New Skinnable Reaper GUI
Old 16th April 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
New Skinnable Reaper GUI

Hi Justin,

I know you have mentioned that you will probably get around to making Reaper skinnable when you have some higher priority features out of the way...but I am curious as to your thoughts on the subject.

As you know, "White Tie" on the Reaper forum has posted some examples of what Reaper could look like if it had a fully skinnable GUI.









Do you think that this level of interface control could eventually be made possible?

If so, could it be done without negatively affecting performance?

Do you think that a new fully skinnable GUI would be a strong factor in gaining acceptance from new Reaper users?

I'm also interested in other Gearslutz opinions on the concept of this GUI (not necessarily this particular example).

Thanks.
Old 16th April 2007
  #2
Gear nut
 

White Tie is a fantastic artist!

We would like to eventually add such skinning capability in the future, though we will only do it once:

a) we're out of/have less of big functionality items that need implementing
b) it doesn't harm performance when not in use (i.e. if you want classic ui, it won't cost you much more than the additional disk space)

Point a) might take a while, as we have pages and pages of things to do!
As for b), it becomes an interesting engineering challenge, as typically these things involve tradeoffs between featureset (alpha blending vs masking, etc?) and performance.
Old 16th April 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

That skin looks wicked!

Though I'd like to see a more complete channelstrip.

Why not make use of one skin, where you can change the colors if you please, ala Tracktion?

Makes the application a bit more universal, easier to use from studio to studio, otherwise you'd need to take your own skin with you all the time...
Old 16th April 2007
  #4
Gear nut
 
Scott@RealTraps's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geert van den Berg View Post
otherwise you'd need to take your own skin with you all the time...
You mean you don't ALWAYS take your own skin with you when you when you leave the house?! ;-)
Old 16th April 2007
  #5
JPV
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geert van den Berg View Post
Why not make use of one skin, where you can change the colors if you please, ala Tracktion?

Makes the application a bit more universal, easier to use from studio to studio, otherwise you'd need to take your own skin with you all the time...
Yeah, I've made similar comments, several times, on the Cockos forum but was shot down by some of the more vocal members.

I seriously doubt that Avid and Final Cut forums are filled with members whining about needing full fledged skinning abilities in those programs. Seems to be a peculiar mindset that befalls musicians more than other types of artists.
Old 16th April 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 

+1thumbsup

That skin looks incredibly good! Actually better than any other DAWs at the moment IMO.
Old 16th April 2007
  #7
Gear maniac
 
Mondo's Avatar
 

grey and red looks wicked?? that looks like a 13 year old that loves mechwarrior made it.
Old 16th April 2007
  #8
Gear Head
 

Thread Starter
Thanks very much Justin!

I would never choose an app just because of an attractive GUI, as obviously the feature set and performance must be there first...but I do think that one of the things that people appreciate most about Reaper is your willingness to listen to (and implement) their needs. Interface customization would be a really nice addition once the remaining major features have been included and are stable. Version 3.0 perhaps?

I guess the reason I am bringing it up is so that you have it in the back of your mind as you continue to develop things, and so that any code changes do not preclude adding this functionality in future builds of Reaper. I'm sure you don't "code yourself into a corner", but maybe an interesting approach will pop into your head and you can start to lay the groundwork.

Thanks again for all your great work so far!
Old 24th April 2007
  #9
Gear nut
 
smetaxas's Avatar
 

This skin is would make Reaper the best looking DAW out there. Should be a top priorty!!
Old 25th April 2007
  #10
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smetaxas View Post
This skin is would make Reaper the best looking DAW out there. Should be a top priorty!!

top priority, over actual functionality? What's the use of being the best looking DAW, if you don't have competitive features/performance/workflow/etc?
Old 25th April 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Because the better it looks the more seductive it becomes the more time you feel like spending in front of it the more productive you become.

In short: seductive = productive as long as all is well under the hood which it already is.

You value function over form; you've made that clear. However grooming your program to become as great as it can be requires getting out of your own head and listening to what people are telling you about the GUI.

You don't have to pick form over function or function over form. Valuing both would result in an unbeatable combination.
Old 25th April 2007
  #12
Gear nut
 
steve.h's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Frankel View Post
top priority, over actual functionality? What's the use of being the best looking DAW, if you don't have competitive features/performance/workflow/etc?
Of course features/performance/workflow should be top priority! I think what he means, and that I agree with, is that Reaper's functionality is at the point where focusing on the user interface for a little bit might be an excellent way to improve the overall program. There are so many great features, including some that no other program offers, but they've kind of got an "added on" type of feel in some of the menus and whatnot. As with Winamp, once the functionality and stability is there, adding the option of customizing the interface can really make the program feel more like "your own", which in this era of millions flocking to cheap diy recording, might be a big thing.

Or I could be completely wrong :p
Old 25th April 2007
  #13
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Frankel View Post
What's the use of being the best looking DAW, if you don't have competitive features/performance/workflow/etc?

i couldn't agree more! anybody old enough to remember those rolls royce bodies you could put on your VW beetle...

reaper doesn't need to be the sexy chick with a non-brain like jessica simpson... i'd much rather it be the smart, glasses wearing betty who gives you all the test answers so you can breeze through math class!
Old 26th April 2007
  #14
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smetaxas View Post
This skin is would make Reaper the best looking DAW out there. Should be a top priorty!!
And to some people it would make REAPER the most horrible looking DAW out there... I'm very glad this is not on Justin's top priority list.
Old 26th April 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
 

ok, how to put this...

sometimes I don't get people's taste in application GUI. While that skin looks neat from a visual standpoint, and the layout looks good, there is just to much going on. I find this is the case often with programs that are highly skinable, that all the skins are just slightly, or way over the top.

please don't take this the wrong way, cause visually that skin looks really good, the layout is great, but I can't help but like the simple GUIs best. Look at pro tools, dp, live and logic. all 1 solid color and the thing that need to be different colors are. for the most part at least.

in a music copy class I took the professor would say to get the most information across to the musician while using the least amount of ink possible. in other words, no unnecessary crap. I feel the same about ANY user interface. there shouldn't be a button, a color, a line, or a change in anything unless its there for a specific reason. I think you can accomplish that its still make it look good and artful. but its not easy.
Old 27th April 2007
  #16
Gear nut
 
Scott@RealTraps's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by troggg View Post
Because the better it looks the more seductive it becomes the more time you feel like spending in front of it the more productive you become.

In short: seductive = productive as long as all is well under the hood which it already is.
FWIW, I was initially a little put off by the look of Reaper (at least the earlier default looks).

But the thing that very literally seduced me into using Reaper as my main DAW was the work flows, which are not always readily apparent until you actually use Reaper, and then once start you keep stumbling across things you didn't realise were there, and when you do you find that these features are really well thought out and intuitive.

The main thing that initially got me was that I could literally be up and recording new tracks within less than a minute of installing Reaper. Assigning inputs and arming them to record is so quick and easy, and then everything else in the process just seems to go so fast without having things jump up and get in your way.

Every recording, mixing and/or editing session I've done since switching to Reaper has been faster, easier and with fewer interruptions than with any other DAW I've used. And I find the process of just sitting down and recording some new ideas much more of a joy now -- whereas before I might not have even bothered, because I didn't feel like fighting through a bunch of extra steps that would leave me at a point of having forgotten the musical idea I had by the time I was set up to play.

Quote:
You value function over form; you've made that clear. However grooming your program to become as great as it can be requires getting out of your own head and listening to what people are telling you about the GUI.

You don't have to pick form over function or function over form. Valuing both would result in an unbeatable combination.
One thing about this is that there are quite a number of features -- perhaps even some relatively large changes -- that will be coming to Reaper in the v2 (and perhaps v3) stage that may start to make changes to the way the Reaper interface works.

It can get a little funky to start making things heavily skinnable in an application before you have all planned features in place in the GUI, because then people have to start updating skins, and you may also lose some forward/backward compatibility.

One thing I've observed about Reaper is that everything seems to be very forward and backward compatible -- very much UNLIKE a good many other DAWs. I like that a LOT, and I hope Reaper keeps that ability (at least as much as possible).

Not *at all* wishing to slam the idea of valuing form as well as function . . . but more trying to offer some insight as to why the GUI might be getting low priority for the time being.

For myself, I'm OK with that. I'd love for Reaper to have a nicer, more "polished" look overall (and I'm sure eventually it will), but the reason I like Reaper so much is that it is simply the most stable application I've ever had on my computer (or any of my computers, for that matter), and it lets me just get on with making/recording music without getting in my way -- more than any DAW I've ever used.

For that, I can put up with a less fancy looking GUI for a while. I've managed to find some good colour themes and icons to use that I feel are not visually stressful, and are easy to navigate . . . so I can live with it very comfortably.

In the mean time, I get a very responsive developer, and every few days I get an update with a new feature or performance improvement, which are sometimes very pleasant surprises. That gets a bit addictive as well. Hehe . . . some of the guys on the Reaper forum start to get very antsy when they haven't had an update for a few days (even when they are very happy with things as they are!).
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