Tapewise

Screen builder

*** Want to learn the basics? Try the Getting Started guide!***

The screen builder is a powerful tool that enabled you to "Drive it to the edge baby!". From here you can setup as many screens / events and actions as you want. This may sound confusing at first, but once you go through the example it does make sense :) however I explain the differences first of all :

  • Screens: What you will visibly see on you display unit, each screen has it's own unique parameters, like how long you want it to show for, if it is part of a group, whether or not to skip the screen for any reason etc.
  • Events: When various things happen that LCDC or it's plugins can trap, you can then get LCDC to perform an action. For example one event is called "Sys->On keypad press" which means that when you press a key on your keypad LCDC will perform an action. This particular event requires a Parameter, in this case we select something like A so that when "A" is pressed LCDC performs an Action.
  • Action: The consequence of an event is an Action, LCDC has several predefined Actions already but plugins can expand these to include even more. For example one action is "Dsp->Pause Display On/Off" so that when this action is called the display will not move to the next screen till this action is called again.

When you first run LCDC your screen builder will be empty, however in the configuration you can ask LCDC to automatically load a "definition file for future loads. Across the top of the screen are the options as follows :

  • a : Close the "Screen builder" screen (changes to anything have not yet been saved however if you close LCDC it will ask to save your changes)
  • b : Create a new blank screen project
  • c : Bring up the standard windows dialog allowing you to OPEN another definition file.
  • d : Saves your file with the current file name (Shown in title)
  • e : Brings up the standard windows save dialog, allowing you to save your current screens/events.
  • f : Preview your selected screen live on the LCD/VFD (Of course this does depend on the screen being correctly setup)
  • g : Allows you to directly configure and plugins with options. This will popup a list of current plugins loaded that have configurable options
  • h : Bring up this help file.
  • i : Allows you to turn on and off the information bar on the screen. When you put the mouse pointer over any item the information bar will tell you what it means. This information bar can be moved to either the top or the bottom of the screen, by using the small arrow button at the right hand side of it.
  • j : Shows you the "Screens" page which contains all the information you display will show.
  • k : Shows you the "Events" page where you can define events and actions...

Screens

The screen builder helps you build up the information you want to show on you display. The top parts of the screen shows you the list of screens you have defined with options to the right of them, these options are :-
a : Add a new screen.
b : Duplicate the currently selected screen (only available if you have selected a screen, the duplicated screen will appear directly after the screen selected for duplication).
c: Remove screen, deletes the currently selected screen (Only available if you have selected a screen).
d: Promote a screen, allows you to change the position a screen is shown at, in this case move it up the list (Only available if you have a screen selected, and it is not already at the top).
e: Demote a screen, allows you to change the position a screen is shown, in this case move it down the list (Only available if you have a screen selected, and it is not already at the bottom).

If you have not selected a screen then the bottom of the screen it will say "^^^ Select display line, or create new^^^", click on any line to see it's details, or click (a) to add a new line then select it to see the details.

For the screen to display correctly the line must be white (when no screen is selected a legend will show you the correct colour and what it means). In this case PINK is showing me that there is probably a plugin not enabled that the screen requires.

The details on the bottom section is divided up into two parts, the general screen "Configuration" and the "Lines". The "Configuration" section defines overall information for the screen, like it's name and how long the screen will be on the display for, and the second part "Lines" allows you to customise each line for this screen on the display. For the "Configuration" part you have available :-

  • Name: A friendly name you can call this screen, so you know what it contains, this does not have to be unique but it is advisable not to have two screens with the same name to avoid confusion.
  • Transition: How to bring this screen onto the display, there are quite a few different ways LCDC can bring this information to the screen, and the default (first) option is "(Random)" which will use any of the options available, but this may be set to anything.
  • Duration: How long to display this screen on the display, this can be any value from 0 to 9000 (seconds), and using a value of 0 will make it indefinite.
  • Skip screen: There may be instances where you do not want the selected screen to displayed, leaving it as "No! always display" will always show the screen, UNLESS there has been an action to lock the display to a particular GROUP(S) of screens. The other options are:
    • If no Internet connection is found: Will not display a screen unless you are connected to the Internet. (Note in the configuration screen there are several differnt methods for detecting if a connection is availble)
    • If no mail in: Tells LCDC not to show this screen if there is no mail in a particular or ANY e-mail account checked. When selected it will show you another selection box below it where you can select which mail account to check for mail or you can select "Any account" to miss the screen if there is no mail in any of your accounts.
    • If plugin application is not active: If you only want a screen to be displayed while you have another application active that is being monitored by a plugin (e.g. the WA2/ WinAmp 2 plugin) then use this option. When selected a list of current plugins is shown below it, and you select which plugin it to base this on. For example if you don't want a screen to be displayed while WinAmp is not active then set the option to this to "WA2"
    • If plugin application is active: The opposite of the above, allows you to skip a screen when a plugin IS active.
  • Group: As a default this will be blank, but you can type in any group name in here and then on any other screen you can assign them to this group. For example, it you define several screens to show MBM information, you can place them all in the same group and only display that group while MBM is active.
  • FPS rate: This allows you to change the rate at which the screen will redraw. Leave at default to use the setting from the configuration screen, or override with your own setting if needed. (Frames per second)
  • Custom chrs: Allows you to select which Custom Characters this screen should use in order to display correctly. The LCD/VFDS mostly have 8 user definable character formations which they can display along side the standard character set of A-Z etc. LCDC comes bundled with about 30 or so custom character files, and you will find on the main website a character designer as well, so that you can do you own. At present you can not see your selection until you switch into the lines part of the scren below.

When you click on the "Lines" part you will then see a second screen, and next to it will be a selection of line numbers. If you have a 2 line display then there will be two options (as pictured below), if you have a 4 line display, then you will have 4 options to pick from. Each line corresponds to the lines on you display, line 1 being the top most. The options available are:-


Next to the Line I have two choices as this is a 2 line display I am working with

  • Text: The text that will be displayed for the line, you may enter whatever you want to display here, and also include variable for LCDC to calculate. Due to the number of variables it is best to use the small diamond button on the end and use the "Text definition" utility to help you out.
  • Alignment: Once you have entered some text, you can opt to have it automatically aligned to the left/centre/right - for advanced users you may also elect to skip the line completly.
  • Custom chrs: Shows you what the current custom character set loaded looks like. You can drag and drop these anywhere into the "text" and it will put the relevant code in for you.
  • Scroll: Allows you select if you would like this line of text to scroll or not, if you elect to have scrolling on then you will have two additional options :-
    • Style: Which way to scroll the line :-
      • << Left : Scrolls it to the left (this is the standard)
      • << Bounce>> : Scrolls the text to the left to then end then back to the start in the opposite direction (Right)
      • Right>> : Scrolls the text to the right
      • Page flipping >-> : Implements page flipping onto the screen, this is in effect a scroll left option, but rather than doing 1 character at a time, it will jump 1 screen width at a time. For example if your screen is 20 characters wide and you define the text as "Please wait.........Loading............." you would in effect flash between Please wait and loading.
      • <W Word scroll : Scolls the screen one whole word at a time if it can.
    • Speed: How fast this scolling should go, the default is the same rate as the FPS, so if your FPS rate is set to 4fps the screen will scroll across 1 character at a time, 4 times a second. If you increase the speed (e.g. Twice FPS rate) then it will scroll 2 characters a time, and if you lower the speed (e.g. Half FPS rate) it will scroll 1 character at a time but only 2 times a second.
  • Continue last line: This option is not availble on the first line, but will continue the speed/style of scrolling from the previous line if needed.

The "Text" area is the most important as this controls exactly what you want to see on the screen. Typing in text and variables is the bare basics, and on top of that you can actually perform formatting, padding as well as a lot of special effects. The easiest way to select these special formatting commands, is to select a peice of text you want to format, then use the right mouse button (or click on the * button) to see the popup menu. The top option should be "format->" with a lot of sub selections which are listed at the bottom of this page.

Generic to both the "Configuration" and "Line" screens you have the following options :-
a: Save the changes made to this screen definition to memory (will not be saved to disk unless you save the definition)
b: Cancel any changes made to this screen.
c: Import screen, allows you to import a screen (possibly downloaded!)
d: Export screen, allows you to export a screen
e: Save to LCD as startup screen. Please note that this option is only availble on some LCD/VFD modules. This will save the currently displayed screen as a power up screen (e.g. when you turn your PC on). It DOES NOT save scolling text, only static, and not all screens save the custom characters for starup either.

Events

The events section on a basic level is un-needed! However to make LCDC more powerful you can use events to do a whole host of things! And the more plugins you have loaded the more events/actions you have available to you.

The top section is very similar to the top part of the Display screen, with options down the left as follows :-

a: Add a new event.
b: Duplicate selected event.
c: Remove event, deletes the currently selected event (Only available if you have selected an event).
d: Promote an event, allows you to change the order events take place in, in this case move it up the list (Only available if you have an event selected, and it is not already at the top).
e: Demote an event, allows you to change the order events are shown, in this case move it down the list (Only available if you have an event selected, and it is not already at the bottom).

If you have not selected an event then the bottom of the screen it will say "^^^ Select event line, or create new^^^", click on any line to see it's details, or click the (a) to add a new line then select it to see the details.

The details shown at the bottom are:

  • Name: A friendly name you can use to recognise this event.
  • Event: This is a drop down list of all the events that LCDC and the currently loaded plugins can do. This list is sorted into alphabetical order to make it easier to find an event, and all events are preceded by 3 characters which represent the PID followed by -> then the actual event name. Due to the possible number of options, there is a diamond in a button at the end of the line, which you can use to better explore and select an event using the "Event selector".
  • Parameters: (This may say something different depending on the event selected) Depending on the actual event you select there may be upto two parameters that may be required. If an event does not require a parameter then this will be disabled as per the image above. As an example if you select the "Sys->On KeyPad Press" you would then put in what keystroke to look for, for example "J".
  • Action: For each event you must specify what action you would like LCDC to perform. As with the events this is a alphabetically sorted list, and each action is preceded by a 3 characters which represent the PID. Due to the possible number of options, there is a diamond in a button at the end of the line, which you can use to better explore and select an action using the "Action selector".
  • Parameters: (This may say something different depending on the action selected) As with the events, some actions require a parameter or two to work. For example if you use the action "GPO->Flash" (because you want to have a LED attached to a GPO flash when an event, like mail in occurs) then the parameter must be set to which GPO to use. If you wanted to go to a particular screen when an event occurs you would se the action to "Dsp->Go to selected screen" and then in the parameters it would show you a selection of the screens you have defined.

On the right hand side you have the following options :-
a: Save the changes made to this event definition to memory (will not be saved to disk unless you save the definition)
b: Cancel any changes made to this event.
c: Import an event/action from a file
d: Export an event/action, save this event to a file

 

Hopefully the example files and the examples that come with this application will get you going and help you understand what LCDC is capable of!

Formatting text

Most of the formatting can be done by simply selecting the section of text you want to modify, then right click it with the mouse to bring up the popup menu which includes a whole selection of formatting options. (Note: Select an area of text you want to format and right click, you should see all the formatting there) The special commands to format this, all special command start as [% instead of variables which start [#. After that you then need three characters to specifiy which command to use followed by the size and another %, lastly you most close this special command with %]. So the structure is [%COM10%Text%] where COM=command and Text is the static text or variable to display. The commands are:-

  • LEF : Pad and align the text to the Left, the number afer the command is the size you want to pad too
  • MID : Pad and align the text to the Middle (you can also use CEN), the number afer the command is the size you want to pad too
  • RIG : Pad and align the text to the right, the number afer the command is the size you want to pad too
  • FON : Display using a loaded custom character font set, the number after the command defines which character set to use, and which line within it. So to display Hello, you would write [%FON41%Hello%] on the first line,[%FON42%Hello%] on the second line,[%FON43%Hello%] on the third line,[%FON44%Hello%] on the forth line. 4 specifies to use the inbuilt conversion table for character size 4, and the second digit (1/4) specifies the line)
  • FOM : As FON but without the extra spaces
  • BIN : Convert a number to binary
  • D8A : Converts a number to a formatted data figure in bytes, kb ,mb or gb
  • FLA : Flashes a word or line!
  • FLI : Flashes a word or line, inverted to FLA
  • PAD : Places a blank section of text to any size
  • ICM : Converts international characters in a portion of text

Examples and results are as follows (. represent spaces to make it clearer):-

  • [%LEF10%Left%] : "Left......"
  • [%LEF10%Left987654321%] : "Left987654"
  • [%RIG10%Right%] : ".....Right"
  • [%RIG10%Right987654321%] : "Right987654" (aligns right with right truncation)
  • [%RIT10%Right%] : ".....Right"
  • [%RIT10%Right987654321%] : "t987654321" (aligns right with left truncation)
  • [%MID10%Middle%] : "..Middle.."
  • [%CEN10%Centre%] : "..Centre.."
  • [%MID10%MiddleMiddle%] : "iddleMiddl"
  • [%FON41%SomeText%] :
  • [%BIN%10%] : "00001010"
  • [%D8A4%110000%] : 107.4KB
  • [%D8A6%110000%] : 0.1MB
  • [%FLA%text%] : "Test" but flashing!
  • [%FLI%text%] : "Test" but flashing, opposite timing to FLA!

Conditional displaying of text

From version 1.05.27 it is now possible to put conditions within a line of LCDC for the selection of text to display. These are in the format :-

[?var condition test ? result if true ? result if false ?] e.g. [?[#$MaiCouTot]==0?None?Loads!?] would display "None" if your Total Mail count ([#$MaiCouTot] var) was 0 or "Loads" if you had any mail.

Conditions that are available:

== Equal to

=> Equal or greater then

=< Equal to or less then