A Sparkle Wishlist

First, I’d like to say that Sparkle is a very impressive product. I don’t think most people realize just how complex something like this is, and maintaining the pace and stamina of development along with support on a daily basis can’t be easy. Kudos to the development team.

Here a list of missing features that I run into quite frequently, in hopes that the information is useful for the development team. The first 10 may be on the easier side to implement. The last 4 are perhaps more design / development intensive.

  1. Lock option for Layout Blocks
  2. The ability to disable the feature where Layout Blocks automatically move around to make space
  3. When dragging something off the top or bottom edge of the screen, the scrolling is very fast. Yet, at the same time, other users are saying it is very slow. To make this work well for everyone, I think the scroll rate should be sensitive to how far off the screen the item is.
  4. Add “duplicate” to context menu
  5. Add layer movement to context menu (forward, backward, etc)
  6. Add context menu to Layers panel. Should be about the same as context menu in main panel
  7. Option so that delayed animations wait for page load before starting timer ( maybe this is a bug?)
  8. “Reload” button for images, in addition to existing “Replace…” button.
  9. Stronger built-in Pattern support: I get the impression that many of the built-in Patterns are intended to be multiplied with a color. It would be nice if that color could be selected straight from the Styles panel rather than layering a Box on top, setting a blend mode, etc.
  10. Stronger Undo support. At the very least, it we be nice if moving elements could be undone.
  11. Integrated Hype support. IDK what this looks like, but the other guys have it and it sounds nice. I think there are also some strategic benefits to Sparkle as well.
  12. Shared styles for Boxes and perhaps other elements, like there is for Text.
  13. Support for adding things into Boxes, similar to Groups. (The pattern of creating a Group with a Box at the bottom is too common.)
  14. Better navigation for complex pages.

To expand a bit on wish 14: Working with elements on complex pages with lots of layering can get quite confusing. Sparkle could really set itself apart from other products by offering something innovative to address this issue. For example, maybe a 2.5D minimap scrollbar? Or maybe a “wireframe” edit mode that you could quickly toggle?

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Hello @rick,

thanks for the many suggestions. About things that smell like bugs:

Where/how is this problem visible?

Undo should always undo moving elements. If it doesn’t that’s certainly a bug, but I’m not aware where this is the case. Could you elaborate/clarify?

Thanks.

Hi Duncan!

Where/how is this problem visible?

I’ve noticed it when there is something big at the top of the page, like a movie, combined with delayed animations nearby. Here is an example.

Sometimes the letter animations for “Stories,” which should spell out like it is being typed, don’t work correctly. When the issue occurs, they appear all at once, as if the browser suddenly has awoken from loading the video and realizes that all the timers for the letters have expired.

Along similar lines, video with “Start Automatically” checked will also start playing before the page is fully loaded. For example, on this page, the eye wink sometimes happens before the camera image on top is loaded.

Undo should always undo moving elements. If it doesn’t that’s certainly a bug, but I’m not aware where this is the case. Could you elaborate/clarify?

It seems that I can no longer reproduce the scenarios I was experiencing when I wrote this item, even though they were very consistent. (I’ve rebooted Sparkle and my machine since then).

Hope that helps!

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I was never able to trigger the issue with the stories letter animation. It might relate to the exact browser window height (due to “when visible” using that), and to your bandwidth (due to the movie transfer time). Or perhaps something about the exact browser you are using (and if it’s Safari, also the macOS version).

I did see some glitch with the video, but I don’t think what I saw is the video starting before the page is loaded, rather it looked like a the video flickering shortly when the video is in the browser cache. I’m not quite sure how this could be fixed.

Thank you for trying to repro animation issue. I agree that a lot of things could be involved and it would be difficult to address without a more consistent repro.

Just for my clarification: Are you saying that delayed animations should not start until the page is fully loaded? I can keep my eyes open for a more consistent example, if this is the case. Otherwise, this is still a feature I would like to see some day (same with video and Lotties).

Regarding the undo issue: I did run into this again yesterday. It felt like Sparkle was in a state where undo didn’t work for anything-- all I got is an error chirp. It works fine after a restart. If there is something you would like me to try next time I see it, please let me know. I tend to keep Sparkle open for very long periods, and I wonder if it is related.

Looks like the Undo menu item is getting disabled. I cant’ figure out why it is happening or how to re-enable it again (aside from restarting).

This shouldn’t happen but I don’t know what triggers it. If you could figure out in what circumstance undo is disabled that would be super helpful.