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Re: Re: scrollbars [was: Re: really attracting developers]

From: Nicolas Roard
Subject: Re: Re: scrollbars [was: Re: really attracting developers]
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 03:28:31 +0100

On 9/5/06, phil taylor <address@hidden> wrote:
On Tue, 2006-09-05 at 00:51 +0200, Helge Hess wrote:
> On Sep 5, 2006, at 24:38, phil taylor wrote:
> > Can anyone (try to) explain the merits of the floating menus?
> You just need a single click and no drag to perform an arbitary
> (menu) action. You can easily detach the menu groups you need and
> thereby form some kind of "favorite menus".
> A floating menu is more like a toolbar (or many toolbars) though a
> toolbar wastes space in every single window (but has better locality
> in return).
> I think there are no absolute pros or cons for either of the
> approaches. Both have their merits. If you have ever used NeXTstep
> you will know that vertical menus are very nice, a look&feel is
> something hard to describe in words.
> Greets,
>    Helge


So the real advantage seems to come when you detach the lower level
menus and personalise the interface. But doesnt that use up a lot of
space? Do you have to do that each time the app is loaded?

Of course not. One of the good things with GNUstep apps is that all
this stuff is persistant -- I close an application, I reopen it, and
all the opened submenus come back where they were, and the different
windows reopen at the same place too. Persistance is good... :-)

Secondly, the screen space they take is not very important -- first
because you can obviously close them if you need, secondly because
things that are not windows (ie, panels and menus) disappear
automatically when you switch to another application.

Imagine that you are using TextEdit. You opened the font panel so you
can easily play with font settings. You also have 2-3 submenus opened,
that you moved somewhere on the screen where it is more convenient for
your current use. You then click on GNUMail -- automatically the
TextEdit font panel and the menus disappear, the only TextEdit thing
left on the screen is the actual window containing your text; and
GNUMail's own panels or menus appears.

That behaviour seriously help reducing the screen clutter.

I am dissapointed that the GNUstep project is devoted to its UI design.
I had hoped the most important aspect was the API, not the look and feel
of the GUI. IT will never suit me. I HATE menus, especially cascading

Because you never used proper ones :-P

just kidding. I agree with you -- the most important thing is probably
the API, not the UI. But the whole UI "experience" is important too,
and if something is good, it's a bit stupid to want to throw it by the
window, don't you think ?

Anyway, you do not have to use vertical menus if you don't like them.
Just set the defaults NSInterfaceStyle to use horizontal menus, or use
the EtoileMenu bundle.

Personally, I like vertical menus, I think they work brilliantly with
big screens. On the other hand, horizontal menus (ala mac) work better
on small screens. Horizontal menus also have the added "functionality"
that it's easy to add things like a "system" menu (eg the Apple menu
on Mac OS) or menulet (clocks, virtual desktop, battery, user
switching,  sound, whatever) ; with vertical menus you can't really do
that, so it means you need another place on the screen to put this
kind of info/actions.

That's why on étoilé we finally settled on using horizontal menu, like
OS X. Probably also because it's much easier to convaince people to
use horizontal menu than vertical menu, and fitt's law is with you.
But still, I love vertical menus :-) and optional vertical menus is
certainly a good thing.

What I would like is for the GNUstep api to be integrated with GTK+. Now
that would be something i would go for. But obviously from my
conversations on this mailing list, very unlikely to ever happen.

You are not very helpful :-)

You ask people to tell you what the UI is good for, as they seem to
think it's not as crappy as you'd consider yourself; then you tell
people that they value more the UI than the API (which they never
said). Then the final conclusion is to "integrate GNUstep api to GTK+"
? are you joking ? That can't happen, not for political reasons
(well.. not only..) but simply because it wouldn't work --
philosophically and technically the two api are really different. In
the end you'd need to redo/clone lots of work on either side, to end
up with something that would be worse. Beside, a good reason OpenStep
is that clean is because of Objective-C -- you'd need an OO language
as dynamic as it.

I really do not see any point in that. Particularly considering
GNUstep works. One could argue about some kind of GNUstep theme
piggybacking on GTK+ theme engines for doing the raw drawing, so that
GNUstep apps could "mix" seamlessly into a GTK+/GNOME desktop, but
that's about it... you'd need more things too for real integration...
but that would/could be a good first step. Nothing prevent that, this
idea was actually advanced many times, but nobody stepped up doing the
job of splitting GNUstep into different "environment targets" (eg,
GNUstep/KDE/GNOME/Windows). If you view GNUstep only as a kind of
platform like wxwidgets, that would be, imho, the sensible path. It's
probably not even that difficult (considering the features you'd need
are actually here, just not too well divided into this idea of
"environment targets"). But as always, nothing will change without
actual volunteers doing the grunt work. Talk is easy, yada yada.

Nicolas Roard
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly
by." -- Douglas Adams

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