Topics

PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate


JerryG
 

Dave Sands says he may work on a “getting started” guide for PanelPro.  Creating a discussion topic for that, but following on to topic on saving your work...

Some thoughts from my own adventure into learning about JMRI:  think of JMRI less like a word processing program (where you enter static info and expect it to stay that way) but perhaps more like a spreadsheet program (where you enter formulas and expect them to compute certain things based on data that you enter) and even more like a process control system (where you first describe the components of the system, enter control information and control “routines” and then expect the system to interact with the environment and take action based both on what you entered and what is changing in that environment).

Start with creating one “connection” (found under Preferences menu) for your DCC “command station” and creating one “roster entry” for an engine that has a DCC “decoder” (enter JMRI via “DecoderPro”). [Perhaps all these terms should be in the JMRI glossary - connection and roster are there without definitions, command station and decoder are not even there - but depends on how basic we want to get ].  Open a “throttle” (under Tools) and run your train! 

Then, go to PanelPro and start describing your layout.  Start with Layout Editor to create a “panel” by laying track and “turnouts” (“switch tracks”) that link together just like on your layout.  

[Here is where it starts to get tricky, so I’ll just give what I did:]. Set up a “switch machine” for your turnout.  Define a turnout in the Turnout Table.  Depending on how you get information from your switch machine to your computer, you can set things up to allow you to click on the turnout on your layout panel and see it change on your layout.

Really gets complicated after that!  Sensors, blocks, scripts, automated operation, who knows where it goes...

And SAVE YOUR WORK - requires several steps: Save under Preferences, Store Panels under Layout.  May also have to save roster entry if not automatically saved.

Jerry


Dave Sand
 

Jerry,

The first section of my getting started approach has been committed and is in PR #8614.

The approach is quite focused and does not cover much what you are talking about.  

Dave Sand



----- Original message -----
From: "JerryG via groups.io" <jerryg2003=aol.com@groups.io>
Subject: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Saturday, May 23, 2020 10:32 AM

Dave Sands says he may work on a “getting started” guide for PanelPro.  Creating a discussion topic for that, but following on to topic on saving your work...

Some thoughts from my own adventure into learning about JMRI:  think of JMRI less like a word processing program (where you enter static info and expect it to stay that way) but perhaps more like a spreadsheet program (where you enter formulas and expect them to compute certain things based on data that you enter) and even more like a process control system (where you first describe the components of the system, enter control information and control “routines” and then expect the system to interact with the environment and take action based both on what you entered and what is changing in that environment).

Start with creating one “connection” (found under Preferences menu) for your DCC “command station” and creating one “roster entry” for an engine that has a DCC “decoder” (enter JMRI via “DecoderPro”). [Perhaps all these terms should be in the JMRI glossary - connection and roster are there without definitions, command station and decoder are not even there - but depends on how basic we want to get ].  Open a “throttle” (under Tools) and run your train! 

Then, go to PanelPro and start describing your layout.  Start with Layout Editor to create a “panel” by laying track and “turnouts” (“switch tracks”) that link together just like on your layout.  

[Here is where it starts to get tricky, so I’ll just give what I did:]. Set up a “switch machine” for your turnout.  Define a turnout in the Turnout Table.  Depending on how you get information from your switch machine to your computer, you can set things up to allow you to click on the turnout on your layout panel and see it change on your layout.

Really gets complicated after that!  Sensors, blocks, scripts, automated operation, who knows where it goes...

And SAVE YOUR WORK - requires several steps: Save under Preferences, Store Panels under Layout.  May also have to save roster entry if not automatically saved.

Jerry


Bob Jacobsen
 

This is really good! Lots of steps, explained well.

I recommend people take a look at it. To see it as rough text, no JMRI header/sidebars, but with the images easily visible:

https://htmlpreview.github.io/?https://github.com/JMRI/JMRI/blob/6e6ef1cbdab22ad56d6244e86cc9359f29491109/help/en/html/apps/PanelPro/GettingStarted.shtml

Bob

On May 30, 2020, at 1:18 PM, Dave Sand <@davesand> wrote:

Jerry,

The first section of my getting started approach has been committed and is in PR #8614.

The approach is quite focused and does not cover much what you are talking about.

Dave Sand



----- Original message -----
From: "JerryG via groups.io" <jerryg2003=aol.com@groups.io>
To: jmri@jmri-developers.groups.io
Subject: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Saturday, May 23, 2020 10:32 AM

Dave Sands says he may work on a “getting started” guide for PanelPro. Creating a discussion topic for that, but following on to topic on saving your work...

Some thoughts from my own adventure into learning about JMRI: think of JMRI less like a word processing program (where you enter static info and expect it to stay that way) but perhaps more like a spreadsheet program (where you enter formulas and expect them to compute certain things based on data that you enter) and even more like a process control system (where you first describe the components of the system, enter control information and control “routines” and then expect the system to interact with the environment and take action based both on what you entered and what is changing in that environment).

Start with creating one “connection” (found under Preferences menu) for your DCC “command station” and creating one “roster entry” for an engine that has a DCC “decoder” (enter JMRI via “DecoderPro”). [Perhaps all these terms should be in the JMRI glossary - connection and roster are there without definitions, command station and decoder are not even there - but depends on how basic we want to get ]. Open a “throttle” (under Tools) and run your train!

Then, go to PanelPro and start describing your layout. Start with Layout Editor to create a “panel” by laying track and “turnouts” (“switch tracks”) that link together just like on your layout.

[Here is where it starts to get tricky, so I’ll just give what I did:]. Set up a “switch machine” for your turnout. Define a turnout in the Turnout Table. Depending on how you get information from your switch machine to your computer, you can set things up to allow you to click on the turnout on your layout panel and see it change on your layout.

Really gets complicated after that! Sensors, blocks, scripts, automated operation, who knows where it goes...

And SAVE YOUR WORK - requires several steps: Save under Preferences, Store Panels under Layout. May also have to save roster entry if not automatically saved.

Jerry

--
Bob Jacobsen
@BobJacobsen


Bob M.
 

Jerry G.,

I like the presentation! It has shown me a few things I had not known, and which may be handy in any future panel I create.

A couple of comments about the text:

- Perhaps the second paragraph could state " since they have other goals for using PanelPro, such as _setting up signaling,_ creating a CTC panel,"

- The discussion of updating the width and height of the text "Reset" sensor on the panel may wish to mention that users with high-DPI displays may need to increase the Width and Height values from the numbers shown so that the entire text will be visible. And the discussion might wish to state that if the values are set to 0, that the sensor's text area will generally shrink and/or grow to match the size of the displayed text.

- Is "Blocks" the correct heading description? Should it instead be "Occupancy Sensors"?

- I expect that some readers will need more detail about placing the occupancy sensors in the"Blocks" sub-section.

- Perhaps the last paragraph before the "Phase 2 - Signaling" is effectively under the "Blocks" heading, but it isn't really about blocks. Perhaps it could be under a sub-heading of "Phase 1 conclusion" or something similar.

Regards,
Bob M.


whmvd
 

BIG thumbs up.

Wouter


On Sat, 30 May 2020 at 22:36, Bob Jacobsen <rgj1927@...> wrote:
This is really good! Lots of steps, explained well.

I recommend people take a look at it. To see it as rough text, no JMRI header/sidebars, but with the images easily visible:

https://htmlpreview.github.io/?https://github.com/JMRI/JMRI/blob/6e6ef1cbdab22ad56d6244e86cc9359f29491109/help/en/html/apps/PanelPro/GettingStarted.shtml

Bob

> On May 30, 2020, at 1:18 PM, Dave Sand <ds@...> wrote:
>
> Jerry,
>
> The first section of my getting started approach has been committed and is in PR #8614.
>
> The approach is quite focused and does not cover much what you are talking about.
>
> Dave Sand
>
>
>
> ----- Original message -----
> From: "JerryG via groups.io" <jerryg2003=aol.com@groups.io>
> To: jmri@jmri-developers.groups.io
> Subject: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
> Date: Saturday, May 23, 2020 10:32 AM
>
> Dave Sands says he may work on a “getting started” guide for PanelPro.  Creating a discussion topic for that, but following on to topic on saving your work...
>
> Some thoughts from my own adventure into learning about JMRI:  think of JMRI less like a word processing program (where you enter static info and expect it to stay that way) but perhaps more like a spreadsheet program (where you enter formulas and expect them to compute certain things based on data that you enter) and even more like a process control system (where you first describe the components of the system, enter control information and control “routines” and then expect the system to interact with the environment and take action based both on what you entered and what is changing in that environment).
>
> Start with creating one “connection” (found under Preferences menu) for your DCC “command station” and creating one “roster entry” for an engine that has a DCC “decoder” (enter JMRI via “DecoderPro”). [Perhaps all these terms should be in the JMRI glossary - connection and roster are there without definitions, command station and decoder are not even there - but depends on how basic we want to get ].  Open a “throttle” (under Tools) and run your train!
>
> Then, go to PanelPro and start describing your layout.  Start with Layout Editor to create a “panel” by laying track and “turnouts” (“switch tracks”) that link together just like on your layout.
>
> [Here is where it starts to get tricky, so I’ll just give what I did:]. Set up a “switch machine” for your turnout.  Define a turnout in the Turnout Table.  Depending on how you get information from your switch machine to your computer, you can set things up to allow you to click on the turnout on your layout panel and see it change on your layout.
>
> Really gets complicated after that!  Sensors, blocks, scripts, automated operation, who knows where it goes...
>
> And SAVE YOUR WORK - requires several steps: Save under Preferences, Store Panels under Layout.  May also have to save roster entry if not automatically saved.
>
> Jerry
>
>

--
Bob Jacobsen
rgj1927@...







Dave Sand
 

Bob,

Thanks for the feedback.

The document is divided into 3 phases. Phase 1, which builds a basic panel, was submitted today.

Phase 2 will create the signal masts, add them to the layout and generate the SML. This will be the logical stopping point for people wanting to implement alternatives such as CTC.

I will expand the description of the text Properties window to describe how the preview boxes at the bottom react to changes. I am assuming that HiDPI impacts will be reflected in the preview boxes and the user can change settings as needed to get the desired results in the preview boxes.

Good catch on the Blocks heading.

I will improve the occupancy sensor placement description.

The Phase 2 and Phase 3 headings are top level headings. They don't look like it due to the lack of JMRI CSS using the GitHub preview feature.

Dave Sand

----- Original message -----
From: "Bob M." <jawhugrps@...>
To: jmri@jmri-developers.groups.io
Subject: Re: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:37 PM

Jerry G.,

I like the presentation! It has shown me a few things I had not known, and which may be handy in any future panel I create.

A couple of comments about the text:

- Perhaps the second paragraph could state " since they have other goals for using PanelPro, such as _setting up signaling,_ creating a CTC panel,"

- The discussion of updating the width and height of the text "Reset" sensor on the panel may wish to mention that users with high-DPI displays may need to increase the Width and Height values from the numbers shown so that the entire text will be visible. And the discussion might wish to state that if the values are set to 0, that the sensor's text area will generally shrink and/or grow to match the size of the displayed text.

- Is "Blocks" the correct heading description? Should it instead be "Occupancy Sensors"?

- I expect that some readers will need more detail about placing the occupancy sensors in the"Blocks" sub-section.

- Perhaps the last paragraph before the "Phase 2 - Signaling" is effectively under the "Blocks" heading, but it isn't really about blocks. Perhaps it could be under a sub-heading of "Phase 1 conclusion" or something similar.

Regards,
Bob M.


Dave Sand
 

The phase 1 content is available on the JMRI web site.

On the JMRI home page, select PanelPro from the left sidebar.  I added a temporary (permanent?) link in the first section:

For the impatient, try the Getting Started page.


Dave Sand


----- Original message -----
From: Dave Sand <ds@...>
Subject: Re: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Saturday, May 30, 2020 3:18 PM

Jerry,

The first section of my getting started approach has been committed and is in PR #8614.

The approach is quite focused and does not cover much what you are talking about.  

Dave Sand



----- Original message -----
From: "JerryG via groups.io" <jerryg2003=aol.com@groups.io>
Subject: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Saturday, May 23, 2020 10:32 AM

Dave Sands says he may work on a “getting started” guide for PanelPro.  Creating a discussion topic for that, but following on to topic on saving your work...

Some thoughts from my own adventure into learning about JMRI:  think of JMRI less like a word processing program (where you enter static info and expect it to stay that way) but perhaps more like a spreadsheet program (where you enter formulas and expect them to compute certain things based on data that you enter) and even more like a process control system (where you first describe the components of the system, enter control information and control “routines” and then expect the system to interact with the environment and take action based both on what you entered and what is changing in that environment).

Start with creating one “connection” (found under Preferences menu) for your DCC “command station” and creating one “roster entry” for an engine that has a DCC “decoder” (enter JMRI via “DecoderPro”). [Perhaps all these terms should be in the JMRI glossary - connection and roster are there without definitions, command station and decoder are not even there - but depends on how basic we want to get ].  Open a “throttle” (under Tools) and run your train! 

Then, go to PanelPro and start describing your layout.  Start with Layout Editor to create a “panel” by laying track and “turnouts” (“switch tracks”) that link together just like on your layout.  

[Here is where it starts to get tricky, so I’ll just give what I did:]. Set up a “switch machine” for your turnout.  Define a turnout in the Turnout Table.  Depending on how you get information from your switch machine to your computer, you can set things up to allow you to click on the turnout on your layout panel and see it change on your layout.

Really gets complicated after that!  Sensors, blocks, scripts, automated operation, who knows where it goes...

And SAVE YOUR WORK - requires several steps: Save under Preferences, Store Panels under Layout.  May also have to save roster entry if not automatically saved.

Jerry



Bob M.
 

Appologies to Dave Sand for mis-attributing his html authorship in my previous response.

Sorry,
Bob M.


Bob M.
 

Dave,

FYI - There's a heading for "Add sensors to the panel" which does not have any content. It is located just above the "Reset" heading.

Regards,
Bob M.


Dave Sand
 

Bob,

Correct. That one is an <h4> and Reset and Blocks (which will be changed to Occupancy Sensors) are <h5>. It looks good and makes sense to me when the CSS is active.

Dave Sand

----- Original message -----
From: "Bob M." <jawhugrps@...>
To: jmri@jmri-developers.groups.io
Subject: Re: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Saturday, May 30, 2020 7:12 PM

Dave,

FYI - There's a heading for "Add sensors to the panel" which does not have any content. It is located just above the "Reset" heading.

Regards,
Bob M.


JerryG
 

Dave - 

A lot of great stuff here showing, of course, your expert knowledge of JMRI.  While I had no trouble following it at my current stage of knowledge (novice in some, intermediate in others, expert in few), I tried to put myself back in the frame of mind when I was just starting and barely knew what a “panel” was (when I naively assumed one used the “panel editor“ to create a panel, the “control panel editor” to create a control panel, and the “layout editor” to create a layout).  I did know I wanted to draw my layout so came to the layout editor but then was almost immediately confused as this seemed to create a panel rather than a layout.  Eventually I figured out that a layout was a panel in JMRI terminology!  So again the question is what level of knowledge are you assuming for the reader? Perhaps a statement at the beginning as to what basic concepts the reader should already understand would be useful.

And I’m sure you had a reason, but why wouldn’t you select the “snap to grid” options at the beginning of creating the layout (aka layout editor panel) rather than drawing track off grid lines and then moving the track pieces back onto the grid?
 
BTW, I’m still editing my pages on data management and “storing your work” which I will make available sometime this week (now two separate ones based on comments in the prior thread).  You will see that I have labeled my pages as “basic” (or minimal knowledge) and “advanced” knowledge to try to set the frame of reference for the reader.
 
Look forward to the next installment…
Jerry


Dave Sand
 

Jerry,

Good comments.  

The challenge of creating documentation is the audience, assumed capabilities and attention span.  I attempted to thread that needle by linking from the main PanelPro page, which describes the available panels, and providing links to relevant detail pages.  This results in discreet steps, limited verbiage and lots of pictures.

I used to enable snap to grid, but several years ago I stopped.  Now I prefer to do a rough draft that gets all of the components in relative locations.  Once I know everything is accounted for, I clean up the drawing.  I do need to add "snapping" content to the "move to grid" section.  My preferred method is using the ALT key while moving.  The ALT key inverts the snap to grid setting (at least on a Mac).

If you look closely, there is no mention of storing or loading.  When available, I will add an entry to givens and druthers that will link to the PP data management page.

Dave Sand


----- Original message -----
From: "JerryG via groups.io" <jerryg2003=aol.com@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:22 AM

Dave - 

A lot of great stuff here showing, of course, your expert knowledge of JMRI.  While I had no trouble following it at my current stage of knowledge (novice in some, intermediate in others, expert in few), I tried to put myself back in the frame of mind when I was just starting and barely knew what a “panel” was (when I naively assumed one used the “panel editor“ to create a panel, the “control panel editor” to create a control panel, and the “layout editor” to create a layout).  I did know I wanted to draw my layout so came to the layout editor but then was almost immediately confused as this seemed to create a panel rather than a layout.  Eventually I figured out that a layout was a panel in JMRI terminology!  So again the question is what level of knowledge are you assuming for the reader? Perhaps a statement at the beginning as to what basic concepts the reader should already understand would be useful.


And I’m sure you had a reason, but why wouldn’t you select the “snap to grid” options at the beginning of creating the layout (aka layout editor panel) rather than drawing track off grid lines and then moving the track pieces back onto the grid?
 
BTW, I’m still editing my pages on data management and “storing your work” which I will make available sometime this week (now two separate ones based on comments in the prior thread).  You will see that I have labeled my pages as “basic” (or minimal knowledge) and “advanced” knowledge to try to set the frame of reference for the reader.
 
Look forward to the next installment…
Jerry


Bob M.
 

Dave,

What I was trying to communicate was that the info in the "Blocks" header
perhaps should be in the "Sensors" header.

Regards,
Bob M.


Dave Sand
 

Bob,

  1. <h3> Layout Events
    1. <h4> Turnouts
    2. <h4> Sensors
    3. <h4> Routes
    4. <h4> LRoutes
    5. <h4> Add turnouts and blocks to the panel (using the track edit dialogs)
    6. <h4> Assign Occupancy Sensors to Blocks
      1. <h5> Create occupancy sensors.
      2. <h5> Create a Route to initialize the sensors.
      3. <h5> Add the sensors to the Block table entries.
    7. <h4> Add sensors to the panel
      1. <h5> Reset
      2. <h5> Blocks (s/b Occupancy Sensors)

When you say "Blocks header info in the Sensors header" are you referring to 1.g.ii and 1.b?  If so, it would now longer match the chronological sequence of steps that I use.

From the Givens and Druthers section:  The following description is just one of many possible workflows.


Dave Sand



----- Original message -----
From: "Bob M." <jawhugrps@...>
Subject: Re: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Sunday, May 31, 2020 4:50 PM

Dave,

What I was trying to communicate was that the info in the "Blocks" header
perhaps should be in the "Sensors" header.

Regards,
Bob M.





Bob M.
 

Dave S,

I have been talking about the current contents of sub-section 1.7.2 (as
noted in your Sunday 6:57pm (US EST) message. The contents of sub-section
1.7.2talk about "Sensors", while the sub-section 1.7.2 heading says
"Blocks". That does not make sense to me.

The way I see it, one of the following is needed:

- Perhaps the heading for sub-section 1.7.2 should be "Sensors"; or

- A new sub-section heading is needed, perhaps 1.7.1andahalf, with the
heading called "Sensors", and some other content text is needed for the
sub-section 1.7.2 with the heading "Blocks".

Regards,
Bob M.


Dave Sand
 

Bob,

The header for 1.7.2 (1.g.ii on my email client) is going to be changed from Blocks to Occupancy Sensors. It will also have expanded text to indicate that the occupancy sensors are placed on the panel to facilitate simulating block occupancy changes as a simulated train moves.

Dave Sand

----- Original message -----
From: "Bob M." <jawhugrps@...>
To: jmri@jmri-developers.groups.io
Subject: Re: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Sunday, May 31, 2020 6:17 PM

Dave S,

I have been talking about the current contents of sub-section 1.7.2 (as
noted in your Sunday 6:57pm (US EST) message. The contents of sub-section
1.7.2talk about "Sensors", while the sub-section 1.7.2 heading says
"Blocks". That does not make sense to me.

The way I see it, one of the following is needed:

- Perhaps the heading for sub-section 1.7.2 should be "Sensors"; or

- A new sub-section heading is needed, perhaps 1.7.1andahalf, with the
heading called "Sensors", and some other content text is needed for the
sub-section 1.7.2 with the heading "Blocks".

Regards,
Bob M.


Bob M.
 

Dave S.,

Ok. I am on the same page now!

Regards,
Bob M.


Ken Cameron
 

I would say the presentation is a very nice design. One thing I would add is
at some points in the development, we have a download available of the file
at that point. I've seen that in other clinics where the idea is 'this is
what it should look like now'. This lets the user try one part of the clinic
and get in sync in case they messed up a few part before moving on to the
next. For those who want to focus on just one set of skills could pickup the
file from just before that point without all the effort of repeating things
they (think they) know.

At least that way they know the issues they have with one section is not
because of things they messed up in the prior sections.

-Ken Cameron, Member JMRI Dev Team
www.jmri.org
www.fingerlakeslivesteamers.org
www.cnymod.org
www.syracusemodelrr.org


Dave Sand
 

Ken,

Good idea. I had the same thought but I have not figured out the best way to accomplish this.

One problem is that links to a xml file behave differently for different browsers. Some will download the file, others will open the file and display the xml. There is also the question of where to store the files.

Another concern is the XML file itself requires a profile. The most likely audience for Getting Started are people new to JMRI using the default profile for new installs. If that was set for NCE, the xml file will not work since it is based on the LocoNet Simulator.

The first version of the panel only used internal turnouts and sensors. I changed to LocoNet so that people could see what items are layout related and which are internal. This will become apparent later when I get to the Sections table and direction sensors which are internal but stopping sensors are layout based.

Dave Sand

----- Original message -----
From: Ken Cameron <@KenC57>
To: jmri@jmri-developers.groups.io
Subject: Re: [jmri-developers] PanelPro Orientation / Getting Started Guide #WebHelpUpdate
Date: Sunday, May 31, 2020 7:04 AM

I would say the presentation is a very nice design. One thing I would add is
at some points in the development, we have a download available of the file
at that point. I've seen that in other clinics where the idea is 'this is
what it should look like now'. This lets the user try one part of the clinic
and get in sync in case they messed up a few part before moving on to the
next. For those who want to focus on just one set of skills could pickup the
file from just before that point without all the effort of repeating things
they (think they) know.

At least that way they know the issues they have with one section is not
because of things they messed up in the prior sections.

-Ken Cameron, Member JMRI Dev Team
www.jmri.org
www.fingerlakeslivesteamers.org
www.cnymod.org
www.syracusemodelrr.org


Ken Cameron
 

Dave S,

I think making a zip of all the step examples gets around the xml download
issue. Next would be making a zip that is a complete profile folder. I could
have the right connections etc... Kind of how the operations example loads
all its parts for their use. Making sure they know where to put the profile
folder might be an issues by itself.

-Ken Cameron, Member JMRI Dev Team
www.jmri.org
www.fingerlakeslivesteamers.org
www.cnymod.org
www.syracusemodelrr.org