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This page provides an overview of the CommandFusion guiDesigner followed by a simple tutorial. It should help new users to acquire the required understanding of the CommandFusion tools and concepts in order to begin working on their own projects.
A quick start video covering the basics of the guiDesigner and iViewer software is available here.
A quick start guide in text wiki format is available here.
CommandFusion understands three different types of data; digital, analog, and serial. Data can be stored in tokens which are assigned a name, and can hold any data type, but cannot be displayed on the GUI. Data that must be displayed on the GUI is stored in joins. Each data type has its own group of 100 joins which are referred to by number and can be used for any purpose. Joins are numbered consecutively from one. There are also some system defined joins which have much higher numbers, and cannot be changed.
Digital joins can hold only a 0 or a 1. They are useful for controlling button states and page flips. Analog joins hold integers (whole numbers) in the range of 0 to 65535. They are usually used for gauges and sliders.
Serial joins are used to hold text. They can be used to display text for the user, or to specify image paths or URLs for GUI objects.
The GUI designer allows you define the appearance and behaviour of your user interface through the use of ten different GUI objects. While there are many common properties of the different GUI objects, each one has a set of unique properties that allow it to fulfil a certain set of requirements.
A page represents the display area of the device that is running the GUI. Multiple GUI objects can be positioned on a page. A project must contain at least one page, however a license is usually required for projects with more than one page. Pages can be switched in response to user interaction, or feedback from external systems.
Subpages are like pages, but they are smaller and can be displayed on top of other pages.
Buttons can be used to both show system state to the user, and receive feedback from the user. Buttons have two states; active and inactive. Each state is represented by an image and/or text. The states can be automatically toggled when the user interacts with the button, or they can be controlled by feedback from an external system. The button text can be controlled independently of the button state.
Gauges provide a way to display a ranged analog value, such as a volume setting or a tank level.
Sliders are similar to gauges, but their value can be adjusted by the user.
Input fields provide somewhere for the user to enter text.
Displays static or dynamic text.
Displays an image. The image can either be local to the project, or accessed via a URL (as long as a suitable network connection is available).
Provides a basic web browser for viewing web pages.
iViewer uses control systems to interface with external equipment. There are two types of control system; external and loopback. External systems communicate by sending messages over the WiFi network. The loopback system sends messages internally within iViewer. iViewer can communicate with multiple external systems, but only one loopback system.
Commands are messages which are sent to a control system. Commands can be sent as a response to user interaction with the GUI objects, or as a result of feedback processing on messages received from a control system.
Macros are used to group multiple commands together into a single task, and to apply time delays. Commands in a macro can be sent to different control systems.
Messages received from control systems are processed using feedback rules in order to determine what do with them. First the message is analyzed to see if it matches a particular pattern (regex). If the message does not match the pattern, it is discarded. If a match is found, the relevant parts (also defined by the regex) are extracted into capture groups. Capture group rules can then be used to convert these values into a more useful format. Finally OnMatch rules can be used to assign the values of these capture groups to joins or to send new commands.
The appearance of most GUI objects in the GUI designer is controlled through themes. Each object type has its own theme type. Themes allow GUI objects to share a consistent look, by setting the common properties in a single place.
This tutorial demonstrates how to create a simple GUI using a loopback system to send and receive messages without any external equipment. The tutorial is intended to run on an iPad, but can easily be adapted for an iPhone or other device.
The first step when working with the GUI designer is to create a new project.
In order to demonstrate the message processing capabilities of CommandFusion, a loopback system will be used. As mentioned above, this is a special type of control system that does not require any external equipment.
This command will be sent when a button is pressed, and used to update a text field.
This command will be sent when a button is pressed, and used to update a text field.
Create a new command with the name Goodbye, and the value message=Goodbye, cruel world!
This command will be sent when the slider is dragged, and will send the new slider position.
Create a new command with the name Update slider, and the value slider=[sliderval].
[sliderval] is a special token which will automatically be replaced with the value of the slider when the command is sent.
This command will be sent from a button to reset the position of the slider.
Create a new command with the name Reset slider, and the value slider=0
Now that the commands have been defined, feedback rules can be created to process the messages as they are received. This system sends two different types of message (there are four commands, but two off them send messages of one type, and two of them send messages of another), so needs two feedback rules.
The first message is of the format message=sometext, where sometext is the part that needs to be captured, and displayed in a text field.
The second message is of the format slider=somenumber, where somenumber is the value that needs to be captured, and displayed using a slider and a gauge.
The next step is to add the GUI objects that will send the commands, and display the joins. Before adding the GUI objects though, is a good idea to set up some themes. Themes can be configured later, but it is easier to position the objects if they already have a theme assigned. This tutorial will use themes provided with the GUI designer.
The default font used for this theme is too big for this tutorial, so some adjustments need to be made.
This tutorial will use three buttons. One to send the hello message, one to send the goodbye message, and one - to send the reset slider message.
Now that the buttons have been added, they can be configured. To change a button's settings, double click on it, or right-click and select Button Properties.
Analog and digital joins are initialised to 0, and serial joins are initialised to empty. In this tutorial, analog joins 1 and 2 should always have opposite values. Therefore, it is necessary to send the rest command at startup, to prevent both joins from being 0.
The design is now complete, so can be loaded onto an iPad.
If you have access to a web server, then this is the most flexible solution. Place the .gui file, and all of the images on the web server, and use the complete URL of the .gui file. For example, if your website is at www.example.com , your project file is called tutorial.gui, and is placed in a folder called cf, the url will be www.example.com/cf/tutorial.gui.
If you do not have access to a web server, then you can use the upload service built into guiDesigner. From the File menu select Upload Service, then click on the Start button (if prompted by your computer's firewall, you must allow guiDesigner to accept incoming network connections). The window will then tell you the URL to enter on the iPad. Note that when using the upload service, you do not include the .gui file name in the URL. For the GUI designer to work, the iPad must be connected to the same local network as the computer running guiDesigner. The upload service will only work whilst the upload service window is open.
Tapping the Hello button will cause the hello message to be displayed in the text field. Tapping the goodbye button will cause the goodbye message to be displayed. Dragging the slider will cause the gauge to display the opposite value. Tapping the reset button will set the slider to 0 % and the gauge to 100 %.