On 10/24/2010 2:17 PM, Gale Andrews wrote:
> Vaughan wrote:
>> I'm guessing, a manual writer, apparently unaware what TrackPanel meant,
>> decided "Track Panel" was a better term for TrackInfo than "Track Control
>> Panel" had been in the earlier documentation. And apparently no developer
>> noticed the new, conflicting usage, so it's propagated through the manual
> I think this is an unfortunate situation, because I'd argue the naming of
> the TrackInfo class and even perhaps TrackPanel was undescriptive.
TrackInfo yes, and as I wrote, probably historical and perfectly
sensible at the time. Before my time. Not worth changing.
TrackPanel no -- very typical and clear meaning for software GUI. In
fact, it's a descendant of wxWidgets' wxPanel class, and we had nothing
to do with that name, it's just common nomenclature. So in a very
literal sense it *is* a GUI panel, and it shows tracks, so TrackPanel is
totally appropriate and descriptive.
> Hence to be more meaningful, the old Manual did not follow the naming
> in the code and TrackInfo was called "tracks Control Panel" or "Controls":
There are lots of other controls in the interface, so "Controls" alone
is appropriate in the context of that page, but not elsewhere.
> This itself was not ideal for the OS-association reasons Vaughan points out,
> so a mutation to "Track Panel" started somewhere. I can't remember ever
> using anything other than "Track Panel".
Heh, and that's why we've had some confusing discussions on -devel and
probably here, where developers and QA folks had certain but conflicting
definitions, so weren't even discussing the same thing.
>I think the reason it propagated
> and persisted is that it's understood by users, which is the main point of the
> exercise for me.
I'd expect "Track Controls" with or without "Panel" would be better
understood by users, to whom "panel" doesn't have a very specific
meaning. They don't know the GUI definition of "panel", and it has lots
of completely unrelated definitions in general usage (e.g.,
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/panel), so is ambiguous.
> Peter wrote:
>> And obviously I now agree that the use of the term "Track Panel" as currently
>> used in the Beta manual is not just less mnemonic, but is wrong and should be
> I think it's only really partially "wrong" because the name of the "TrackPanel"
> class is ambiguous.
Not at all ambiguous to software engineers.
>Why not "TrackContainer"?
Because a "container" class means something else altogether in software
is entirely appropriate and standard.
>> And in the light of the number of occurrences of TrackPanel/TrackInfo in the
>> code (545/221 - yikes!) I certainly wouldn't want to change those either.
> Agreed - out of the question.
So I wonder why you suggested "TrackContainer"...
>But the "Track Panel" term is very well
> ensconced now; it has about 90 instances on the main Wiki by the way.
> I don't see an absolute imperative to change it given it says "Track Panel"
> and not "TrackPanel", unless we feel "Track Panel" is seriously deficient
> in meaning. I don't think it is, or we'd know about it.
Two reasons already stated:
1) cognitive dissonance and confusion in discussions involving developers
2) Without "Controls", it's not very mnemonic.
I doubt you'd hear about confusion from users, they'd just have a vague
notion of what it refers to and probably not ask about it. But if most
places you use it, you also have to (re)define it, that's an indicator.
For example, on
"...Track Panel (where the mute/solo buttons are)..." occurs twice on
the same page. Same phrase appears on
"Move a track up or down in the track panel of the project window" seems
more like the TrackPanel meaning, because you can't move a track within
I see also on that page, "The Track drop-down menu is accessed by
clicking the downward pointing arrow beside the track name." But the
whole control is a drop-down menu, you don't have to click on the
triangle (not actually an arrow) -- anywhere in that rectangle will do.
(And I'm amazed you have to explain this, but have no doubt it's
required. The triangle is a totally typical GUI indicator for a
drop-down menu, since the late 1980's. Astonishing so many users
apparently don't recognize that. I see five of them in Thunderbird's
toolbar as I type this.)
> If we did keep "Track Panel" in the Manual and Wiki though, we would
> have to clear up the few Wiki uses of it where it really means "TrackPanel"
Yes. Probably anyplace the term was written by a developer, he meant
> No end-user who installs or unzips Audacity will be confused by "Track
> Panel", ...
Maybe not confused, but probably non-plussed, as it doesn't obviously
mean the thingy at the left of the track that has *controls*, because
"controls" is not part of the name. Adding "Controls" will obviously
help clarify that.
>...only possibly people compiling it or working with the code.
> Anyone who clicks a link in the Manual for "Track Panel" can see what
> it means.
> If we change "Track Panel", calling it "TrackInfo" (or "Track Info") is...
Gale, nobody has suggested that, so there's no point in discussing it.
>... I think out of the question, because it implies only the area between the
> Mute/Solo buttons and the Track Drop-Down Menu. So we're not going
> to have the naming of all elements in the Manual and code match anyway.
Umm, that's the only one we're discussing, right?
And anyway, that's no reason to give up on all of them, and especially
to have two meanings for the same term (reason 1 above). (There are
plenty of occurrences where developers write "track panel" informally
More to the point, why are you so apparently opposed to changing it to
"Track Controls" (or "Track Controls Panel"), when it will obviously
clarify the term? If it's simply the number of occurrences, a decent
text editor can handle it in one command.
>> So what do we call that little box, at the left of the track, for the benefit of
>> end-users? The final choice is "above my pay-grade". But I quite like your
>> suggestion of "Track Controls". We could then refer to it as both: "Track
>> Controls" and "the Track Controls panel" (note the intended lower-case "p" on
>> panel). But I would also be happy with "Track Controls Panel".
>> Pluralizing the "Controls" affords some differentiation from the, now common,
>> usage of the singular "Control Panel" in its operating system sense.
> I think we have to refer to it as a unique term, not two.
I don't think he was suggesting that, he was saying the name is "Track
Controls" -- that's why he pointed out lower-case "p", because panel is
not part of the proper name, so not capitalized.
Btw, "the" is not part of the name either, so on
http://manual.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=Audio_Tracks, in the blue
box, in "The panel on the left of the audio (The Track Panel) has
controls..." it should be "(the Track Panel)".
Of course, if it's called "Track Controls" instead, you wouldn't have to
say it contains controls -- could just be "The Track Controls panel is
at the left of the audio. Click on the track name at the top of that
panel to see a drop-down menu with more track-specific commands."
(Included the whole thing because that second sentence currently has no
period. Also, the title is not "easily overlooked" (so the modifier is
in the wrong place), it's that some people don't recognize that it's a
menu. And I don't think that fact is "easily" overlooked -- it's hard
for anyone who knows what the downward triangle means, to think it's not
a drop-down! And active voice is preferable, generally.)
Well, there's another one -- tracks have names, not titles. I changed it
to "track name" as it then matches the first command in the menu, "Name...".
> I think the "Controls" are a much more important part of TrackInfo than the
> "Information", but the very important Track Drop-Down Menu can hardly
> be called a "control" as a user would understand it.
Of course a drop-down menu is a "control", ever since there have been
>"Control" or "Controls"
> invites confusion with Control Toolbar.
Nobody is suggesting "Controls" alone. It's not confusing if it's "Track
> "Panel" is of course a bit generic but I don't sense any user confusion with
You're repeating yourself.
> Another consideration is that we can't tell user to click on the "Track
> Controls" when selecting the track; doing so literally would change the
> gain/pan state.
So that is a +1 to Peter's suggestion of "Track Controls panel" (small
p). Specifically in that case, "blank space in the Track Controls
panel". Or just use "Track Controls Panel".
> I don't have any bright ideas for a new name right now, but I can see a
> lot of pain in changing "Track Panel" with only minimal offsetting
> advantage. I won't stand in the way of a consensus to change
> "Track Panel", but I'm -1 on changing it unless there is a completely
> convincing name to replace it with.
I see the advantage as significant, to developers and users.
I read your anticipation of pain as meaning hours of work. Not a good
reason to leave something broken, generally, and I think a global
replace to "Track Controls Panel" would do the trick, and not require as
much review as "Track Controls".
>> From: Vaughan Johnson <vaughan@...>
>> To: audacity-quality@...
>> Sent: Sun, October 24, 2010 1:23:03 AM
>> Subject: Re: [Audacity-quality] Visibility of sync-lock mini-clock icon in Track
>> On 10/23/2010 8:35 AM, Peter Sampson wrote:
>>>>>> ... Track Control Panel...
>>> Vaughan wrote:
>>>> A "Control Panel" is a very specific term having to do with operating
>>>> systems (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_Panel_%28Windows%29,
>>>> but I think the term originated on Mac), so I consider this conflation a
>>>> very bad thing.
>>> I agree that the term "Control Panel" now indeed to most people
>>> generally means the O/S Windows Control Panel or its Apple equivalent.
>>> But that is by no means its only use. Many audio packages use the term
>>> "Track Control Panel": Reaper, M-Audio, XO Wave, Adobe Audition, Studio
>>> One from Presonus, Windows Media 9. And some video packages also use
>>> the term: AVID, Apple's DVD Studio Pro, Sony's Vegas Movie Studio.
>> Yikes. I feel it's unfortunate that's the case, but I didn't know that,
>> so thanks for the info.
>>>> Happy to see it's apparently vanquished from the new manual (and
>>>> "Control Panel" is used in the OS sense). Please don't use the term
>>>> "Track Control Panel" so we can try to stop its propagation.
>>> Yes I note that we now use the term "Track Panel" in the 1.3/2.0
>> Oh boy. I hadn't seen that, and it conflicts with the longstanding
>> definition in the code, and what the developers mean by TrackPanel. (Any
>> time I don't include the space, I'm talking about the C++ class
>> http://manual.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=Audio_Tracks says:
>> "An audio track containing digital audio has a Track Panel, a vertical
>> scale with units (except in the Pitch view) then the representation of
>> the track itself... "
>> So now "Track Panel" in the manual means what "Track Control Panel" used
>> to mean. To me, that's less mnemonic, as "panel" is so generic. "Track
>> Info" at least describes part of what's in there. How about "Track
>> Controls" or "Track Controls Panel"? I'd even prefer to go back to
>> "Track Control Panel" rather than blurring or changing the traditional
>> meaning of TrackPanel.
>> In the code, the TrackPanel class is the subwindow that has the time
>> Ruler, scrollers, and all the tracks. Is there any term in the manual
>> that means that? (I know I used "Track Panel" in that sense in the Mixer
>> Board description in the manual, as that's the only sense I've known the
>> term -- but now that it's linked to the definition of Track Panel at
>> that first sentence doesn't make sense -- MixerBoard is not an
>> alternative to TrackInfo, it's an alternative to TrackPanel.)
>> No wonder there's confusion in some of the discussions on lists.
>>> I learned Audacity back in 1.2.4 days when we were still
>>> calling it the "Track Control Panel" in the 1.2 docs - so that has
>>> lingered for me ...
>>>> In general, I like user-level terminology to match the terminology in
>>>> the code. In the code, that frame/rectangle is called the Track Info --
>>>> but I agree that's not a fully descriptive name.
>>> Agreed, and I agree that "Track Info" is not fully descriptive - "Info",
>>> to me, implies information that can be viewed but not changed.
>> Well, that's true of some of what's there, and probably why it
>> originally got that name.
>>> maybe the terminology in the code should be changed to match the "Track
>>> Panel" that we are using in the user documentation.
>> Historically, the term TrackPanel certainly came from the code (probably
>> since 1999!), and meant a specific component of the design, "the
>> subwindow that holds the tracks". Then, years later, I'm guessing, a
>> manual writer, apparently unaware what TrackPanel meant, decided "Track
>> Panel" was a better term for TrackInfo than "Track Control Panel" had
>> been in the earlier documentation. And apparently no developer noticed
>> the new, conflicting usage, so it's propagated through the manual.
>> You agree the manual terms should match the code, but suggest we change
>> the longstanding meaning in the code in rather than change the manual
>> (whose definition was not based on the existing definition). There are
>> 545 occurrences of TrackPanel in the code, 221 of TrackInfo, and all
>> would have to change. I'd guess there are a few dozen occurrences in the
>> manual. Every change in the code has a possibility of breaking
>> something, maybe very subtle, and further delaying a stable release. It
>> also forces the developers to adopt new terminology instead of the
>> manual coming to agree with the longstanding meaning in the code. In
>> short, no, we are not going to change the code to match the manual. And
>> imo, "Track Panel" is not mnemonic for TrackInfo, so should be replaced
>> in the manual anyway.
>> I urge the manual change the meaning of Track Panel to match the code
>> (and that's probably only in the Mixer Board description) and the other
>> current occurrences be changed to something that's more mnemonic of
>> what's called TrackInfo in the code, like "Track Controls."
>> We could give up on having the terminology match, but that will just
>> promote confusion down the line.