On number 1, I think it is assumed that a moisture barrier is installed. Else why would you be attempting to save water because without it everything you put down is gone tomorrow. Plus, let's face it, straw does not work after a month so why use it for anything other than aesthetics, or the algicide benefits for seed starting.
I'm willing to work around number 2 because of the heterogenous nature of drip. I just don't see how you can make it much easier than trial and error.
I like number 3, having just come off an establishment period, a fire and forget feature would be titties.