Legacy Remote Designs Deprecation Clarification


#1

Could someone clarify what happens to existing legacy remote designs when updating from 5.0.14 to 5.5? Are they wiped out completely and everything has to be rebuilt using an action panel? Or are they still available but not able to be edited etc?

There are several statements on the https://www.simplecontrol.com/55whatsnew/ page which seem to contradict each other:

“Legacy Remote Designs are finally gone and replaced by significantly better Action Panel customization. Give yourself time to rebuild any Legacy Remote Designs as customized Action Panels.”

“Legacy Remote Designs can be re-created in the new editor.”

I have 39 Legacy Remote Designs in use (and they are all ‘legitimate’). I am trying to wait to update until I have time to reconfigure all of this. But it is only a matter of time before my wife or I accidentally update on one of our devices.


#2

I don’t see any contradiction there, they both say that you can create customizations as needed. Legacy Designs are completely gone the moment you upgrade. Note this was also flashed in the app for the last month as an in-app notification, posted to multiple social media locations, and the deprecation was announced Fall 2017, so there has been an incredibly long time to prepare for the transition.


#3

I understand that deprecation was announced last fall. I have commented several times on this forum about it. But Simple Control is practically useless to me without customization, and the only way to customize up to this point is to use the legacy designs. The only way to get action panel editing prior to 5.5 was to sign up for the beta program - which would have wiped my legacy designs anyway.

You have billed Roomie/SimpleControl as the only remote you’ll ever need for years now, and I have used it as such. So, even though I was notified months ago, by eliminating legacy designs at the same time as implementing action panel editing means that the moment I upgrade I have to recreate every customation that I pained to get right in 5.0.14.

Correct me if I’m wrong and let me know how I could have recreated my legacy designs as action panels prior to this upgrade.


#4

Here are some of the steps we took for this transition.

  • 10 months ago, we included in bold and multiple locations in the V5 release notes the exact text “Legacy Virtual Remotes and Remote Designs will be removed in a future release when Action Panel Editing replaces them”. This message was flashed to every single V4 and V5 app many times, flashed on every upgrade, and has been the most prominent item on our website since last October 2017. It’s still there.

  • 1 month ago, we flashed a specific reminder inside the V5 app. Every single user that ran the app on every single device in the last month saw this message. We then paid Facebook to advertise the same message to our users to make sure we catch any stragglers or compensate for non-readers.

V5.5 Facebook Graphic

  • After paying to send that out and making sure every user that runs the app gets to see the same graphic there which included the strongest possible text we could possibly write on Legacy Remote Designs: “Prepare now by removing them from your configuration.” In other words, our suggestion was not “wait until 5.5 comes and then take your time”, but rather purge them immediately a month ago and it was quite explicit, so that you are at a clean state to build new customizations at 5.5 release a month later. Or, recognize that you will need to control the time you upgrade and it will take a while.

  • Further, the V5.5 release notes available on our website for those who didn’t want to upgrade immediately and also flashed to every user this week state “Legacy Remote Designs are finally gone and replaced by significantly better Action Panel customization. Give yourself time to rebuild any Legacy Remote Designs as customized Action Panels.” Give yourself time. This was again to indicate that, if you’re not prepared for that significant change, you will want to upgrade at a controlled time.

  • A slightly shorter version of that message is in the App Store release notes that you are able to see before choosing to update: “Legacy Remote Designs are removed as announced in 2017 now that Action Panel Editing has arrived.

We have heard from a couple users who seem like they may have preferred we did something differently, I’m really not sure what – the actual comments are more similar to the people who just don’t read anything we put out whether it is release notes or a flashed urgent message in the app and there is nothing we can do for that kind of person. It’s time to look forward and create your customizations in Action Panels. We can only do so much after we already spent 10 months getting the word out in every way available to us. If you needed to control your upgrade time, you had all the notice in the world to do so.


#5

First, I started this thread to get a better understanding of how legacy remote designs were handled in 5.5, not for a hand slapping because I am a ‘non-reader’ or not paying attention to your facebook page.

I have already stipulated that I have seen your notifications and have commented on them months ago on this very forum. I am very aware since long before v5.0 was released that legacy remote designs were being removed once action panel editing was in place.

“Prepare now by removing them from your configuration.” In other words, our suggestion was not “wait until 5.5 comes and then take your time”, but rather purge them immediately a month ago and it was quite explicit, so that you are at a clean state to build new customizations at 5.5 release a month later. Or, recognize that you will need to control the time you upgrade and it will take a while.

If the control of your system relies on the customization provided for by a legacy remote design, how does removing them a month before its replacement make the transition easier? I am the only customer with the 100 device package that needs further customization to make it all work?

“Legacy Remote Designs are finally gone and replaced by significantly better Action Panel customization. Give yourself time to rebuild any Legacy Remote Designs as customized Action Panels.” Give yourself time. This was again to indicate that, if you’re not prepared for that significant change, you will want to upgrade at a controlled time.

Again, that was the point of my original post. If my wife accidentally updates to 5.5 on her iPhone does that propagate and wipe out legacy remotes on all devices on that hub? You are marketing this as complete control of a home and you have to account for that - telling me to do it at a ‘controlled time’ when we both know that iOS and tvOS make it extremely easy to inadvertently update an app or turn on automatic updates, especially when you have multiple users, isn’t helpful.

We have heard from a couple users who seem like they may have preferred we did something differently, I’m really not sure what – the actual comments are more similar to the people who just don’t read anything we put out whether it is release notes or a flashed urgent message in the app and there is nothing we can do for that kind of person. It’s time to look forward and create your customizations in Action Panels. We can only do so much after we already spent 10 months getting the word out in every way available to us. If you needed to control your upgrade time, you had all the notice in the world to do so.

I think you are confusing ‘awareness’ with ‘preparedness’. You did the awareness part over the last 10 months. But you missed it on preparedness by deprecating a feature for a new one without any overlap.

What you could have done differently:
A) Simple Control 5.4: Now with Action Panel Editing. Create new action panels to replace your existing Legacy Remotes which will be eliminated in v5.5. (Previous Legacy Remotes are useable but not editable)
B) Have the app convert legacy remotes to temporary action panel
C) Allow one device to upgrade to 5.5 to allow action panels to be created (with a different backup name) while the rest of the devices stay on 5.0.14 and use the old configuration files.

I’m on your side on this and I want to see you succeed. I’ve been programming touchscreen remotes since the 90’s and I’ve logged more hours in ProntoEdit, Crestron, SQConnect (remember them?) and other software than I care to count. If there is such a thing as a universal remote power user I suppose I’m it. Simple Control is easily one of the best and most powerful and I’m ok throwing my $50 a year into an app to control things that can already controlled by something else. You have fixed a lot of things like the previously screwy pricing structure and backup system. I’m not crazy about the 5.0 design, but that should evolve over time. But you are making some odd decisions like deprecating the most popular and established wifi to IR product out there (which is turning off a large community of iRule users looking to transition) and wiping out customizations that people (in your words on the 5.0 release page) “painstakingly designed” without an easy transition.

As a developer and business owner I can understand how your perspective would be different from the customer - maybe you don’t realize how some of your decisions impact the end user or how some of your comments come off to someone that has invested a lot of time and money into supporting your product.


#6

Other fantastical items on that list could include:

  • Don’t ever release any new features because someone might complain.
  • Take an extra 6+ months to introduce an intermediate major release.
  • Never deprecate the old UI and don’t bother trying to move this area forward. Relegate customization to a lower priority.
  • Designs/Editing is used by ~20% of users so just drop the feature.

The point is that from a set of a great many options, we chose the one that, over the course of 10 months, provides the proper direction to the users many times, assuming they read one of the at least 5 ways we can reach them. In return for getting the feature this year and “completing” the V5 transition, there is a dependency that users had to be paying attention if they would require any significant time to convert. On the other hand, some users literally would not use V5 until Action Panel Editing because they didn’t want to use the old UI mixed with the new UI. Understandable to some degree. It was time to move on and complete the V5 transition, users clearly communicated that to us. We communicated in every way available to us what that path was.

You wanted to create Action Panels prior to losing Remote Designs. There is/was a way to do that. You had to prepare for it based on our warnings. You’d need to setup a single device on 5.5, update just that one, unpair that device from your paired Hub until you finished the 5.5 config you were happy with, then reset your Hub, update to 5.5 on all devices, and seed-pair from the first 5.5 device to push the new config out.

I respect that a few users will have been caught unprepared. That’s inevitable, happens every single major release in a world where the App Store can be set to auto-update all of your apps. When we really have changed the entire world, like V5.0, we have in fact switched apps to reduce this kind of issue, but that’s clearly not viable for any normal or even major feature. At a high level, going forward, this is related to why we recommend running dedicated devices in Guided Access Mode. This is not Angry Birds. One often wants to control what version is running, one often wants to block all interruptions from the underlying OS, etc. These are not things we can engage on behalf of the user, they can only be configured and setup outside our app. What we can do is communicate, and we did that. It can always have been done differently, and I think we chose the right path.


#7

You could have answered my original question with this (which is my option C above):

“You wanted to create Action Panels prior to losing Remote Designs. There is/was a way to do that. You had to prepare for it based on our warnings. You’d need to setup a single device on 5.5, update just that one, unpair that device from your paired Hub until you finished the 5.5 config you were happy with, then reset your Hub, update to 5.5 on all devices, and seed-pair from the first 5.5 device to push the new config out.”

I’d like to point out that the above is not on your 5.5 release page that I linked above nor on facebook - if it had been I would have went that route instead of posting here. I have plenty of iOS devices that I could sacrifice one to build action panels on without interfering with everyone else in the house.

I never said not innovate or move forward. I’m not complaining about deprecating old features or spending the time to moving everything to the new system. I am merely saying, overlap your new features so people have a path to transition without affecting day to day operation. You are smart people, you made Legacy Remote Designs work in 5.0. You have created a product that integrated hundreds of disparate products so that they can work together. I don’t see why it would take you 6+ months of extra development to figure out how to do action panel editing in parallel.

Or, post a workaround (like you did above) where everyone can see it so we can all move on.