Old 07-18-2017, 04:31 AM   #1
marsmellow
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Default A 'Drag & Drop' Walter theme builder: what do you think?

Dear Reaper theme builders & development team,

The last few years we have seen lots of theme builders released for the biggest website platform in the world: Wordpress.

As being a designer and website developer myself, my favourite Drag And Drop Builder is Elementor.
Elementor makes it possible by simply drag and drop website elements, (like images, text, sliders, counters etc) on the page canvas on top of a basic Wordpress theme (like GeneratePress, for example).

www.elementor.com
www.generatepress.com

So this made me think...what if the next version of Walter would have a Drag and Drop Theme Builder, so we could easily build our Graphical User Interfaces on top of a basic clean theme.
This would make it so much easier for non developers to make great looking themes for Reaper, without time consuming scripting and scrolling through endless chunks of code.

What are your thoughts on this idea?
Let's discuss this :-)

https://youtu.be/kB4U67tiQLA

Last edited by marsmellow; 07-18-2017 at 04:48 AM.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:54 AM   #2
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I think that is a great idea!

However, I wouldn't like to see precious development time taken away from REAPER's raison d'être: recording and processing audio.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:37 AM   #3
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Yeah, great idea but who'll do it? That would be quite a big job to put together and debug etc. because the end result has to work well. I can only imagine it would be a whole big other thing and Cockos have enough on their plate as it is.

Reaper is big complicated thing. Walter is also a big complicated thing and in large part necessarily so. I understand how we all (myself included) would like to have quick easy shortcuts to impressive themeing but the reality is it's not a simple task because reaper is not simple either.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:45 PM   #4
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This simply won't happen.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:50 PM   #5
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I began and even created a very simple prototype that did this when Walter first came out in pre-release, then someone else did the same thing a couple years later. I don't think it is possible/worth the trouble (within reason) but I'm happy if you prove me wrong.
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Old 07-19-2017, 12:12 AM   #6
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Yeah, we had this discussion several times in the past years. The project would require a lot of free time.
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Old 07-19-2017, 12:17 AM   #7
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I would love to see that, but I'm almost 100% sure that is not possible. Reapers interface is more than just a bunch of graphics. You have different states of images (ok, that would work) but you have all that WALTER stuff, e.g. when resizing track heights etc. That needs to be programmed. I don't think you can make that really work in a D&D editor.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:47 AM   #8
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Yes, we've discussed this a while ago.

It is possible to some degree. But it would still require graphic editor skills, like photoshop etc, to create the actual images.

For positioning the graphics it is possible to generate WALTER code fairly easily with some JQuery libs, and some custom JavaScript.

I have been thinking about this for a while, but never got around to building it. Maybe we can join together and make a start?

There are JQuery drag and drop libs ready for grabs, so that's easy. Then it's a matter of getting the pixel position from each element we drag and drop, relative to the constraints of the layout parts of Reaper.

We could, possibly, emulate the resize behavior from the TCP, MCP, by making a couple of DIV's and a drag handle, but that is another layer of added complexity.

Best to start somewhere, and then build on it. But we have to set up a test environment where anyone that wants to join can fiddle with it.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:55 AM   #9
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This is a good lib: http://interactjs.io/

For making a browser based WALTER editor.
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneurette View Post
Yes, we've discussed this a while ago.

It is possible to some degree. But it would still require graphic editor skills, like photoshop etc, to create the actual images.
Another problem is you have to point the editor to an existing theme in order to have the correct elements to drag around etc, inventory what is there so to speak and use those which means you have to sort of expose all of them in the GUI and/or essentially build a working mock up of Reaper using those behaviors which would be different code than Reapers actual code. Between that and all the behaviors AND positioning, seems like it would be a super PIA. Otherwise, you are moving an element or two and constantly launching Reaper to confirm the result which I could do faster minus the visual feedback in a text editor.
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Old 07-22-2017, 02:09 PM   #11
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Things in GUI will go (hopefully) to SVG at some point, hence in vector scalable graphics. As for Drag'n'drop functionality - I am not sure how it can work.
I would prefer layer type GUI where with right click I could 'Hide this element' (Volume slider for example) but all this is just over-complicating things.
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Old 07-23-2017, 07:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Another problem is you have to point the editor to an existing theme in order to have the correct elements to drag around etc, inventory what is there so to speak and use those which means you have to sort of expose all of them in the GUI and/or essentially build a working mock up of Reaper using those behaviors which would be different code than Reapers actual code. Between that and all the behaviors AND positioning, seems like it would be a super PIA. Otherwise, you are moving an element or two and constantly launching Reaper to confirm the result which I could do faster minus the visual feedback in a text editor.
Yes, exactly.

But we could create different templates to cater to different layouts 4,5 etc. Once establishing a baseline grid that would be fairly easy. Then we could launch sets up default items: knobs, sliders etc which we then can replace with the users own images. They could create their own sets, or replace each item with their own.

Most of my work in theming, goes into positioning these darn things. Pixel per pixel, it's a real pain. Then, if I don't like it, I have to re-position everything again. Currently I do this in photoshop, where I recreate the TCP box drag/adjust all items to my liking, and then get the pixel position and manually enter into WALTER code, and then refresh the theme and see if everything is okay, then px by px make adjustment for different layouts. A theme builder would take away this time consuming step.
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Old 08-01-2017, 06:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adXok View Post
Things in GUI will go (hopefully) to SVG at some point, hence in vector scalable graphics. As for Drag'n'drop functionality - I am not sure how it can work.
I would prefer layer type GUI where with right click I could 'Hide this element' (Volume slider for example) but all this is just over-complicating things.
Pretty sure they said it wont ever be worth the amount of effort it would need to convert Reaper to vector, it is staying bitmap forever.
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Old 08-02-2017, 03:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpunk_w View Post
Pretty sure they said it wont ever be worth the amount of effort it would need to convert Reaper to vector, it is staying bitmap forever.
https://forum.cockos.com/showpost.ph...4&postcount=68
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post
SVG support is a glimpse of hope, I suppose.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:35 AM   #16
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and in the meantime there is always Smajjers!
I love the way the Reaper community eventually finds a way round stuff, pending the devs getting the time and inclination to work on things "officially".
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:02 PM   #17
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If anyone wants to take a shot at it, be my guest. I don't have the time. As of yet, I am working from my PSD template, and it is actually much faster than any GUI builder could possibly be. It works somewhat similar.

In any case, creating themes still requires graphic/design skills regardless of the method we create themes. Whether that be a theme builder or working directly inside a graphical editor. Sure, one could create a theme builder with thousands of presets, but I am guessing that is way beyond the current scope and usefulness.
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