ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

nophead
Yes I have seen your video but what would the screen look like for the design I am working on at the moment?

image.png

It is 350 lines of code and it has taken me a couple of days. I am the worlds worst typist but that is not what takes the time. It is working out how the parts are going to fit together without clashes.

On Fri, 25 Oct 2019 at 12:14, William F. Adams via Discuss <[hidden email]> wrote:
Using the customizer forces one to use variables, and think about the model in those terms, which I believe helps.

The added complexity is worth it, though it would be nicer if it were more hierarchical.

William
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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

alexgibson

Good point, this is making OpenSCAD almost like Scratch Junior, which is a very cool thing to have done, and something I’ve wondered about and definitely appreciate.  But for complex code it will be a lot of nested boxes!

 

One thing I would really like, which might actually exist, is a more powerful code editor which could do a running sense check because it knows Openscad code, and have options to zoom back to where variables are defined, etc.  Things that would really speed up and help keeping your head around big Openscad projects.

 

Also… if just clicking on a section of code could highlight the parts of the model that depend on it…. That would be amazing.  Not sure how feasible that is…?

 

I have a couple of designs that are 5000+ lines, and almost exclusively parametric.  One was laid out in a basic form and is a total nightmare to maintain – not that I did it badly, it’s just too much scrolling!  The other I broke out into separate .scad files a whole hierarchy of geometries, parts, subassemblies, major assemblies… it would be lovely to be able to navigate between them more intuitively.

 

Something this makes me want to do is make myself some keyboard macros to insert certain snippets of frequently used OpenSCAD code, like text and Minkowkski etc…

 

The thing is that when you are really in the middle of a project and the ideas are flowing, my brain is able to work ahead and typing the code is not really slowing me down.  Then, going back over, is normally a text edit function.

 

Cheers,

 

Alex Gibson

 

admg consulting

 

edumaker limited

 

·         Project management

·         Operations & Process improvement

·         3D Printing

 

From: Discuss [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of nop head
Sent: 25 October 2019 12:31
To: OpenSCAD general discussion
Subject: Re: [OpenSCAD] ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

 

Yes I have seen your video but what would the screen look like for the design I am working on at the moment?

 

image.png

 

It is 350 lines of code and it has taken me a couple of days. I am the worlds worst typist but that is not what takes the time. It is working out how the parts are going to fit together without clashes.

 

On Fri, 25 Oct 2019 at 12:14, William F. Adams via Discuss <[hidden email]> wrote:

Using the customizer forces one to use variables, and think about the model in those terms, which I believe helps.

 

The added complexity is worth it, though it would be nicer if it were more hierarchical.

 

William

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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

doug.moen
In reply to this post by nophead
@nophead: Using text is a major benefit of OpenSCAD because it can be pasted into emails and checked into source control. It is also fairly concise. I imagine the graphical representation of my typical designs would be an enormous tree.

All this is true; text is important.

@nophead: Do people really struggle much with syntax?

Yes, some people do really struggle with syntax. The Elm community calls this "the syntax cliff": "How many people fall off the syntax cliff and give up on a language or just quit programming entirely?". https://elm-lang.org/news/the-syntax-cliff

As a professional software engineer, I can memorize large amounts of programming language syntax. It's a skill not everyone has, just as a concert pianist can sight read music notation while playing the piano in real time with all 10 fingers (I can't do that).

I know that OpenSCAD is a "CAD" program, but I got into it in order to make art. In the 3D computer graphics business, the most popular interface for programming languages aimed at artists is "node and wire" syntax. For example, Blender has this.

I'm not claiming that node+wire is the "best" graphical syntax. However, here are the benefits:
* You don't have to memorize module names. You can select a module from
   a hierarchical menu, or find a module using keyword search,
   and then a node is created which calls the module.
* You don't need to memorize module parameters.
   The parameters are all laid out for you in the node.
* You can continuously tweak numeric parameters using a slider.
   You can use a colour picker to tweak a colour parameter.

For me, the ability to tweak module parameters using a slider and get real time feedback in the preview window is a game changer. It makes me much productive in certain tasks. For other people, not having to memorize syntax is the key feature.

There are ways to combine the benefits of text syntax with the benefits I listed of the node+wire syntax. A "projectional editor" represents the program in memory, not as a character string, but as a syntax tree. As you edit the program, the syntax tree is modified, and the syntax tree is "projected" onto the display, possibly as text, or possibly using a graphical syntax, such as node+wire, or like BlocksCad. There are lots of text-based IDEs for conventional programming languages, which use this approach to provide assistance to the user, such as tab-completion of identifiers, auto-fill-in of function argument lists, and even sliders for tweaking numeric parameters. The GlslEditor supports sliders for live editing of GLSL shader programs (GLSL has a C-like text syntax).

What I think would be really cool is a projectional editor that lets you switch back and forth between text syntax and graphical syntax. I'm looking around to see if someone has implemented this idea already.

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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

nophead
The problem is it is too sparse because typically one line of code becomes a box. So what happens to a design that is 350 lines?

OpenSCAD is a very small language, it can all be summarised on the one page cheat sheet. I am surprised anybody would struggle to learn the syntax but using it to create geometry is much more complex than the language. It requires an ability to imagine a shape and then decompose it it cubes and cylinders, etc, and be able to understand what manifold is and do high school level trigonometry. I don't see how replacing the text with boxes helps with any of that. Code completion if the editor achieves more or less the same.

On Fri, 25 Oct 2019 at 14:35, Doug Moen <[hidden email]> wrote:
@nophead: Using text is a major benefit of OpenSCAD because it can be pasted into emails and checked into source control. It is also fairly concise. I imagine the graphical representation of my typical designs would be an enormous tree.

All this is true; text is important.

@nophead: Do people really struggle much with syntax?

Yes, some people do really struggle with syntax. The Elm community calls this "the syntax cliff": "How many people fall off the syntax cliff and give up on a language or just quit programming entirely?". https://elm-lang.org/news/the-syntax-cliff

As a professional software engineer, I can memorize large amounts of programming language syntax. It's a skill not everyone has, just as a concert pianist can sight read music notation while playing the piano in real time with all 10 fingers (I can't do that).

I know that OpenSCAD is a "CAD" program, but I got into it in order to make art. In the 3D computer graphics business, the most popular interface for programming languages aimed at artists is "node and wire" syntax. For example, Blender has this.

I'm not claiming that node+wire is the "best" graphical syntax. However, here are the benefits:
* You don't have to memorize module names. You can select a module from
   a hierarchical menu, or find a module using keyword search,
   and then a node is created which calls the module.
* You don't need to memorize module parameters.
   The parameters are all laid out for you in the node.
* You can continuously tweak numeric parameters using a slider.
   You can use a colour picker to tweak a colour parameter.

For me, the ability to tweak module parameters using a slider and get real time feedback in the preview window is a game changer. It makes me much productive in certain tasks. For other people, not having to memorize syntax is the key feature.

There are ways to combine the benefits of text syntax with the benefits I listed of the node+wire syntax. A "projectional editor" represents the program in memory, not as a character string, but as a syntax tree. As you edit the program, the syntax tree is modified, and the syntax tree is "projected" onto the display, possibly as text, or possibly using a graphical syntax, such as node+wire, or like BlocksCad. There are lots of text-based IDEs for conventional programming languages, which use this approach to provide assistance to the user, such as tab-completion of identifiers, auto-fill-in of function argument lists, and even sliders for tweaking numeric parameters. The GlslEditor supports sliders for live editing of GLSL shader programs (GLSL has a C-like text syntax).

What I think would be really cool is a projectional editor that lets you switch back and forth between text syntax and graphical syntax. I'm looking around to see if someone has implemented this idea already.
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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

jon_bondy
I watched the ClikScad video, and ClikScad is cute, but I cannot imagine
doing actual work with that UI.  Has anyone designed a real part (not a
simple part, a REAL part) using technology like that?  I would love to
see that.

Also, I find changing the parameter values and pressing F5 is no slower
than what was shown in the video.

I agree that ClikScad is simpler for a novice, but the down side is that
it could seduce them into thinking that they can get real work done,
only to hit the wall and have to go back and do it in the old fashioned
way, and then give up for the usual reasons


On 10/25/2019 9:50 AM, nop head wrote:

> The problem is it is too sparse because typically one line of code
> becomes a box. So what happens to a design that is 350 lines?
>
> OpenSCAD is a very small language, it can all be summarised on the one
> page cheat sheet. I am surprised anybody would struggle to learn the
> syntax but using it to create geometry is much more complex than the
> language. It requires an ability to imagine a shape and then decompose
> it it cubes and cylinders, etc, and be able to understand what
> manifold is and do high school level trigonometry. I don't see how
> replacing the text with boxes helps with any of that. Code completion
> if the editor achieves more or less the same.
>

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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

doug.moen
In reply to this post by nophead
@nophead: The problem is it is too sparse because typically one line of code becomes a box. So what happens to a design that is 350 lines?

If you have text and graphics and direct manipulation, then you can build a better user interface than what you can build using text and a keyboard alone. So it becomes a matter of user interface design.

2D layout can pack more information onto the screen then 1 dimensional text layout. A zooming user interface, plus hierarchical structure, can allow you to manage programs containing thousands of nodes.

Nuke (by Foundry) has an overview pane that shows the entire program zoomed out, and an edit pane where you are zoomed in to part of the program. A zooming user interface can display fewer details of a node when you are zoomed out (eg, only the module name) and more details when you are zoomed in (eg, the module name and the parameters).

Here's one way to represent hierarchy using node+wire. It would be better if each supernode had an optional title that is visible when zoomed out:



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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

OpenSCAD mailing list-2
In reply to this post by jon_bondy
Not sure what your definition of "real" part is, but I've worked up some
projects using BlockSCAD:

https://community.carbide3d.com/t/design-into-3d-games-chinese-checkers/16056

https://community.carbide3d.com/t/design-into-3d-boxes-magazine-storage/16238 

For the latter, I actually worked through posting screengrabs of bits of the
code as I worked, so maybe proves the concept?

Two features which help in BlockSCAD are the ability to collapse blocks and
their contents, and to create modules. If it just had robust support for the
customizer I'd be goodl.




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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

Robin2
In reply to this post by nophead
nophead wrote
> Yes I have seen your video but what would the screen look like for the
> design I am working on at the moment?
>
> It is 350 lines of code and it has taken me a couple of days.

I suspect that you are not the type of user I have in mind for ClikScad.
Indeed as far as I can see none of the recent Threads in this Fourm have
been posted by newbies looking for assistance.

My mind is very firmly focused on the person who would like to design the
occasional part for their 3D printer without needing to take the trouble and
the time to learn a 3D drawing product. I think OpenSCAD provides an
excellent platform for that.

/And I have to confess that I don't understand the purpose of a model as
complex as yours - though it looks very impressive. In my mind I would model
each of the parts separately so I could print them one at a time and I see
no problem doing that with ClikScad./

...R



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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

tp3
In reply to this post by Robin2
On 25.10.19 10:30, Robin2 wrote:
> I don't know their names but I presume there are some
> people who act as the "guardian" of the OpenSCAD project.

I guess that would then be something like 90% Marius and
10% myself ;-).

> All I mean by "support" is a statement of encouragement

I can speak only for myself, but in my opinion it would
be nice to have some additional GUI support. There's
a lot of opportunities to do that, Customizer and the
latest auto-completion changes are a small step into
that direction. I personally prefer some integrated
solution though.
For example I'd love to have a GUI editable polygon
where you can do something like right click it and
edit via some 2D editor.
All that is supposed to be optional features that can
be ignored by people who don't need them.

ciao,
  Torsten.

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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

tp3
In reply to this post by nophead
On 25.10.19 15:50, nop head wrote:
> The problem is it is too sparse because typically one
> line of code becomes a box. So what happens to a design
> that is 350 lines?

Not necessarily. Maybe a more sensible comparison would
be ICEStudio https://github.com/FPGAwars/icestudio which
can create blocks for whole Verilog modules.

ciao,
  Torsten.


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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

nophead
In reply to this post by Robin2
I always create full assembled models because a) I have to fit the plastic parts around other off the shelf parts and b) my framework creates a full bill of materials and assembly instructions. This is totally necessary because a lot of my designs have hundreds of parts. and dozens of sub assemblies. I often spend more time modelling the vitamins than I do the printed parts.

This design is a case for an Enviro+ environmental sensors board that plugs into an RPI Zero at right angles. There is also a particle counter module and a tiny fan. Getting all the parts into a small space was a challenge and the only way to do it is to model it as an assembly. I use the customiser to switch different bits on an off in the view so I can see inside.

The case is is a library item that is fully parametric. I can specify arbitrary additions and subtractions as children. I added the optional waves to see if it reduces the tendency to warp but I also like the aesthetic. It does make it more difficult to have holes in the sides because you can't have wavy bridges, so all apertures have 45 degree chamfered surrounds that build out to a straight edge that can be bridged.

This is the BOM it produced.

Parts list

MainTOTALS
Vitamins
  1   1    Enviro+
  1   1    Fan 17mm x 8mm
  4   4    Heatfit insert M2
  1   1    Micro SD card
  4   4    Nut M2.5 x 2.2mm nyloc
  1   1    PMS5003 particle detector
  1   1    Pin header 20 x 2 right_angle
  1   1    Raspberry Pi Zero
  4   4    Screw M2 cap x 6mm
  2   2    Screw M2.5 pan x 6.4mm
  4   4    Screw M2.5 pan x 8mm
  3   3    Screw M3 pan x 6mm
  4   4    Washer M2 x 5mm x 0.3mm
  4   4    Washer M2.5 x 5.9mm x 0.5mm
  3   3    Washer M3 x 7mm x 0.5mm
  38   38   Total vitamins count
3D printed parts
  1   1   bulkhead.stl
  1   1   enviro_plus_case.stl
  1   1   enviro_plus_case_base.stl
  1   1   fan_jacket.stl
  3   3   foot.stl
  7   7   Total 3D printed parts count

And here are the printed parts that I designed:

bulkhead.png
enviro_plus_case.png
enviro_plus_case_base.png
fan_jacket.png
foot.png

The is quite small for my projects. The last one has 637 vitamins, 62 printed parts and 12 routed parts in 28 assemblies.

On Fri, 25 Oct 2019 at 20:20, Robin2 <[hidden email]> wrote:
nophead wrote
> Yes I have seen your video but what would the screen look like for the
> design I am working on at the moment?
>
> It is 350 lines of code and it has taken me a couple of days.

I suspect that you are not the type of user I have in mind for ClikScad.
Indeed as far as I can see none of the recent Threads in this Fourm have
been posted by newbies looking for assistance.

My mind is very firmly focused on the person who would like to design the
occasional part for their 3D printer without needing to take the trouble and
the time to learn a 3D drawing product. I think OpenSCAD provides an
excellent platform for that.

/And I have to confess that I don't understand the purpose of a model as
complex as yours - though it looks very impressive. In my mind I would model
each of the parts separately so I could print them one at a time and I see
no problem doing that with ClikScad./

...R



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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

nophead
In reply to this post by tp3
Yes I appreciate one can use nesting to get around fact you can't get as much on a screen as with text. 

About 20 years ago I wrote a UML case tool that generated entire C++ applications from class diagrams and state charts. It enabled a C programmer to write C++ without knowing the class syntax as all the code fragments entered in the GUI were pretty much C but got woven into C++ classes and object could be instantiated with web forms generated from the class.  All the diagrams were nested so you could drill down and pop up again.

Now that I am retired I prefer a simpler life and text seems simpler and quicker to me for OpenSCAD.

On Fri, 25 Oct 2019 at 20:50, Torsten Paul <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 25.10.19 15:50, nop head wrote:
> The problem is it is too sparse because typically one
> line of code becomes a box. So what happens to a design
> that is 350 lines?

Not necessarily. Maybe a more sensible comparison would
be ICEStudio https://github.com/FPGAwars/icestudio which
can create blocks for whole Verilog modules.

ciao,
  Torsten.


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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

Robin2
nophead wrote
> Now that I am retired I prefer a simpler life and text seems simpler and
> quicker to me for OpenSCAD.

I fully appreciate that and it is no part of my agenda to get you (or anyone
else who likes using text) to change.

But I would be interested to know if you think a simple GUI would be useful
for newbies?

...R



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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

nophead
Very hard for me to judge because I am such a long way from a newbie. I think I started using OpenSCAD about 9 years ago and probably found it the easiest language I have learnt, but I spent about 30 years as a professional programmer and before that and was  making my own computers and writing my own assemblers and compilers when I was a schoolkid and then did a degree in computer engineering.

I don't think anybody who is a programmer would struggle to learn it and they are the people it is aimed at. I can see a GUI could help somebody who is not a programmer get started but are there many of those that would want to use OpenSCAD? Why wouldn't they use Fusion360 or FreeCAD if they liked a GUI based CAD?

I also felt the same about VHDL verses schematic entry for FPGA design. Yes the schematic can be easier for a hardware designer but it is much quicker to type HDL and not worry about laying out a schematic.



On Fri, 25 Oct 2019 at 22:13, Robin2 <[hidden email]> wrote:
nophead wrote
> Now that I am retired I prefer a simpler life and text seems simpler and
> quicker to me for OpenSCAD.

I fully appreciate that and it is no part of my agenda to get you (or anyone
else who likes using text) to change.

But I would be interested to know if you think a simple GUI would be useful
for newbies?

...R



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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

tp3
On 25.10.19 23:52, nop head wrote:
> I don't think anybody who is a programmer would
> struggle to learn it and they are the people it
> is aimed at.

But why would we need to put a big restriction on
that and tell everyone who does not want to be a
programmer to find something else?

Modern IDEs for programming languages have lots
of GUI support and that's great. OpenSCAD does
not have much of a GUI, but all those Dialogs are
created with a GUI designer. And in general I
would hate programming C++ via notepad.

I think OpenSCAD will never turn into a point and
click program like FreeCAD. But I don't see why
there should not be additional visualization and
editing possibilities.

> somebody who is not a programmer get started but
> are there many of those that would want to use
> OpenSCAD?

Looking at the number of external tools doing
exactly that, I suppose it's not just one or two.

ciao,
  Torsten.

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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

JordanBrown
In reply to this post by Robin2
On 10/25/2019 2:23 PM, Robin2 wrote:
But I would be interested to know if you think a simple GUI would be useful for newbies?

The existence of BlocksCAD makes it clear that you're not the only one.

I'm entirely serious, though, when I ask:  what do you want that BlocksCAD doesn't do?

(And sometimes the answer is that you *want* to reinvent the wheel, just because you like the exercise.  That's OK, but it's best done as a conscious decision.)


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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

gasstationwithoutpumps
In reply to this post by nophead
nophead wrote
> I don't think anybody who is a programmer would struggle to learn it and
> they are the people it is aimed at. I can see a GUI could help somebody
> who
> is not a programmer get started but are there many of those that would
> want
> to use OpenSCAD? Why wouldn't they use Fusion360 or FreeCAD if they liked
> a
> GUI based CAD?

That was precisely my question about the original proposal—OpenSCAD is
designed for programmers who can't (or don't want to) draw.  If someone
wants to draw, there are much better systems for their needs.  I have never
found graphical interfaces for programming languages very good for real
programs.  (OK, Scratch was fun for teaching 5th graders to program little
programs, but I wouldn't want to use it for anything big.)


> I also felt the same about VHDL verses schematic entry for FPGA design.
> Yes
> the schematic can be easier for a hardware designer but it is much quicker
> to type HDL and not worry about laying out a schematic.

I don't think that any of the FPGA developers use schematic entry any
more—the FPGAs have gotten too big.  Verilog seems to be the dominant tool,
with a lot of development work into higher-level RTL languages with Verilog
as the output.




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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

Robin2
In reply to this post by JordanBrown
JordanBrown wrote
> I'm entirely serious, though, when I ask:  what do you want that
> BlocksCAD doesn't do?

You are quite correct when you guess that my project started as an "I thnk I
can do that" exercise.

Personally I don't like the Blockscad system (it is the same as MIT
AppInventor) and I'm not sure why. Maybe it is that it is too fussy - the
snazzy graphics are getting in the way.


...R



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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

OpenSCAD mailing list-2
In reply to this post by Robin2
Tried this but got:

This site can’t be reached
localhost refused to connect.
Search Google for localhost 8085
ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED




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Re: ClikScad - create OpenSCAD models without all the typing

Robin2
OpenSCAD mailing list-2 wrote
> This site can’t be reached
> localhost refused to connect.
> Search Google for localhost 8085
> ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED

What operating system and browser are you using?

Did you see any message in the Terminal window?

...R



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