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CQC Remote now available for iPhone
#1
I'm proud to announce that, after much delay, a new iPhone app is available for controlling CQC systems. It's called CQC Remote, and currently targets only the phone, not iPad (eventually I'll add iPad support, but it wasn't the top priority).

This new app is completely separate from CQC Client, because it uses the XML Gateway protocol to communicate with CQC, rather than the RIVA protocol used by CQC Client. We came to the conclusion that, for a number of reasons, XML Gateway was a better way to go. I'll try to summarize. RIVA is designed for dumb devices which are always connected to the server; the server does all the work of deciding what information to display and how to display it, while the device just responds to drawing commands. The XML Gateway, by contrast, deals only with the underlying data: events, fields, macros, media players and so on. So the device has to do the work of formatting the information for display. But for smart phones and tablets, that's no problem, and it gives the device greater control of the interface. You can scroll through lists, use gestures, and so on. And because the protocol is not dependent on a continuous connection, the new app is more robust in the face of lost connections, switching from cell to Wifi when you enter your house, and so on.

A major resulting change is that you no longer set up CQC templates to control the display of data, because CQC no longer worries about display. Instead, you configure the display on the device itself. This has certain disadvantages, but it also has a big advantage: it's much easier. Instead of having to worry about what your buttons look like, and whether they're evenly spaced, the iPhone does all that for you. You just tell it which fields, macros, events, media players and so on you want to make easily accessible, and it does the rest. The details will require me to write a long document, which I'll do soon. Those of you who already have templates designed to perfection may not want to switch over, because you'll lose a lot of hard work, but those who have never been fully happy with your templates may be happy to jettison them for something different.

Another advantage of the XML Gateway is that you can easily get access to more stuff. Scheduled events like alarms, media players and repositories show up in menu lists, so right out of the box you can do simple things like turning off your alarm, putting on your favorite Metallica record and turning up the volume. Sam Vimes, my collaborator and main tester, says that he has more or less abandoned his CQC Client templates in favor of this new app.

The app is available now in the App Store, and it's pretty straightforward to do simple things like connect to your server and access individual fields. But I have not yet documented the more powerful features which enable you to customize the interface and then put the app in "safe mode", where only the selected options are available (so family members can't accidentally set the house on fire, using CQC at least). So I don't want to tell everyone to go try it out and then run into the same wall for lack of documentation. Rather, I'm inviting whoever of you out there are interested in trying something new, who have never been super-happy with their templates anyway, and who relish the thought of easy access to events and music and movie libraries to get a copy of the new app, try it out and let me know how it goes.
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#2
Sounds great! Does it have to be the newest iPhone or will any version work with it?
tia, Ron

My HT...
Yamaha CX-A5100, (4) JBL 8320s), PS3, Celeron NUC, (2) Furman rack conditioners, APC HT conditioner, (2) APC Battery Backups, Panamorph UH-480, Dune HD pro 4k, Dune HD Pro 4k plus, DIY B&O amp modules, Pro-Ject RPM Turntable, DIY audio rack, Klipch 402  horns.
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#3
I went ahead and downloaded it. My first is that it is very fast. curiously though my sonos do not show up as media players.
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#4
Brian, this sounds like the app I've been waiting for. One question. Is it capable of logging in through a VPN connection? Or does it just look for a IP and port and then use the CQC log in?
Les
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#5
Brian - I only own iPads (I use Android phones). I don't mind purchasing the iPhone version, but if you ever release an iPad version, would I have to pay for that one as well? It looks like a great app, but I only want to buy one version.

Thanks!
Brian

"Really dear, it was too good of a deal to pass up. Besides, look at what it does now...."
I think my wife is getting a little tired of hearing this :-)
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#6
I like this a lot.

Is there a way to reorder items once they are on a screen?
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#7
Various answers:

It requires iOS 4.3, which is pretty old. It definitely doesn't have to be the latest hardware; it works fine on my iPhone 4S.

If and when I get around to extending it to the iPad, it will be the same app; you won't have to pay again. Again, I can't guarantee when I'll get around to doing that work, but there's no reason not to other than lack of time; all I need to do is create new layouts better adapted to the larger screen.

I'm not sure about the VPN thing. It is making a socket connection to a host and port; I'm not familiar enough with VPNs to know what special things would be required. I will ask Commander Vimes, who has much more experience with VPN setups, to chime in on the question.

As far as the Sonos not showing up as a media player, that's probably a question for Dean. I assume that the Sonos driver isn't officially tagged as a MediaPlayer. When you go to the Devices menu, which should list all devices in your CQC system, what device type does it list for the Sonos?

Regarding reordering things, are you talking about the Monitor? If so, yes. You can go into Edit mode and move them around. If you're talking about the Device and Events menus, no, I don't think so; I just spit them out in a fixed order. The Monitor is designed to let you control things like that. Now unfortunately it's completely undocumented at the moment, which I will attempt to remedy soon. But the basic idea is that you add items to your menu (which can be displayed as a button pad if you prefer). And item can be a media player, a field, and event, and even a submenu (or sub-button pad). You can add whatever fields, etc. are important to you, and you have completely control over reordering them, changing the description, setting the color of the menu item or button, etc. You can think of the Monitor as my replacement for CQC templates. Through iCloud and Dropbox integration, you can share your Monitor configuration among your devices, and with other people. Real documentation to follow. Smile
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#8
Here's what Commander Vimes has to say: "I have successfully used both CQC apps over VPN. He should just use the relevant server ip on the local network. Then when he connects to his VPN, he'll be able to access the IP." If that doesn't work, or isn't appropriate in your case, let me know.
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#9
brianmount Wrote:Various answers:

As far as the Sonos not showing up as a media player, that's probably a question for Dean. I assume that the Sonos driver isn't officially tagged as a MediaPlayer. When you go to the Devices menu, which should list all devices in your CQC system, what device type does it list for the Sonos?

Regarding reordering things, are you talking about the Monitor? If so, yes. You can go into Edit mode and move them around. I just spit them out in a fixed order. The Monitor is designed to let you control things like that. Now unfortunately it's completely undocumented at the moment, which I will attempt to remedy soon. But the basic idea is that you add items to your menu (which can be displayed as a button pad if you prefer). And item can be a media player, a field, and event, and even a submenu (or sub-button pad). You can add whatever fields, etc. are important to you, and you have completely control over reordering them, changing the description, setting the color of the menu item or button, etc. You can think of the Monitor as my replacement for CQC templates. Through iCloud and Dropbox integration, you can share your Monitor configuration among your devices, and with other people. Real documentation to follow. Smile

Sonos shows as a MediaPlayer under devices but I noticed that it can not be selected as one in the room config on the server, I will ask dean about it. I have a bunch of buttons setup and just want to change the order of some of the items in a list. I can be patient and wait for the documentation.
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#10
The Rooms information comes directly from the server. It's not something changeable by the client. I think you would configure that on the server side. Does it show up under Media Players?

In the Monitor, to reorder items in a regular menu, press Edit to enter edit mode, and use the reordering controls at the right of each item, like a normal iOS table. If you have a button pad, then the magic trick is press and hold a button until the background darkens (a second or two), then drag the button to some other location. Drag it out of the button pad (onto the navigation bar or toolbar) to delete it.
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