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Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:34 pm
by gerane
EDIT: It wouldn't let me post links, so I attached 3 of the 5 images to them post.

I was talking with @SAPIENDavid on twitter and told him I would come leave some feedback on a few things. My twitter handle is @BrandonPadgett if interested in contacting me there.

I am someone who is picky on the feel of my editors and usually heavily customize them to get the look and feel I am after. I have always preferred editors like Atom over bigger ones like Visual Studio. I have several themes and addons published to Atom that helped me personalize it even more. The bigger editors have always felt big, bloated and slow. I grew used to using command palette/powershell commands to get around in my editors and to work with them instead of lots of windowed Panes. However, I can see the benefits of GUI panes for many types of projects or tasks, but I would like to be able to get them out of view when not in use. I prefer being able to totally hide them but bring them back into view based on a command or keyboard shortcut.

I am adding some screenshots of my current editors. The first is ISE/ISEsteroids and the second is Atom. Currently, ISEsteroids is my default editor for day to day usage and Atom is for everything that isn't powershell. It is fast and gives me a very clean and uncluttered work environment. The console is great to work with and I like it just as much as a normal powershell console. I use the console constantly with ISE, and it is incredibly important for me. Not only am I using it to write my code, but I also have customized modules to work with ISE for building projects and working with my projects. I use it much in the same way I would use the command palette in sublime or atom to issue commands or work with addons/git.

## Console
The console is one of the big issues I have with Powershell Studio that keeps me from using it as my main editor. It feels slow and laggy to me. There is a definite latency between typing and the character showing up on the screen. There aren't as many customizations that I seem to be able to make with the Console in SPS. After doing some Googling it seems that I can set the background color to some limited colors in the registry, but it is still not ideal. I am still trying to use SPS more so I can better articulate my issues with the console. It is hard to accurately describe my issues other than it just does not have a good feel to it when needing to use it regularly like you would use a normal console or the console in ISE. The image below shows how it is just hard to get the console to feel like it is a part of the editor.

## Terrible Dark Theme Support
I personally do not like white themes and find them to mess with my eyes over time. The theme support in SPS is very limited and the dark themes often feel very lacking. As an example, I cannot figure out anyway to make the bright white panes dark. When moving back and forth between dark and white it about feels like it blinds me. You can see an example in the following Screenshot. If I move from the script pane to the designer pane you are unpleasantly presented with a jarring full white screen. There are also inconsitent panes that just give a poor, unfinished feel. On the right side panes, if you compare Snippets and Properties panes, Snippets has a black background, while Properties has a white background. The images below show the white panes that can be an annoyance.

In the dark image you can see where I have made some progress with the look and feel, but the console really detracts from the feel.

## Panes take up too much room
I know you can autohide the panes, but even with panes hidden, they take up a lot of room on smaller screen devices. I would like to see the option for autohide similar to how the Windows Taskbar handles it. The Pane docks/tabs at the top/bottom/left/right of the screen actially dock completely hidden until a keyboard shortcut or mouse hovers over them. This would really help with creating a more immersive and less distracting scripting environment for people like me. The screenshot of ISESteroids I am using the distraction free setting that hides the top/bottom controls until a mouse hovers over. Then it also has the other pane addons that are completely hidden when not in use. I would really like to see SPS adopt this same sort of layout or offer it as an option.

I am still trying to use SPS more and gather more feedback. If I am overlooking some settings or additional ways to customize SPS I would love the feedback. I really like some of SPS's capabilities, but currently it is just being used for specific purposes. An example would be when making a module. I might create the all of the fuctions and do all of my testing in ISESteroids, then at the very end I might open it up in SPS and finish the module and let it create the actual psd/psm files. I will also use SPS for anything related to a GUI typically. However, I know a lot of admins that use SPS as their default and love it, so I would like to see it get to a point where I can do the same.

I think part of it is that I feel like I have spent the last year trying to break myself from GUIs and try to do as much as I can from the CLI. So I try to use git and just as many things as I can from the console. SPS sort of feels like a distraction and a backwards step to this in many ways. There is a time and place when a GUI tool just makes sense, but I would like to be able to hide them from view and just get a clean, uncluttered view when I am not using them.

Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:36 pm
by gerane
Here are the other 2 Screenshots showing the black and white panels that can be blinding.

Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:48 pm
by Alexander Riedel
I am not trying to judge, so please do not take this as a negative comment. But I am curious. Please, everyone who uses this, weigh in.

What is with the dark theme use? Black backgrounds with colored or even worse, white text is the absolute worst combination for visibility and contrast. The lighter colored fonts bleed enormously on the dark backgrounds and endless studies have shown that this combination produces the worst eye strain of all combinations. As someone who started out with the old green on black computer monitors I can attest to that.
The black ink on white paper combination is done for a reason, considering that producing white paper is quite costly.

So I am wondering why people use a dark theme? Because it looks cool? Black is the new black? Video game feel? Screen noir? Please let me know.

Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:03 am
by gerane
If you want, you could make another thread about that, but i'd rather keep this thread on topic. It may not be your intention, but it comes off as saying my feedback is not valid because my taste/need in themes is wrong. It feels like your are saying, "You're doing it wrong." It may be a valid question, but this is the wrong place/time for it in my own opinion. I just do not want this thread to get off track and get taken over with a holy war of dark vs light themes, when I am trying to offer some constructive criticism/feedback and viewpoints that would make the product better. I don't feel that question is constructive in this context.

A rule I try to go by, is if I have to justify, apologize or clarify a comment I am about to make, then I likely should reword/rethink making it. If I have to say something like, "don't take this the wrong way... but...." then I just keep it to myself or try to rephrase it into something constructive.

To answer your question, I have issues with bright white screens as they give me headaches very quickly. I often have issues with bright lighting at times as well giving me headaches. I do have issues with dark black backgrounds and very light, usually white, text. However, the themes that I make have been tweaked to not give me those issues. I do have a little white text in my themes, but it is very few a far between and has not given me any problems.

The fact remains, one should not need to justify their use of a dark or light theme. Everyone is different and has different preferences/needs. This may be a great topic elsewhere, but it comes off wrong in this context. I'd be happy to participate in another thread in the appropriate place if you were to make it though.

Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:23 am
by gerane
Something else I forgot to mention in my original post. Is user created addons something you guys have ever/may considered? Often times, functionality that someone might find lacking, can be implemented by the actual users with addons/plugins.

Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:51 am
by Alexander Riedel
No, I apologize if you think I implied you did something wrong. You should of course be able to set whatever theme you want. I was simply curious as to why this is important. Understanding the underlying reason usually helps with implementation and future development.
There was a similar discussion about this a few years back which made us recognize that some folks are color blind and cannot see certain color combinations. We try to avoid those (probably with varying success) but knowing "why" helped us understand better.

You wrote a lot of different things in your original post and we will get to them in time. I was simply just curious about the choice of theme and why this is important.

One of our QA engineers is investigating your remarks about the shell being sluggish for example. Since it is the original PowerShell console, nothing added or left out, so we do not have much power over that. The initial findings cannot see any delay, so maybe you can provide some more information about your environment? Specifically, what are you loading in your profile?
Why are we using the original PowerShell console? Because testing your scripts should occur with what you run the developed scripts or modules in production with. It would not help you if we create a fancy and properly themed SAPIEN Shell (which would be it's own PowerShell host) just to make you realize that your scripts works differently in the wild.

Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:01 am
by davidc
Hello Gerane,

I'm glad you posted.

In regards to the Panels,

PowerShell Studio allows you to customize you panel, such that you can hide them if you do not want to use them. The application automatically switched the panel depending on the context but you can change this behavior in the options. For example you can specify your own layouts:
Auto Layout options.png
Auto Layout options.png (26.7 KiB) Viewed 13032 times
Or disable it:
Disable AutoLayout.png
Disable AutoLayout.png (2.45 KiB) Viewed 13032 times
PowerShell Studio also has a Editor Only layout. Which minimizes all the panels. You can also minimize the Ribbon for extra space:
Minimize Ribbon.png
Minimize Ribbon.png (7.62 KiB) Viewed 13032 times

Dark Theme:

The dark theme was not original part of the product, but we will improve this with time and have addressed some of the theme issues in our service released. We can be hesitant to incorporate themed controls if it adversely affects performance, but we are introducing them as time goes on.

The console:

PowerShell Studio is running out of process PowerShell console (powershell.exe). This is done for user testing purposes. This way you can verify that your script will run in an original console and not just in PowerShell Studio's host. Since it is the original console, it doesn't have the bells and whistles that other hosts have and we wish to address this in the future.
A note about running scripts in PowerShell Studio: It always runs the scripts out of process, to prevent it from crashing the editor and thus causing you to lose your work. It also runs the script in a clean runspace, to ensure your scripts don't have local dependencies such as modified variables or a local profile that might not be present on a remote machine.
The out of process scheme also allows the editor to support multiple versions of PowerShell (V2to v5/ x86/x65) and color the syntax accordingly. You can import the cache of a remote machine and script to for modules installed on a remote machine even if the modules aren't installed locally. ... es-part-1/ ... es-part-2/

In regards to customization,

We don't have host variable you can manipulate, since there is no local PowerShell host, but you can customize other features.

We have a custom menu that you can trigger your own commands: ... -template/
You can also add custom commands to the Packager, MSI Builder and Deployment stages or PowerShell Studio.

We are currently working on allowing users to customize the PrimalSense support in PowerShell Studio similarly to PrimalScript and plans for other features to further extend the software. If you have any specific requests, I would be happy to hear them.

In regards to performance:

What performances issues or slow downs do you encounter?

TIP: If you want to improve load speeds, reduce the number of open (visible) panels and the faster application will load. Also make sure you have the Optimization checked when installing the product.

Are you encountering performance issues while editing a script? From our test, we find that PowerShell Studio out performs the ISE in providing PrimalSense when working in very large scripts. We always try to address any performance issues in our service builds.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback. We know your time is valuable and we really appreciate it!


Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:12 pm
by DevinL
Hey there gerane,

In regards to the console lag you mention, I've so far been unable to replicate this. I have a Windows 10 x64 Virtual Machine that has 1GB of RAM and 1 vCPU (as minimal as I can get it), and yet I don't have a noticeable delay. If you have any other information regarding your environment so that I can create as close of a replica as possible, it would be extremely helpful.


Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:14 pm
by gerane
Just a quick note, I will work on a full response when I get more actual time. I have not had issues with the speed of primalsense. There are a few quirks with how the tabbed results work in primalsense that can be annoying, but I will have to sit down and actually create an example to better explain it.

I know SPS was developed with Visual Studio in mind. This makes it a little difficult for someone who never liked the feel of Visual Studio. I understand some of my suggestions or issues may not be addressed anytime soon, but I figured there must be others who have similar opinions as I do. I might as well share them and at the very least, maybe some of them could be added as options or non-default options at some point.

Re: Powershell Studio Feedback

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:40 pm
by davidc
Please try the latest build of PowerShell Studio. We addressed some of the theme issues you mentioned.