First, I want to say how INCREDIBLE this piece of software is. I think I may have tested it out several years ago when looking for presentation software available to Linux, but this is one of the most mature applications of this kind I've used. It seems very solid, stable, and light on resources. I like that there is a lot of customization in shortcuts, panel layout/sizes, etc. There are definitely some different workflow ideas that aren't what I'm used to, some that work better, some that (in my opinion) could use tweaking, but overal I've enjoyed reviewing OpenLP. I love-love-love the integration of Online Bible resources, the quick-find search bars (especially the Bible search responding how BibleGateway does - ex: "2 tim 3:4-" from my "move to live" suggestion below), and media. I've tried mp3, mov, mpg, mp4, flv, even wmv on this Ubuntu machine, and it has played EVERY format.
The feature requests below come primarily from my experience with Easislides, an excellent piece of software that has served my church well for the past several years (in addition to MediaShout, though to a lesser extent). However, with our conversion to Windows 7 (on capable hardware - Core i5 & 8GB RAM), it doesn't seem to be as responsive, perhaps due to programming designed for the way XP does dual screens or presentation. We are also looking for more integration of one program for everything, which OpenLP looks great for.
Most of these suggestions are keyboard-oriented, as live presentation is infinitely more responsive running via keyboard than mouse.
*Keyboard navigation of a song
Specifically, this request extends the already-available navigation, with one change; remove the required "V" before the verse number. If I have a song that has 3 verses, to get to verse 3, I have to type "V3" instead of just "3." The extra "V" seems unnecessary and adds to a delay in live worship. Of course, I can set it to display in a particular order, but like many churches, ours is a bit more dynamic than a pre-programmed session.
*Better integration of the Preview panel
The preview panel will display stuff when clicked from Media Manager, but in order to get a preview of an item in the Service Manager, right clicking & selecting "Show Preview" is required. In Easislides, single-clicking displays an item in preview, and double-clicking (or "Enter" key) sends the item to the live view. [It looks like this suggestion has been added to the feature requests page of the wiki, under "Service?"]
One thing I miss in OLP from Easislides is the extensive transition support, which I imagine will be fleshed out in future releases. One thing I do to make things smooth at church:
Start of service - black screen, fade in lyric background image. Then, fade in lyrics on top of that. When song is over, fade out lyrics, switch song, fade lyrics in again. When songs finished, after fading lyrics, fade to black, then fade in Bible background, then Bible verses as they come.
I can /kind/ of do this with OLP, except without the fading bit; it's instantaneous. Can we add transition support to the blank screen / blank to theme actions?
One more nit-pick about the transitions, and again, there's likely more support coming, but the current song/Bible transition is sort of fade to transparent then fade in the new slide. The transition I like to use is a cross-fade, where new words are fading in simultaneously while the old words are fading out.
*Item titles for both Preview and Live views
In my evaluation of OLP, there've been a few times when I have looked at an item loaded into Live that I haven't been able to determine what song/Bible reference/etc is currently loaded. If the item's title could be printed either directly below the phrase "Preview/Live," or perhaps directly above the output displays of each view, that would be quite useful.
*Make Media Manager items accessible by hotkey
I'm talking Songs/Bibles/etc. If the Songs portion is currently expanded, and the user wants to jump to Bible, it'd be cool to hit ctrl + 2 or similar (customizable) hotkey, which would collapse Songs, expand Bibles, and put focus in the "Find" box.
*Keyboard shortcut for "Move to live"
This is for the projector icon in the Preview panel. As an example building on the prior item, let's say I hit ctrl + 2, type "2 tim 3:4-" then hit Enter. Right now, this will copy verses 4 through 17 of 2 Timothy 3 into the Preview panel. It'd be great to then be able to hit another button (maybe even just Enter a second time, or perhaps ctrl + Enter to avoid conflicts).
*Pause Preview media when sending to Live
When previewing media, if "Move to live" is clicked, it should pause/stop the Preview so that both don't play and the audio conflict.
*Media time indicator
When playing media, it'd be nice to see minutes:seconds of the progress, and perhaps a notice of total minutes:seconds (a great place for this would be above the progress bar, formatted like: MM:SS of MM:SS.
*Mobile app: Display tab
The display tab of the mobile application only has one blank display button, which performs one of three actions depending on the setting chosen. However, as this is on a page of its own, with 80% of the screen empty, why not have three separate buttons, one for each of the options, so the app user can use whichever button applies to a moment's circumstance (such as I described above in "Transitions")?
I know these are a lot of suggestions, and many of them are somewhat inconsequential, just me being OCD. I'm no programmer, but I'm good for interface design theory.
Even with all these suggestions, I'm really excited, because though Easislides beats OpenLP with most of these suggesitons, this stands to be more stable (Easislides can sometimes be a bit flaky), versatile (all-in-one AND mobile control!), and customizable.
[Mods: please let me know if I should split these suggestions into one per post. I didn't want to do that until advised, so I wouldn't clutter the forum.]