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The future of checklists

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The future of checklists

Postby F-TLS13 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:37 am

Split off from the topic Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads.


litzi wrote in Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:01 pm:Ok, I will carefully work my way around these items for the merge. Anybody working on (fg) checklists? I'd like to do engine start for the EC-145.

StuartC wrote in Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:01 pm:Checklists are going to be depreciated . Any future checklists will need to use canvas from a near future release so we abandoned the current checklist we were doing for it.

I was not aware of that. Was this decided on the dev mailing list ? I was thinking to add a checklist to some FGAddon crafts but I should maybe wait for the new implementation.
Last edited by Johan G on Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Split off from the topic "Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads". Top quote added for context.
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby StuartC » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:25 am

Im sure thats where the info originated from, yes.
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby legoboyvdlp » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:08 pm

There are no such plans that I'm aware of. Maybe FGUK is making a new standard checklist or something like that?
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby StuartC » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:28 pm

Nope, It was on the Dev list.
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby merspieler » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:26 pm

I haven't seen that either.
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby StuartC » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:09 am

It was on the Dev list about a week before I released the last EC145 update.
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby Hooray » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:10 am

I don't think checklists (as a feature) are going to be deprecated - in fact, Stuart is the original developer of and primary contributor to the checklist system - and the only thing he's been repeatedly mentioning over the years is that he's contemplating to use an alternate front-end, i.e. because of PUI (Plib GUI) restrictions:

Stuart wrote:https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/ma ... /29824616/
Hopefully as we move to using Canvas in the future we'll be able to
improve the checklist display to include a set of
dots linking the items.

https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/ma ... /36292913/
The PUI checklist dialog has a bug where selecting a new group
doesn't update the checklist selection combo-box. I've tried
various tricks to update it, but I think it's an underlying issue
with PUI itself. Roll on the new GUI :)

https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/ma ... /36937987/
Trying to do something more complicated with Nasal and PUI is a real
pain, and I don't think it's worth the effort. One thought I had a
while back was it would be nice to replace the checklist function with
some Canvas window that looked a bit more like a traditional paper
checklist.


Note that some aircraft feature pretty sophisticated checklist implementations, e.g. the EA500:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Extra_EA-500 ... ist_dialog
Image

Note that checklists are primarily PropertyList/XML encoded, so can be easily turned into a Canvas dialog - it would be pretty straightforward to do so using what we have already, unless people care enough to provide dedicated/custom widgets for a certain look and feel.
And in fact, given the groundwork by rleibner, Thorsten and jsb, there's now quite a bit of library code to draw widgets procedurally.

So, I guess this could be better moved to a separate topic - but I don't think there is anything missing to provide a Canvas front-end for checklists, as per Stuart's original idea.

And in fact, I can help with the coding part if people are sufficiently interested to provide the required artwork - however, all that being said, it seems that Stuart has meanwhile actually created a Canvas-front-end as part of his FG1000 work - so for someone familiar with Nasal and Canvas, it should be pretty straightforward to extract that code, generalize it and turn it into a generic checklist widget:

Image

Thus, if there are folks who are interested in seeing a non PUI front-end (without depending on an optional dependency like Qt5/QML), their best bet would indeed be to look at the FG1000 repo and reuse Stuart's checklist implementation there.

I am sure Stuart can provide the necessary pointers to get people started with that.

Either way, I am sure that checklists as such are not going to be deprecated - and that an actual replacement isn't going to use Qt5/QML or QtQuick anytime soon, because that would mean that people without a Qt5-enabled binary, would not be able to use a feature that has meanwhile a long history, and many fans - doing that would be akin to providing other important features only to people with integrated Qt5 support, which would all of a sudden make Qt5 a required dependency, rather than an optional one (imagine only being able to run in-sim joystick configuration with a Qt enabled binary) ;-)
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby Hooray » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:45 am

StuartC wrote:Any future checklists will need to use canvas from a near future release so we abandoned the current checklist we were doing for it.


FYI, the checklist handling stuff from the FG1000 is to be found here:

https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/fg ... cklist.svg
https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/fg ... Checklist/

Looking at the code, anyone wanting to just use Stuart's code "as is" would be best off by instantiating a fresh MFDDisplay object and simply adding Stuart's ChecklistPage to that MFD - the MFD would then merely act as the boilerplate, but could trivially be shown inside a GUI dialog. That way, even aircraft with an MFD could use Stuart's checklist work to render a Canvas-based checklist.

To learn more about Richard's MFD framework (which is what Stuart's FG1000 is using under the hood), see: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Canvas_MFD_Framework
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby stuart » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:16 pm

Hi Folks,

As Hooray said, there's no plan to deprecate the checklist format, though I would like to improve how they are displayed within the simulator.

I'm very happy to help anyone who is interested in creating either a generic MFD checklist feature, or to replace the PUI version with a better canvas implementation. Otherwise I'll add it to my TODO list.

From an aircraft perspective, my recommendation would be just to keep on writing checklists using the existing format (see README.checklist) and flag any bugs you find, or suggest enhancements.

-Stuart
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Re: Eurocopter EC-145 current downloads

Postby Hooray » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:22 pm

If there are extensions being planned, it might be a good idea to add an optional <version></version> tag so that the version number can be easily raised in the future if/when new features become available.

For now, I think a first step might be reviewing the checklist handling code to see if a generic library can be extracted/refactored from it, and then this library could be used in a placeholder MFD instrument that is simply shown in a Canvas dialog - that way, all aircraft using the checklist feature could easily display checklists using a canvas frontend (optionally).
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