...Continued from Page 12.
Labels & Bitmaps.
Secondly, we'll cover the "Properties" tab. Assigning custom labels under ProntoProEdit is very similar to using the actual remote - the same characters and symbols apply. What differs is that you can now change font sizes. Although the default configuration uses 10 point type exclusively, ProntoEdit also offers 14 and 18 point options. Through a little finagling, 8, 12 and 16 point options can be added, though only base alphanumeric characters are available (no icons). Several limitations that have yet to be overcome are the lack of multiple text lines on a single button, plus the inability to position text anywhere but "dead center". The four lower hard buttons have accompanying labels at the bottom of the LCD.
Although, as described earlier, the two outer buttons normally pick up scroll functions, they can still be customized to other purposes (although the version of ProntoProEdit we used had a bug where the far right hard button would not maintain any customized settings - though I did find a complicated workaround). While the center two buttons use 10-point labels, the outer two buttons use 8-point text - which, unfortunately, is only partially supported by the remote and (still) doesn't include transport icons - only basic text. Which means that if you try to use the proper "fast forward" and "rewind" symbols on them, as I wanted to do, the label will appear blank.
Sample screens from my redesigned interface.
On the "Icons" tab, each button can have four bitmaps assigned: "Pressed" and "Normal" versions for both "Active" and "Inactive" states. "Inactive" bitmaps are only of use when designing templates for users to program on the base remote - otherwise they are of absolutely no concern to the average ProntoProEdit user. Those two states should either contain the same buttons as assigned under "Active", or be left blank. ProntoEdit can load in any industry-standard .BMP file, from 1 by 1 pixels up to 240x219 pixels, with no more than 256 colors. Absolutely any bitmap you can imagine can be loaded. My brand new color configuration features a total redesign of the default user interface. Fancy transport controls, device buttons with pictures of the device, television network logos for use on favorite channel macros… they're all possible.
To load a bitmap, you must right-click over the bitmap or empty square to view a pop-up menu. This sounds awkward, until you realize that double-clicking on the square will automatically bring up the "Load" box. Though I would still like on-screen buttons for these functions - no matter how small - the system does work. Finally, the "Color" tab provides options for the same four states as "Icons" for text labels and button backgrounds (if no bitmap is assigned to a button, it will instead be drawn as a solid color rectangle). The first popup shown when you click on a colored square displays 44 colors - but if you click on the "More" button you'll get a larger window with 216 colors. WYSIWYG previews are shown at the bottom of the screen.
ProntoProEdit includes a new way to mass-change bitmaps. Located under the Tools Menu, the "Replace Bitmaps" option opens a new window with a scrollable list of every single bitmap image contained in the loaded CCF file. Changing one is accomplished by double-clicking on it - a window will open and ask you to find a replacement file. This new capability is extremely useful if you find that a particular bitmap wasn't quite right yet you've already partially completed your design. Instead of manually modifying each button you'll be able to change the entire file with only a few mouse clicks. This screen is also useful for finding lost or stray images that may be hanging around.