Shedsoft

 

The Editor

The Editor Window

There are a number of excellent dashboards in the repository andc you could use iRDDU quite happily without ever needing to change them at all but arguably iRDDU’s most useful feature is it’s editor.  Using this you can change modify existing dashboards to suit your own requirements or build your own grand creation to show every piece of data in the API simultaneously while making tea.  Actually I made up the bit about the tea (that’s still in beta) but other than that it’s a useful little editor.

I’ve made it small to fit nicely onto the page here but you can resize and reposition the editor as you can all the other Windows in iRDDU as well as being able to resize the properties panel at the right.  The bits you need to know about are:

A.      Main editing panel.

B.      New control icons.  To add a new control to the panel, drag one of the icons to the editing panel and let it go.  You will then be able to modify it to your requirements using the properties panel to the right.

C.      Control selection dropdown.  There are two ways to select a control for modification.  Usually you will just click on it in the editing panel but that can sometimes be difficult if controls overlap or have their visibility attribute set to false.  In that case you can use this dropdown to select any control by name.

D.      Positioning and Sizing controls.  These controls provide a way of repositioning and sizing the current control.  The number in the middle tells you how much difference (in pixels) each button press will make.

E.       Properties Panel.  Here you can modify any of the current control’s properties; size, position, font, colour, data source (formula) etc.  The actual properties available for each control type differ and I’ll deal with them individually in a later section.

F.       Tool bar.  Along the bottom of the editor is a row of buttons to enable more general functions like open, save, create new, undo, redo and the like.  Again I’ll deal with these individually below.

G.     Test Values.  If iRacing is running while you’re editing iRDDU will draw the dashboard using the live values from the sim.  If not then you can enter test values into this panel to be used by the editor.  This can be particularly useful when testing things like gauges where you need to check specific values match up with a background graphic.

The Tool Bar

 

 

At the bottom of the editor window is a toolbar.  The buttons, working from left to right are:

 New Dashboard.  You’ll be asked for a dashboard name, choose one that doesn’t correspond with any existing dashboard folder and iRDDU will create a new folder and dashboard file for you to edit.  This is a bit rough and ready and will be rewritten to be a bit more sophisticated in a future release.  In practice it’s often easier to copy an existing dashboard folder and edit the dash names.

Open Dashboard File.  This button brings up the Open Dashboard dialogue so you can select a different file to open.  This is currently the only way to edit a “Group File”.  Group files are mini dashboards that can be used in the same way as controls.  To open one, select the .iCG file type from the dropdown in the dialogue.

Save Dashboard.  Saves the current dashboard to disk.

Save As.  Asks you for a filename then saves the current dashboard under that name.  This also allows you to change the type from a group file to a dashboard or vice versa.

 Delete Control.  Deletes the currently selected control.  A confirmation dialogue will appear before the control is deleted.

 Copy Control.  Places an identical copy of the currently selected control at the top left of the dashboard.

Bring to Front.  Moves the currently selected control to the end of the list so it gets drawn last and appears in front of all other controls.

 Move to back.  Moves the currently selected control to the top of the list so it gets drawn first and therefore behind all other controls.

 Undo.  Undoes the most recent change made to the dashboard.  iRDDU2 stores all changes back to when the dashboard was loaded.

 Redo.  Redoes the most recently undone change.

Zoom.  Scales the dashboard within the editor.  Very useful when positioning small controls.

Global Dashboard Settings

The Global Options panel

The properties panel is split into two tabs; Global and Control.  You’ll spend most of your time in the Control tab editing the properties of individual controls but there are some important items in the Global tab too.

The most important is the Base Size property.  You should set this before you start editing your dashboard as it is quite difficult to change later.  The base size defines the size of the workspace on which you’ll be building the dash.  When you run the dash later iRDDU will scale to fit whatever space you want it to but in practice dashboards always look best at their native resolution.  For example my USB screen has a native resolution of 800 x 480 so I always build my dashboards with that as a base resolution, nothing gets stretched or squashed and there are no black bands anywhere.  As you can see from the example Enrico prefers 960 x 576.  I've worked hard to make sure iRDDU scales accurately and his dashboards still look superb on my 800x480 screen so it’s not the end of the world but make sure the base size you use is compatible with the target screen on which you’re planning to use the dash before you start or you can end up with controls one pixel out.  Moving and resizing everything later which gets very dull very quickly, trust me.

There are a couple of other interesting things on here.  The Background Picture property allows you to assign a bitmap as the backdrop to the dash.  iRDDU supports a number of different picture formats; BMP, GIF, PNG, JPG and TIF.  I personally like PNG because of it’s lossless compression and proper handling of transparency.  If you don’t want to use a background graphic then you can set a colour.

Transparency Colour and the Transparent Background switch can be very useful as they allow you to create a dash with a transparent background.  Anything on the dash the same colour as the TB colour will be invisible allowing you to create non rectangular dashboards if you wish.  One application of this is to create gauges and controsl which overlay the iRacing screen when it's not running in full screen mode.

Selecting and Sizing Controls

The usual way of selecting a control is simply to click on it.  iRDDU will highlight the selected control by drawing a pink rectangle around it’s edge.  Sometimes though controls overlap each other, in this case keep clicking – iRDDU will toggle through all of the controls which cover the spot you’re clicking.  One tip though, remember to stop when you reach the one you want or you’ll be there for hours.

Alternatively you can select the control you want directly by using the dropdown above the Properties panel.  Obviously that works best if you’ve been careful with regard to naming your controls.  Leave them at the defaults and you’ll be choosing between controls with names like “Control45” and ”Control163” – good luck with that!  The dropdown is particularly useful if you have controls that you’ve made invisible – they may be there just to hold a value or run a script against.  In this case it’s your only real way to find them - as long as you've given them a decent name.

Once you’ve caught your control you can start thinking about modifying it.  The two most simple changes you can make are to it’s size and position. 

To move a control you can drag it, nudge it or type it’s location into the Dimensions property.  To drag a control click and hold it until the border changes to yellow at which point you can drag it to where you want it to be then release the mouse button.

The Nudge buttons are there to enable fine tuning of the control’s position.  The number tells the editor how many pixels each click of one of the arrows moves the control in the appropriate direction.

To get things perfectly aligned you’ll probably want to edit the dimensions directly though.  In the Properties tab you can expand the Dimensions property by clicking on the small arrow head to the left. This enables you to set exact numbers for X, Y, Width and Height.

The resize controls work in exactly the same way as the nudge ones but resize the control rather than move it.