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View Full Version : Counter-intuitive behaviour with the "Save and Clear Options" panel



inkpen3d
06-22-2013, 10:20 AM
Hi there,

Ever since it's introduction back in the mists of time, I've been experiencing what I consider to be very counter-intuitive behaviour with the "Save and Clear Options" panel.

Sometimes the contents of scenes that have been changed by, amongst other things, modifying and incrementally saving various objects in Modeler have, upon reloading the same scene file, reverted to using older versions of these objects, even though I am pretty sure I'd correctly used the "Save and Clear Options" panel.

I've decided to investigate this annoying and time wasting behaviour further (using LW11.5.1, but I've been getting this odd behaviour with previous versions of LW as well) and was wondering if you guys could repeat the following steps just to make sure that I am not going totally mad!


In Modeler create a red sphere and a green box and save them out as separate objects (e.g. Sphere_v001.lwo and Box_v001.lwo).
Send both objects across to Layout and position them so you can see both objects in whatever view-port you choose to work in.
Save the scene (e.g. as Test_v001.lws).
Switch back to Modeler and change the colour of the box object to blue.
Incrementally save the box object, so you are now working with Box_v002.lwo.
Synchronise with Layout - the box in Layout changes to the blue Box_v002 as expected.
Now click on File=>Clear Scene - the "Save and Clear Options" panel pops up with the Box_v002 object ticked as having been modified.
Observation #1: Now at this stage we have not only modified the box object but we have also changed the contents of the scene, so why isn't there a tick against the line containing the scene file?
If you then click on the "Save All Changes" tick-box to activate it, you would expect ALL changes to be saved - right?
If you now click on the "Save and Clear" button and then reload the scene, the box object loaded is Box_v001. So we were wrong - in effect we have lost any changes made to the original scene that involved changing the version number of objects in that scene!
Okay, so we're (counter-intuitively) back at the original state of the scene, so let's try a different tactic...
Delete Box_v002.lwo from the Objects directory and also clear it from Modeler so that everything is back to where we started.
Repeat steps 4 -7 so that we end up with the "Save and Clear Options" panel open with the Box_v002 object ticked.
Given what happened above, you might now think that since the scene contents have changed you should have explicitly set the panel options to save that entity, so right-click on the scene file's entry in the "Save State" column and select "Save" from the list of items in the drop-down menu.
Click on the "Save and Clear" button and then reload the scene and once again the box object loaded is Box_v001 - what?
Finally, repeat the above steps 4 - 7 so we once again end up with the "Save and Clear Options" panel open with the Box_v002 object ticked.
Now right-click on the Box_v002 entry in the "Save State" column and select "Save" from the list of items in the drop-down menu.
Observation #3: Only this manoeuvre correctly results in the scene file also being ticked as modified!
Click the on the "Save and Clear" button and then reload the scene.
Now you'd think, wouldn't you, that the modified scene would be correctly saved - wrong again - it's still loading Box_v001.lwo!!!


I've looked at the instructions for the "Save and Clear Options" panel in the documentation and basically the behaviour of the panel does not reflect what the documentation says is supposed to happen. In fact, I'd go further and say that the functionality of this panel is full of bugs and can result in the loss of work done to a scene.

Another interesting observation I've made is that, just before submitting this post, I tried out the above instruction steps again but clicked on the "Save" instead of the "Save and Clear" button in the "Save and Clear Options" panel - this time when the scene was reloaded it correctly contained Box_v002.lwo! Furthermore, after that, every time I used that same scene file to repeat the above instruction steps, I obtained the correct behaviour. It was only when I ditched that scene file and created a totally new scene file and repeated the instruction steps that "Save and Clear Options" panel functionality returned to the erroneous behaviour I'd originally observed. So, it looks like something is modifying the scene file contents such that the load/save behaviour can (randomly?) flip between being okay and erroneous.

I look forward to your own observations.

All the best,
Peter

jwiede
06-22-2013, 02:41 PM
It does sounds like the problem is that "Save and Clear" in Layout isn't recognizing that the incremental filename changes also represent changes to the scene (since it needs to be repointed at the new incrementally-named version of the object).

jeric_synergy
06-22-2013, 06:35 PM
Please fogbug it! Good characterization of the problem.

I was also not too pleased that incrementally saved files (may only be scenes) at one point did not get placed in the Recent Files list (this may have been addressed). If one blindly used the MOST RECENT SCENE feature w/o checking, it was all too easy to start working on an obsolete file, makeing the MOST RECENT SCENE (or whatever) feature practically useless.

I'm not sure what workflow the developers expected, but that did not work for me at all. I want MOST RECENT SCENE to be the, well, most recent scene.

pinkmouse
06-22-2013, 07:18 PM
I thought there was something strange going on, but I just put it down to my inexperience. Well spotted Peter.

Surrealist.
06-22-2013, 07:50 PM
I am not going to go through all of those steps nor argue with your observation. But by reading when I saw you did not save the scene between steps 6 and 7 I immediately saw the problem which you confirmed in the second to last paragraph.

Basically it is simple. Or should be. I won't say that there are no bugs in that dialogue. But what I will say that LightWave and Modeler syncing is the pits and the use of the hub or whatever new mumbo jumbo they have hacked together these days is the issue.

Going old school here. Always but always do this:

What ever changes you make to Modeler, as they update in Layout, always save the scene manually with a the save command. Additionally use save all objects as another stop gap measure and then save scene again.

The problem has more to do with the cross talk between Layout and Modeler I believe. And this may be what the clear and save options is not picking up.

Personally I have always avoided that panel. If I get it I always just Cancel and then Save All Objects and then Save the scene. Then close. I am not a big fan of automated stuff like that that can ruin things.

Again. Not going to argue it is bugged or not. But I think you are better off just keeping it old school.

inkpen3d
06-23-2013, 03:39 AM
I am not going to go through all of those steps nor argue with your observation. But by reading when I saw you did not save the scene between steps 6 and 7 I immediately saw the problem which you confirmed in the second to last paragraph.

Basically it is simple. Or should be. I won't say that there are no bugs in that dialogue. But what I will say that LightWave and Modeler syncing is the pits and the use of the hub or whatever new mumbo jumbo they have hacked together these days is the issue.

Going old school here. Always but always do this:

What ever changes you make to Modeler, as they update in Layout, always save the scene manually with a the save command. Additionally use save all objects as another stop gap measure and then save scene again.

The problem has more to do with the cross talk between Layout and Modeler I believe. And this may be what the clear and save options is not picking up.

Personally I have always avoided that panel. If I get it I always just Cancel and then Save All Objects and then Save the scene. Then close. I am not a big fan of automated stuff like that that can ruin things.

Again. Not going to argue it is bugged or not. But I think you are better off just keeping it old school.

I agree with what you say, and yes, I've learnt the hard way to always save manually, but sometimes I forget, especially if rushed. The salient point is that "Keeping it old school" is fine for us experienced users who may be implicitly or explicitly aware of the problem, but everyone else is left scratching their heads wondering why on earth some objects in their reloaded scene suddenly seem to have reverted to old versions and they then have to spent time trawling through updating the objects - if, that is, they can remember all the changes they made! Even more disastrous is if users don't spot the problem until it's too late!

I'll FogBugz the problem today.

All the best,
Peter

inkpen3d
06-23-2013, 06:09 AM
I've logged a bug report on FogBugz - here's the link: https://fogbugz.newtek.com/default.asp?pg=pgPublicView&sTicket=62558_17mjs3gg

inkpen3d
06-23-2013, 08:15 AM
I thought there was something strange going on, but I just put it down to my inexperience. Well spotted Peter.

That's sort of what happened to me - I thought that maybe I was misusing the panel options or had misunderstood how it was supposed to operate - but after experiencing so many "reverted" scene contents, I came to the conclusion that there was some serious and fundamental issue with the functionality! You'd think that for such a prominent feature of the application, the software engineers would have rigorously tested the associated code - apparently not, which screams poor quality control!


Please fogbug it! Good characterization of the problem.

I was also not too pleased that incrementally saved files (may only be scenes) at one point did not get placed in the Recent Files list (this may have been addressed). If one blindly used the MOST RECENT SCENE feature w/o checking, it was all too easy to start working on an obsolete file, makeing the MOST RECENT SCENE (or whatever) feature practically useless.

I'm not sure what workflow the developers expected, but that did not work for me at all. I want MOST RECENT SCENE to be the, well, most recent scene.

Again, smacks of poor standards of testing and quality control being exercised by the software engineers!

You seriously wonder whether the LW software development section at NT has a resident Quality Assurance member of staff and if any Software Codes of Practice and Quality Control procedures are being followed - something that any half-decent commercial software development company should have in place as standard. If the relevant QA procedures are not in place then this indicates poor management or perhaps a misguided attempt to cut development costs, which time and again has been shown to ultimately be a false economy.

It's all very well having staff who are coding wizards, but if they don't follow strict guidelines for the unit and system testing of new or updated code, you are bound to get stupid and avoidable bugs slipping through into official releases of the software. This ultimately leads to frustrated customers who'll eventually get heartily sick and tired of repeatedly running into problems. They'll then switch to another vendor who's product exhibits [a more] rock-solid performance - simply because the latter bothered to implement and enforce proper standards of software development/testing and QA. From my (25 years) experience in the industry, software engineers, especially the ones who think they are coding gurus, hate following such procedures, but it usually turns out that they are the ones who need them the most!

Okay, rant over! :D

Cheers,
Peter

Surrealist.
06-23-2013, 08:27 AM
Yeah, as I said I am not going to dispute your findings. It is good work. And also agree with your point about new users and your rant.

I think what you are also running into is that the developers are also veteran LightWave users. So they practice the usual methods of saving ( that take into account the known issues between Layout and Modeler), which if you did, you'd never run into this and the dialogue would work just fine for those other things you forgot while working. But again it is simply a flaw in workflow in any app to rely too much on automation. Just asking for trouble in my opinion.

What I am trying to say is simply this: The communication between Layout and Modeler is poor. Especially with this version business. It always has been. And this is what needs to be taught to new users. The simple practice of saving. And like pretty much every app I have used it simply takes time to learn the quirks you never find in the user manual but experienced users report and share workarounds for. Some are bugs some are engineering shortfalls which allow certain things to fall between the cracks. I am thinking here that this is the case. If Layout does not update properly it would make sense that this feature would fail. I mean it is failing just in the same way.

Good work on finding and reporting. Maybe it will get fixed. But I am also thinking it may be that until they fix the other issues between Layout and Modeler, this will remain broken.

Just my opinion. Maybe I am wrong. Unfortunately new users will have to learn these things the hard way.

digitaldoc
06-23-2013, 09:05 AM
I'm sure most of us have been burned at some point or another with "save all objects" when one or more objects become corrupted and will no longer open.
I always have many, many incremental versions of objects and scenes when working on a project.

inkpen3d
06-23-2013, 01:50 PM
Yeah, as I said I am not going to dispute your findings. It is good work. And also agree with your point about new users and your rant.

I think what you are also running into is that the developers are also veteran LightWave users. So they practice the usual methods of saving ( that take into account the known issues between Layout and Modeler), which if you did, you'd never run into this and the dialogue would work just fine for those other things you forgot while working. But again it is simply a flaw in workflow in any app to rely too much on automation. Just asking for trouble in my opinion.

What I am trying to say is simply this: The communication between Layout and Modeler is poor. Especially with this version business. It always has been. And this is what needs to be taught to new users. The simple practice of saving. And like pretty much every app I have used it simply takes time to learn the quirks you never find in the user manual but experienced users report and share workarounds for. Some are bugs some are engineering shortfalls which allow certain things to fall between the cracks. I am thinking here that this is the case. If Layout does not update properly it would make sense that this feature would fail. I mean it is failing just in the same way.

Good work on finding and reporting. Maybe it will get fixed. But I am also thinking it may be that until they fix the other issues between Layout and Modeler, this will remain broken.

Just my opinion. Maybe I am wrong. Unfortunately new users will have to learn these things the hard way.

Totally agree with all you've said there Richard.:thumbsup:

inkpen3d
06-24-2013, 04:22 AM
What I am trying to say is simply this: The communication between Layout and Modeler is poor. Especially with this version business. It always has been.


Which is an even more critical situation given that Rob Powers appears to be waxing lyrical over the Modeler/Layout schism, which is the topic of this recent thread: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?135790-Rob-is-out-praising-the-merits-of-the-dual-app-workflow&highlight=powers ;)

Surrealist.
06-25-2013, 01:14 PM
Indeed it is. Don't get me started.

I just don't expect much from LightWave anymore. It is the tool that it is. I sometimes wonder about what the thinking is behind some of the things that they do - or rather fail to do. It boggles the mind on some days. But even so, LightWave has its place. Best practice I have found, learn to navigate the BS.