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Re: app wrappers and gworkspace

From: Riccardo
Subject: Re: app wrappers and gworkspace
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 11:37:29 +0200


On Friday, August 6, 2004, at 12:31 AM, Stefan Urbanek wrote:

Having wrappers, hacks or any other kind of magic will still be just a hack or magic. what is really needed is an grpahical tool/application that manages applications. Existing examples of such tools are: "Start menu" and its clones or Program Manager from ancient windows versions. The later one is better example of the management app - at least the original idea was not so bad. That is kind of application that user should use instead of file manager. File manager should be used sparingly, only when one wants to manage and share files.

well you could put your applications in the tabbed shelf, often accessed items in the shelf that every single gworkspace window has. Or you should be able to dock them around.

I don't want more things from gworkspace. You are always free to make a new, external application as a launcher.

I myself on os-x don't have anything external. I have 2, 3 apps in the dock (I think about monster-docks people sometimes have) just mail, console and maybe a browser, depending on the computer.

then, since all apps are ordered in the Application folder, they are quick accessible with a single click on an Finder window. More sparse applications, utilities can always be grouped in the "favourites" folder.

We can also think about what other desktop environments do, those that were born before windows or in any case thought independenlty of it (i.e. I am not speaking here of GNOME or KDE)

- OpenWindows (in the sun version, I use it under X11)
* you can start any app using the filemanager, which has no "special" part for applications. If you want you need to make your own links in some directory. SO the filemanager behaves like Macintosh's finder or GWorkspace. * most used application are in the "Root Menu" you get when clicking gon the desktop, this is like many other X11 wm do and I got accustomed to this and for some kind of use it is very nice and fast.

- old-style Motif
        * no standard file manager
        * quick launch of applications via the root menu on the desktop
        * active windows are managed by clicking on the desktop, a menu appears

* see CDE, since it most heavily influenced this "successor". For a casual user it seems like CDE, although CDE polished up many things, borrowing from others

* influenced (explicitly) by VUE, OS/2 and windows (at that time 3.0/3.1) since the interface guidelines came from the same people * the "dtwm" is an evolution of the mwm, so root menu for quick launch is still there, but alternatives exist (active windows are managed the same)
        * a file manager that can start applications, much like windows 3.1 had
* an "application manager" where tools and application can be stored like "actions". These actions can be associated them with filetypes and similar operations. * most common apps (read, their "action representation") can be docked in the ever-present "dashbord" which is like a dock with steroids (acts also as virtual screen switcher, CPU load viewer...

- Indigo Magic Desktop
        * it is a fusion of the old style IRIS desktop now made with motif 2
* 4dwm is the windowmanager which does not have root menu for applications or open windows (instead a contextual menu with actions apperas, like LogOut, Print, GetInfo) * a filemanager appears, very flexible, which can start applications. But it is not the preferred way * the toolchest is a small text-only menu with quick actions (they are predefined, I am sure one can modify them, but I never did this) which can be oriented horizontal or vertical and contains quick access to actions, tools, applications. I find it extremely useful and has some features I won't explain here * the Icon Catalog. A sort of program manager, which consists of a single window. Links of documents or applications can be put in and the categorization occurs with tabs. * shortcuts on the desktop. The desktop can have links to applications, folders and files. Much like the macintosh desktop and the Windows Desktop "post win95"

This is a short survey, it shouldn't be thought of exhaustive. I wanted only to show how different environments which may be lesser known handle this point.

- most have a split between "file manager" and "program manager" to sai it a' la windows 3.0. The realizations are however quite different. How the items in the "program manager" are created is however varying. SOmetimes it is only a link, but this is limited, other have some sort of "wrapper". "Wrappers" (in an extended term, I would consider old .PIF files wrapper in this context) extend the functionality of actions and file types and can help to cope with applications not designed explicitly with one or the other desktop environment. SO I would not abolish them, just find a fast way to make a "standard one". CDE has an "action editor" to refine the settings.

- most have a quick-way to access useful files, either a pop-up menu or some sort of ever-resident, small area, that pops up in a menu or a window.

How should we cope this in GNUstep without breaking the OpenStep tradition but considering heterogeneous applications (standard X11 for example) I don't know. This wanted only to be a quick survey of stuff I use (not necessarily endorse) since I saw this discussion was flowing as often into nothing, a flame without data and respect to other solutions.


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