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General => Remote Control => SQ Remote / Square Connect (iOS) => Topic started by: Cherokee180c on August 14, 2011, 06:18:31 pm

Title: Themes
Post by: Cherokee180c on August 14, 2011, 06:18:31 pm
I played around a bit with themes today.  Finally figured out how to change the backgrounds properly.  I kept the original author on the file since all the buttons and everything else is the same, but you can change the look a lot by just changing the outermost and inner backgrounds.  I sent John some of the selections to post up to the User created section on their site so hopefully we can kick off some new community themes.  The process is fairly easy so if you have any questions post away.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectJohn on August 15, 2011, 03:59:11 am
I started an LCARS Star Trek Theme (to see how this would look). This is an iPad only theme, although it could be modified with a different background for the iPhone. It's still work in progress and when its finished I will release it.

Basically this will give you the look and feel of a Star Trek UI...

Below is a screen shot (slightly different to the one I posted in another thread). I have been told that the screen shots down appear when using Safari, so I include a link as well:

http://www.squareconnect.com/downloads/images/SQRemote_LCARS_1.png
http://www.squareconnect.com/downloads/images/SQRemote_LCARS_2.png

   
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: Henk on August 15, 2011, 04:28:25 am
Wow, im not using the SQ Blaster (yet),
for a few reasons, one being the puck design (piano or satin black finish would be great)
The other being the announced PRO hardware.

But seeing these and the support SQ puts into their products, it cant be long before i get me some of their products!

Good work!!

Henk
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: Cherokee180c on August 15, 2011, 06:36:04 am
Now that is a real Theme!  Mine are just your official Leather and Wood theme modified with totally different backgrounds.  They do make the overall look and feel different though.  Hopefully momentum will build.

Henk, I would not hesitate to buy the current blaster if you don't need the Zwave since you are already using Vera2.  They are integrated so well together, you will begin to forget which unit is doing what, LOL. 
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectMat on August 15, 2011, 01:20:11 pm
I started an LCARS Star Trek Theme (to see how this would look). This is an iPad only theme, although it could be modified with a different background for the iPhone. It's still work in progress and when its finished I will release it.

Basically this will give you the look and feel of a Star Trek UI...

Below is a screen shot (slightly different to the one I posted in another thread). I have been told that the screen shots down appear when using Safari, so I include a link as well:

http://www.squareconnect.com/downloads/images/SQRemote_LCARS_1.png
http://www.squareconnect.com/downloads/images/SQRemote_LCARS_2.png

   

IMPORTANT. I talked to John about this... Those of us who actually want to use this theme need to 'Like' the post on Square Connect's Facebook page... http://www.facebook.com/#!/SquareConnect

John tells me that this was really just an experiment, and unless he gets enough 'likes' he wasn't going to finish it...

Title: Re: Themes
Post by: Henk on August 15, 2011, 02:03:13 pm
How about creating a POLL right here on the forum?!?
Wouldn't that be more appropriate? And accesible for those who do NOT have facebook (yes they exist, I am one of them)?!!

Waiting for the poll to show up!

Henk
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: shady on August 15, 2011, 03:33:03 pm
Cheers to you @Henk for avoiding Facebook!

I love the theme, and feel guilty if there is no interest and John already did as much as he did for it.  I think it would really demonstrate what is possible with themes and the app.  

I think the other themes are fine, but maybe they don't show that you can think outside of the typical buttons/background paradigm and come up with something that blurs the lines between background and control sets.

If John wants to move on, I would love to continue adding to this theme.  I wonder if it is possible to have useless  animations (standard in LCARS interfaces), like is a weather screen to have a spiniing globe or animated weater map.  These could be made useful, by pulling accurate infor from the web and using webviews, but I was wondering if you could use animated gif's or something else.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectMat on August 15, 2011, 04:40:58 pm
I wonder if it is possible to have useless  animations (standard in LCARS interfaces), like is a weather screen to have a spiniing globe or animated weater map.  These could be made useful, by pulling accurate infor from the web and using webviews, but I was wondering if you could use animated gif's or something else.

I asked John the same question, and we think that is not possible with this release. It is on the road map though.

Mat
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: shady on August 15, 2011, 04:44:22 pm
It really looks great with or without pointless animations.  Some LCARS folks take that element a bit too far anyway.  It looks very clean and I am just floored that this is possible with skins, my mind is reeling with the possibilities.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: azrml on August 15, 2011, 04:45:45 pm
Awesome LCARS theme!

As yet another without Facebook,  a poll here or on the SQ page would be great!

Mike
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectJohn on August 15, 2011, 06:49:50 pm
Would need to start another thread/topic for a poll... also Mat was pulling your leg(s) ... we wanted you to go onto Facebook and "Like It" as this supports us and gets the word out about what we are doing...

Anyway, I have finished this theme as far as I can I think (without the ability to create custom controls... that's foreseen for Designer BTW - or at least as a stand alone app)

Here are few more screenshots. There are some limitations, not least that LCARS is a very simple UI, so icons etc have no real place here... I have removed them from the Home Automation buttons by replacing them with clear png's so that they don't appear within the controls. There are some color issues with text that should be resolved to make it a bit better. Some controls look really poor, so you need to be conservative with your judgement of which controls to use to keep it looking clean. Also I think its a good idea to keep the overall number of controls on the screen down.. the background images eat up the real estate and its easy to overcrowd everything.  Basically if you want this as a UI on your iPad you will need to make some sacrifices and compromises.. I have to say ... I am quite enjoying the look.. (I was not sure at the start...)

As soon as I can I will release this so that others can start to play with it and mod it if they want...
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectMat on August 15, 2011, 08:00:01 pm
... also Mat was pulling your leg(s) ...

LOL. Technically, I think John was pulling my leg... And I have lived in CA too long - lost my dry sense of humor - and hadn't realized. Apologies if anyone was misled, but appreciated the feedback and likes anyway.

M
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: shady on August 15, 2011, 08:25:42 pm
As if it wasn't hard enough to wait for my iPad, now you guys are really turning the screws to get me to pull out the credit card tonight at my local mall (Apple Store). 

You've out done yourself John, (applause)...  I am not THAT big of a fan of Star Trek TNG, but there is something about that UI that is/was clean and friendly.  The carrot of an ipad app you've been dangling in front of me just turned into a chocolate cake, and I'm on eBay now hunting for a good iPad deal.  This really does show what can be done, as you don't always think of using clear .png's.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: Cherokee180c on August 16, 2011, 07:02:52 am
What is crazy as I haven't gotten one inquiry on my post in AVS forum with the videos in the Remote Control section.  I think there is nothing but Harmony drones in that section.  I am going to repost in the HA section. Also, have you guys been covered again in Engdget?  I sent them a news tickle.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: shady on August 16, 2011, 01:23:54 pm
I know Engadget had a great review back at the beginning of the year for the Blaster.

I also know that the AVS forums are filled with dealers (Crestron, Lutron, C4, Vantage, etc, etc) that defend their vendor's automation solutions to the death.  I have been singing the praises of Vera and SQ Remote/Blaster for a long time there and it always turns into a flame war (that I feel like I've won because they can't argue with the value of these solutuons).  You may not have much luck in the HA forums, but I say keep trying.

It is either a dealer defending their livelyhood and denouncing Z-Wave, or an enthusiast who paid through the nose for a Lutron system who defends their purchase so they don't feel ripped off.   Either way I usually just PM the poster with advice about using Square Connect's products and tell them about my positive experience.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectJohn on August 16, 2011, 06:28:32 pm
I have released this LCARS theme now (along with several user submitted themes). You can find them here:

http://www.squareconnect.com/t​hemes.html

if anyone decides to make their own mods from this - or just use it, please share! We would love to see what you are doing

John
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: bbjansen on August 17, 2011, 07:39:45 pm
U guys still working on expanding the designer?
I got some theme ideas, but the buttons on the bottom would make it ugly in my opinion.
It would be nice if i can place the buttons on the left for example(instead of the bottom bar), and chose how many buttons.
Thats the main reason why i am not buying a license yet.

Maybe i just want too much.
The best would be to be able to theme everything. A bit like the XBMC(www.xbmc.org) skin engine.
XML Based with no fancy gui, i'll bet you get some quality themes from some users then.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectJohn on August 18, 2011, 08:26:03 am
I am afraid that you want too much (or perhaps just too soon).   ;)

There will be no immediate change that allows buttons on the side or to select the number of buttons, as this is determined within the app infrastructure as it stands today.

John
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectMat on August 18, 2011, 01:15:38 pm
@bbjansen

It is however all driven by XML, so within the constraints of the general flow and structure, you can go straight into the XML and tweak it.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: bbjansen on August 18, 2011, 07:03:53 pm
So it would be possible to add "just" images as well (not buttons)?
Where can i find the xml? in the themes on your website it does has an xml, but only with theme data, no layout defined etc.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectMat on August 18, 2011, 08:04:34 pm
SQRemote 'configurations' are a collection of XML documents that define the layout. The themes represent a set of standard buttons and bitmaps used by the specific configuration. I know you can do things in the raw XML that you can't do through the GUI editors... I'd suggest sending an email to John at squareconnect.com to get further details and to discuss exactly what you are wanting to do... he is probably the most knowledgable on the existing XML as well as driving future development of the customization and theme development

Mat

Title: Re: Themes
Post by: radarengineer on August 18, 2011, 08:29:39 pm
@SquareConnectJohn

I love the LCARS theme! Also, even though it isn't required I'm liking you guys on facebook.

@Cherokee180c

Your posts on AVSforums might not have received any responses, but I saw your youtube video and it convinced me. I was actually putting together my own control system with a little linux box and lirc, and after watching that video I decided the price for the SQ Blaster was well worth it. People do get pretty protective of their favorite solutions don't they?

My only problem is I don't have an ipad/ipod. I just bought my wife and I evo 3ds and have another android tablet lying around as well. I will probably just pick up an SQ Blaster and just hope that android support comes along soon.



Title: Re: Themes
Post by: shady on August 18, 2011, 08:39:35 pm
You'll at least be able to use the Blaster through Vera in the meantime with your Android devices.
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: radarengineer on August 18, 2011, 09:08:44 pm
That is the plan... but I really want to use some of these new themes!  :)
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectJohn on August 19, 2011, 03:08:36 am
I love the LCARS theme! Also, even though it isn't required I'm liking you guys on facebook.

Thank you!   8)
Title: Re: Themes
Post by: SquareConnectJohn on August 19, 2011, 03:12:30 am
So it would be possible to add "just" images as well (not buttons)?
Where can i find the xml? in the themes on your website it does has an xml, but only with theme data, no layout defined etc.

Yes in theory you can add just images... actually that's reasonably simple. The infrastructure is there ... its just fiddly.

I will be adding this to SQ Designer soon, so it will be simple drag and drop ( or close to). I would prefer this method than opening pandoras box of having everyone editing the xml and then asking me why things no longer work   :o

But if you want to have a go drop me a line.

John