What do new users need?

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jj2007
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby jj2007 » Jan 17, 2021 10:59

dodicat wrote:Maybe make this a .zip file jj2007, so people can see what they are getting.
E.g.
What is the editor?
Does the installer put anything on the system path?
Does the installer alter the registry?
-- and other little questions like this.

dodicat, I'm afraid a zip file is technically impossible; this is an installer. People get FreeBASIC-1.07.3-win64
The editor is Notepad.exe (!)
The installer does not write anything to the registry.
It does not write to any paths other than
a) the destination (C:\FreeBASIC-1.07.3-win64) and
b) something like C:\Users\myself\AppData\Local\Temp\7z21145A48\ (where it may leave a 30k hello World.exe)

If, for example, you have modified C:\FreeBASIC-1.07.3-win64\examples\graphics\cairo\clock.bas, the installer will kindly ask you if you really want to overwrite that file.

C'mon, be courageous - test it ;-)
speedfixer
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby speedfixer » Jan 17, 2021 17:06

I like dodicat's simple questions.
For a beginner, everything should be simple questions, simple answers.

I haven't used the Squire's WinFBE. I'm sure it's great.

But what made the old BASIC so easy was that even the editor was super simple. Nearly zero effort to learn.
When are you dealing with more than one page of code, all the variable tracking, highlight features, quick online help and the other stuff makes life easy. But for a beginner, it is intimidating. Makes one think he should study before he even installs a large package.

A super simple editor, written in FB, could be very portable.
Not really that much trouble to be an easy feed to the compiler package, with a very simple results page.

Really, the only problem I see is fonts.
I have four systems that might be up at any moment. The monitors are quite different on each.
One son is still here: he can see anything. I'm older: I need a little help.
I'm not sure why my wife isn't labelled legally blind.

We all have different needs, but scalable fonts builtin would really make life so much easier.

For me, I only use geany. I only use Linux.
But it was trivial to detect my screen/monitor layout. When I am programming, I scale and place my many multiple geany programming project sessions on my 8 desktops automatically. On any on the systems, same script. (I need all these windows: I don't want to [ xlate = can't ?? ] focus and remember it all so well, anymore.)

If you have an ancient, underpowered, ten year old, recovered from discards system, your fonts should are usually OK on a 1024x768 screen. THAT'S when this font set/size was developed. But, there are many, many more of this type system out there than any of us could imagine. This will probably be Linux. Ideal for third-world situations.

I'm a lucky person that has no trouble meeting my needs.

I NEED two large 4k monitors (and the horse power to run them) to allow my wife to work at home. Normally, in its Windows default, I couldn't read the text in an FB graphics window. THAT is a barrier. Even the larger fonts, using only the FB facilities, without a font system: unusable.
I have a different two monitor setup. My son has a hefty 3 monitor system.
Trying to show off a trick program to friends on my super large high-def TV is a waste of time, same as trying to actually do work on it.

I'm sure Windows has facilities available to do that same screen detection and window placement. FB *almost* can do it alone. (Can't do relative monitor placement, but I didn't try too hard - it was too easy in Linux.)

Fonts: my sight isn't quite that bad, yet. But I have no doubt I can do auto font scaling, also. There are many very good, fast libraries here. I've tried a few.

Simple editor.
Simple fonts.
Choose console or graphic view.
Feed fbc from it.

SMALL, self unzipping, self-contained directory arrangement. No path or environment modifying.

How hard could all that be?

Not a setup that we are familiar with, but it SHOULD be that easy.
If you like it, you learn later to take advantage of the more mature aspects of FB.

First requirement - add an install option in the script:

default: as is now
option added: change install to current package location as install directory, with all other libraries and tools in fixed directories under this location, and awareness by fbc that this is where they are. The package can have a quick tester in Linux to indicate which libraries are 'missing', and a small help file for what they might be per Linux/bsd/etc. distribution. (Even auto installed in the major distributions.) Should be simpler in Windows.

Second: integrate one of the excellent font managers into FB.

Make it TOO easy for beginners.

david

As usual, this was supposed to be a quick reply. Another sign of my age and wear-and-tear, I guess.
speedfixer
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby speedfixer » Jan 17, 2021 17:15

All that above, and really, first thing is integrated fonts system.
I think that is the single, largest impediment to moving FB forward for 'the masses.'

Anything anyone wants to do with FB in this modern world needs this.


david
jj2007
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby jj2007 » Jan 17, 2021 17:30

To avoid spamming this one, I've opened a separate Slim FreeBasic installer for Windows thread, with a link to the latest version.

@David: I understand your font issue - at age 64, my eyesight is not nearly as good as 30 years ago. My editor (RichMasm) uses the RichEdit control, which has a nice feature: holding Ctrl and pushing the mousewheel forward zooms in the font, provided it's Arial or any other "real" font. The old System font that many programmers seem to love does not scale. Even Notepad, btw, has an option in the Format menu to use bigger fonts.
deltarho[1859]
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby deltarho[1859] » Jan 17, 2021 19:36

I find it extraordinary that after 16 years or so we are taking about installers.

There are two types of newbies here: New to FreeBASIC and new to programming; new to FreeBASIC. The former will probably need all the help they can get. How much help does the latter need? Of the former how many of them have come here in the last few years? Of the latter their current expertise would be welcome.

This may seem an outrageous question but does the forum need an influx of those new to FreeBASIC and new to programming? The forum currently has 9,132 members. How many does it need? The PowerBASIC forum has an interesting statistic: Active members. The PowerBASIC forum is 'busier' than the FreeBASIC forum with 177 active members from a total membership of 3,567. When I came here PowerBASIC's active membership was greater than 250. I couldn't even hazard a guess at what the active membership is here, perhaps less than 177.

What I find interesting, for the want of a better word, is that only 310 members have posted 100 or more times since FreeBASIC's inception 16 years ago. Only 99 have posted more than 500 times and only 57 have posted more than 1000 times.

Of the top 25 posters 12 joined in 2005, 3 joined in 2009, 4 joined in 2006, 2 in 2007, one in each of 2008, 2013, 2015, and 2017. That guy in 2017 is me, currently ranked at 19th.

So, there has not been a strong participation from members. There are some exceptions with seven members posting more than 5,000 times topped by fxm's outstanding 10,036, D.J.Peters 8,203, and dodicat's 6,756.

You will have gathered that I do not regard the title of this thread as particularly important. To my mind a more important question is: "What do current users need?" As Spock said “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” although that logic has been questioned, but Spock was not 100% Vulcan. Image
BasicCoder2
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Jan 17, 2021 22:01

Edited post by deltarho[1859]

The forum currently has 9,132 members.

I couldn't even hazard a guess at what the active membership is here, perhaps less than 177.

310 members have posted 100 or more times since FreeBASIC's inception 16 years ago.

99 have posted more than 500 times and only 57 have posted more than 1000 times.

Of the top 25 posters 12 joined in 2005, 3 joined in 2009, 4 joined in 2006, 2 in 2007, one in each of 2008, 2013, 2015, and 2017. That guy in 2017 is me, currently ranked at 19th.

So, there has not been a strong participation from members.

There are some exceptions with seven members posting more than 5,000 times topped by fxm's outstanding 10,036, D.J.Peters 8,203, and dodicat's 6,756.

To my mind a more important question is: "What do current users need?"



As regards the stats above I would only pay attention to the last 12 or so months. It seems to me based on the above stats that FreeBASIC is now only used by a small number of active members (and maybe less non active members) and that nothing more needs to be done.

I have to take my hat off to the heavy duty posters (in terms of quality not simply quantity) such as fxm, D.J.Peters and dodicat. For me in particular I only stayed with FreeBasic because of the input from D.J.Peters enabling me to use FreeBasic in various hardware projects. MrSwiss also comes to mind with helping me on some programming issues. Thanks guys.

Always you need to start with the problem and then select a tool best suited for you as a solution to that problem. For me 11 years ago FreeBASIC was the best choice.
Last edited by BasicCoder2 on Jan 17, 2021 22:28, edited 1 time in total.
BasicCoder2
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby BasicCoder2 » Jan 17, 2021 22:27

speedfixer wrote:All that above, and really, first thing is integrated fonts system.
I think that is the single, largest impediment to moving FB forward for 'the masses.'
Anything anyone wants to do with FB in this modern world needs this.
david


Probably not going to happen unless you know how to add such commands to the compiler yourself. If you want fonts in FreeBASIC you can have them they are just not innate.
viewtopic.php?t=25518
https://www.freebasic.net/wiki/KeyPgDrawstring
And so on.
speedfixer
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby speedfixer » Jan 18, 2021 19:16

@BasicCoder2:
Probably not going to happen unless you know how to ...


I have fonts.

I set the size of the graphics screen - required for anything. Though for any 'customer' app I make, I start with default sizes based on the monitors in the system.

With my font system (based on FBTruetype):
I set my desired text lines/columns from a default, if I want. (Fixed for a final app.)
I change my font from a default, if I want. (A few choices allowed to the 'customer.')
My libraries will automatically size the font to give the desired font size in that screen.

THIS is the way it should be.

I set one inclusion switch. All done. Any size screen, any monitor, any font.

If the 'customer' chooses a larger or smaller screen size for the app: restart, font size recalculated - all good.
Too easy. It doesn't have to be that hard for the user.

Something like this should be built into FB graphics.

david
caseih
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby caseih » Jan 18, 2021 19:50

Doesn't Windows automatically scale apps that aren't high DPI aware? Granted the scaling makes everything blury. On Linux I don't imagine FB has any support at all for high DPI and scaling factors.
speedfixer
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Joined: Nov 28, 2012 1:27
Location: California

Re: What do new users need?

Postby speedfixer » Jan 18, 2021 20:14

@caseih:
Doesn't Windows automatically scale apps . . .


Who cares?
The system I use above doesn't care. FB graphics work fine; programming inside that system works fine.
If a similar method like that was built into FB, it would not matter.

Change graphics screen size - fonts follow.

david
jmgbsas
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby jmgbsas » Jan 18, 2021 20:53

In my humble opinion, it is not so much what a programmer was looking for, but rather the programmer finds the language and its possibilities. Like for example posting much more code development on github or gitlab or doubts on stackoverflow places where people are looking for interesting code, pollsters use those sites to do their statistics on which language is used and which is not.
caseih
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Joined: Feb 26, 2007 5:32

Re: What do new users need?

Postby caseih » Jan 19, 2021 0:39

speedfixer wrote:Change graphics screen size - fonts follow.
david

Why? Suppose I want to create a 320x200 game with all the nostalgia that goes along with that. Suppose it's run on a High DPI screen, which is more and more common. Now what?
Lost Zergling
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby Lost Zergling » Jan 19, 2021 0:58

@jmgbsas : welcome to forum. Surely new users (of forum) would appreciate a welcome (I hesitated a long time before my first posts).
speedfixer
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Re: What do new users need?

Postby speedfixer » Jan 19, 2021 4:18

caseih wrote:
speedfixer wrote:Change graphics screen size - fonts follow.
david

Why? Suppose I want to create a 320x200 game with all the nostalgia that goes along with that. Suppose it's run on a High DPI screen, which is more and more common. Now what?


If you create that game, then you define your screen size (and its graphics), column and row size, and your font. You size the row, column, font to be appropriate to that format screen to provide the effect you want.

Then, if you allow the user to change his screen size, then the RATIO of the font size remains the same to his screen size.
Too simple.

david
caseih
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Joined: Feb 26, 2007 5:32

Re: What do new users need?

Postby caseih » Jan 19, 2021 4:36

Let's try it a different way. I have a 1920x1200 screen. I design some graphical program that has what appears to me to be reasonable and usable interface. Font is a nice size, .16 inches tall on my screen. Say 18 pixels tall. About 4 mm. Let's say you have a 4k screen, 3840 x 2160, but a similar size to mine. You run my program and everything is half the size now. What was a readable font for me is now .08 inches tall for you. 2mm! See the problem now? This is why Windows and other operating systems scale windows for programs that are not aware of high DPI screens. FB's graphics library is not only not high DPI aware, it's completely unaware of DPI.

This issue is why dosbox supports scaling out of the box, so classic 320x200 games are still playable on modern screens. Using the simple method you propose I could simply scale everything I do (including the font) by some number. Say make the FB window 960x600 and use a font that's 24x24, but that won't work for other screen resolutions that are now common. In fact working in real pixels hardly works at all anymore. That's why OS's now abstract the pixel size, and automatically apply scaling factors to programs running on high DPI screens. Fonts continue to be sharp because they are rendered using the virtual size but to native pixels, as are vector graphics. bitmaps graphis are scaled, unless the program uses the OS apis to supply it with variable DPI bitmaps. It all seems rather hackish to me, but it does work and that's where all OS's have gone now. Long story longer, this is what I am trying to get at. FB's graphics library could support high DPI by doing it's own scaling of the graphics window.

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