No Guider on equipment profile - Suggestion


Continuing the discussion from No Guider on Equipment Profile:

From a UI perspective it would be better to gray (disable) the options rather than resetting them when no guider is selected. Grayed items are a strong visual clue that the items do not apply to the current situation. Also, if the user does accidentally select no guider, the current options are not discarded - just grayed. Then when the original guider is reselected the original options are still in place.


Thanks, but this was the original implementation and it had a decidedly unfavorable reaction…


I don’t know the history so I won’t second guess. Sometimes people don’t like grayed items because they don’t know how to activate the them. However, IMHO it is better to have an item grayed (or not visible) than leave it active and have the illusion that you can do something with it. In the case that started this thread, it is a bit strange that there is no active guider but you have to set the settle time to zero to avoid a guider missing error. There is should be no parameters for a non-existent guider. The UI should reflect that fact.


DS, you don’t have to set the settle time to zero; just turn off dithering via the checklist.

I imagine if the ‘new guy’ wizard gets traction, we could change it. As it stands, it doesn’t bother me, it was just a comment from a user that it was confusing and he thought it was a bug.



Nevertheless, my point is the UI should be consistent. Setting dither on a non existent guider makes no sense. We could debate this forever, however, over all usability of the product is impacted by issues like this.


I agree entirely with @DesertSky. Greying these options out if the guider is not selected is the perfect UI choice. I hate popup dialogs that are unnecessary and halt my flow. This has happened to me several times and it was very annoying. Why does it care about the guider options if I have not selected a guider. I have been frequently turning the guider both on and later off for testing purposes. When I turn it back on, I have to reset all my options. A real pain, Greying out makes it very clear these options are not effective, ie. the guider is not turned on.


I have to disagree here… I think it’s because I have a different perspective (maybe not the right one… just different). I can see the tendency to derive an object driven sequence in your brain. My sequence uses an auto guider, my sequences uses a camera and a CFW, etc…

This is not really what SGPro is though… SGPro is automation software. It is designed to run a sequence of events. A sequence is comprised of actions, not objects. What does that matter? Well take the auto guider stuff in this thread. The argument has been made that if “there is no object there should be no actions for that object”. In reality, I would like the thought process to be “I have defined a series of behaviors and actions for my sequence, now I’m going to specify what object should do those things for me”. This may require a subtle shift in thinking, but I believe, for the purpose SGPro is trying to fulfill, it is the right perspective.

The arguments in this thread prioritize selection of the auto guider as the most import thing about auto guiding. Why? I am not sure. Maybe because it’s on the top. Maybe because we are trained to think about the tangible things in life. Maybe it’s because we call it “The Control Panel” and its viewed as an area to control objects and devices. There are a myriad of other reasons (please don’t use this thread to list them… I believe you and it’s not really my point).

So… that said, one could just as easily argue that dithering is the most important thing about guiding, what guider actually fulfills this activity is not too important, just that the sequence dithers. In this line of thinking, the check box to dither could be the most important aspect of guiding and would be responsible for disabling all of the other controls on the tab (including the selection of the guider itself).

I don’t like the idea of a popup asking to clear your actions either. What I do like is that you can just sit down and think through a series of actions you’d like performed during the course of your sequence, then you can actually select what will perform them. If you like it, you save it and you are done.

Maybe we should change the name of the equipment profiles (yet another naming convention that facilitates an object driven thought process) to something like activity profiles.

To answer your question directly (answered implicitly above)

You told SGPro you wanted several actions to execute that require the selection of a guider, but you did not select one. How do we know if your intent is not to use a guider or to do those actions, but you forgot to select a guider?

Framing and Mosaic angle warning - Make it go away?

Ken, I am continually amazed that you and Jared can find the time to develop this software, test and do your own imaging, get some sleep, and still write an extensive philosophical treatise in reply to an issue like this.
Absolutely wonderful.
But more to the point, your reply seemed on first reading to say that there was an option on the autoguider page that was actionable even if the autoguider is not selected. So I just looked at the autoguider page carefully and I think none of the options are relevant unless an autoguider is selected. That being the case seems to me simplicity would dictate greying them out. You could even display a NOTE on the page that no autoguider has been selected.
This is, of course, a very minor interface subtlety, and works fine the way it is.


We can debate whether you should be warned about no guider but I agree with @jmacon that you should not be able to set guider options when there is no guider. Also, clearing the options when there is no guider selected is not very user friendly. As @jmacon mentioned previously, he sometimes disables the guider only to go back to it and have to set all the options again. So warning about no guider is a philosophical decision but allowing a user to set options for a non existent guider is a formula for confusion.


That’s not what I’m meaning to say. I mean to say that you want to dither, so you select the action to dither. You don’t have an auto guider selected… that is not of much consequence… it is just a setting so you pick the auto guider that will dither for you. The important part is the dithering, not the guider and we are way more likely to respect that setting than we are to honor the fact that you have not selected a guider to do what you asked.

Making a copy of a profile is very easy. Just copy it, turn all the guiding actions off, then switching back and forth is as easy as you want it to be (probably even easier than going to the CP and toggling stuff).


We will agree to disagree on this point…


You have at least three people on this thread that think it is confusing to set options like this. Ultimately, it is your call but little UI issues like this are a problem - consider that this thread started because a user did not understand it.


That is true. But a user that did not understand something that has been in place for several years may not be the best indicator of the need for change. The problem with these types of threads is that people are 8 times more likely to write about things that displease them that they are about things that don’t. What does this say about the method we have on place? I don’t really know… just that there are a couple thousand that haven’t said anything and 3 that have. You can’t make all the people happy all the time.


They’ll be confused either way (as history has shown). As Ken mentioned the recommendation is how SGP used to work. No guider selected meant grayed out options with values shown…simple enough. However we had multiple people that would deselect the guider during startup as they were getting centered or aligned and didn’t want it constantly starting and stopping guiding. Eventually they click run sequence with no guider and go to bed. Only to come back 6 hours later with junk data as we never restarted the autoguider.

So which is worse? Attempting to validate all set options and letting people know if there is a discrepancy? Or running for 6 hours and not guiding because you forgot to re-enable it (even though you have other valid settings). I don’t disagree that graying out the options is cleaner and probably better from a ui perspective. But I think that provides a worse user experience as we would also remove validation on those values (no point doing it both ways.)

I’ll have to see if I can find the other thread. I’m fairly sure it was before we switched to this forum.



I am with Ken and Jared on this one. The rule is simple: if the sequence cannot be executed as planned, there should be a warning (only at the beginning of the sequence and only once). As an example, I would be very sorry if the program will start the sequence without telling me that in order to take those nice light frames, I should select a camera.

On the other side, people do not like warnings (I am one of those). One solution to this could be to show, at the beginning of a sequence, an abstract of the sequence as planned, highlighting (in red?) those steps which cannot be performed. The user should be given the chance to select “Continue” or “Abort execution”. This is a very common UI paradigm and is usually easily accepted. It has a positive touch, as the program is saying “look what I will do for you” and not “you are wrong” like in a warning.



I had a second look at the original warning and it occurred to me that there is a very simple solution to this. The text should read something like:

“Cannot execute dithering. No guider selected.”

The original warning is written from the programmer perspective and not from the user perspective. The software is not supposed to “require” things, it is supposed to do what it is told to do. The last phrase, containing the important info about dithering will probably never get read.



There are two distinct issues here. One is warning if no guider selected which is fine and I like what @Horia suggested for the error message. And, yes options should be checked if a guider is enabled.

The second issue is allowing a user to set options when there is no guider selected and clearing options when no guider is selected. It is this second issue that I am objecting to. It makes no sense to me to allow setting options when they don’t apply. @Jared I don’t see how allowing setting options on a non guider leads to a night of failed imaging. Graying non effective options is independent of whether an error message is issued for no guider.

So let’s be clear. Error message is OK. Setting options on no guider is not OK.


I’m just letting you know how things played out previously. And I also generally agree with this from a strict UI design perspective. However this did not play out in practice. When disabling things you still have things “set” in the disabled options, they’re just not able to be edited. So at a quick glance it could appear that you have settling enabled (it is checked after all) and a settle time set (because that value is populated), but those fields are disabled for some reason…but the values are still there.

We had multiple people assume that since those fields were populated that when they ran the sequence guiding would commence and use those values even though they were grayed out. Sure we could take the stance “Well, you didn’t choose an autoguider so SGP just did what you asked…sorry you lost a night of imaging for being tired.” Or we could help to guide them when there are settings that are in conflict with one another and hopefully save someone a little time (and anger towards us).

Think about it from an imaging perspective… it’s 2am, you’re cold, you’re looking at your laptop through a red filter, you might not even be able to accurately discern if something is disabled or not. You verify that “dither” is checked, you verify that you have a good settling time and distance. You click run sequence and head inside to get warm and get some rest. Everything works fine but you come back in the morning to junk data because there was no guider set even though you have values set for guiding.



Understood, but why is it better the let the user set fields that have no effect? I can see that someone might mistake grayed fields for active data but there is no doubt that a user will mistake an editable field for active data.

As I originally suggested, hiding the fields is also an option which would avoid the perception that the fields are set. So there seems to be three options. 1. Let the user set the values even if they are not effective. 2. Gray the fields which allows the user to see the fields exist but might be mistaken for active data. 3. Hide the fields which assures the user can’t think they are set but the user may miss that the fields exist. IMHO option 1 is the least desirable.

Whatever you choose, being consistent throughout SGP is important for a uniform UI experience. That is, treat all inactive data fields the same - gray them or hide them or whatever. As you suggest, the choice may be predicated on the fact the product is used late at night with a dim screen.