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Help - Topic #142

Topic #142 Several change requests of varying sizes
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:12

All of these are based on 5.04.01 on Linux Mint 18.3 with all updates... I know that probably most or all are too late (or even irrelevant/superseded) for 6.00.00...

For clarity I'll put each one in its own message.

Answer n° 1
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:13

Sorting of characters in dropdowns, such as on the Common tab in a Relationship

Characters in this dropdown seem to be sorted by a number of things that are not represented at all in the list, not even by dividing lines. Also, they are finally sorted by last and then first names, but shown in the list as first and then last names. Between these factors the list seems unsorted...

I think most people find it easier to work with a list that (a) is sorted and (b) they can see how it's sorted, or at least easily see where one group (based on an unseen sort criterion) ends and the next begins.

Answer n° 2
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:14

Scene list behavior

Set the Scene list to display the Narrator column, and the program nearly comes to a halt.

In one project I use the "Occurs" and "days after" fields heavily. When I close and reopen the project, it remembers that I want the "Occurs" field in that list, but forgets to show the "days after" field. It should remember both selections.

It would be nice if the order and width of colums would also be remembered through closing and reopening. For that matter, it would be nice if they would be remembered through clicking the "refresh" button on that list.

The Scene list is one place in particular where it would be nice if the user could sort on more than one field. In similar situations from my days as a programmer, how it's handled is to remember what fields are currently being sorted by. Then when the user asks for a new sort field: (1) go through the existing list of sort fields and, if the new field is there, remove it; (2) if the list is overly long, drop the last field; (3) stick the new sort field at the beginning of the list; (4) now sort.

Answer n° 3
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:18

Relative date calculation

Chronological view (and possibly other stuff) doesn't work when a scene's date is relative to another scene that also has a relative date; it just omits those scenes.

Similarly, the Memoria skips over all relative dates. If there is no fixed scene on a date, it simply doesn't happen - no matter how many scenes occur on relative dates that happen to land there.

It would be nice if this were fixed so all relative dates that can be calculated, are calculated, and are used in both those places. And elsewhere as appropriate (such as a column on the Scene list).

Here's one way to deal with it.

New table DateCalc will contain fields SceneID, CalculatedDate. It only needs an index on SceneID, which may be the primary key.

When it's time to refresh the calculated dates - all of them, or only some:

  1. Start by deleting from DateCalc whatever Scenes you want to recalculate (possibly the entire contents)
  2. (if you didn't just delete everything) Delete from DateCalc any Scene dependent on a Scene not in DateCalc; repeat until this deletes nothing
  3. Insert into DateCalc the SceneID and Date of all Scenes that have fixed dates and aren't already in DateCalc
  4. Repeat as long as there is at least one Scene whose SceneID is not in DateCalc but is dated relative to a Scene that *is* in DateCalc: Insert in DateCalc the SceneIDs of all such scenes, calculating the dates.
When that is done, any Scene that has a relative date but still is not in DateCalc has one of two errors: it's relative to an undated scene, or it's part of a loop of relative-dated scenes (simplest case, and probably common: it's relative to itself).

A scene being dated directly relative to an undated scene (not relative to another scene that is relative to an undated scene) is easy to detect so the user can be notified; if there are none of those, then any remaining relative-date scenes with no dates must be part of loops.

This could be embellished easily enough to flag all scenes that are dated directly or indirectly relative to an undated scene. It would require another field in DateCalc, to distinguish deliberate undated scenes from the ones dated directly relative to them, and those from the ones indirectly relative. Then any other relative-dated scenes that can't have dates assigned, must be in loops. Don't try to figure out the loops, just flag the affected scenes for user attention.

Answer n° 4
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:22

Previous item mentioned Memoria. It has another problem:

In those modes where the date-selection dropdown appears, the default (and what the "back to the beginning" button takes you to is a summary of the entire project.

This can be a bad idea for a major character - when the character is in well over 200 scenes, 50 locations, interactions with 70 other character and 20 items, it takes FOREVER to build that summary and the resulting display is pretty much useless.

First step (easy): make it not the default, and make the buttons not take you there. Leave it in the dropdown, so the user can deliberately select it. Or give it its own special button.

Second step (harder): as it's being built, check how full and complicated it's getting. If it's too much or taking too long, warn the user and give an option to stop trying.

Answer n° 5
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:26

Sorting and grouping of Items on the tab in a Scene or Relationship

Currently the sorting is by name, but then the items are grouped by category.

Thus, the categories are in random order and may repeat.

Also, if the first two items aren't in the same category, then the category heading isn't put in front of the first item.

Recommend sorting by category and then name. And check what's causing the first-item bug.

Answer n° 6
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:29

Several of the charts have serious problems on the vertical scale. In one project, the Occurrence of Characters bar chart has the markings on the left running from 0 to just over 200, but the bars run approximately from -4 to 17.

Answer n° 7
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:36

Locations tab - can it be made hierarchical?

Rather than the current:

location with no city, country, etc.
Country 1
   location with no city
Country 2
   location with no city
City A, Country 2
   location with no Where
City B, Country 1
   neighborhood (with no Where)
City C, Country 2
   location with no Where
Neighborhood, City B, Country 1
   building (its Where is neighborhood)
Building, Neighborhood, City B, Country 1

Could we instead have

location with no city, country, etc.
Country 1
  City B
Country 2
  City A
  City C
Rectified by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:44

Answer n° 8
    - by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:39

Name changes!

This is in two parts.

Part the first: in the course of a story, a person's name changes. The most common case nowadays is when people marry.

Part the second: in the course of a story, a name moves from one person to another. When Lord Wherever dies, his son becomes Lord Wherever - the name is the same but the person is different - while continuing to also have his old name.

In principle, either version can occur multiple times. And a person can have multiple names simultaneously. (Including names like Mother.)

Can these be provided for?
Rectified by DonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:40

Answer n° 9
    - by DatDonEdwards 24/06/2018 08:41

Data entry tweaks:

In the US, dates are most often typed with slashes / rather than dashes -. If you could modify date-input fields to allow both formats, that would be convenient.

Could there be an option to enter a person's birth and death as references to scenes, rather than - or possibly even in addition to - dates? (Definitely continue to allow dates.)

When editing a Character record, if the character already has an abbreviation that is different from the automatic one, please don't automatically change it when the name changes.

I would like an option for scene numbers, chapter numbers, etc. to automatically increment by something other than 1. I use 10 frequently. (This makes inserting an item between two existing items much easier.)

Answer n° 10
    - by favdb 24/06/2018 10:12

Thank you Don for these suggestions/bugs, it's not to late for me to introduce modifications for the version 6, and perhaps in an emergency version 5.04.xx.
Most of these are registered now in the bug tracker system.

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