Better handling of Library

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rrTea
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Better handling of Library

Postby rrTea » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:03 am

I like how the Templates are managed in ZGE: I can just make a project and put it in the appropriate directory... and when I want to use it as a starting point the Templates menu option goes through the appropriate directory and lists whatever it finds. Simple and it works!

Libraries, on the other hand, are kept in an xml file. I find it a bit cumbersome to handle, and opening it in ZGE (which should be the ideal tool for handling the collection) throws a bunch of errors, even though it gets through in the end.

It'd be nice if Library was handled like Templates: instead of the xml file there could be a directory with components pasted from ZGE. This would make it much easier to maintain, refine / evolve over time etc as needed. If there's a subdirectory in the Library directory, it can just get converted to a submenu, like the current categories (Meshes, Bitmaps etc).

Even better, I'd be super happy if I could actually specify directories for both Library and Templates in the IDE's preferences!

Edit: typo.
Last edited by rrTea on Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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VilleK
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Re: Better handling of Library

Postby VilleK » Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:04 am

These are good ideas. I wasn't sure anyone really used the Library and Templates but you seems to have made good use of them. I agree maintaining the Library.xml file is not easy. I think I originally had the idea that you were supposed to have a "Add to library" menuitem which would automatically write a component to library.xml but I never got around to adding that feature. I guess the downside is that it would mean a lot of tiny files in subdirectories instead of just the one file we have now, and I think that is a bit messy :). But like I said it is a good idea and I hope to have time to consider it. For the moment I'm still too busy with my normal work as a developer to have much time for ZGE.

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rrTea
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Thanks for replying

Postby rrTea » Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:21 am

Hej Ville,

Yes that's totally understandable (lack of time)... I saw you mentioned it in one other thread. Right now I'm in a similar position btw, duty calls and all that (but hopefully I'll award myself a nice ZGE-themed holiday in a month or two)!

Yes, I found good use for both features and I expect others are using them too, maybe it's just a matter of everybody else being used / more skilled in handling xml files so nobody ever thought of "complaining" like I always do about everything ;)

I guess the downside is that it would mean a lot of tiny files in subdirectories instead of just the one file we have now, and I think that is a bit messy :)

I agree it could get messy if one just indiscriminately throws everything in the Library, but in my opinion ultimately it's up to the creator to put together his palette of components (some artists keep their palettes clean, some like them big, some small...). I assume the majority will just stick with some few ten files divided in few directories.

"Add to Library" would also call for "Remove from Library" though (what about "New group", "Rename Group", "Remove Group"...). If it were possible to handle components like files, it'd be easy to prune / handle and everybody can select their way of handling it etc. Just a thought.
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Kjell
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Re: Better handling of Library

Postby Kjell » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:44 am

Hi guys,

rrTea wrote:Libraries, on the other hand, are kept in an xml file. I find it a bit cumbersome to handle, and opening it in ZGE (which should be the ideal tool for handling the collection) throws a bunch of errors, even though it gets through in the end.

Since the library is a regular XML file, you can use any / your-favorite XML editor to maintain it. But if someone's going to put time into it, i personally think it makes more sense to create a standalone tool tailored for just that purpose rather than trying to build it into ZGE.

K

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rrTea
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Re: Better handling of Library

Postby rrTea » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:34 pm

Hej Kjell - Isn't it easier to just go to the Project Tree, select and copy the component you want to add to the Library, open the Library directory and paste it, skipping the (to me unattractive) xml editing altogether?

Same for deleting and replacing the components, treating them as files would minimize / cut out dealing with xml files. Also it's easier to say what's going on by just taking a look, at least to me - same as Templates work now.
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Kjell
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Re: Better handling of Library

Postby Kjell » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:52 pm

Hi rrTea,

rrTea wrote:Isn't it easier to just go to the Project Tree, select and copy the component you want to add to the Library, open the Library directory and paste it, skipping the (to me unattractive) xml editing altogether?

No, you can't copy-paste a selection of ZGE components to a folder ( as a file ) in Windows directly, whereas you can copy-paste it using a ( decent ) XML editor.

rrTea wrote:Same for deleting and replacing the components, treating them as files would minimize / cut out dealing with xml files. Also it's easier to say what's going on by just taking a look, at least to me - same as Templates work now.

I disagree, using XML you can make the process much more intuitive as you can expose the contents & comments. Also, you lose the ability to sort your library the way you want to ( without prefixing file-names and using alphabetical order ).

K

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rrTea
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Re: Better handling of Library

Postby rrTea » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:30 pm

Ah that's right, I completely forgot you can't do it in Windows. I use DOpus as a file manager, there you can do all kinds of stuff like that (including pasting images from clipboard etc, I use it all the time - works with zge components too, which get pasted as txt files) - I haven't seen Windows Explorer for years.

using XML files you can make the process much more intuitive as you can expose the contents & comments.

That's another thing I forgot about Windows Explorer, yeah indeed it does not expose the content of xml files in a preview panel when the xml file is selected. Similar to how it doesn't show a preview of the image but instead pointlessly shows a big icon (I always wondered why) :P

But yes, I see your point. The issues you mention would not be a problem for anybody using a file manager but the majority of people just use Explorer I guess.

In this case the loss of direct control over sorting in non-alphabetical order is not a big deal to me but I can see how this could be considered important. Personally I wouldn't mind.
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rrTea
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Re: Better handling of Library

Postby rrTea » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:16 am

So how about an option to just drag a component into a directory? Similar to how a URL from a webpage can be dragged from Internet Explorer into Windows Explorer and it creates a shortcut in the directory where it was dropped in (it works with images too if the site allows it). Only in this case a component would be dragged from ZGE's Project Tree to a directory, creating an xml file or something like that.


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