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- - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-20 19:52
But Winboard is kind of bloated and not necessarily good for all uses.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-20 20:18 Edited 2012-02-20 20:26
Bloated? First time I hear that complaint. Usually people say they like it because it is 'light weight'.

Nothing is necessarily good for all uses. But I would say WinBoard is reasonably all-round, and capable of doing most things ordinary users could wish to do pretty well. Be it searching for positions in a game database, ICS play, engine-engine matches or analysis.

Is there anything in particular that you think is lacking? Or, as to the bloating, anything that you consider unnecessary that gets so much attention in the menus that it becomes a hindrance for the thing you do want to do?
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-20 21:19
I have just never found Winboard conducive to getting right to work.  Be it setting up engines, changing engines.  There are just too many commands to wade through...for me anyway.  I know there are people who like Winboard.

I would personally LOVE a GUI that doesn't worry about engine vs engine matches and just focused on analysis/annotations, human play vs an engine, and database management.

I have tried Winboard numerous times and the biggest hindrance has been engine management.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-20 21:47
Well, changing engines should not be too much of a problem, when you can select them from a combobox in the Load Engine dialog, and the most-recently used ones even directly from the Engine menu. So I suppose the main problem would be setting up new engines. But for UCI engines that is basically also just clicking the executable in the file browser, ticking the UCI checkbox, and pushing 'OK'. Is it mainly the WB engines that need all kind of strange command-line arguments or inin files that you worry about?

It is true I haven't devised a convenient way to sort the engines yet (other than using the 'Edit Engine List' menu item, which shouldn't be that awkward). Perhaps when I get to replacing the selection combobox by a listbox, I could as well add buttons 'Up' and 'Down' that could be used to move a selected engine through the list.

Do you have any suggestions how it could be improved?
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-20 22:08

> Do you have any suggestions how it could be improved?


I am not sure as I am the weird guy who isn't  a power user but isn't a neophyte either.  I know NOTHING about computer programming but a great majority of my work depends on computer use.  (composing music, lesson plans, blog writing...and all the media that entails)

I just know that even after trying the newer Winboard with the easier engine set up, I still found it confusing to switch engines for analysis etc. etc.

I find Scid Vs PC easy to use in that regard.  And the Shredder Classic GUI and even the new Tarrasch GUI.  Even ChessPartner was really easy to use in that regards.

After I install an engine in Winboard I have never been able to find it again to switch to it for analysis.  (most likely my fault but I just think software should flow easily)
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-21 00:39

> most likely my fault


No, if you don't have problems doing that in other GUIs, and you do in Winboard, then it's Winboard's fault for having it in a confusing manner.

I think a main problem is that engine installation and engine switching are bundled in the same dialog, so it's unknown what your problem may be, it's even possible that you're loading the engine without installing it (you have to tick some "add engine to list" box to install it). Unfortunately, this will never be fixed as h.g.muller thinks Winboard already does it better than all other GUIs and doesn't like suggestions that would solve the problem, deeming them worse than current implementation (that is, he thinks Winboard already manages engine installation and switching better than Shredder Classic.)
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-21 02:22

> (that is, he thinks Winboard already manages engine installation and switching better than Shredder Classic.)


For engine installation and switching and even ease of analysis I have found NOTHING that beats Shredder Classic.  A few come close.  (Scid vs PC is surprisingly easy and configurable!)
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-21 02:30

> For engine installation and switching and even ease of analysis I have found NOTHING that beats Shredder Classic.


+1

And it's something so simple anyone can implement it (in fact, Winboard's way is more complex and should have taken more effort to implement, though partly because you can install chess variant engines on it.)
Parent - By Ray (****) Date 2012-02-21 04:00

>> For engine installation and switching and even ease of analysis I have found NOTHING that beats Shredder Classic


+2 !
Parent - By Razor (****) Date 2012-02-21 06:02
+3
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-21 10:02 Edited 2012-02-21 10:14

> this will never be fixed as h.g.muller thinks Winboard already does it better than all other GUIs
> and doesn't like suggestions that would solve the problem, deeming them worse than current
> implementation (that is, he thinks Winboard already manages engine installation and switching
> better than Shredder Classic.)


That cannot even be called an inaccurate approximation of what I said in our last discussion of this topic, and it also misrepresents the facts.

For one, you don't have to tick anything to get an engine installed, you just have to refrain from unticking it. Installing an engine in WinBoard requires nothing but opening the dialog, pointing out the engine (usually through clicking its exe in the browser) and pressing 'OK'. Oh, and if it is an UCI engine, you have to tick UCI.

I have no idea how it works in Shredder Classic; I don't think you ever told me. In fact, all you have been doing is show me Shredder dialogs that you commended for NOT being able to install engines, dedicated only to loading them. I would be surprised, btw, if it could be much simpler than how it works in WinBoard, as it is hard for me to see how you could install an engine without actually telling the GUI what engine you want installed (i.e., it seems the browsing step is indispensible), and having auto-detection of engine type (UCI vs WB) in general just causes more hardship because of detection errors than you gain. But surprise me...

And I pointed out that all this installing nonsense would become an almost-never used backup mechanism in the future, where the installer tool would take care of it. So that it 'will never be fixed' is just your fabrication.

As to loading engines, I pointed out there currently is a technical restriction that prevents the use of listboxes, so that until I solve that, we will have to use a combobox as replacement. Apart from that, I must admit that what you showed me from Shredder did not seem very impressive. Presenting the engine list as a tree widget would seem a much better solution.

But apart from all those planned changes, it seems that the current solution of directly selecting an engine from a main menu is also hard to beat, in terms of mouse-click efficienty... The fact that it must be the GUIs fault when a user cannot find back an engine that is in a main menu called 'Engine' could also be considered debatable.
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-21 12:22

> The fact that it must be the GUIs fault when a user cannot find back an engine that is in a main menu called 'Engine' could also be considered debatable.


Uly's point is well taken as Winboard is the only GUI (and I have tried them all) that I have had problems with retrieving engines.

After this recent discussion I tried winboard again and engine management is bloated and not conducive to letting the user get to work having fun with chess. 

You asked for ways to improve and to be honest if you haven't looked at Shredder Classic, you should as that is the best GUI with regards to this particular subject.

It might also be helpful to look at Scid vs. PC.  This software makes engine management very easy for the user.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-21 12:49 Edited 2012-02-21 14:03
Well, Shredder is commercial software, and I don't have it...

I looked at SCID vs PC, and the engine configuration dialog seems virtually identical to that of WinBoard: You have to enter command, parameters, directory, name, tick if it is UCI... Difference is that directory and name are now required fields, while in WinBoard you can usually leave them blank. (1-0 for WinBoard, I would think). In stead of the possibility to configure use of GUI book there is some stuff about shortcut keys. Well, each GUI has its own features that need configuring.

Am I using a wrong version (Scid vs PC 4.5)?





It is not clear how you can load the engine in SCID as second engine, the WB dialog has a combobox for that. (Perhaps it is a concept SCID does not know?)

I see a 'Configure' button in SCID's dialog. (Unfortunately it is grayed out, so I cannot set Fairy-Max' resign threshold...) Is that what it is all about, having an extra button to jump directly in the Engine Settings dialog, before the engine is actually loaded?

When I do some hard counting, I see 19 control elements in the Scid dialog, (6 text edits, 7 push buttons and 6 radio buttons, not counting the obligatory OK / cancell stuff) and only 15 in the WinBoard dialog. So how come, 'bloated'? Perhaps I don't understand what you mean by bloating.
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-21 14:04

> Well, Shredder is commercial software, and I don't have it...
>
> I looked at SCID vs PC, and the engine configuration dialog seems virtually identical to that of WinBoard: You have to enter command, parameters, directory, name, tick if it is UCI... Difference is that directory and name are now required fields, while in WinBoard you can usually leave them blank. (1-0 for WinBoard, I would think). In stead of the possibility to configure use of GUI book there is some stuff about shortcut keys. Well, each GUI has its own features that need configuring.
>
> Am I using a wrong version (Scid vs PC 4.5)?
>
> <img src="http://hgm.nubati.net/Scid.png" class="emi" />
>
> <img src="http://hgm.nubati.net/LoadWB.png" class="emi" />
>
> It is not clear how you can load the engine in SCID as second engine, the WB dialog has a combobox for that. (Perhaps it is a concept SCID does not know?)
>
> I see a 'Configure' button in SCID's dialog. (Unfortunately it is grayed out, so I cannot set Fairy-Max' resign threshold...) Is that what it is all about, having an extra button to jump directly in the Engine Settings dialog, before the engine is actually loaded?
>
> When I do some hard counting, I see 19 control elements in the Scid dialog, (not counting the obligatory OK / cancell stuff) and only 15 in the WinBoard dialog. So how come, 'bloated'? Perhaps I don't understand what you mean by bloating.


Well maybe bloating is an incorrect term.  I use the word bloated for any software that isn't efficient for my use.  Again I am  not a programmer but I have only had operational problems with Winboard out of all the various GUIs.  (and I have tried them all!)  I even found Arena easier to use than Winboard (but not by much)

I wish I could give you more to go on.

I suggest that  you purchase Shredder just to see how an efficient piece of software works.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-21 17:24 Edited 2012-02-21 17:37
Haha, good joke! You expect me to buy software just so that I can alter something that I give away for free, which already fits my needs perfectly, so that you would like it better?:eek:

But back to reality: your original claim that I contested was that WinBoard (or in fact any GUI) could never be a good tool for analysis because it also supported engine matches. But none of the things you come up with now (engine management, boating of the Load Engine dialog) does have anything to do with engine matches whatsoever. Does that mean your original complaint about the engine matches has been withdrawn?
Parent - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-21 18:29

> Haha, good joke! You expect me to buy software just so that I can alter something that I give away for free, which already fits my needs perfectly, so that you would like it better?:eek:


Not a joke!  You asked for suggestions and I gave you one.  You don't have to take the suggestion but you shouldn't call my suggestion a joke.  And yes you give Winboard away for free and that is nice and generous of you. 

I don't care if I ever like Winboard better than I do at the moment.  (besides I am not the only who seems to think Shredder does this better than Winboard)

> But back to reality: your original claim that I contested was that WinBoard (or in fact any GUI) could never be a good tool for analysis because it also supported engine matches. But none of the things you come up with now (engine management, boating of the Load Engine dialog) does have anything to do with engine matches whatsoever. Does that mean your original complaint about the engine matches has been withdrawn?


No my complaint is not withdrawn.  I would love a great GUI that focused only on analysis, database management and sparring.   (providing it does all of those extremely well!)

I think it would be nice to have something streamlined like that.

And by the way. I NEVER said Winboard could never be a good tool for analysis because it also supported engine matches! 

What I said was:  "I think GUIS would be better served if they focused on either playing, database usage and analysis OR Engine vs Engine matches." (still stand by this)

I also said:  "I have just never found Winboard conducive to getting right to work.  Be it setting up engines, changing engines.  There are just too many commands to wade through...for me anyway.  I know there are people who like Winboard."

So be careful about quoting!!

One of my favorite GUIs is the Tarrasch GUI.  Great for playing a game, annotating a game and even good basic analysis.  Even though there are some things that can be improved, it is easy and allows the user to get right to work and having fun.  It is also free!

Winboard's lack of usability is an entirely different matter that is unrelated to engine vs engine matches.
Parent - - By Ray (****) Date 2012-02-21 20:03
I think you can download a demo copy of Shredder Classic GUI.
Parent - By InspectorGadget (*****) Date 2012-02-27 19:12
Oopsie! You beat me to it :lol:
Parent - - By InspectorGadget (*****) Date 2012-02-27 19:05
The last time I checked Shredder Classic was available as a trial software. I don't know if it is still like that. Maybe as tomgdrums suggest that you buy Shredder Classic, you can rather download the trial (that is if it still down loadable as a trial version)
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-27 19:15
Nah, he would rather have depictions of how features work from people with Shredder Classic, it probably saves his effort...
Parent - - By Richard Vida (**) Date 2012-02-21 14:23

> Well, Shredder is commercial software, and I don't have it...


You can try the free demo version:

http://www.shredderchess.com/chess-download/free-demo-download.html

"You can download a slightly restricted test version of the world champion chess program Shredder Classic FREE of charge and try it out for 30 days without obligation."
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-21 17:35
OK, thanks for pointing this out. Perhaps I will do that some day. Although it does feel a bit dishonest to do that without having the slightest intention to buy the stuff. And on the contrary even using the it to increase competition and draw away sales from him.

But I don't really see it as my task to hunt around for stealing ideas. If people have a good suggestion for improvement, they can explain it to me, and I will consider it. But it has to be specific. Saying it should be more like a dialog that already is virtually the same does not provide me with anything to go on...
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-21 18:24

> If people have a good suggestion for improvement, they can explain it to me, and I will consider it


I did, I reckon tomgdrums has problems because there's no dialog to just load an engine, when trying to load an engine, one also gets options to install them. It may work for you but all the people with experience with Chess GUIs are used to having these options separated.

I have brought up better dialogs for engine loading, but I've never critiqued Winboard's dialog directly, so here it goes; I think this is what tom means when he says "bloated":



For a dialog to loading an engine only the drop down box to load engines is necessary:

The Nickname option and its box should not be necessary for engine loading.
The Directory option and its box should not be necessary for engine loading (the directory is known).
The Engine Command option and its box should not be necessary for engine loading (the command is known in installation).
The engine is already on the list, adding it again makes no sense.
The book option is fine, I just put a yellow circle there because the user is asked to approve a negative, which is counter-intuitive. Better to have a box "Uses GUI box" unticked.
Chess variants probably should be off by default in the whole GUI so they are only activated by users that care about them, and their options don't bloat the GUI.

Now, about the "load as first engine" and "load as second engine" options, the whole concept is not necessary, as Winboard is the only GUI with this concept while all other GUIs have a simpler concept. What other GUIs do is just having a single spot for a single engine. So if the spot is empty, that's "Edit mode", and the user can move pieces around the board, or play with a friend. If the spot has an engine, in "Infinite Analysis mode" the engine outputs its thinking lines, and in  "Game Mode", the engine plays a specified side of the board.

And that's it.

A second engine may be loaded against the first in a "Shootout" mode (where two engines play each other from new game or current position), "Match" mode (where two engines play several games) or "Tournament mode" (where more than 2 engines play). Or more engines may be loaded in a special option "Add engine", in where for analysis the user has several engines loaded at the same time, and they all analyze a position when put to Infinite Analysis simultaneously, so for instance, if the user has 4 cores, he can load 4 1CPU engines and run all of them in a position.

Nowhere in this process does the user need to choose whether to load an engine as first or second, so this option is bloat.

And finally, the options whether the engine is UCI or Winboard are bloated because this was set in installation.

Do you know what would be nice to have in this box that wouldn't be Bloat? An option to set the memory the new loaded engines would use.

So you claim otherwise but for an engine loading box I see a lot of bloat.
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-21 18:33

>> If people have a good suggestion for improvement, they can explain it to me, and I will consider it
> I did, I reckon tomgdrums has problems because there's no dialog to just load an engine, when trying to load an engine, one also gets options to install them. It may work for you but all the people with experience with Chess GUIs are used to having these options separated.
>
> I have brought up better dialogs for engine loading, but I've never critiqued Winboard's dialog directly, so here it goes; I think this is what tom means when he says "bloated":
>
> <img src="http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/483/bloat.png" class="emi" />
>
> For a dialog to loading an engine only the drop down box to load engines is necessary:
>
> The Nickname option and its box should not be necessary for engine loading.
> The Directory option and its box should not be necessary for engine loading (the directory is known).
> The Engine Command option and its box should not be necessary for engine loading (the command is known in installation).
> The engine is already on the list, adding it again makes no sense.
> The book option is fine, I just put a yellow circle there because the user is asked to approve a negative, which is counter-intuitive. Better to have a box "Uses GUI box" unticked.
> Chess variants probably should be off by default in the whole GUI so they are only activated by users that care about them, and their options don't bloat the GUI.
>
> Now, about the "load as first engine" and "load as second engine" options, the whole concept is not necessary, as Winboard is the only GUI with this concept while all other GUIs have a simpler concept. What other GUIs do is just having a single spot for a single engine. So if the spot is empty, that's "Edit mode", and the user can move pieces around the board, or play with a friend. If the spot has an engine, in "Infinite Analysis mode" the engine outputs its thinking lines, and in  "Game Mode", the engine plays a specified side of the board.
>
> And that's it.
>
> A second engine may be loaded against the first in a "Shootout" mode (where two engines play each other from new game or current position), "Match" mode (where two engines play several games) or "Tournament mode" (where more than 2 engines play). Or more engines may be loaded in a special option "Add engine", in where for analysis the user has several engines loaded at the same time, and they all analyze a position when put to Infinite Analysis simultaneously, so for instance, if the user has 4 cores, he can load 4 1CPU engines and run all of them in a position.
>
> Nowhere in this process does the user need to choose whether to load an engine as first or second, so this option is bloat.
>
> And finally, the options whether the engine is UCI or Winboard are bloated because this was set in installation.
>
> Do you know what would be nice to have in this box that wouldn't be Bloat? An option to set the memory the new loaded engines would use.
>
> So you claim otherwise but for an engine loading box I see a lot of bloat.


Uly has thoughtfully and thoroughly  put into words what I never had the patience to do. (as I generally just get annoyed with Winboard and delete it from my computer--that is how frustrating Winboard is for me...and I have tried it on 5 different occasions!)
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-21 19:05 Edited 2012-02-21 19:10
So I figured. Does it surprise you that I therefore don't take your criticism serious?

It still doesn't explain what anything of this has to do with the ability of WinBoard to do engine matches.
[edit] Oh, I see that you answered this elsewhere. This forum format becomes really hopeless when a thread gets big...
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-21 19:19

> This forum format becomes really hopeless when a thread gets big...


Yes, try setting posts per page to 300 in Options for a workaround.
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-22 00:23

> So I figured. Does it surprise you that I therefore don't take your criticism serious?


No it doesn't surprise me that you don't take my criticism seriously.  I have never seen you take any criticism to heart.  You just argue.  Which is fine, it is your GUI.  You don't have to change it if you are happy with it.  But don't insult me because YOUR GUI is the only one I found to be completely unsuitable for my needs.

I have tried them all and have a preference for the Shredder Classic GUI.  BUT if Shredder disappeared I could work with any or all of the other GUIs if I had to. (even the complicated Aquarium)  I am even starting to use Scid vs Pc more and more and the Tarrasch GUI. 

However if all the other GUIs disappeared and I was left with Winboard?  I don't know?  I might take up a new hobby.  Especially since the creator of Winboard has such a blind spot!

I mean it is one thing to dismiss me (and misquote me!) but you don't even take Uly's thoughts to heart and he is taking the time to really explain things out for you.  But instead of saying "oh that is interesting maybe I will try that"...you argue against every point he makes. 

Why?
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-22 02:03

> You just argue.  Which is fine, it is your GUI.


To be fair, Winboard is open source, which means anyone can take it, make a branch and make changes. So anyone reading this thread can make Winboard "their GUI", and make changes, but h.g.muller was the only one taking up the job.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-22 08:17 Edited 2012-02-22 11:44

> I have never seen you take any criticism to heart.


That only shows your lack of interest. Past year dozens of suggestions by users have been implemented by me in WinBoard.

It is just that I would file your complaints under 'nonsense'. Because on closer inquiry you fail to substantiate them. In fact they show all the signs of someone just making up stuff out of some general frustration: you can't tell me what exactly you did (which makes it unlikely that you seriously tried anything), you just say it should be more like Scid vs PC (which on closer inspection turns out to have a dialog that is virtually identical to that of WinBoard), and when I ask you what it is that makes you perceive the Scid dialog as easier than WinBoard, making it really easy for you by going through the effort of posting both dialogs side by side, the best you can come up with is a silly excuse for not answering the question (namely not being a programmer).

Well, that is where I draw the line, then. Your complaints get filed under 'nonsense', and you get filed under 'troublemaker'...

As to your paraphrising of my interaction with Uly, I can only conclude you did not bother to really read that either.
Parent - - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-22 12:21

>> I have never seen you take any criticism to heart.
> That only shows your lack of interest. Past year dozens of suggestions by users have been implemented by me in WinBoard.
>
> It is just that I would file your complaints under 'nonsense'. Because on closer inquiry you fail to substantiate them. In fact they show all the signs of someone just making up stuff out of some general frustration: you can't tell me what exactly you did (which makes it unlikely that you seriously tried anything), you just say it should be more like Scid vs PC (which on closer inspection turns out to have a dialog that is virtually identical to that of WinBoard), and when I ask you what it is that makes you perceive the Scid dialog as easier than WinBoard, making it really easy for you by going through the effort of posting both dialogs side by side, the best you can come up with is a silly excuse for not answering the question (namely not being a programmer).
>
> Well, that is where I draw the line, then. Your complaints get filed under 'nonsense', and you get filed under 'troublemaker'...
>
> As to your paraphrising of my interaction with Uly, I can only conclude you did not bother to really read that either.


Oh NO!  I have been filed under troublemaker....

What am I going to do?

Really that is your answer? To file me under some category? 

Oh and I read your interactions with Uly.  And I have tried Winboard.  And I have not had to ask anyone about engine installation for any other GUI.  And as far as not being able to explain it to you?  If I knew the problem I probably wouldn't have the problem?  And that is my whole point, Winboard does not make sense.  ALL other GUIs make sense (my preferences are usually semantics)  I can use any and all GUIs I have ever tried.  Only with Winboard am I not able to actually DO any chess!  Only Winboard.  I don't like Aquarium but I CAN use it.  I can use it enough that if it was the only GUI around I would make do.  So I am comfortable with that math.  ALL other GUIS?--I can use.  WInboard is the only one I can't.  Not a user problem at that point.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-22 16:10

> Really that is your answer? To file me under some category?


Of course. 'Treoublemaker' means interaction with you is not productive, so I should not waste much time on what you say. You write a lot, above, but nothing is the slightest helpful to acheive anything. And when I ask directed questions, I get evasive answer.

That you did not succeed in achieving what you intended, does not mean you cannot tell me what you actually did, (so that I know where you get stuck).
That you say other GUIs are good, when their dialogs look praktically the same, in not helpful!

If you cannot come up with anything useful, why would I waste time on it?
Parent - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-22 17:04

>> Really that is your answer? To file me under some category?
> Of course. 'Treoublemaker' means interaction with you is not productive, so I should not waste much time on what you say. You write a lot, above, but nothing is the slightest helpful to acheive anything. And when I ask directed questions, I get evasive answer.
>
> That you did not succeed in achieving what you intended, does not mean you cannot tell me what you actually did, (so that I know where you get stuck).
> That you say other GUIs are good, when their dialogs look praktically the same, in not helpful!
>
> If you cannot come up with anything useful, why would I waste time on it?


Ok thanks.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-21 20:40 Edited 2012-02-21 20:47

> I did, I reckon tomgdrums has problems because there's
>  no dialog to just load an engine, when trying to load an
> engine, one also gets options to install them.


Actually I don't reckon that at all. Because his complaint (not being able to find any mention of the engine after having installed it) doesn't fit your hypothesi: he can only have succesfully loaded an engine in the first place by using the install section, not the load combobox of the dialog. So that section being absent would not have really helped him. And even if it would never have occurred to him to use the 'Load Engine' dialog for loading an engine, he still should have found the engine back in the comboboxes of the startup dialog.

Of course the most likely explanation is that he never used the entire dialog at all (and probably was using a WinBoard version that did not even have it), and tried to 'install' an engine from the startup dialog comboboxes.

> For a dialog to loading an engine only the drop down box
> to load engines is necessary:


Indeed. (That is, if you assume that it should only be possible to load engines after you install them. Which is not a logical necessity, and indeed, in WinBoard not a necessity at all.) But who wants a dialog with only a single combobox in it?

I don't think there is any harm in compining two sub-minimal dialogs that serve the same basic function (switch engine). For a non-idiot user it should be clear he EITHER has to select from the list, OR specify one below (with the possibility to add it to the list), as this is spelled out in the dialog. Note that the image you post here is is a form of the dialog in the first alpha version, which was rejected soon after exactly for failing to spell this out.

All the controls you mark as bloats are actually essential for loading a not-yet installed engine. That they are not needed when you select from the list does not mean they are not needed in the GUI. If there are first-time users for which "select engine from the list or specify one below" is beyond comprehension...  Well, then I would say it is only a blessing if they are discouraged from using WinBoard (or, in fact, a computer for any purpose), because nothing but trouble could ensue from it! :lol: So, no, I don't consider this confusing in any way. And, as I already stated above, however you change the Load Engine dialog, it wouldn't do any good for people who are trying to use the startup dialog as a substitute.

> The book option is fine, I just put a yellow circle there because
> the user is asked to approve a negative, which is counter-intuitive.
> Better to have a box "Uses GUI box" unticked.


The problem is that UCI protocol is to blame for the negative, because the option there is called 'OwnBook', while in fact it is intendedd to mean that the GUI book should be switched off. As this does not logically follow from the fact that the engine has its own book, I think the current description is clearer.

> Nowhere in this process does the user need to choose whether to load an engine as first or second, so this option is bloat.


What you said about the second engine sounded great, until I reached this point, where I got confused again. If I have 4 engines analyzing, and now I want tho replace one of those by another, surely I must be able to tell the GUI which of the 4 engines I want to kick out? Does it mean there is another menu dialog 'Delete Engine'? (Where you would then basically find this combobox, rather than find it in the same dialog as for loading the replacement, so that you would now always have to open two dialogs in stead of one...)

I would love to get rid of this silly second-engine business. If I understand you correctly, there basically are separate dialogs for loading first and second engine (so you won't have to choose inside the dialog), and the dialog for loading a second engine would be called not directly from an item in a main menu, but from a dialog to set up a shootout or match. Would you have to re-specify that second engine for every shootout you start? Or would it remember the one you used in the previous shootout? Actually I think the latter would be preferable, but that would of course mean that the GUI does know the concept of a second engine. Even if it might not call it such.

I did consider to change the WB menu design to have separate "Load 1st Engine" and "Load 2nd Engine" items in the main menu, which then would pop call up the same Load Engine dialog (whch then would not need a First/Second combo). This because in WB a 'shootout' does not need any dialog to specify it further; you only have to click "Two Machines", and it will start instantly. I dislike the First/Second combo, because I consistently forget to use it when I really want to load a second engine. (For people not doing engine matches, however, the combobox can hardly be harmfull, as they only use a first engine, which is the default.) You might disagree, but I don't think that requiring people that only want to use a single engine should understand the "Load 2nd Engine" menu is not for them is raising the bar too high.

Analysing with more than one engine is currently not possible in WinBoard; this is a wish-list item, but unfortunately very hard to do. I am not sure whether it is wise to use more than two engine simultaneously; Space for printing their output will become a real problem in that case. But just invoking a designated second engine rather than having to re-specify it in a Load Engine dialog each time you press 'Add Engine'.

> And finally, the options whether the engine is UCI or Winboard are bloated because this was set in installation.


Yes, of course. It is in the lower part of the dialog, which is only for installation, so I would say that is pretty obvious.

> So you claim otherwise but for an engine loading box I see a lot of bloat.


And now I would like to hear you scream that it was impossible to install an engine without editing the ini file when we would simply delete all those controls. You seem to have a funny definition of 'bloat', where all you really want is to split up the dialog, and insist the user has to install before he can load...
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-21 21:08

> If I have 4 engines analyzing, and now I want tho replace one of those by another, surely I must be able to tell the GUI which of the 4 engines I want to kick out?


You click on its name. In the Shredder Classic GUI you can click on the engine's name to switch to another engine. The Install engine option doesn't come up when clicking an engine's name. Only one "Load engine" dialog is needed and the user can switch them with ease and add more engines if he wishes (though, I wouldn't suggest the user to add more engines than he has cores for, someone with 12 cores could load 12 engines).

It looks like this:


(Note: This is with 800x600 resolution, most users use higher resolution so these engines would show more lines, and longer ones.)

>All the controls you mark as bloats are actually essential for loading a not-yet installed engine.


But loading not-yet installed engines is not essential.

>You seem to have a funny definition of 'bloat', where all you really want is to split up the dialog, and insist the user has to install before he can load...


Just auto load an engine as it is installed. The other day we discussed it, installing new engines is something that is not done regularly, while loading engines is a procedure done several times daily, so it makes no sense that the installation dialogs come up whenever one just wants to switch them.
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-21 21:56

> You click on its name.


OK, that is its name in the above the analysis lines. In WinBoard that would be in the engine-output window.

> The Install engine option doesn't come up when clicking an engine's name.


But I suppose a "Load Engine" dialog pops up?

> Only one "Load engine" dialog is needed


Well, I would consider that four different Load Engine dialogs. But they would of course all look exactly equal. That is also what I would do when you could call Load 1st Engine / Load 2nd Engine from the menu. Pop up an identical dialog, but when you operate it, something else would happen (namely another engine would be replaced).

> and the user can switch them with ease and add more engines if he wishes


When he adds an engine, would he always have to answer a Load Engine popup? Or would he automatically get a default engine (which he could then change by summoning up the Load Engine dialog by clicking its name).

Can he also delete engines? (E.g. to liberate a core for other purposes.) And how can these engines be controlled? Is there also a way to pop up an Engine Settings dialog for each of them? Or can the settings be changed only during install?

Summoning the Load Engine dialog by clciking on the engine name is certainly a nice shortcut, but in WinBoard I would also like to keep menu items for it. Because unlike with Shredder, the Engine-Output window needs not always to be open, and forcing the user to open it just so he can change engines does seem a bit cumbersome compared to opening a menu. But of course there is nothing against allowing both. WinBoard already has other dialogs that can be invoked both from the menu and somewhere else (e.g. time control from tournament options).

> Just auto load an engine as it is installed.


This is what it does. Except that I see it more as auto-installing when it loads. But that is just semantics. It does both. Unless you untick the "Add to list".

> But loading not-yet installed engines is not essential.


Perhaps not, but if you cannot do it, installing a not-yet installed engine is. So you cannot do without those controls. Which means the engine management is not bloated at all. You just want it to be dispersed over more dialogs. But in my asessment that is not a good thing. I don't think combining the dialog is any more confusing than splitting it for the typical user, and I don't think the fact that they were combined has anything to do with Tom's problems. And in any case I would not attempt to fix problems we have to guess first whatthey are.
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-21 23:30

>But I suppose a "Load Engine" dialog pops up?


Yes.

> Well, I would consider that four different Load Engine dialogs


Why only four? As I said, a person with 12 cores could want to load 12 engines. In Shredder Classic the number of engines that can be loaded is unlimited, and they all access the same loading box, that's why I think a single loading box suffices.

Shredder doesn't distinguish between loaded engines, there's no "1st Engine, 2nd Engine, 3rd Engine, 4th engine", that's why I put it as an example that differentiating engines as "1st" or "2nd" isn't necessary.

>When he adds an engine, would he always have to answer a Load Engine popup?


Yes, and this is done fast as many engines appear that the user is likely to load on screen (no drop down list).

>Can he also delete engines?


Yes, Right-clicking on the engine name gives many options, "Engine Options" allows to access and change its settings, "Hash Tables" allows to change its allocated memory, "Change engine" allows to switch to another (as if you left-clicked), "Add engine" allows the user to add another engine (in this case, the 5th), "Close engine" unloads the engine (so only 3 would remain loaded), and it has two options to change the font and hide the output panel.

>And how can these engines be controlled?


Simultaneously. Though I guess it would be possible to have some engines in "Edit mode" (when put to analyze mode, this engine wouldn't be activated), or specify what engines are in "Play from white side" or "Play from black side" mode (only engines fulfilling expectations would move when ordered to), which would make the implementation superior to Shredder Classic.

>Is there also a way to pop up an Engine Settings dialog for each of them?


Yes, there's an "active engine", in the picture, it's Zappa Mexico. The user activates engines by clicking in their analysis panel. When going to options to change the settings of the engine, the settings of the active engine are changed (or they can right click their name for options).

>Summoning the Load Engine dialog by clciking on the engine name is certainly a nice shortcut, but in WinBoard I would also like to keep menu items for it.


Yes, Shredder also has the menu options, and loading an engine replaces the active engine, it's just that clicking on the engine names is more convenient (and intuitive as their names look like buttons).

>Because unlike with Shredder, the Engine-Output window needs not always to be open


It can also be hidden in Shredder Classic.

>and forcing the user to open it just so he can change engines does seem a bit cumbersome compared to opening a menu


For analysis, what loading many engines is being used for, the user has no reason whatsoever to hide the engine's Output panel. If he's done with the engine he can unload it. I think an important design choice here is that you want to restrict the number of engines a user can load (because switching them would depend on a menu and a menu can't be unlimited), while Shredder Classic allows the user to load as many engines as he wishes.

>This is what it does. Except that I see it more as auto-installing when it loads. But that is just semantics. It does both.


With the price of clobbering up the load engine option when the user only wants to load it and not install another.

>Perhaps not, but if you cannot do it, installing a not-yet installed engine is. So you cannot do without those controls.


All other GUIs, including Shredder Classic, regarded as the most user-friendly and simplistic GUI, are doing fine without the option of loading an engine without installing it. You want to load an engine? You install it and it's a painless process so it wouldn't be different from loading it without installing it. And their engine loading dialogs are streamlined to allow the user to switch the engine in the most effective manner.

>I don't think combining the dialog is any more confusing than splitting it for the typical user,


We're talking about a typical user that has experience with other GUIs, and has some expectations of how things should work, those expectations aren't being met as Winboard is doing things its way and it's not a way that is better, just different. If all other GUIs had installation of engines and loading in the same screen, and Winboard was different and had the options separated, I'd praise it because the engine loading dialogs wouldn't be cluttered with irrelevant stuff. It would be an improvement, but alas, the other way is worse.

>and I don't think the fact that they were combined has anything to do with Tom's problems.


Tom has managed to do installation of engines fine, and switch to them, in ALL other GUIs that he tried. What's the difference between all those other GUIs and Winboard? That they don't mix these features up. So that's why I deduce this is the cause of the problem, and that if Winboard had a menu specially designed to just switch installed engines, like other GUIs do, Tom wouldn't have had his problem of not finding his installed engine.

>And in any case I would not attempt to fix problems we have to guess first whatthey are.


There's no guessing, it's logic. When a user has problems doing something in a GUI, and not in all other GUIs, because the GUI is doing something differently, it's clear the difference is what is causing the problem. This isn't specific to Winboard, the monstrously complex Aquarium GUI had a problem I saw more than once: People wouldn't find how to start infinite analysis. Why? Because Aquarium was doing something differently than other GUIs. What? While other GUIs had a menu option called Infinite Analysis, the Aquarium GUI had 5 different Modes that the user could be in, each with their different Ribbons, and each Ribbon with their different tabs with options. Only 2 of the modes had a tab with Infinite Analysis option, so a user in the wrong mode would never find it.

A user that has never used a Chess GUI before may not have this problem, just like he would not have problems with Winboard. It's the users that are expecting an Infinite Analysis option to appear wherever they are on the GUI, or a "click and load" option to switch their engines, that will have problems.
Parent - - By Dadi Jonsson (Silver) Date 2012-02-22 08:59

> monstrously complex Aquarium GUI had a problem I saw more than once: People wouldn't find how to start infinite analysis. Why? Because Aquarium was doing something differently than other GUIs. What? While other GUIs had a menu option called Infinite Analysis, the Aquarium GUI had 5 different Modes that the user could be in, each with their different Ribbons, and each Ribbon with their different tabs with options. Only 2 of the modes had a tab with Infinite Analysis option, so a user in the wrong mode would never find it.


I'm sorry, Uly, but you are "monstrously" wrong about this. I've been in contact with more Aquarium users than most. That experience has shown that the cleanly separated modes are actually a great help for users. You only see the things that are relevant to what you are doing (e.g. playing engine matches) instead of having the GUI cluttered with a huge number of buttons and options that have nothing to do with the task that you are working on.

As for the subject of this thread, not a single user of all the hundreds that I have been in contact with over the years has complained about Aquarium's engine management.
Parent - By Homayoun_Sohrabi_M.D. (***) Date 2012-02-22 09:12
Hello Mr Jonsson,

one of the posters here had recently stated that the elite GMs are using computers in ways that we can not even imagine.    I don't know if you are in touch with some of the top players, but if you are, I wonder if you could give us some details about that.   I figured that they of course analyse lines and openings and look up their opponent's prior games, etc -the usual.   I am sure they also train/play against the computer as well.   Are you aware of anything else that is being done?   Maybe a Chesscafe article?   Thanks for your time.
Parent - By tomgdrums (****) Date 2012-02-22 12:23

> As for the subject of this thread, not a single user of all the hundreds that I have been in contact with over the years has complained about Aquarium's engine management.


I am not a "fan" of Aquarium but that is based on my own preferences.  Engine management is fine in Aquarium.
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-22 16:09

> You only see the things that are relevant to what you are doing (e.g. playing engine matches)


You are monstrously wrong about that as I use 99% of my time analyzing my chess games, and only play engine matches rarely :razz:
Parent - By Homayoun_Sohrabi_M.D. (***) Date 2012-02-22 16:29
Uly,

you misinterpreted what he said a little bit.   When he said "you only see the things that are relevant", he did not mean you specifically.   He meant that the user is only shown things that are relevant to what he is doing at that moment and that the interface is not cluttered by a lot of other useless options.   Read what he wrote again and you'll understand.
Parent - - By Dadi Jonsson (Silver) Date 2012-02-22 16:31
Also in that case you are monstrously wrong. Analysis means viewing a game where you have access to all the analysis tools available in Aquarium. You won't see any buttons there for engine matches and such irrelevant features cluttering the display and menus. It's a humongous advantage for people who spend 99% of their time analyzing chess games :lol:
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-22 17:00

> You won't see any buttons there for engine matches and such irrelevant features cluttering the display and menus.


Clutter? An extra Menu item for the case I want to play engine matches seems like clutter? But the button to change to engine matches modes uses more space on screen!

Compare:





Now, you may ask, why am I enovaling the whole part in Aquarium? Because it's visible at all times! It's cluttering the GUI at all times! The Engine Match option in the menu of Shredder Classic, only clutters the Mode menu when you open it, while the mode changing is there even when I'm not going to change mode.

You can't play the saving space at the top card, because a Ribbon in modes uses that space for something at all all times (ribbon tabs).

And you can't play the "less clicking card", because after clicking the engine matches mode of Aquarium, the user still has to click on the Ribon option of that mode, THEN on Create New, and only then you get to the option shown above immediately in Shredder Classic.

tldr: I think images are better at showing the superiority of Shredder Classic:





Less navigation, less clicking, less clutter (no "mode change" bar visible at all times) in Shredder Classic. No benefit for the user in Aquarium.

And my applause to Aquarium for overriding the background colors of windows without overriding the text colors so the menu items are very hard to read :roll:
Parent - - By Dadi Jonsson (Silver) Date 2012-02-22 21:37
I was discussing this at a higher level than your pixel counting example. I feel that Homayoun_Sohrabi_M.D. had a better understanding of that.
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-22 21:59
So you claim what I show is irrelevant. Perhaps this bit is, in the long run, but when the bits accumulate and every thing the user wants to do requires more clicking and navigation, the user may find it's not worth the time and switch to a different GUI.

Of course, if half the people do that, you get this:

Persons 1 to 5.- Tries Aquarium, finds it too complex, and quits.

Person 6 to 10.- Tries Aquarium, finds it too complex, but decides to stick with it and eventually gets used to it, or even masters it.

What you have is 5 people around that like Aquarium, defend it, praise its power and claim legitimate usability issues are irrelevant or "pixel counting", while the others left and you get the impression most people liked Aquarium.
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2012-02-22 22:48
What you have is 5 people around that like Aquarium, defend it, praise its power and claim legitimate usability issues are irrelevant or "pixel counting", while the others left and you get the impression most people liked Aquarium.

Otherwise known as survivor bias...
Parent - - By Dadi Jonsson (Silver) Date 2012-02-23 10:21
You know little about Aquarium and you know nothing about my private communication with Aquarium users. You assume that I only communicate with people who praise Aquarium's power etc. and then you conclude something from that. Unsurprisingly, your assumption is wrong.

I have an excellent overview of the things that users like and dislike about Aquarium. They are very different from what you assume.

I don't really understand why you are so obsessed with Aquarium when you don't understand it and don't use it :eek:
Parent - - By h.g.muller (****) Date 2012-02-23 14:51

> you know nothing about my private communication with Aquarium users.


I think what disturbs people here is not so much what you communicate with Aquarium users, but that you communiate with Aquarium users. To know why people dislike Aquarium, you should communicate with people that do not use it, and ask them why....
Parent - By Dadi Jonsson (Silver) Date 2012-02-23 16:00

> but that you communiate with Aquarium users


I don't get this at all. I'm an Aquarium user who often helps/trains other (sometimes potential) Aquarium users. Obviously I wouldn't be able to do that without communicating with them. How can that be "disturbing"?

And what makes you think I don't communicate with non-Aquarium users? :eek:
Parent - - By Uly (Gold) Date 2012-02-24 17:48

> I have an excellent overview of the things that users like and dislike about Aquarium.


An excellent overview from the people still around to discuss Aquarium, which was my point.
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