[impdev] Picking good keystrokes for Qarls align tool.

David Seikel onefang at gmail.com
Sun May 12 08:30:38 PDT 2013

I'm opening this up to both teams, since Kokua will have this problem
to if this align tool is / has been added.

http://redmine.kokuaviewer.org/issues/948 is the original problem.  A
conflict with the use of Ctrl-A.  Lots of software uses that to mean
"Select all", and Imprudence is no exception.  So that should stay.
McCabe added a patch from Ascent viewer that assigned Ctrl-A to Qarls
prim alignment tool.  This is what caused the bug report, one
keystroke, two functions attached to it, and both triggering at the
same time.

McCabe suggested to move it to some other key, but there's a problem
with that.  Which is why I'm looking for discussion on this one.

The main problem is that the align tool is actually two tools, align, or
pack.  Align mode means that prims are squashed together so that they
all start at the same place.  Pack mode is similar, except overlapping
prims are moved so they are no longer overlapping.  I think, may be the
other way around, I've never actually used it.

So we really need two keystrokes.  Then there is two modes of
having the tool active, temporary as you hold down the keys, and
permanent if you select the radio button at the top of the edit
floater.  Some of those radio buttons are selected by modifier
keys, which are in short supply.  So it gets complicated.

Position, rotate, stretch, select face, align.  Each can be selected
from the radio button group with a mouse click.  No problems there.

Once align is selected, holding down shift changes to pack mode,
otherwise it's align mode.

Holding down Ctrl puts things into rotate mode.  Holding down
Ctrl-Shift stretch mode, Alt into focus mode, and any combination that
involves Alt also is focus mode.  Focus mode is not part of that radio
group.  Shift by itself is not used, unless a text box is focused, then
it's used for usual shifted text.  In each of these cases, it does not
matter which mode it was in, and the previous mode is returned to once
you let go.

This last one is what the patch from Ascent does, temporarily shift to
align / pack mode while Ctrl-A/Ctrl-Shift-A is held down.  It should be
noted that the Select faces radio button in this group has no similar
hold down method, don't think it makes sense there anyway.  Position,
the top and default, also has no hold down.

Once in align mode by clicking the radio button, Ctrl and Ctrl-Shift no
longer temporarily shift to rotate and stretch.

Yes, horrible UI bolted together over the years from various sources,
but we are stuck with most of it.  Old parts are in peoples muscle
memory.  My fingers keep trying to use these keystrokes in Blender.  lol

I had thought of the idea of using Ctrl-Shift-A for align, and
Ctrl-Shift-P for pack.  Ctrl-Shift-P is already used for Advanced menu
-> UI -> Print selected object info, an obscure debugging option that
could probably afford to loose it's hot key.  Sticking with shift used
to switch between align and pack gives us Ctrl-P and Ctrl-Shift-P, but
now we conflict with Ctrl-P for preferences.

Currently it does not mention anywhere that there's a hot key to
temporarily switch to align/pack mode anywhere on the UI, though it
mentions that once you have ALREADY switched.  Not really enough space
for these things, since there's two of them.

So we are caught between a rock and a hard place if we want two hot keys
to temporarily switch to align or pack mode.  No available friendly
mnemonic in both shifted and unshifted modes, or it gets clumsy to hint
at if using different keys.

What are your thoughts?

McCabe thinks we should have a key.  Though it's two keys needed really.

I want to be lazy and just drop the keys, the radio button works.  B-)

A big old stinking pile of genius that no one wants
coz there are too many silver coated monkeys in the world.
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