[Ardour-Dev] Ardour interface simplication?

Adam Dingle adam at yorba.org
Thu Sep 23 08:32:15 PDT 2010


On 09/23/2010 05:57 AM, Lamar Owen wrote:
> [snip]
> Good morning, Adam, and welcome to Ardour.  While I've not cc:d the Ardour-Users list (yet; almost did, and almost set reply-to to that list, but decided against it), I would suspect it might be better suited to that list.

Thanks for your reply.  I'm also not sure what list is best, but here we 

> But, in any case, speaking as a longtime user of Ardour, I would be against over-simplification of the interface.  Oh, I fully understand the learning curve's steepness and the paucity of documentation (but the FLOSS manual and the currently-being-revamped reference manual are great improvements).  And I do understand your 'casual user' point of view.
> However, such a simplification-possible interface makes support much mure complicated, because then not only does someone who's trying to assist a user in a task need to give instructions on how to do the task, but also must remember to tell the user to enable that control (or the user might be inclined to say 'well, MY copy of Ardour doesn't even have that menu item, so you don't know what you're talking about').  This would make an already difficult task much more difficult.

Yes - I understand this is a cost.

> Yes, Ardour has a lot of features and a full menu, no doubt.  But I am not convinced that configurable interface elements, which would make Ardour even more modal than it already is, is the answer.  Of course, I am not the one to convince, since I'm not an Ardour developer, just a heavy user.
> But that brings up the crux of the matter: Ardour isn't really meant for casual users, it's meant for professionals.  Does ProTools have a 'simple' set of menus in addition to the full set?  Ardour is much more a ProTools replacement than just a more powerful Audacity.

Yes, this is the crux of the matter.  But if the Ardour interface is 
meant for only professionals, then the question is this: does it make 
sense to develop a completely separate free audio tool for the GNOME 
desktop for more casual users to use?  In other words, if Ardour 
replaces Pro Tools then what tool should users use who need/want only 
the feature set and interface of, say, GarageBand?  Clearly such users 
need many features that Ardour 3 already has: recording, mixing, MIDI, a 
piano roll, LV2 effects and so on.  It seems to me that if we are to 
make such users happy, we must either (a) make Ardour sufficiently 
configurable to satisfy those users (as I was suggesting), or (b) 
develop a separate program for such users.  But path (b) has 
complexities of its own.  The separate program would share lots of the 
functionality of Ardour (indeed, it would be a strict subset) so it 
would make sense for it to reuse lots of code and/or libraries from 
Ardour, but I'm not sure that Ardour is factored in a way which would 
make such reuse easy.   And it would certainly be nice to be able to 
share session files between the simplified program and Ardour, but that 
could be tricky to maintain if they are two separate programs.  Given 
all that, I've been thinking recently the perhaps path (a) might be the 
easiest way.

> Having said all that, one thing that might be doable would be a 'Windows-esque' 'common menus items' menu display control (which I personally loathe, but I'm in the minority).  This is where only the most common (and/or the most recent/often used items) show in the menu, with an expansion control at the bottom of the menu.  Again, I personally loathe the expandable menus, but I know many new users who love them.  And I don't have the first clue how hard that interface element would be to implement.

Oh no no no, I loathe those things too.  Let's not do that.  :)

> So, I understand your pain, but also try to understand things from the developer / support volunteer point of view.

Sure.  I don't claim that this problem is completely easy to solve well.


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