Friday, March 21, 2008

Tablet Test Area

I've gotten a bit more committed to SVN for the new input devices dialog. It does tracking of buttons and axes now, with different graphics to show ones that have been seen, ones that have not, and ones that are currently active. There are two main benefits right off the bat (aside from the gratuitous "oooh, pretty lights" factor). First is that it allows a simple way to determine what inputs any given device really has, as opposed to what is reported to GTK+. For example, my tablet's pen says it can handle 7 macros, but it only has 3 buttons. And I've seen that although the driver reports six axes, I only get data on five (aka there is one 'dead' input axis). The second main functionality is to allow a user to see which physical parts of his devices are hooked up to what. For example, an Intuos3 tablet has buttons and touch strips on the tablet itself, but it may not be immediately obvious how those are configured. Under Linux, I see those strips as the x-tilt and y-tilt axes. Also using the visual feedback it is easy to see which buttons have which numbers. Then below I'm using progress bars to show the current values of the axes, so it's easy to get an idea of how those values range on different physical changes. I still need to add some visual feedback for those that have no bounds, but those are usually the ones mapped to x and y, so are already being used for positioning. Now the next thing is to get some feedback on how this works for other people. That will also help for the "Configuration" tab which will allow setting of things such as screen versus window mode, button actions, etc. Those may change with the user's current task, but the hardware usually will stay in one (or a very few) combination.


Unknown said...

Fantastic effort Jon! Best wishes for successful development. I wished there were more projects like yours in Linux.

Krzysztof said...

If you get data from touch strips as tilt, then your "wacom" driver is misconfigured. The Wacom driver is quite flaky overall, i.e. it uses 2-point instead of 4-point calibration, and the developers are reluctant to accept patches. It also suffers from architectural limitations that prevent it to support USB Tablet PC devices.

Bart Nagel said...

this is exactly the kind of thing Inkscape needs, and should be able to customise the actions the mouse buttons perform too. as a context-menu hater, i often wish the right mouse button would have a more useful action.

in Xara i have it set up to do a shift-click, and it is a much more efficient way of working for me. it would be great to be able to set things this way in Inkscape too.

i'm sure other users would customise their mouse and tablet buttons in various ways -- perhaps zoom when dragging the right mouse button, perhaps control or alt-click for one of the buttons and so on.

please take a look at the blueprint and spec i just put together (i'm new to Launchpad so i'm not entirely sure they're appropriate, but hey, i do my best).

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