Features & Issues: Post 8/8 - Final thoughts

Feature Improvements & Issues … let’s talk about Quelea.

Issue 8:

No issue this time just issuing my final thoughts.
I certainly wrote a lot and I hope to get people’s attention and see what they think.

My aim in this series of posts is to have a discussion about the proposed issues and understand what people want. Because if just do it my way all that may be alien to everyone.
What I would hope to see is maybe more people get involved propose ideas and say what their needs are and how we can make this tool better.

And also I want to know what the future of Quelea in the next year or two will look like.
If I am going to spend the time to work on this module I want to do it for a tool that will do what I want and serve me faithfully. Naturally, for that to happen I need the other issues in Quelea to be fixed also.

Just think about the possibility of being able to play versus in Quelea, change slides or presentations/ videos, and change themes and backgrounds all in a sequential manner.
Run preprogrammed alerts etc. all from your DAW synced data.
Consistency every time and share it with all Quelea users that use the same DAW or even just a MIDI/OSC player.
Reaper is very flexible and includes a programming language, at 4 in fact including python ( for everyone), C/C++ for real-deal performance, ELL for low-level prototyping and LUA for scripting.

Use any of those to program your presentation along with your music.
Just put a marker to call an action or MIDI note to trigger something across your whole performance.
This should make you think about Quelea in a very different way.
And you can’t just get all that for free from someone who has already done the work. Maybe make a change and share it with others.
I will propose the same module in OpenLP as well (probably). The idea is very much the same and it should be able to integrate just the same. I hope the users of both can benefit from those features and I really hope to see support from the community here.

Honestly, whatever happens, I am just fine to do that on my own fork of the project.
But as I said in the beginning this is my set of features that I think will take quelea away from what I perceive as stagnation and make it a more complete toolset with the possibility of multiple new workflows that address the needs of a broader user base.

To the maintainers and contributes:

I just want to say, before the developers-maintainers say “something like this is hard to maintain”, I believe we can implement a lot more experimental features.
All it takes is a single bean entry in the configuration files and let the users decide for themselves whether they want to try them on or not.
Remember, Google has a single monolith repository with billions of files and lines of code. So surely we can include a few more experimental features disabled by default just to be safe.
Also, I am certainly going to my share and contribute.
Everything that was written was from the perspective regular (power-power) user because I am always trying to get the most out of the tool I am using and now I want to make it not better but greater!

Some love, thanks and appreciation

Not to forget, lots of love and thanks to all the developers, maintainers and contributors for all the work you guys have put in.
Immensely appreciate your work.

Great idea’s and improvements, but I think you are better of with ProPresenter.

ProPresenter has all these features, and I know it costs money and you probaly need to upgrade your PC.

Developing all of these features costs a lot of time, and you get nothing in return (as a developer), because Quelea is free.
Quelea is a great program for smaller / on budget churches, but is not meant for big churches who need these ‘advanced’ features.
It would be great if all of these features get implemented, but I really think you should try out ProPresenter.

(Ok, I agree with you on this one; Features & Issues: Post 5/8 - Web Remote & Problems(This one is spicy))

Kind regards,

Naturally, that’s what paid software is for but I think it’s also about giving the power (i.e. the advanced features) in the hands of the small guy (i.e. the small communities for free).
I think I read a statement somewhere that Quelea started as a personal project in an attempt to bring in all the best features and then grew from there.

What’s left is the highlight of ProPersenter or ( Features & Issues: Post 3/8 - Themes & Layering ). But we don’t really have to make it the same just having layering at a basic level is sufficient. Once you couple that with MIDI sequencing you have the exact same thing!
I assume if all of the above is ironed out this one is next on the agenda.

Quelea has a simplicity that should not be ruined.

I want to iterate it again. Currently, everyone:

  • CAN run a MIDI sequence in quelea and automate and
  • CAN do things like foot controllers say if you are a guitar player to change slides.
  • CAN sync on multiple machines too.
  • CAN use a green screen and capture it on a real screen, projector screen or fake screen for OBS.
  • CAN Remote transpose songs live (although that one is tricky)

It’s just it all needs a bit of refinement so that it works better, more consistently and easily for everyone.

Thanks very much for your thoughts! I’ll reply to all of them here as a group, as I think there’s common themes here it’s important to address (rather than dealing with each one individually.) While we always appreciate the thoughts & input, I suspect most of these points aren’t things we’d prioritise for a few reasons.

Firstly, I think these sorts of features take a lot more time to implement & test thoroughly than you realise - they might be conceptually simple to describe, but that definitely doesn’t make them simple to design, develop, test and refine, all while ensuring the overall user experience doesn’t suffer.

Most importantly though, Quelea is an open source program, developed without compensation, entirely in the free time of the developers. This means the amount of developer activity and commitments we make won’t always be constant, and we have to very carefully prioritise how we spend this time. There’s a lot you mention here that would be great to implement in theory, but in practice we just don’t have the resources to make it happen. Even if other developers contribute these sorts of features, they take a long time to review thoroughly, often requiring multiple rounds of changes & then further reviews. We’ve arrived at this point through painful experience; there have been several times in the past where we’ve accepted rather large changes without such thorough reviews and it’s caused huge ongoing issues that have taken significant developer time & resources to fix.

I certainly don’t mean to dismiss all your concerns & points entirely - there’s definitely some, particularly the issues with the web remote, that are definitely on the list to sort out. Other points, like cloud syncing, are ones we’ve experimented with in the past - but frought with more technical problems than are immediately obvious, so it’s never something we’ve been able to release and call stable. Others though, like layering themes and themes for individual slides - we’d probably never get around to in practice. The complexities involved probably don’t warrant the work required for the relatively small number of users that would benefit from a feature like that.

By all means fork Quelea for your own uses, or even release your fork for others to use - that’s one of the things that makes open source software so amazing! If your church really requires all those sorts of features though, I certainly wouldn’t want to make false promises in terms of us being able to release them in any reasonable timeframe.

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I’m a pastor, church planter and worship leader. There are 2 main reasons I use quelea:

  • it’s, as far as I know, the only one that handles translations like a dream! I live in Belgium and language is very important in our culture. Using English songs without descent translations just doesn’t work. The fact I can just copy paste translations is awesome.
  • the remote app works perfectly for my uses. We do worship mostly in small groups and the fact I can just ask anyone with a smartphone to “do the lyrics” makes it so much easier than setting up a media booth (in my living room…).

I like quelea so much because it makes my life as a (worship) pastor so much easier. A lot of the features you talk about I’ll never use and would make me shy away from quelea…
For instance: I used onsong for a long time because I liked their core usage: a library of songs that I can easily take with me and share sets with others. They started to add all sorts of features which made it more bulky and less intuitive to use. I stopped using it. I hope the same won’t happen with quelea.

The one feature that I miss in quelea is an easy way to synchronise libraries. Sure, you’ve made it work and I’ll search for your how-to, but people like me, that don’t want to spend time in researching how to do stuff like this, need a simple elegant solution.

So basically I’m saying: please let quelea always do what it does well: have a super easy way to input songs and create translations. If other features are added, make it so it doesn’t make the program slower or in need of more powerful hardware.

So many thanks to all the people contributing to this awesome app!

About translation:

Yup, I agree 100% that when it comes to language and translation, Quelea handled that best.

I want to illustrate the concern about the complexity in the following way:
- Does your car have a stereo? - Yes!
- Does your car have self-parking? - (Let’s say) No!
Well, you don’t listen to music all the time but the feature should be there. You can choose when to turn it off or on.
But if your car doesn’t have self-parking you can’t use it even if you want to.
But if you have self-parking, it doesn’t bother you that you have it when you are on the highway right?

About complexity:

So naturally, the features discussed here are not intended to be in the way of the user or add any extra complexity.

About syncing:

I thought it might be helpful for you if I do a little demonstration on how to sync quelea.
Here is the original post/guide: Schedule updating library - #7 by thomas.vergouwe

Here is the video I made as a tutorial for you should you be interested in this method:

Just to mention.
I have already submitted pull requests for the MIDI module and some things about the authentication.
As well as certain things about the preview window.
When I have some time I can implement a syncing-lock notification design that I already have more or less planned out.
As for the GUI I will probably need some guidance or a template from the developers.
I have some other unobtrusive ideas about the rest but it will be up to the developers.
Well anyway, for sure I am putting my code where my mouth is!
Hope to cooperate more with the developers in the future.

Dude, thank you so much!

This is quite comprehensive to me. Though, I am someone who is not entirely technologically illiterate. Although “run a script” still means nothing to me… But I know how to create a link and I’m not planning on setting up a lot of devices that need to synchronise, so I don’t mind doing it manually.

Just a thought: For a lot of people, what you are doing goes over their head. Why can’t quelea offer a place somewhere in preferences where there are a few cloud services you could log in to? Surely there’s a way to have quelea do what you did automatically? The app I use for my chord sheets (songbook pro) has this feature to synchronise with OneDrive. Surely quelea can do something similar?

Other features
As to other features, I can see using midi triggers being helpful in some cases, though, as a pastor, I’d rather activate more people so they feel more part of what the church is doing and controlling the lyrics is one very easy way to create such a space.

You talk about getting quelea away from stagnation, and yes, progress needs to be made, but in my opinion only as the context in which this tool is used progresses as well. I’m not a IT developer, so I have no idea how the IT world works, but I am a user of many many tools. What I often see is that features are added to things, what often complicates things, things that were fine for the context I used them in, so in my opinion didn’t need changing…
Again, I’m all for progress, but for simple “problems” I like simple solutions😃. And especially within church: is efficiency really better then getting someone involved and give someone a sense of belonging?
Having said that, I do like “new things” to spark some imagination to use stuff creatively. It just needs to be in balance and done in a good way.

Just my take on some things and maybe food for thought😊.