Proposal Timer Record Improvements Phase-2

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Revision as of 16:44, 24 February 2019 by PeterSampson (talk | contribs) (Details: typo)
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Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to improve Timer Record
Proposal pages are used on an ongoing basis by the Audacity development team and are open to edits from visitors to the wiki. They are a good way to get community feedback on a proposal.

  • Note: Proposals for Google Summer of Code projects are significantly different in structure, are submitted via Google's web app and may or may not have a corresponding proposal page.

The Problems

There are many existing feature requests for Timer Record lodged in the Wiki relating to usability improvements. For example:

  • The current implementation of Timer Record operates as an "unattended recording" rather than a proper timed recording in that most of Audacity's recording controls are unavailable to the user once a "Timer Record" has been initiated. In particular the levels cannot be re-adjusted once Timer Record has been initiated but also but also the zoom level and resizing of tracks cannot be accessed. Also labels and markers cannot be dropped. This is a prominent feature request.

Proposed Features

  1. Timer Record to enable access to the normal set of recording controls.
  2. Ability to change the event times
    • The above two to be an option that the user can turn on
  3. Add a Timer Stop to be available for manually initiated recording.

Developer/QA Backing

  • Peter Sampson: I support full access to the controls during Timer Record, including adding the ability to alter the end-time or duration of the timed recording
    • Gale 25Feb15: I think the lockout while recording is over-enforced. I can see no good reason to dispense with metering and access to Mixer Toolbar. Perhaps, input/output sliders should be available in both the Waiting to Start and Record Progress dialogues. Perhaps a button in the Record Progress dialogue to Add Label at Playback Position.
      • Peter 10Apr16: I'm quite liking Gale's idea of a "button in the Record Progress dialogue to Add Label at Playback Position". If we did implement that then I would like to be able to add text the the label and not just drop an empty label it that is at all possible.

Use Cases

  1. Access to controls: User uses Timer Record while they are active on their computer (on other, non-Audacity, tasks) so that they do not forget to start a live FM broadcast capture from the radio at a time in the future. In that case they need access to the recording controls.
  2. Timer Stop: User has activated a long recording process manually and then has to leave the computer unattended. Timer Stop would provide a safety measure so Audacity does not record endlessly until the hard drive is full and the recorded session becomes jeopardized.


  • Controls: Timer Record to facilitate availability of all the normal set of Audacity recording controls:
  1. use of the Mixer Toolbar sliders to adjust the signal level
  2. drop markers/labels with Ctrl+B and Ctrl+M,
  3. zoom in/out,
  4. pause and un-pause recording (Note that this merely temporarily interrupts the recording; it does not extend the recording time),
  5. change the track size,
  6. rename the track,
  7. change the waveform display type.

  • Labels: Timer Record to facilitate creation of labels while recording
  1. Ctrl + B for labeling cursor position
  2. Ctrl + M for labeling current record position
  3. Edit labels
  4. Label deletion via context menu

  • Ability to change the event times:
    • Add the ability to change (extend or shorten) the recording stop time during recording. Would require a modification to the "Audacity Timer Record Progress" dialog box.
    • Add the ability to change (extend or shorten) the recording stop time or the start time while waiting to record. Would require a modification to the "... Waiting for Start" dialog box.
      • This is less critical than the ability to change while the recording is ongoing as the user has the workaround of Cancelling the waiting Timer Record dialog and setting up a fresh Timer Record.
    • Would need to invoke the "Error handling (or warning) on potential disk full situation" if and when that is implemented

  • Access to be a user-option
    • The above items should be an option that the user can opt to turn on
    • Either from within the Timer Record setup dialog - or as a Recording Preference.

  • Add a Timer Stop to be available for manually initiated recording.
    • Provide a Timer Stop to be available for a manually initiated recording to be stopped after a settable time, possibly implemented by making the Timer Record dialog available after recording has been initiated.
    • Presumably this could be implemented by providing access for the user to the Timer Record setup dialog while a recording is active.

  • Ability to minimize the Timer record Window
    • Timer Record to behave like a proper Windows window so that it can be minimized to the Applications bar with the minimize button in the Audacity window.
      • Gale: Bug 104 relates to this.
      • Gale: It would be quite odd on Windows to be able to minimize an app having a modal window (though Ubuntu allows it). So making Timer Record dialog modeless (for the current project) would be one solution.

GUI Examples


Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal

  • Access to progress or record controls: (16 votes)
    • Both dialogs should be modeless for current project, allowing access to same controls available during standard recording (16 votes) This lets you change levels, pause manually, drop a label, zoom in/out or resize tracks, plus it lets Audacity on Windows be minimised while Timer Record is in progress.
    • Waiting for Start dialog should be modeless for all (or at least, other) projects: (5 votes) allowing to work normally until recording starts
      This raises all manner of issues about what happens if user is in the middle of playing / exporting when recording is due to start.

      Peter 15Mar16: My PVR deals with this by giving me a ten and five minute warning of a scheduled recording or channel change. If I ignore it the recording or channel change takes precedence at the prescribed time.

      Peter 04Feb17:Mark has dealt with this in 2.1.3 by ensuring that for Timere Recored the user must have that sole project. No other projects can be open when settimg up a Timer Record - and none can be opened after the Timer Record is set up.

For further detail see Timer Record enhancements