Skip to main content

What's Going On? : Letting the users know

As many UX (user experience) people will point out, the good ol' WAIT WINDOW command, while useful for showing progress, isn't very visually pleasing.



Many developers skip the WAIT WINDOW and favor a progress bar but as Andy Kramek has pointed out on his blog, when you're scanning through a 20,000 record table, tracking the percentage complete can slow you down.

While it's nice to show the actual percentage, even Vista now just shows an animated therm that really doesn't show progress.

What alternatives are there?

MSGSVC has a useful therm approach - which can display an animated icon.But it uses a Timer and those can take up valuable resources.

I've recently taken to putting up a form with an animated GIF on it among other things. I used to use the animated AVI file approach that MS recommended years ago but the big problem there is that it's too hard to create a nice AVI or the tools just aren't there to do it. (My users are getting tired of seeing the flying folders when I'm working - if anyone knows of a good resource for useful AVI animations for developers, please let me know).

Doesn't the animated GIF use resources? Yes, it does. So I've built it as a COM EXE and call it as its own tool.

LOCAL loForm
loForm = CREATEOBJECT("_akdisp.showani")
loForm.DisplayForm("Updating files...")

The showAni method simply displays a form in the center of the screen with an animated GIF on it.

Then when I'm done,

loForm.HideForm()

Are there problems with this approach? Oh yeah, it's set to always appear on top so the user could, in theory, flip back into the main application and not see anything. In addition, I have to register the EXE which could be a problem with certain user permissions but I haven't seen any.

The reason I ask is that I'm thinking of various projects that might prove useful on VFPX. A revised set of UI classes might be useful or maybe I can coerce Emerson into putting something into this themed controls library.

What tools do *you* use to give users feedback?

Comments

Kevin Ragsdale said…
Andrew,

Glyfx has three nice sets of animations available at http://www.glyfx.com/shop/listing/animation/

And, they're on sale this week -- 50% off -- you can get all 3 sets for $28...
I use the _thermometer class (in _therm.vcx, distributed with the FoxPro Foundation Classes), because I like having the percentage completed displayed along with the moving bar.

For looping through large tables, I don't update the _thermometer every time. For instance:

SCAN
* Update every 100 records:
lnCounter = lnCounter + 1
IF MOD(lnCounter, 100) = 0
loTherm.Update(lnCounter)
ENDIF

* Do stuff...
ENDSCAN

The MOD() is called every time, but I figure it's less resource intensive than updating the _therm every time...

Popular posts from this blog

FoxInCloud Stats

FoxInCloud sent this link a while back about their statistics regarding visits to their site:

http://foxincloud.com/blog/2017/12/27/VFP-community-lessons-from-foxincloud-site.html



What's interesting here is the breakdown of people. Yes, I think it's understandable that the Fox community is getting older.

Another factor is the growth of the mobile and web environments taking over development. These environments really do push people towards the newer non-SQL or free SQL/hosted environments but more towards hosted storage options like Amazon and Google. A tool like FoxInCloud that helps MOVE existing applications to the cloud inherently competes with those environments.

But FoxInCloud also allows developers to extend their application further by giving them a starting point using Javascript and the basic CSS (such as Bootstrap). If you're not rebuilding your application from scratch, it's certainly a great step forward.

Well, that explains CodePlex...

In a move that will be sure to anger open source (or rather anti-paid software, anti-Microsoft open source)  zealots, Microsoft is planning to buy GitHub.

A year ago, I mused about why Microsoft would shut down CodePlex and how the world needs competing source code repositories to be strong. I'm not the only one per this Slashdot article :
"...people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity, moreso because there were valid questions about GitHubs financial viability...." - Jacques Mattheij

I will be interested in seeing this play out - whether developers jump ship or not. Have all the efforts Microsoft has made in pushing towards open source be seen as genuine or will all the zealots jump ship or maybe even attack?

Microsoft's comment about why they shut down CodePlex referred to how spammers were using CodePlex. Well, GitHub has its own …

The World of Updates Today

I just received an update for Office 365. It certainly includes some cool features - including starting in one environment and picking it up in another environment. In recent years, I've certainly enjoined the use of Continuity on a Mac and in fact, I feel spoiled being able to start a message in one environment (even Google) and then finish it off on another.  This has become some pervasive when we were reviewing our most recent backlog at a client site, a similar feature was added to the current workload.

But with web applications, the trend is to reduce the amount of software on a client machine. I used to have automatic backup for all of my machines (thanks Carbonite!) but these days, many of my machines don't need anything beyond the core OS and some basic applications. Certainly that's the feeling with Chromebooks and even the lightweight aspect of many iOS apps. The functionality is mostly in the cloud.

When you upgrade your system, you expect it to a big update. So…