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Developing Dream Journal Software - Suggestions Welcome

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Arthur
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Developing Dream Journal Software - Suggestions Welcome
PostPosted: Thu 27 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Recently, I have been considering writing my own dream journal software. Actually, I attempted this a long time ago when I was new to programming, and made something that worked, but wasn't very unique or interesting, possibly because I only spent 2 or 3 days programming it.

I don't think there's any very good free dream journal software out there (I've looked numerous times), so once I've developed this a reasonable amount, I'm going to be making it open source. Meaning anyone is free to use it or modify it as they see fit, free of charge. As long as they make any modifications available to the public as well, free of charge.

Since there's a rather large community of dreamers here, I thought I'd ask you what features you'd like to see in dream journal software, I'll gladly implement any interesting ideas.

I don't want to end up doing this too quickly, and end up with another program that isn't that useful, so it'll be at least a few months before I'll make anything I'm working on available. Please post any ideas you have (do some brainstorming -- there are no bad ideas) so I can start to give this project some direction.

Thank you,
Arthur




Last edited by Arthur on Fri 28 Jan, 2005; edited 1 time in total
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r3m0t
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

At least change your title a bit to distinguish this from this.

I'm glad you'll go the open-source route. I recommend hosting at sourceforge.

Above all, make the interface clear and easy-to-use. I can help you with that.

What programming language will you use and what platform are you aiming for?

Personally, I like a bare bones sort of thing - I just want to write text which can have links in it. So I might write:

Quote:
<scene>Night-time at my old house</scene>

Yet again I became lucid without knowing how. The [[DC white-haired man]] came to me and asked me about my future. (Bla.)


[[DC white-haired man]] would link to a page about my dream character which I call "the white-haired man". I would be able to write about the white-haired man, find other dreams including the white-haired man, and so on.

Be light on the formatting - allow emphasis, strong emphasis and pictures. Anything more will clutter up the interface.

Would you like more?


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XkyZero
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Good idea! It would be nice to put the vividness and lucidity of each dream (you can use checkbuttons), this could be in 5 levels, like
1.Poor
2.Little vividness
3.Almost like IRL
4.IRL vividness
5.More vivid than IRL

It's just an example so you get the idea, same with lucidity levels.


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Arthur
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

r3m0t wrote:
At least change your title a bit to distinguish this from this.


Hehe... I honestly saw that just after I posted this... felt a little stupid... Oh well...

r3m0t wrote:
Above all, make the interface clear and easy-to-use. I can help you with that.

What programming language will you use and what platform are you aiming for?


I agree, a simple, easy to use interface is essential.

I'll probably develop this for Windows with C#... most people seem to use Windows. I was considering going the Java route to make it more portable, but GUI programming in Java is a pain.

r3m0t wrote:
Personally, I like a bare bones sort of thing - I just want to write text which can have links in it.

Be light on the formatting - allow emphasis, strong emphasis and pictures. Anything more will clutter up the interface.

Would you like more?


Those are excellent suggestions, perhaps I could do both the text-based entry, as well as buttons for more novice users (similar to this forum).

If you have any more suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'd like as much input as possible.

XkyZero wrote:
It would be nice to put the vividness and lucidity of each dream (you can use checkbuttons), this could be in 5 levels


Yes, lucidity levels would be nice, perhaps users could custom-define their own levels, in case anything I choose would be meaningless to them (although I think the terminology is pretty standard)


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WhiteWolf
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

I personally just use "nano" to write down my dreams. however it would be cool to have a program that is free that has a dream rating system like XkyZero suggested. In the default screen it would be nice not to have to many pictures so you dont focus on them and forget your dream.

I think what would be nice is a TAB system for each dream. you click on the dream and another window pops up, in this window you have a few tabs "dream, Dreamsigns,Dreamcharacters,comments" whatever you please, and in these you can have certain tracebacks, like for example if you have had the dreamsign "car" before it will check the rest of the dreams and highlight it green if it is reoccuring. and a cool program like 'wc' built in that counts the words/characters/lines for you so you can see your improvement in DR


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XkyZero
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

I was looking around other people's dream journals here on the forums. I saw these useful stuff you could include:

-DC's in the dream and Place(s) of the dream(filling these fields would also allow to apply r3m0t's idea, by making a registry of places and DC's, and doing so you can see your most common dreamsigns, very useful uh?)

I also thought that if a begginer downloads the program it would be full and recharged of innecesary options for newbies, then you could create two user interfaces, something like "normal" mode and "advanced" mode. I have seen this in other software like shareaza.

I have a lot of cool ideas about this, maybe I'll put more later smile


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XkyZero
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Sorry for the double post, but I saw these ideas from Sureal in other post and I agree with these implementations:

Sureal wrote:
well, if someone was to make something like that, it'd help to include:

- A title
- The date
- What type of dream it was (Not just ND or LD, but their subtypes as well).
- How much lucidity you had (if any)
- How long it lasted
- A score you'd rate it
- How vivid it was
- Any key words
- The DC's in it (that you can remember)
- The main theme/s
- A big section for you to write the dream in

(not neccesarily in that order...)


And I repeat, including all this stuff in it would be too much stuff for a beginner and probably will uninstall the program. So it would be nice to choose your preferred interface at the first time of use.


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r3m0t
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Adding your own stats would be good. Maybe I would want to add "Time of day", with values "Sunrise", "Early morning", "Day", "Evening", "Sunset", "Early night", "Late night" and "Many/unknown". I would then be able to make graphs showing how often I picked each of these.

If you can't find a good graph library for C# I suggest at least allowing some sort of export to CSV (comma seperated values) files.


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Arthur
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Thank you to everyone who has replied. If anyone has more ideas, please post them, I need as much input as possible.

I've drawn up an extremely preliminary drawing of what the main screen may look like. Tell me what you think... what do you like/hate... I'm sure it'll need quite some revision before I even think about doing this for real. Tear it apart if you like, I'm not attached to it at all... if you shower it with praise, I'll know you're lying! Please try to see past the fact that it appears to be drawn by a six year old though.

I've set it up to hopefully look sort of like a real dream journal... anyway, here's the link: http://www.putfile.com/pic.php?pic=1/2801181187.jpg&s =x2


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r3m0t
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Quote:
Above all, make the interface clear and easy-to-use. I can help you with that.


And then you come up with this??

  • There is a lot of wasted space in there.
  • The interface in inconsistent. Why are "save" and "delete" buttons outside the dream diary?
  • People may be able to "rate" dreams, but not in terms of 1 to 100 ("Hmm, is this a +87 or a +88?"), neither can they even accurately select a rating on that tiny slider.
  • You provide a limited space for custom stats. To see how an unlimited number of stats can be put into a small(ish) space, see Microsoft Word's Document Properties dialog ("Custom" tab).
  • "Lucidity" and "Vividness" should be custom stats to make everything simpler for the user.

Interface hall of shame wrote:
The adherence to the visual metaphor has additional screen real-estate concerns. PDA's have a border surrounding the display, so the designer of ReadPlease 2000 added a similar border. This border serves no purpose other than to maintain the visual metaphor and in so doing, needlessly consumes an inordinate amount of screen real estate. Because of the inappropriate use of proportional screen resizing, increasing the size of the display has the effect of proportionally increasing this border, resulting in an even greater waste of screen real estate.

See this animation to see the behaviour and the behaviour which would have been better.

  • Make sure you can type the date as much as possible. Set the date to yesterday by default.
  • People don't know the time of their dreams.
  • Add the time it was actually written, which should not need to be changed by the user. The time between the night of the dream and the recording of the dream indicates how much was forgotten.
  • "DC" and "DS" are not obvious. Consider "Character" and "Sign".
  • The "SEARCH" tab makes no sense whatsoever. None. Not at all. Not even when placed between "Dream characters" and "Dream signs".
  • See quotes...

Quote:
Adopting this color in ReadPlease 2000 represents one of the fundamental problems in applying real-world metaphors to the design of software: the software becomes subject to the limitations of the real-world device.

Your "book" metaphor will break apart when people want to list dreams by name instead of date, or by rating. The tabs on the right (On the right?!?) also break the metaphor.

You may also end up creating pointless animations (book closing, page turning, etc) or graphics which will bloat the application size.

"DreamCatcher" is a nice name. "Dream Catcher" is even nicer. wink




Last edited by r3m0t on Sat 29 Jan, 2005; edited 1 time in total
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christo
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

i think the drawing is nice! (well not estetically) but it looks like the program is put together quite good

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r3m0t
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

overspannen eek2 I hate it when people do that.

christo, just you try using it!


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Arthur
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Thank you for your input r3m0t... given some more thought, I'm sure you're right, the "book" metaphor is unnecessary, and would probably just lead to more confusion.

I've drawn up a new design, trying to address as many of the issues you pointed out as possible. I don't have a copy of Microsoft Word on my computer, perhaps someone could post a screenshot showing this, as I have no idea what it looks like!

I'm not quite sure what you mean to "type the date"... as in allow the user to type "January 29, 2005"? I think they could get confused as to what format to type the date that way (Jan 29, 05; 01-29-05; 01/29/2005; ad infinitum... almost ).

The new design is up at http://www.putfile.com/pic.php?pic=1/2811450198.jpg&s =x2 Feel free to tear it to pieces again smile

If anyone out there has any more requests or ideas, now is the best time for me to hear them!


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r3m0t
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PostPosted: Sun 30 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

Arthur, it shouldn't be that difficult to make a date typing thing, surely? Have a day selector, month selector and year selector, but allow typing. (It's possible; I've done it before). Then people can type "29<tab>1<tab>2005". If they don't know which way to type, the drop down list hints towards the D/M/Y format.

Your new design looks very nice. I suggest changing the left side so that it has just three rows: Dreams, Characters, and Symbols (what are symbols? Signs?) You can have New or Add on the left (indicated by a plus sign) and Search or Browse on the right (indicated by a magnifying glass, probably).

Extend the title field to the right border of the main dream entry field.

Formatting buttons are more usually put above the text field, like in this forum, every other forum I've seen, Microsoft Word, Wordpad, every other rich text editor and HTML editor I've seen... .

I think the rating should be -5 to +5, which is sort of more logical.

Custom stats entry would be a drop-down list on the left with a list ("Vividness", "Lucidity", "Scene", "Keywords") and on the right would be a text box or a multiple choice box. So:

  • Vividness could be provided by default, and it is "Very vivid" ... "Normal" ... "Very faint memory" (multiple choice)
  • Lucidity could be provided by default, and it is "Highly lucid" ... "Some lucidity" ... "No lucidity" (multiple choice)
  • Scene could be user-made and perhaps it would be "Night" or "Day" (multiple choice)
  • Keywords could be user-made and that user decided to put keywords into it seperated by spaces for easy searching (text box)


Note that the default ones work just like the user-made ones - you can delete them and whatever. This makes everything more consistent. If all the custom stats were deleted, there could be a blank space there or a message.

I wonder what's in the "Options" menu? Ideally there will be one option dialog with tabs. This is because on the first run of the program, people will want to look at every option. (Examples of clever programs which do this are KDE and AIM, which both have a lot of options. Bad programs include Windows Control Panel and Gnome.) Therefore, it's one menu entry - perhaps under "Tools".

I wonder what's in the "Extras" menu?

There's no need to show the date recorded - it is, after all, the current time and date, always available on the bottom-right. The occasional minute change will distract.


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XkyZero
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PostPosted: Mon 31 Jan, 2005  Reply with quote

I don't know if this is hard to do, but could you include (maybe in further versions) encryption and backup capabilities?

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