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Columns UI vs. Facets
emueyes
post Jun 15 2012, 03:03
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Hi all

I have quite a difficult and unfair question. I've been having a good play with the standard controls in foobar, and now have a layout that I like for the most part. I've seen examples, and plugins, which use either Columns UI or Facets, though not as many facets based posts. They do seem to do much the same thing, allowing advanced UI presentation and extra tools/components.

Assuming that my time is best spent studying one of them, even if they aren't mutually exclusive, which should it be? Are there factors that weigh heavily toward one or the other?

The next stage of what I want to do would include lyrics, presented ad hoc, ie I don't want to pre-load them for every song; perhaps a more visual way of presenting albums in a tree browser, maybe with a thumbnail, and a pretty but not very useful 3d flip through the album art view; an addon player button control strip (play, pause etc); and a seperate list for favourites - I think that may already there in the standard ui tools.

I know it's like asking whether Perl or PHP is best for websites, but if there are any outstanding pros or cons I'd really like to find out sooner than later. If there aren't any compelling reasons for choosing then that's OK too, I'll dabble with both and see what I like.


Rob
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r0k
post Jun 15 2012, 09:53
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QUOTE (emueyes @ Jun 15 2012, 04:03) *
Are there factors that weigh heavily toward one or the other?

Yes, there are factors that weight heavily towards both (you were really asking for it didn't you wink.gif )
OK, i'll try to be more constructive and give some pros/cons of both of them:

Facets
Pros:
  • It works on the default (panel UI)
  • It has some pretty excellent filter system allowing you to store presets of filters
  • It can show album art on every column
  • It can filter playlists as well as the library
Cons: Not much. It's a very good filter component. OTOH, it's nothing more than a filter component.
Columns UI
Pros:
  • It's not just a filter, it's a fully customizable User Interface (if you think foobar2000 is heavily customizable with default UI, just wait until you try this one).
  • There are some components, and some very good ones that will only work with columns UI (SQL tree is one of them)
  • Columns UI can have several layouts, and switching between them is as simple as a menu selection.
Cons:
  • By itself, the filter panel doesn't display album art, you have to use a playlist viewer. You probably want one anyway wink.gif
  • Can be a little hard to get started
  • Some default UI components won't work with columns UI (including Facets)
  • Columns UI's future looks uncertain to me. It havn't been updated for a while, and it's developper didn't show for months crying.gif
As you can see, columns UI have some cons, but it also offers much more than facets. The biggest question is do you need all that or are you happy with the default layout.
My advise, try them out. Neither will blow your computer smile.gif
I'm using columns UI and i really like all the advanced customization, but that's just me.
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derty2
post Jun 15 2012, 10:25
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I have been using Columns UI for ever.

For me, the debate boils down to these requirements:
- Colors !!! ... Unlimited color design options and conditional string color formatting (especially in the Playlist Viewer, but also in the Library Filters).
- Playlist Viewer and related panels allow in-line editing of TAG fields.
- Playlist Viewer has built-in horizontal scrollbar AND vertical scrollbar.

For me there is no choice; only Columns UI ticks my boxes.
If those options ever became available in Default UI, I would convert to DUI immediately.
If Columns UI ever does become abandonware and no longer works properly with newer fb2k versions,
and if DUI continues to not offer the above options ...That becomes my last ever usable edition of my personal fb2k; I'm freezing time.
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emueyes
post Jun 16 2012, 04:19
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Yep, I knew I was asking for it smile.gif

I don't mind getting my hands dirty, the more control I have the better, even if there's a learning curve. I have had a quick look at ColumnsUI - it asks what I want when foobar is started, after installation - and it's a pretty blank looking slate. The lack of development seems to be a big drawback though. Maybe not enough to kill the idea, but investing a lot of work in something needs a bit of backup from the developers of the language/IDE/progamming tool.

I haven't really looked at facets, personally, but when I saw 'popup windows' mentioned I started thinking about what I could do with that. Lyrics sprang to mind, as did discographies (with hotlinks to the albums) or wiki entries. Popup or not, I realise any of those would be non-trivial to implement. If ColumnsUI could do the popups it'd be a deal maker I think.

I hope that at some stage there's the ability to embed some javascript / vbs or other language to control things and set it up for the event driven components in each of these frameworks.

Yep, I can't blow anything up, I've got the entire config saved - I assume that all the extra setting will be stored in the same %appdata% location - and it'll be fun whatever I do. Having had a couple of thoughtful and informative replies here has made me feel more secure too, I don't like working in the dark smile.gif


Many thanks
Rob
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r0k
post Jun 16 2012, 09:41
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QUOTE (emueyes @ Jun 16 2012, 05:19) *
I hope that at some stage there's the ability to embed some javascript / vbs or other language to control things and set it up for the event driven components in each of these frameworks.

WSH Panel Mod
You can find some example scripts in this thread. It's not very organized thought.

Also, if you like trying many things, you might want to search for foo_jesus here. The name may sound like a joke but it's a great config auto-backup component.
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emueyes
post Jun 16 2012, 18:56
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I like the comment on foo_jesus in the thread " [it] Could be very useful for people who like playing with ColumnsUI or PanelsUI. " [bulhakov] hehe. but not funny, it's a must have, especially with its scheduler. I haven't written anything yet, but I've spent hours collecting cover art, there's something mesmerising about it. I backup the database with SyncToy for incremental backups and Easus for complete images, both on removable drives: it's about 150G of data, and now getting extra images, and scripts representing hours of work.

A lot of the things that I had in mind for scripting have been done already too, so I haven't coded anything; lyrics panels, interfacing to freedb, interfacing to SQLite; the guys in the WSH thread seemed to be asking well, what next? The WSH panel is so open ended. There was someone in a thread here asking about generating unique codes for tracks, I'll try and find him, but it's just the sort of thing a little code would fix. I think a 'Surprise Me' button could be a lot of fun too.

Other things appeal too, like a cover art flip views, similar to Windows WindowsKey+TAB combination. Pretty, but useless when there's hundreds of albums I know.

My goal is to have a great functional interface into my media server, from both Windows and Android clients, and it's good to see, literally, the progress, and now know I can back it up when it needs extra functionality biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by emueyes: Jun 16 2012, 18:57
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BenB
post Jun 22 2012, 05:17
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QUOTE (r0k @ Jun 15 2012, 03:53) *
  • Some default UI components won't work with columns UI (including Facets)


This isn't entirely accurate. While you cannot insert Facets into a Columns UI layout, you can open Facets in its own window via Library in the menu bar and use it in conjunction with CUI.
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