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color cues

In Mixxx 2.3 alpha the user can explicit select “no color” for hot cues. This state adds some complexity to the cue color feature and is unnatural for the user and unhandy for skins and mappings.

That's why we have decided to drop the “no color” state in the revamped implementation.

However, the “no color” state is already there, if we migrate hot cues from Mixxx 2.2, Recordbox and VirtualDJ. So we need to decide how to do this migration from this “no color” state to a model that does not have it.

Each possible solution has implications to the usability and possible use cases. So let's have look on them

Use Cases

1 Color = Cue Type

This is the mayor use case of the color feature. Users may give a color a meaning and color the cues accordingly. The user will probably start with one meaning and a color that indicates it. The user may for instance use Yellow fro “Bridge End” and use it for some tracks. All other existing cues and and new cues set in Mixxx will left default. This will change step by step for every track which is prepared and every new meaning which is defined. Especially with large libraries this will likely never be finished. All default cue are displayed with a color that has the fixed meaning “meaning undecided”.

The user may decide which color is used for the “meaning undecided” or “default” state, because a color picked by the developers may have already a different meaning for the user, using other tools side by side with Mixxx.

2 Colored controllers

The user does not have a concept like in use case 1) he just want make use of the color feature to distinguish cue buttons from other buttons on his controller.

He might not be confident with the color picked by the developers during migration, because the color might be already in use for other features in the mapping. So the user may wish to select the color he is used to from Mixxx 2.2 or other tools.

Traktor uses Green for Hotcues and older CDJs are using Orange.

3 Number = Cue Type

On systems without colored cue buttons it is common to use the cue number as type. This way a “Bridge End” cue is always on the same position and easy accessible for every track. If the user decided to support that by color, he will give each cue number a special color.

This is default in Serato and Engine Prime.

4 Color by deck

This is useful for hardware or Gui implementation where the button / Deck assignment is unclear or switchable. It can also be a design aspect. This can be used for example for a drum pad like use case from different tracks.

VirtualDJ has this feature.

5 No use (Skin default)

For users migrating from Mixxx 2.2, new cue button color might be distracting since the selected default color may look foreign. Here it would be nice, if we allow to keep the original Mixxx 2.2 colors and not bother the user until he is ready to use cue colors.

This is the default for hot cues in current Mixxx master.

This feature works well only if the controller has no colored hot cue pads, because the skin default may look ugly on controllers. Once a controller with colored cue buttons is present the user may swith to use case 2)

6 Use Recordbox cues

Recordbox users want to use an USB stick with Mixxx and Recordbox and their CDJ. It can be expected that all the features working, without loosing the memory cue / hot cue separation and the “no color” state of the cues during using the stick on different systems.

Moving memory cues are to hotcue buttons or wise versa, after editing the memory stick with Mixxx is not probably also not acceptable.

7 R/W cues to file Metadata

Serato saves cue info into file metadata. Users may want to read an write this data to exchange cue info with Serato or other software able to read this data.

In case of third party tracks a color mapping is essentially.

8 Sharing of cue points

User may want to share metadata with other databases. The other database may have colored cue or not. In most of them (like aoide), cue colors are optional. The user liked to have control how colors are imported/exported. A color mapping is Required to not mess up the color scheme or palette of the sharing pair.

9 Migrating cues + palette

When moving from other tools the user might want to continue the palette from the other tool. Here Mixxx need to replace the build in platte with the external one. The user may wish to adopt colors from the existing cues to the new palette. This is required to keep the colors distinguishable. Mixxx's default palette is optimized for being distinguishable. If tracks with off palette colors are imported the colors may become ambiguous, which might be undesired.

Migration Strategy

Coming from Mixxx 2.2 all cues have skin defined colors. We should allow to migrate to any of the above use cases without mayor quirks and at any time.

In the meantime we need to decide for an intermediate solution that does not prevent using one of the desired use cases. We may also consider to allow changing the use case after a longer period if using.

The intermediate solution should not be disacting, in a way that's the user cannot continue Mixxx as usually after update to 2.3. For instance, a migration dialog is undesired.

One possible solution

One possible solution is implemented in

It uses black (0) in the database color as indicator that the user has not selected a color. This color is replaced on the fly with the selected default, which can be off palette color to keep the intermediate state or palette color which replaces the 0 color in the database color as well. The 0 replacement is an implementation detail of the DAO class. For the rest of Mixxx and from the user perspective cues have always a color.

The user has the option to select a palette color for default (1;2) if he likes to get immediately rid of the default state this is the “individual stored default state”. He may alternative select the skin color (default), a off palette default color or cue color by number, if he wants to postpone the decision of a suitable default color. The actual color is set on the fly.


Feature Mixxx alpha On the fly default individual stored default
Unabigious color for skin and mapping
No “No color” in UI
Default color by skin
Default by mapping possible
Default by deck possible possible
Don't touch tracks with no cue colors
Lossless Roundtrip RecordBox possible
Lossless Roundtrip Serato
Keep exact external color code
Instant change of default color
Switch to one default from cue by number mode

Other solution

Other solutions are possible. Here some ideas:

We may use a useful color e.g.: orange or white during “no color” cues migration. Since Mixxx is able to distinguish the selected default color form other colors different use cases are still possible. This can be also used to treated also as “no color” for the Recordbox roundtrip.

If a user likes cue by color or skin color 3)/4)/5) we can simply ignore the color saved in the database.

A mass replace solution will also allow most if the cases above. Hover we should keep in mind that we migrate to alternative colors first before swapping colors. This might take some time especially in case of aoide where cues are track properties or if the cue colors are saved in file tags.

In case of file tags we may save an additional cue at an invisible position that indicates the default color.


For every proposed solution, we may consider the impact on the use cases above. Finally we will have a good solution.

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color_cues.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/25 20:08 by daschuer