Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clean"

Anything you think is missing, or needs enhancement, goes here.

If you require help using Audacity, please post on the forum board relevant to your operating system:
Windows
Mac OS X
GNU/Linux and Unix-like

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by brycenesbitt » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:42 am

I came to this thread after reporting a "bug" that turns out to be a design decision. This one, about unmodified tracks.
I'm a user, not a developer. I'm multi OS aware using Linux, OS X, Windows, etc.

When it comes to user interface decisions, there's a strong argument that the least confusing thing is to keep common operations the same across applications.
Microsoft word for example:
If you load a document from storage, then don't modify it, it does not ask on close.
If you create a new document, then take another action like pasting data, it asks.


For Audacity the similar operation would be:

File->New then File->Import is dirty (set so by the Import).
File->Open (even if it first creates a "new" project), is clean.
File->New is clean.


The scenario where a beginner loads a file into audacity, deletes the original, then forgets to save their work, seems fanciful. Maybe it's happened, but it's not typical even for klutzes.

The current setup where Audacity asks on exit has an underappreciated failure mode. The knee jerk reaction (if it's not confusion) could well be to accidentally hit yes, and THIS can destroy file dates and metadada, or at least get other people mad or confused if master audio files change.
brycenesbitt
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:05 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by Gale Andrews » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:28 pm

Yes, we saw you already on [email protected] We already counted your "vote".

What exactly are you looking at when you import a file? Is Audacity the only application you can use for that? Perhaps we can find another application you can use.

You are not an experienced Audacity support person as far as I know, so I assume you are not aware of users who have lost data or who regularly delete audio files as part of their stated workflow.

Some Team members here opposed one of the patches because it involved a hidden setting that you had to enable in audacity.cfg. If there had not been opposition, that patch would already have been implemented.

I have already said that I am prepared to open an enhancement issue on our bug tracker that includes Ed's patch with the GUI options to hide save changes commented out. There is a problem with the GUI change implemented there that you can't cancel the settings change in the main body of Preferences. Whatever the merits of the patch, the developers are then more aware of the "issue".

It could be very confusing for Import and Open/New to behave differently in respect of making the project dirty. Open and Import are both imports, the only distinction is that Open opens a new window if the project already has content.

Clicking "Yes" to save changes does not change any data in the imported files whatsoever. As already stated, you are are NOT opening the files. You are making the project dirty by importing files into it, including changing the metadata stored by the project, if the imported file contains metadata.

The only way to change the imported file is to export over it.

There is a danger you did not point out, which is to say "No" to save changes, because you normally say it many times a day, when on that occasion you actually meant "Yes".


Gale
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * Tips * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Quick Start Guide * * * * * Audacity Manual
Gale Andrews
Quality Assurance
 
Posts: 26093
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:02 am
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by brycenesbitt » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:39 pm

For reference:

The Gimp project recently went through a similar issue, dealing with saving of projects vs. content.
A Gimp session often starts by importing a JPG format image, as from a camera. But Gimp's native project format is XCF.

The solution has some parallels to Audacity. In the Gimp case the program will harass you to either convert the file
to Gimp format, or to "export" it back to the original format. ( If nothing is modified it just silently exits quietly ).

Gimp also gives you a clue as to what happened, for example saying how many minutes since the JPG was imported,
and if the image was exported, where it was exported to. You get a good sense what you're about to lose by not saving in XCF format.


---
Setting a preference is a form of admitting failure on a UI decision. They create a new class of error where a user
is at a studio or new place, and thinks they know what to expect from Audacity, but suddenly it's different. That can lead to mistakes.
brycenesbitt
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:05 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by brycenesbitt » Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:17 pm

Gale Andrews wrote:What exactly are you looking at when you import a file? Is Audacity the only application you can use for that? Perhaps we can find another application you can use.


I use audacity for a variety of tasks, for which it is well suited. In particular I might load a master clip, and apply a series of test transformations, or maybe just enhance and listen to the audio. In those cases I never want to save over the original: if I decide to make a change I'll first copy the master clip, then start working on the copy. Perhaps I should make the master clip read only right away, before loading it into audacity... but as a human I might forget.

A strength of audacity is suitability for multiple workflows. I feel no need to "find another application".
brycenesbitt
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:05 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by Gale Andrews » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:36 pm

brycenesbitt wrote: Perhaps I should make the master clip read only right away, before loading it into audacity... but as a human I might forget.

Again, your imported files will not be affected by Audacity if you merely save a project.

Steve renamed the message from "Save changes before closing?" to "Save project before closing?". Hopefully this will make it clearer that it is the project that is being changed, not the files.

brycenesbitt wrote:I feel no need to "find another application".

It sounds to me as if you do, given the "Save changes" prompt is a major problem for you.


Gale
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * Tips * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Quick Start Guide * * * * * Audacity Manual
Gale Andrews
Quality Assurance
 
Posts: 26093
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:02 am
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by Gale Andrews » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:56 pm

brycenesbitt wrote:Setting a preference is a form of admitting failure on a UI decision. They create a new class of error where a user is at a studio or new place, and thinks they know what to expect from Audacity, but suddenly it's different. That can lead to mistakes.

If we had a setting, but the user has newly installed Audacity on a different machine, then they go back to being prompted for unsaved changes after importing a file and doing nothing except playing it.

Steve wanted to turn Save Changes into a more advanced dialogue where if you had not done "editing" of some defined type, you would be offered the choice not to be prompted next time you imported without editing. Even that would be a setting. The problem is that many of our users on Windows can barely take in more than a few words of text in a message that pops up. The risk would be too great.

And if Audacity just quit silently when you had not edited in some sense, as you seem to want, the risk would be even greater.

Of course you can compile Audacity yourself and apply any patch you want, before we get to deciding what is the best approach for all our users.


Gale
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * Tips * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Quick Start Guide * * * * * Audacity Manual
Gale Andrews
Quality Assurance
 
Posts: 26093
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:02 am
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by brycenesbitt » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:46 pm

Gale Andrews wrote:And if Audacity just quit silently when you had not edited in some sense, as you seem to want, the risk would be even greater.


That's what makes this debate so strange. Why is is losing a project with no active edits considered a risk?
In the scenario under discussion, the binary audio clip is still on disk, and the project may have as few as zero history entries. All you've lost if listening is, perhaps, the position of the listen cursor.

-----
The recent patch to change the dialog is an improvement. When it said "Save changes before closing?" that hardly communicated "Save the project not the clip".
Still it's a pain to keep clicking "no", and that will lead to reflexively clicking "no" even when actual work has been done, and the proper answer is "yes".
brycenesbitt
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:05 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:06 pm

brycenesbitt wrote: and the project may have as few as zero history entries

If you open a "project", and then close that project without making any changes to the project, you are not prompted to save.

If you import a file into a project, then the import will be listed in the history and you will be prompted to save.

I think that at least some of the confusion is due to the warning message:
"Save changes before closing?"
and some of the confusion because Audacity can apparently "open" audio files.

Despite the fact that "File menu > Open" allows you to select an audio file (such as WAV, MP3, etc), Audacity does not "open" audio files. What happens is that a "project" is opened and the selected audio file is imported into the project. Personally I think it would be much clearer if "File > Open" was exclusively for opening projects, because projects are actually the only thing that Audacity can "open". Any other file types are "imported" into a project.

So users mistakenly think that they have opened an audio file, and then see a warning "Save changes before closing", which is (not surprisingly) surprising for the user because they "have made no changes to the file". But the message is not warning about changes to the file - it should be asking if they want to save the "project". It is the project that has changed, not the file.

Do you want to save the project? Perhaps you do, perhaps you don't. It is standard practice that when an application has imported a file, it prompts the user to save, and it is standard practice that if an application opens a file and is then closed before any changes are made, then the application closes without nagging the user to save. Audacity follows this accepted standard. I think that if it were clear that's what Audacity is doing, then there would be less complaints about the behaviour.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 44622
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:43 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:15 pm

So - what are we going to do with this one :?:

Peter
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * FAQ * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Audacity Manual * * * * * Audacity Wiki * * * * *
waxcylinder
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 8969
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:03 am
Location: Manchester, UK
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Consider a project of only unmodified tracks to be "clea

Permanent link to this post Posted by Gale Andrews » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:18 pm

I think it would help if Ed would provide his patch with the GUI options removed, so that it is a hidden option that can be enabled in audacity.cfg. I know that is not what some of us want, but we have to start somewhere by creating a Bugzilla enhancement issue out of this, and a demo patch that someone may be encouraged to work on will help.

The commit on tcbrack's fork seems not to be retrievable any more.


Gale
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * Tips * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Quick Start Guide * * * * * Audacity Manual
Gale Andrews
Quality Assurance
 
Posts: 26093
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:02 am
Operating System: Windows 10

PreviousNext

Return to Adding Features to Audacity



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests