but I get the feeling it could be made a lot easier for users to
separate the various types of layout option. I'll have to think about

OK, that'll do for now.

Aleph One Ltd, Bottisham, CAMBRIDGE, CB5 9BA, UK  Tel +44 (0) 1223 811679
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