Sunday, 18 July 2010

More on Sezen panel applet

There has been quite some work on both Sezen and the panel applet since my last post, and here's what's new on that front:

We went through quite a few design iterations of the applet, here is the evolution:
At first, we had the main Sezen widget which was stuffed in a menu, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I found this sub-optimal, as navigating in menu is not the same as doing so in a standalone window, and therefore I wanted the browser-like menu, which came to life in the third iteration, but the problem with it was that even though we had thumbnails (though not in the image), they were totally unhelpful, as they were too small. So the fourth iteration introduced three rows of text per each item, which allowed a big thumbnail on the right, but then some items had only one icon on the left, some had one on left and one on the right, and this just felt weird, so I tried to remove the icons from the left and have all of them on the right, but as you can see in the fifth image, this also doesn't look right, so the idea of thumbnails on the right was abandonded, and we ended up with medium-sized thumbnails on the left as you can see in the last image.

There are still a few loose ends in the applet (clicking on the scroll bar doesn't work most of the time, since scrollbar was never meant to be inside menu, and therefore isn't trivial to fix), and it could also use a global hotkey to popup the search. But even now I find it very usable if one has enough stuff logged by Zeitgeist.

Since Seif still thought that standard Sezen window is the way to go (with which I obviously don't agree), there's also another version of the applet, which just opens undecorated Sezen under the menu item position:
And yea, I agree that it looks nice (especially with elementary theme), but is practically unusable only with keyboard, which I find a deal breaker (also it doesn't close if you click some other window... though this could be implemented, standard menu does it automatically).

Now I wonder about the future of the applet, should we try to fix the issues it has and push it upstream, or turn it into a widget which any app can use (it'd just tell us which mimetypes it's interested in and it would augment the "Open file" function). Also which version is really better? (but please judge by using them, not by looking at the screenshots)

Links to get the code:

To install you need to get the branch, its dependencies and run:
./autogen --prefix=/usr && cd sezen && make && sudo make install
Of course you should substitute the "sudo make install" with your distro's equivalent.

PS. For those interested here's my GSoC report for this week:

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Sezen in your panel aka GSoC report #6

As the reports themselves are quite boring for many people, I'll try to post on the blog more interesting stuff, so it will no longer be a direct copy of the message sent to gnome-soc-list. So let's give it a try...

People who read my reports know that lately I've been working on Sezen (if you haven't heard about this awesome piece of software using Zeitgeist go see a couple of videos at Seif's blog), where both Seif's python version and mine Vala version is receiving lots of love - Seif started to use Mikkel's FTS extension for the search, I didn't do this yet (as the FTS extension might not be installed), but I improved the search we had and now it's no longer that stupid (ie doesn't treat everything as exact phrase search, instead supports "quoted phrase search").

But as you could notice from the title of this post, we went further and tried to integrate sezen into gnome-panel via an applet, and this is how far I got:

At first Seif wanted to show the full sezen window also in the panel applet, but I wanted to try more "panely" look and feel and therefore went this way. Not to mention the challenge it was to get the Entry and the scrollable IconView widgets to work inside a menu (thank you Gtk for this unforgettable experience, you won a few battles, but I gotcha anyway).
If you're thinking now that it doesn't look as blingy as standalone Sezen I have to agree, but I still think that it has more integrated look with the rest of the panel and is already quite usable. I've been thinking where we could take this and I keep looking at this:

Wouldn't it be cool to have this kind of widget on your panel allowing you to start working with anything ZG knows about? What do you think?

For those who are interested, you can also read my official GSoC report #6.