Harmony web interface poll - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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View Poll Results: What is your opinion about the web interface
It is too limiting and restrictive for a power user, I want the remote's full power unleashed! 38 36.54%
It gets the job done but the "wizard" style UI is too cumbersome 31 29.81%
The UI and capabilities are good but I would still prefer a local aplication 21 20.19%
It's great, I love it! 14 13.46%
Voters: 104. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 16 Old 11-21-2006, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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What is your opinion about the Harmony remotes being programmable only via the web?
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-29-2006, 11:12 AM
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I am not sure about the other Harmony remotes, but the Harmony 890 has software that allows it to be configured from your PC.

That said, I still prefer the web interface and usually use it when I want to make changes.
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceS View Post

I am not sure about the other Harmony remotes, but the Harmony 890 has software that allows it to be configured from your PC.

You are aware that this software is just a front end to the web interface?
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 09:37 AM
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Harmony has had dedicated software front-end for months now. I like their approach, that way a user in New York can submit the IR signals for their just-released product at 10am, and by 11am, another customer in Wyoming can add that device profile to their account by selecting it from a list.

We've seen how limiting, inefficient, and out-of-date quarterly releases from the likes of URC can be when it comes to new gear, and Harmony's approach eliminates that.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

Harmony has had dedicated software front-end for months now. I like their approach, that way a user in New York can submit the IR signals for their just-released product at 10am, and by 11am, another customer in Wyoming can add that device profile to their account by selecting it from a list.

We've seen how limiting, inefficient, and out-of-date quarterly releases from the likes of URC can be when it comes to new gear, and Harmony's approach eliminates that.

Yes, and when the website goes down you are SOL. God forbid they should decide to a) go out of business or b) force upgrades.

If they were to release the underlying tools ( XML->firmware compiler and device snapshots ) we could at least pick up the pieces from a disaster and keep out handy little remote. It would probably even get the ball moving on 3rd party tools to do more with the remote.

I remember when I first got mine ( 2001 ) I had an email exchange with the head of the tech dept because I could not get a snippet of device XML to work correctly and he said I had a better grip of the XML than many of the people there.

Eric

"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced" - corollary to Clark's Third Law
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 11:00 AM
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I just got my first Harmony remote a few days ago (670), and I like that it's fairly easy to configure over the computer. But I would much prefer a local version of software that isn't internet based. the network version is too slow, awkward, and limited in how you have to go about doing things.

When I bought it, I didn't realize that I would be forced to be connected to the net in order to make minor adjustments. Fortunately wifi and a laptop have made it so I don't have to change rooms for updates, but I'd like a bit more control over everything.

snowmoon, is it possible to manually edit the xml, and send it to the remote without going through their interface?

-Jeff
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 11:12 AM
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When I first got my 880 I looked and looked on the website where I could manually edit the file. I was disappointed to find that I couldn't. The current interface works, but I'd like to be able to manually edit stuff locally.

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post #8 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

Harmony has had dedicated software front-end for months now. I like their approach, that way a user in New York can submit the IR signals for their just-released product at 10am, and by 11am, another customer in Wyoming can add that device profile to their account by selecting it from a list.

We've seen how limiting, inefficient, and out-of-date quarterly releases from the likes of URC can be when it comes to new gear, and Harmony's approach eliminates that.

or you can just learn the code from your own remote rather than have 50 user codes thrown into your LCD when you hook up the 880. Especially when some of them don't actually work correctly and you have to spend 30 minutes removing and arranging them in the hopes the commands you want fall in the order you want.

This poll is missing another option:
The Web interface is crude, badly designed and poorly supported.


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post #9 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by js5752 View Post

snowmoon, is it possible to manually edit the xml, and send it to the remote without going through their interface?

No, and not for lack of asking. The XML is first transformed ( on their end ) into a binary firmware for the remote that is uploaded.

Hell, the specs for the firmware would be awesome to jst let the hackers upgrade it themselves.

Eric

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post #10 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

or you can just learn the code from your own remote rather than have 50 user codes thrown into your LCD when you hook up the 880. Especially when some of them don't actually work correctly and you have to spend 30 minutes removing and arranging them in the hopes the commands you want fall in the order you want.


Unless you lost or broke the original. Which is the reason quite a few regular folks (e.g. not people like us) even look into a universal.
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-01-2006, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adavis720 View Post

Unless you lost or broke the original. Which is the reason quite a few regular folks (e.g. not people like us) even look into a universal.

which is even worse for the regular folks because they'll end up with pages of LCD buttons that mean nothing to them and don't actually work. Not understanding why they are there to begin with.


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post #12 of 16 Old 12-01-2006, 01:20 PM
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oh boy... don't get me started on this... I've used harmony remotes since the 768 was released (before logitech bought them up). Every iteration of the web site removes features from the remote to cater to the totally clueless who are trying to use the remote... I have nothing wrong with simplifying the interface for the less committed users out there but not offering a more advanced way for configuring the remote is just sad...

The 768 still remains the most programmable of them all... I can actually create macros, create menus and add menu options, etc... granted some of this has to be done directly in the XML but who cares? It is easy enough to do with some decent documentation. I took a peek at the innards of the 768 and compared it to some of the later ones (659, 720, etc) and they seem to share the a lot of the same components so the underlying operating system must be the same or similar which then implies that the website simply cripples the functionality of the newer remotes.

I currently use the 670 (IMHO, the best button layout implemented so far) and frankly, if logitech were to make the following changes to the website, I would be much more content:

- remove the automatic propagation of custom button labels added to one activity to other activities (really, how hard is it to add an option to specify to which other qualifying activities a customization should be copied?). I know the web site did not do this automatic propagation in the beginning when the soft button capability was added to the remotes.

- allow for true macro creation (i.e. allow me to create any sequence of ir commands, and delays, for any of the devices in the activity for which I am adding the customization... either to a hard button or soft button). The web site used to support this minimally (e.g. when you enter or exit an activity)... no longer. For example, my Anthem D2 has added some input configuration memory settings that requre a sequence of commands to access instead of a single button push... I've been able to teach the current remote (after many abortive attempts) using the raw mode this sequence but it would have been much easier (and more reliable) if the web site supported a true macro building capability.

- allow for custom button label ordering... good lord, how hard would this be to add and they still haven't figured out how to do it.

- allow for customization of the remote when you are in a device mode

Of course, even better, would be to release a java app that only accessed the web to retrieve listings of devices and their associated IR codes from the database... otherwise the app would store all work product locally on the user's machine and only have to go to the web when new devices are added (or to update a device ir listing). This would also allow the user to control what version of the software they use and not be forced to accepting new limitations/bugs brought on by new versions of the web site.

Short of this, I agree with others here that if they would release the XML specification, a tool to convert an xml file one writes or generates to a downloadable (to the remote) firmware file and a tool to then download the resultant file to the remote, I would be a happy camper! And as others have noted, some slick third-party apps may result from this making the harmony remotes even more attractive!

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post #13 of 16 Old 12-01-2006, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Several replies rolled into one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

Harmony has had dedicated software front-end for months now. I like their approach, that way a user in New York can submit the IR signals for their just-released product at 10am, and by 11am, another customer in Wyoming can add that device profile to their account by selecting it from a list.

We've seen how limiting, inefficient, and out-of-date quarterly releases from the likes of URC can be when it comes to new gear, and Harmony's approach eliminates that.

bfdtv, I think you are confusing a web-based application with a remote database.

A local application can query a remote DB (over TCP/IP) at start-up and update its local configuration. You don't need a web-based UI for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by js5752 View Post

is it possible to manually edit the XML, and send it to the remote without going through their interface?

I thought that only the older 7xx remotes supported the XML, not the 670.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

which is even worse for the regular folks because they'll end up with pages of LCD buttons that mean nothing to them and don't actually work. Not understanding why they are there to begin with

They are there because most devices use subsets of IR code from a a shared base.
For example, When you tell the Harmony Web-App that you have a Panasonic TV model X, it shows you all the codes used by model X and its siblings, some of which are not understood by your model.
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-01-2006, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowmoon View Post

No, and not for lack of asking. The XML is first transformed ( on their end ) into a binary firmware for the remote that is uploaded.

Hell, the specs for the firmware would be awesome to jst let the hackers upgrade it themselves.

So what we need is some dedicated hackers in search of a project.
(and I use the original meaning of the term)

From various emails exchanged between Harmony users and Logitech employees, I understand that Logitech wants the Harmony to be a simple "activity-based" remote.
Thus, the XML interface was removed, the device mode is deprecated (in one email they said: "should be used for testing purposes only"), etc.

With that attitude, fat chance that they will release any specs to the public.

However, people did manage to mod the PlayStation 2 and put Linux on it so I believe that reverse engineering the Harmony is possible.
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-02-2006, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionOn View Post

which is even worse for the regular folks because they'll end up with pages of LCD buttons that mean nothing to them and don't actually work. Not understanding why they are there to begin with.


If that is a problem for them they are not using the remote correctly. Thats only a problem when in device mode - in Activity mode they wouldn't see all those dead commands. And really, how often do the obvoius ones not work like, channel, volume, power. Those are the ones that Johnny Recliner is looking for anyway.


But I agree with you that it is annoying to have to deal with all those when I need to get my TV's lesser used buttons. To avoid that I have tried to map most of the TV's commands to the Picture and Sound pages, but every once in a while I do have to go in there.

My biggest gripe about that whole thing is that you have to go one by one and take out all those dead commands, I wish I could take them ALL off the LCD and just put the ones I want.
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-03-2007, 10:28 PM
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This thread got me interested because the default functions for changing inputs (probably made by Logitech themselves) for certain TVs like the older Olevia brands don't function correctly. Being a user, and a decent programmer, I could rewrite the function so the inputs change properly.

Still, there's no option available for that. I wonder...does Logitech recode some of their own functions if you call them and tell them they don't work correctly or do they just leave you in the dust?

Other than that, it's an awesome piece of tech.
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