Upcoming in v2 - Layout designer


#1

We're excited to bring you an early look at the Layout Designer in 2.0 - an overhaul of our existing designer based on 100s of user stories and feedback. We've kept the same core concepts you know and love, but made them more accessible and fun to use with a new user interface.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://blog.xibo.org.uk/upcoming-in-v2-layout-designer/

#2

It would be great if they could implement an option for touch screens.
An example of serious use, having a tactile monitor with a website and that people can navigate through the website with their fingers


#3

Do you mean as a Player feature? I think we will have that covered with our interactive signage work (also coming in 2.0).


#4

yes. using xibo, create a layout with a web area and show it on touch screen monitors where customers can browse through the website, example in a dealer, the customer can find the information of the car.

another example would be to create buttons in the layout and that visitors can change the images displayed on the monitor


#5

Great news! I have two suggestions:

  1. configurable and attachable grid lines: I configure the grid lines to be every 20 pixels, and the regions attach to those. Useful for aligning regions.

  2. (probably out of context) In media manager, ability to assign a media to one or more playlists, “from date-to date”. Useful for advertisement.


#6

Sure, those things are being looked at for “Interactive Signage”: Interactive Signage


#7

Thanks for the suggestions:

  1. Great idea, we will add it to our list
  2. A little out of context :wink: but yes, this will be included in the Playlists feature (we should have an “upcoming” post for that soon).

#8

Hi,
Any plans to improve the Android player too? We have still the problems with the transition between 2 video’s (not smooth) and a smoother ticker?


#9

We do have those items recorded, but haven’t any announcements to make at present.


#10

The layout designer tool is a nice improvment, mostly the timeline. This provides a better way to manage content of a more complex nature. The basic playlist was ok, but has its limitations.

The main thing we see mostly with digital signage software, it lacks the perspective from the designer/reseller point of view, which is to “Separate the Data from the Design.” We find most end users (the actual customers using the software daily or weekly) are not looking for a layout tool because they do not know design nor do they want to learn it or hire someone that does. If they are that savvy, they know PowerPoint enough to create the layouts and bring in as static png files.What they want is to change and update their content; that’s it.

We realize the attempts with the data table widget is on the right track, but it lacks flexibility to be incorporated into professional design layouts. As designers, if we could create the design(s) say in static HTML/CSS and have the end user (the customer) only input the text content based from input fields, dropdown menus or check boxes we (the designers) could “easily” drop in code snippets into a static HTML file for the data connection. Now THAT’s real progress. In fact, hardly any of the digital signage CMS offers this solution?

It’s interesting how ALL of the Digital Signage CMS out there seem to think everyone wants to have a layout tool. Where in reality, the end users (store managers, marketing people etc) really only want TEXT changes were they can make updates as easy as sending an email. Perhaps, changing a background image by use of a dropdown menu (of course, the BG image was pre-made for the end user to select). Let the design be pre-made or custom made from the company they are hosting with. Combining this with the new timeline, that is what the end user (store managers, marketers, etc) want.

We see Xibo could be to digital signage what WordPress is to the web. Even WP has not gone as far, but for the help with Advance Custom Fields the sofware allows this capability. With WP plugin creators like Elliot Condon with the ACF Pro plugin, they understand data and design should be separate and leaves the layouts with animation to the professional and the content options with input text fields to the end users (customers). Even more, they allow the designers to provide a CUSTOM way to set the types of input fields the end users interact with.

Love to hear if any consideration for this type concept has been discussed within the Xibo conversations. At the very least, as a widget.


#11

You present an interesting point and certainly we do encounter (fairly regularly) this exact situation.

I don’t consider the Layout Designer as a competing tool to hand crafted HTML/CSS as this would be a losing battle - you’ve only got to look at IDEs for webdesign to realise that. The Layout Designer is a convenient tool for a non-technical person to make a passable design without involving a professional designer if they choose not to. This is an important part of what the project provides - the idea that these things should be accessible in this way.

Another important part of what the project should provide is the platform for designers to create content that is better than what they can do in the GUI - be this with Video or HTML/CSS. Our route to doing this is with the Module system, which I absolutely accept could do with improvement to make it easier to use, either through changes to the way it works or through better documentation.

The module system has a bunch of structure around what you can and can’t do, so that Xibo can ensure things are delivered to the Players reliably and in a sustainable fashion, but otherwise does (I think) meet your goal of using hand crafted HTML/CSS, other resources (JS, Images, etc) and provides a framework for allowing your users to configure the data using the Widget Add/Edit form.

How we can improve this system further and make it more accessible is a question i’d love to have answered - as you say we’d be on the way do becoming the WordPress of Digital Signage :smile:


#12

Hi Dan, thanks for your reply. We appreciate the constant improvement of the software - the timeline feature is a great improvement because users can sync up various playlists to change as each one reaches their time destinations. It’s truly important for more complex content design.

We like to add to the conversation, we were not comparing the layout tool with crafted HTML/CSS, by no means. As you have stated, that’s a lost battle. As a design company for this medium, we would love the opportunity to resell our design services WITH a Digital Signage CMS solution to END USERS such as store managers, small business owners, office mangers, and so forth. However, with over one hundred DS CMS solutions out there on the market, there’s very few that allow the Digital Signage companies and Designers using these DS CMS software tools to provide the everyday user data input simplicity. The everyday user always have to wrangle their content around the design element, which makes it more complicated and frustrating.

We want to bring up a conversation that addresses the real interests of the everyday user. Of course, they like to have a nice designed piece of content, but what’s MORE important to them is to UPDATE that Content Quickly and Easily. We were trying to point out, most Digital Signage CMS over looks “this point” and does not truly provide a way to “Separate the Data from the Design.” It’s always presented to the everyday user (store managers, small business owners, office mangers etc,.) with the design as part of the interface.

We ask, why not “make an option” where the digital signage company can provide a separate GUI for the everyday users (the customers of the digital signage company) to enter their content data by the use of input text boxes, text areas, dropdown menus, radio buttons, etc where the DS Company has connected these input choices with snippets of code into the local HTML/CSS regions, or video/animation regions from the templates assembled within Xibo? Again, to provide the DS Companies a feature where they can Separate the Data from the Design so the digital signage companies can better serve their everyday end user. We understand the data table widget “touches” on this, but it does not allow flexibility for the data to be entered intuitively for the everyday user nor can the input data be cherry picked from the database table and arranged within the hand crafted HTML/CSS region.

If anyone has created a Widget Add/Edit forms, is truly interested in creating such a widget with these types of features please let us know. We understand it’s not an simple task, but it’s a feature that seems to be over looked yet an important one. For the Reseller who is a digital signage company that feels design is just as important as the simplicity of the everyday user updating the content, THIS could be THE Cornerstone to selling a Digital Signage CMS Services with Professional Design Services.

BWT Dan, we enjoyed your interview with Dave Haynes on Sixteen:Nine Podcast back in January this year!


#13

Great comments, thank you. Very happy for you and anyone else to weigh in on this discussion and contribute to the direction we take as a project.

The intention is that you create a Module to do exactly this - your module can use a DataSet to store its data (or cache or whatever else) and you can lift the data out to insert it into your HTML/CSS designs. The only caveat is that your HTML/CSS must be served from within the mechanisms provided by the module system. We insist that content is served through the module system so that we have some way to control how it is delivered to the Players.

Custom forms for the user updating their data can also be provided via a module, by creating an add/edit form that updates your DataSet accordingly.

I think the major challenge is to document the systems we already have in place so that technical users can take advantage of the capability.

Thanks!! it was an interesting discussion with Dave and i’m pleased to hear you enjoyed listening to it.


#14

Hi,
I want to add another small suggestion: in the GUI, “save as template” a single item within the playlist, to be able to import it again in another one.
Or maybe copy some/all items from another playlists without having to duplicate the full layout.

Thanks!


#15

Hi,

Do you know when Xibo v2 will be available? Is there any beta trials that can be downloaded?

Thanks


#16

Hello, Do you any idea when the (beta- ?) 2.0 version will be available?


#17

Hello,
Please when will the Xibo v2 be available? or for testing/Beta?


#18

When we have anything to announce, we will make a new blog post.

I would expect early releases to be available later this year.


#19

Does that mean that beta testing is going on now?


#20

Early releases would be beta tests. There’s nothing to test currently.