[FFmpeg-devel] on the hard state of ffmpeg command line options

Michael Bradshaw mbradshaw at sorensonmedia.com
Mon Oct 29 17:53:12 CET 2012

On Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 8:58 AM, compn <tempn at twmi.rr.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 28 Oct 2012 22:12:56 -0600, Michael Bradshaw wrote:
>>On Sun, Oct 28, 2012 at 4:55 PM, Nicolas George
>><nicolas.george at normalesup.org> wrote:
>>> Le septidi 7 brumaire, an CCXXI, Michael Bradshaw a écrit :
>>>> If I'm not mistaken, I think he's suggesting that new people don't
>>>> know if it's specifying the input or output format.
>>> "As a general rule, options are applied to the next specified file."
>>> This is the first line of the third small paragraph of the documentation.
>>> On one side, we have people who have spent time learning the general
>>> principle of the command line and now are using ffmpeg for useful tasks.
>>> On the other side, we have people who do not even bother to read the doc.
>>> And it is suggested to change the syntax, and therefore render void all
>>> efforts invested in learning it, just to help the second category, without
>>> even proof that it will actually help (if they do not read the doc now, they
>>> will not read the doc later either).
>>> I personally do not think it is a worthy endeavour.
>>I concur. I think what would help new people the most is a massive
>>overhaul on the site/documentation (to change the
>>presentation/formatting/layout, not necessarily the content) to make
>>it more "inviting" and navigable, but that's a whole different subject
>>that would require more man power than I believe is available.
> is it that hard just to have aliases for -if and -of and -ivcodec and
> -ovcodec ?

Aliases would be fine, IMO, as I said something like -i:%s or -o:%s
(or whatever the alias would be) would seem to be okay. I don't know
if I'd be in favor of deprecating things or making any significant
changes. It becomes a tougher situation when considering multiple
input files, though, and is my main concern with any changes to the
current syntax. Either aliases need to be per-file (i.e. -i1:%s and
-i2:%s for options on input files 1 and 2, perhaps with -i:%s
resulting in error if multiple inputs given), or aliases need to be
disallowed for multiple inputs (so back to the old/current syntax if
dealing with multiple files).

I'm also worried aliases might lead to more confusion, as two
documents might specify the same thing with different commands. Maybe
a clear, concise "Beginners Guide" would be sufficient that just
explains the bare necessities, but I don't know.

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