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Room-O-Matic Plugin Replacement

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:04 am
by Colorado4Wheeler
I just wanted to let you know that Room-O-Matic 2 is nearing the finish line and it has lots of new features and improvements going on! One of the single biggest improvements is the Acme CP plugin that accompanied Room-O-Matic for the past year.

The Acme CP plugin was a quick plugin I wrote to support the ROM system that I, myself, used first and everyone else second. This time around I have given us both equal shares of caring ;).

Acme CP itself is officially in the bin, but I am keeping it on the downloads area for now just in case someone needs it or wants it. It has been replaced by two new plugins, LCD Creator and Device Extensions (yes, those are clickable names :D).

There are massive differences between Acme CP and the two new plugins, but the new plugins still do the basics things that Acme CP did. Since you can click on the links above to read all about the things the two plugins do, let me highlight some key differences between the two plugins:

Acme CP: Ominous start with a plugin start error that I wasn't aware of because shortly after uploading it I was on a long string of projects and pesky cancer recovery that deprived me of the time to check in on here and get that fixed. Thanks to the community as well as Matt & Jay for helping fix the bug and re-package ROM to work!
Device Extensions: Believe it or not that particular issue was the first issue I focused on and is a non-issue now.

Acme CP: No options to fine tune how the plugin works and was quite utilitarian in its nature.
Device Extensions & LCD Creator: Can be fine tuned to a very fine level, letting you do a whole lot more.

Acme CP: Required that you had BOTH a Weathersnoop device as well as a thermostat.
Device Extensions & LCD Creator: Allows you to literally use ANY device in Indigo. There are still special devices in both plugins for the thermostat and weather (weather now supporting all three major weather plugins, Weathersnoop, NOAA and WUnderground), but both also have the ability to use any state from any device in Indigo - allowing you to pretty much display anything you want in ROM.

Acme CP: Allowed having digits 0-9, hyphens and a few select weather condition words pre-spelled out for you.
LCD Creator: Comes with nearly 250 images including 0-9, A-Z, hyphens, spaces, colons and dots. Also the weather conditions are no longer static, because LCD Creator can now assemble words and sentences it supports whatever you can dream up.

Room-O-Matic: Had very strict formatting rules, requiring you put the LCD digits into pre-allocated spaces in pre-formatted background pages and assembly was a bear.
LCD Creator: Has far more generic images that can be placed on ANY page and is not ROM specific. Thanks to suggestions and samples from duanel Room-O-Matic 2 as well as LCD Creator use images that allow for placement anywhere on your control pages. One of the reasons for the strict placement guidelines of ROM was that it was important to me to maintain the integrity of the design and use blending and shadows to create a control page that was more than some ugly flat images on a generic background, all of the new images have been very highly detailed to still allow for this but without having to puzzle-piece it together. On LCD Creator there are two sets of images, one for ROM and one for "everything else" because in order to achieve this the ROM specific graphics still needed to blend into the ROM background images so the ROM background colors are reflected in these graphics.

Overall I'm very excited about not only the new Room-O-Matic 2 but also these two plugins because they have allowed me to really bring my control pages to a whole new level. I dreaded creating new ROM pages because of the work involved in doing it as well as the limitations of a functional but poorly designed plugin. Now whatever I think up I can implement in a few minutes and as a result the new ROM has a LOT of new cool toys.

So when is Room-O-Matic 2 coming out? Very soon! I needed to get these two plugins out here on the site first (since they are the backbone of a lot of my sample ROM pages). While I have already done 80% of the heavy lifting in ROM 2 there are still about 500 image updates I need to do as well as to make sure that ALL of the backgrounds are included in the package (you might recall I showed samples of "Big Brother 9000" and some other pages but no templates were in the package). My hope is that the end of this week or next will drop ROM 2.

Replacing / Upgrading the Acme CP Plugin

You don't need to uninstall the Acme CP plugin just yet if you don't want to. It will work in harmony with these two new plugins to give you lots of time to gently migrate your pages and images to the new plugins. You can, of course, go for the gusto and do it all at once if you want.

It is a drop-in replacement, so once you get LCD Creator and Device Extensions configured to your liking (you may want to do Device Extensions first only because LCD Creator will tie into it if it's installed but it is NOT required to be configured or installed first) then you can immediately start upgrading your current LED images, device references and device functions to the new plugins.

The image sizes in LCD Creator are identical to the image sizes in ROM, so simply change your _ROM2 images to LCD images.

You can continue to use the pre-cut out ROM backgrounds if you want but now can also add additional frames and digits to those screens with very little difference between the two. There are a few very small differences between the frame provided in LCD Creator and the ones stamped onto the ROM backgrounds but they are fairly subtle and I'm working on dialing them in to blend even better. For now, though, they work very well and you can already start taking your ROM pages to new places.

Don't worry, everything will be forwards compatible! The work you put in now before ROM 2 is released will translate to ROM 2, so you don't have to wait for the release to start upgrading!

Re: Room-O-Matic Plugin Replacement

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:49 pm
by Londonmark
C4W - awesome. Really looking forward to playing with all this stuff and to the arrival of ROM2. Thank you!

Re: Room-O-Matic Plugin Replacement

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:19 pm
by FlyingDiver
C4W - When you do a ROM control page, what font/size/color do you use for control labels? For those that have them, that is. Like the toggle switches for lighting zones? I guess I'm assuming you use standard control page control labels, using the "Center Above" option for those controls. If you do it some other way, please explain.


Re: Room-O-Matic Plugin Replacement

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:40 pm
by Colorado4Wheeler
Well, when I want a button of any kind I just make it up in Photoshop where I designed the entire ROM system. From time to time I need something on the fly and use a blank button and use the Indigo fonts/colors to try to match it as close as possible.

If you are talking about the labels that go above/below the various things in ROM it varies from thing to thing, but here are some general guidelines:

  • 3-4 Position Dials (i.e., my curtain controls on the screenshots) / Labels above the switches / Labels below the pushbuttons (i.e., A/V, security, comfort)
    • Font: Verdana
    • Size: 22
    • Color: 7F7F7F
  • Labels below the gauges (motion sensors)
    • Font: Verdana
    • Size: 28
    • Color: 6C6C6C
  • Room buttons (these are a lot trickier because you lose a ton of depth with just a font on a blank button)
    • Font: Arial
    • Size: 20
    • Color: 2E2E2E
  • Yellow Button
    • Font: Arial
    • Size: 20
    • Color: D6B9AB
  • Red Button
    • Font: Arial
    • Size: 20
    • Color: C4AAAA

I don't use the Indigo "center on" feature except on buttons because my graphics are not dead on centered (intentionally because they carry shadows and stuff with them) and centering will tend to jack it up. On buttons, great, but on - say - the switch labels it puts it far too close. For that stuff I just create a plain old text element. and space it exactly as far from the round part of the switch "opening" as the word "Off" is so it looks polished.

If you are talking about what I use in Photoshop, that's an entirely different animal because I have a slew of shadows, filters, gradients and fills that I use.

What I did to make my non-Photoshop-buttons look like my Photoshop-buttons is first take a pre-made button (i.e., a yellow Toggle Room button) and put it next to a blank yellow button and play with the font type and size until I was happy, then used the eyedropper tool to pick up the color of the text to match. This isn't exact but it's pretty darn close.

If you want a bit of depth and an even more polished look then I'll use two static text elements on the page of different colors (both of which can be picked up by the eyedropper tool) and try to arrange them to give depth to the text - but this is tedious and can be a bear to work with long term if you move stuff around. If you do this I would recommend doing "Browser Preview" so you can use safari to zoom WAY in on your page (since control page editor doesn't at the moment) to make sure you can line up those overlapping text elements correctly.

In ROM 2 I already have 200+ pre-made buttons (trying to guess what people might ask for most) and will have a special forum topic to request new buttons.

Does that help and/or answer your question?

Re: Room-O-Matic Plugin Replacement

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:42 pm
by FlyingDiver
I think so. I'm specifically looking the labels for toggle switches, so it looks like Verdana 22 in gray 7F7F7F is what I want.


Re: Room-O-Matic Plugin Replacement

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:51 pm
by jfeger
Great work here.

Re: Room-O-Matic Plugin Replacement

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:06 pm
by jfeger
PS - Congrats on the cancer recovery