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QUItIndicators: Design considerations

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(This is part II, for the introduction see part I)

The main points of this indicators exercise are to promote Qt5 QML+GLSL approach for building dynamic UI components (part I) and to give performance tips (part III, coming!). But here in the middle, we talk also a bit about design considerations behind these indicators. After all, who cares if your component performs well if it doesn't also look good and fulfil its functionality.

Here's set of design-related notes about QUItIndicators which we wanted to achieve:

The design language should be relatively neutral. Indicators like these may be used in many places, in applications and games, so they should not be too characteristic. And circles are pretty universal, so circles it is. The amount of circles in BusyIndicator is 11, by design. Reason behind this is that ProgressIndicator has one missing from top to mark start/end position, meaning 10 circles. This is optimal for percentages math e.g. when user sees 4 circles highlighte…

QUItIndicators: Introduction

Few months ago I wrote a normal mapping series with part I and part II. That was a good experience, so series it is again! This time about implementing dynamic QML components, with an example case being busy&progress indicators. We'll call these specific ones QUItIndicators.

Let's start with obligatory video which demonstrates these components, BusyIndicator and ProgressIndicator, with few examples:



Traditionally indicators like these would be implemented as an animated GIF or a sprite. Cons of that approach are zero customization and memory consumption: 2s animation of 256x256px 32-bit color indicator at 60fps would mean 2*60*256*256*4 = 31.5Mb memory consumption. That's quite a bit for just one indicator, so usually frames are animated slower than 60fps which makes animation less smooth.

Alternative way to implement animated indicator would be using imperative drawing API (QPainter, Cairo, Skia etc.). Drawing freely to a canvas gives a lot of possibilities, but can e…