[FFmpeg-devel] [PATCH] Improve error-messaging with ffmpeg presets

Stefano Sabatini stefano.sabatini-lala
Sun Oct 5 12:30:47 CEST 2008

On date Friday 2008-10-03 00:32:36 +0100, M?ns Rullg?rd encoded:
> Stefano Sabatini <stefano.sabatini-lala at poste.it> writes: 
> > On date Wednesday 2008-10-01 17:46:53 +0100, M?ns Rullg?rd encoded:
> >> Besides, FFmpeg isn't intended for the average computer user.
> >> There are plenty of GUI frontends they can use.
> >
> > That's not an excuse for implementing a bad/poor user interface. I
> > want ffmpeg to be beyond the average computer program, so that even an
> > average computer user should be able to use it smoothly.
> Do you expect an average electric appliance user to be able to use,
> say, a spectrum analyser.  I am not willing to forsake utility for
> simplicity under any circumstances.  If you can find a way to provide
> the latter without impacting the former, by all means go for it.  My
> experience tells me the two are to a large extent mutually exclusive.

What I mean is that the user should be able to do with the software
*what he can understand* relating to the program application field,
without to have an intimate knowledge of the software internals.

One method to achieve this is to expose to the user the structure of
the program making it public and documenting it, and trying to tell
explicitely which the problem is in a clear and precise way, rather
than expect the user to read the source.

Another way to achieve that is to make the program behaviour matches
the user expectation, minimizing the specific program knowledge the
user has to gather, making the program consistent with itself and with
other similar programs.

Said that, I perfectly agree with you that we shouldn't forsake
utility for simplicity, afterall what we like about ffmpeg is its
power and flexibility, but that's a false problem afterall and ffmpeg
is clever enough to automatically do most things when the user don't
explicitely tell that:

ffmpeg -i IN OUT

for example do what most users need to do with it, even if they don't
have any specific multimedia knowledge.

And for what regards GUIs, I still have to see a GUI well integrated
with ffmpeg, this can be improved working on the public interface of
the library.

FFmpeg = Freak and Fostering Martial Programmable Erudite God

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