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What's on your EV3 Wish List?

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  • What's on your EV3 Wish List?

    The EV3 and its associated software is cool and all, but it could be so much better. What is on your EV3 wish list?

    I'll start:
    * More variety in cable lengths. I would like 10, 15 and 70cm cables. Yes, 70cm. Think about the neat ideas that some kids will put at the end of a linear actuator.
    * Better commenting in the EV3 software. I want comment blocks with callouts, just like PowerPoint. The callout can attach to a block, and if you move the block, the callout stays attached to it. Yes, I saw Dean's post today, and that is a step in the right direction, but those blocks can't be resized. Do it the right way. Comments with callouts.
    * A way to hide unwanted things from the EV3 program menu. I don't want all of my myblocks in that list.
    * A bigger and brighter screen (backlighting, please)! I'm getting old and I can't read anything on that screen. Heck, while we are at it, how about some color. An amoled screen would be stunning!
    * An easy way to convert programs into text so we can github our creations. Ideally it would be just like Android Studio when designing an activity layout. You can graphically lay things out, click a button and see/edit the underlying XML and click a button to go back to graphics. I understand that the programs are saved internally as xml. So just make the xml more visible.
    Norfolk, Virginia, USA
    FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

  • #2
    * The ability to upload programs that are on the brick back to the computer.

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    • #3
      To make the IPad / tablet versions of the programming environments feature complete.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by is1c View Post
        * The ability to upload programs that are on the brick back to the computer.
        2nd that. At our competition, the computer crashed and all the kids programs got lost so they couldn't make any more changes that day.

        Also: Chromebook compatibility.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by is1c View Post
          * The ability to upload programs that are on the brick back to the computer.
          YES! I feel like this would be easy to implement. Right now when you upload your program to the EV3, it only uploads the compiled version. It should also upload the xml, just in case someone wanted to copy it back to a computer. I don't know how much memory there is available on the brick, but I would think it is big enough to hold a team's programs for one season.
          Norfolk, Virginia, USA
          FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SkipMorrow View Post

            YES! I feel like this would be easy to implement. Right now when you upload your program to the EV3, it only uploads the compiled version. It should also upload the xml, just in case someone wanted to copy it back to a computer. I don't know how much memory there is available on the brick, but I would think it is big enough to hold a team's programs for one season.
            The EV3 has 64 MB of memory. There are 5 MB available for user programs. I have a project that has many my blocks and solves all the missions for Into Orbit and it takes up 77 KB when downloaded. The .ev3 project file takes up 147 KB when downloaded to the EV3. Yes, if you really, really want a version of your project loaded on the brick you can do it right now. It only triples the size of the project and maybe takes twice as long to download. I'm sure the extra time would be fine with everyone and well worth it for the one time you lose the source for a program you have on the brick.


            On NXT people complained how easy it was to mix up old and new programs and forget to include my blocks when saving a program. EV3 solved all this with projects that keep our code really safe, but force long download times and make team software development difficult. Beware what you wish for. You might just get it.
            Last edited by Dean Hystad; 12-11-2018, 12:02 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SkipMorrow View Post

              * An easy way to convert programs into text so we can github our creations. Ideally it would be just like Android Studio when designing an activity layout. You can graphically lay things out, click a button and see/edit the underlying XML and click a button to go back to graphics. I understand that the programs are saved internally as xml. So just make the xml more visible.
              This would give you a lot less than you want. Much of the XML code is indecipherable, and a fairly small change in the graphical editor such as adding a single block, can result in hundreds of changes in the XML files because it changes the position of very block and the location of bends in data wires.

              You can use github or subversion or whatever source control tools you want with EV3. Over the last few weeks I judged 3 teams that used source code control tools. Looking at a diff of two files is often useless, so you need to write really good notes when you commit, At least you can see what files changed, when they changed, roll back to earlier versions, and even do some merging.

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              • #8
                Good point. I have seen that and it is a mess.

                OK, what I really want is a way to export clean code. I don't need to know the exact XY coordinates of a single block. I just want to know the order. Just so the code could be recreated easily, diffed, etc. In fact, if my wish for callout-style comments came true, I'd also like a "beautifier" button that reattaches everything in one straight line. That way the comments will move around with the blocks. Then the clean code idea would make more sense.
                Norfolk, Virginia, USA
                FLL Coach and Regional Tournament Head judge since 2014

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by timdavid View Post
                  To make the IPad / tablet versions of the programming environments feature complete.
                  Either this or drop the app completely. As it is schools see "Chrome book" or "IPad" and decide that is what school based teams and classrooms will use, even though the software is not very good. On the judging forms I've started writing "The Chrome book EV3 app is not an adequate tool for FLL. Teams that use the app are at a disadvantage, not only in the robot game, but the app limits how much teams learn and how enjoyable it is to program. I am not lowering your evaluation just because you are stuck using the Chrome book app, but you should really get a laptop for programming and download the FREE software for Windows or Mac."

                  I need to have a stamp made. As long as I'm at it may as well get "Comments are meant to help programmers, not impress judges", "You should really spend some time investigating what sensors can do". "Jigs are neat, but robots that can fix their own navigation errors are better" and my new favorite "Why are you using the gyro sensor to drive straight? Is your robot so poorly designed that it can't drive straight?" Probably need a really tasty bun to sandwich that last one.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SkipMorrow View Post
                    Good point. I have seen that and it is a mess.

                    OK, what I really want is a way to export clean code. I don't need to know the exact XY coordinates of a single block. I just want to know the order. Just so the code could be recreated easily, diffed, etc. In fact, if my wish for callout-style comments came true, I'd also like a "beautifier" button that reattaches everything in one straight line. That way the comments will move around with the blocks. Then the clean code idea would make more sense.
                    You cannot diff graphical code using text tools. I've used multiple graphical programming tools, and this is a problem with all of them. The layout and connections are just as important as the blocks and parameters. A good graphical language diff tool will require that the language contains the layout instead of having that info tacked on, and none of the languages I've tried do this.

                    As for a beautifier, EV3 already has one. You just don't like the choices that the beautifier makes. I don't like them much either. At least EV3 is better at handling wires than NXT.

                    You should try the inline "floating style" comments before you poo-poo them. The night after the tournament I rewrote my entire IntoOrbit project using inline comments and it looks really good. Better than when I used all floating comments. I have one floating comment at the start that never moves, but everything else is an inline comment that hangs above the main beam.. I didn't feel limited by the limited comment length. The team that came up with this idea had a few longer comments where they just put two inline comments in a row, but I never needed more than 1.
                    Last edited by Dean Hystad; 12-11-2018, 08:31 PM.

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                    • #11
                      It's minor, I know, but I'd really like an ability to "re-wire" the screen with one keystroke. After three different kids work on a program and they've got wires going to / from variables, into multiple inputs, splitting program branches, maintaining program flow so they can see a long program all on one screen, etc.... pretty soon it's a spaghetti-looking mess of lines crisscrossing all over the screen. One click to redraw all the wires cleanly would be awesome.

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                      • #12
                        A better way to print the programs for our engineering notebooks and robot design boards. Now, we use the snip tool and paste into Word. It would be nice to be able to hit a print button and it would resize automatically to fit on a page or multiple pages.
                        2014 World Class Learning (coach Stealth Bots #3233)
                        2015 Trash Trek (coach Electric Trashbeards #8039)
                        2016 Animal Allies (coach Plank Robit Rovers #8039)
                        2017 Hydrodynamics (coach Rogue Robotics #30453)
                        2018 Into Orbit (coach Rogue Robotics #30453)
                        2019 City Shaper (coach Rogue Robotics #30453)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thudthud View Post
                          A better way to print the programs for our engineering notebooks and robot design boards. Now, we use the snip tool and paste into Word. It would be nice to be able to hit a print button and it would resize automatically to fit on a page or multiple pages.
                          Yes yes yes.

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                          • #14
                            I'd like to see all the default blocks implemented with the raw sensor, unregulated motor, control, and math blocks, with the same performance they have today.

                            I'd also like the editor to be less resource intensive. Unfortunately Silverlight support goes out to 2021, so I'm probably out of luck on that one.
                            Last edited by EricM; 12-12-2018, 04:05 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by EricM View Post
                              I'd like to see all the default blocks implemented with the raw sensor, unregulated motor, control, and math blocks, with the same performance they have today.

                              I'd also like the editor to be less resource intensive. Unfortunately Silverlight support goes out to 2021, so I'm probably out of luck on that one.
                              At least editor performance serves as some deterrent against writing mile long strings of move blocks, but yeah it is a bit of a pig.

                              I don't understand the first part about default blocks implemented with the raw sensor.... Do you want the move and wait blocks to be editable my blocks?

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