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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Screen Editor Tool for Synergy 1

Kyle Bloom
Kyle Bloom

In Synergy 1, the only tool available to set up the computers was the drag and drop grid to align the computers. Synergy 2 introduced the ability to move the screens around and overlap them with any degree of freedom. However, users couldn't resize the screens to connect two computers on the right side of one vertical computer or connect two computers to an overhead home theatre PC.

For Synergy 3, we decided to evolve the editor to allow for free movement and resizing. Our first step towards this goal was to make a prototype. Since we had decided to use Electron for the GUI of Synergy 3, we created a prototype website to implement the physics. The prototype worked so well, that we decided to create a tool for our Synergy 1 users. We wanted to allow users with setups that did not conform to the box model used in Synergy 1 a way to configure their setup without handwriting config files. This also gave us another opportunity to prototype the config parser and generator for use in Synergy3.

As we started development, feature creep set in, pushing the bar higher and higher for what would be acceptable to put out to our users. It eventually got to the point where a lot of effort had been put into what is really a simple app, but as the scope enlarged the end of the project moved over the horizon. 

And so, after many sprints, we paused development, to focus on the main Synergy 3 project. However, it was not a completely wasted effort. Besides being the basis for the current engine in Synergy 3, it became a useful internal tool. If you contacted support with a particularly tricky computer setup, our team probably used this tool to visualize your setup and/or export a config file for you to use.

Here is an example of my setup at home:

Screen Editor

Home Setup

After all this time as an internal tool, we decided that it would be best to make this tool public for all Synergy users to use. If you have not been able to configure your screen layout in Synergy 1…

Create an advanced Synergy 1 config 

If you want to try Synergy 3, which has this tool baked into its DNA (with lots of other neat stuff), then you can sign up to be an alpha tester.

April 14, 2022
Kyle Bloom
 (revised on 

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