SharpE : Forum Specific Post en 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 hourly 1 2000-01-01T12:00+00:00 Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 It's always hard for us devs to know what people really think about something. If someone doesn't like a product he stops using it (or will never use it at all). The Feedback is like non existing and we never get to know what people really want.That's why I want to start this discussion about desktop shells/interfaces.This isn't about SharpE and has nothing to do with what you like/dislike about our shell.What I want to know is what you think about all the different desktop shells out there. Doesn't matter which shell (explorer? SharpE? Litestep? Geoshell) or even which OS (MacOS? Linux? KDE?). What do you like or dislike about them? Just sit down for a minute and look at your interface, look at screenshots from other shells or operating systems.... and think about it...I know It's hard to think about everything,so let me give some key points :- What do you like/dislike about your current interface? What are important features every interface should have? Is there a shell/OS which has some awesome must have features you are missing right now?- What do you think about skins/themes? Is it important for you that everything is pretty and animated? Or do you totaly prefer functionality over design?- How much are you using the keyboard and hotkeys when doing anything? (Commandline freak? Mouse only?)- Do you think desktop widgets are usefull at all? Or just crap no one needs?- Are you using all the default folders? (My Documents, My Pictures, My Movies,...) How important is it that those folders are fully integrated into your interface? (open/save dialogs)- Do you need quick launch toolbars? (in taskbar, apple toolbar style, ... ) How do you prefer to start applications? (start menu? explorer?)- How important is a good Mutli Monitor support for you?- Do you have a problem with messing around in ini/xml files to configure your unterface? Don't try to directly answer to those questions,just think about it and try to give us an idea what you like/dislike, what it is that is important for you and what you think about different recent shell developments. (more and more widgets, even more overloaded operating systems (vista, linux distributions on several DVDs,...)).Help us poor devs to understand the users Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 tekNerd I installed Ubuntu and Kubuntu on some virtual machines and I have to say that I like Kubuntu much more. I know that there is the same linux but the skin is diferent, so I like KDE best. I see it more clear and I don't know...there, friendly. But that is just me. I don't like explorer. I actually hate it. And not because is microsoft. I can't care less about that. It's just that is to simple and limited and non-functional. Now, with little tweaks and extension and little apps u can use it. I use this little app Taskbar Shuffle, man how I love it. It's simple but I found it useful and nice. I love using shortcut keys. I use Launchy to start my apps. I love pretty so much (I am almost emulating a Mac interface right now), but I need room for configuration and functionality. I sincerely think that SharpE is the answer for windows. I know that is hard and it will take some time until everyone is happy with it, but I believe that if u will keep this amazing piece of code alive people will learn to love it. But his is just my insignificant opinion. You guys are great and I hope SharpE will become what u want!Peace out! Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 captain_hérisson - What do you think about skins/themes? Is it important for you that everything is pretty and animated? Or do you totaly prefer functionality over design?i love pretty functionnal things - How much are you using the keyboard and hotkeys when doing anything? (Commandline freak? Mouse only?)The "global" hotkey i use the most is for hide/unhide foobar. I use hotkeys to shows apps, not to launch them.And about command line i love the auto suggest of google desktop when typing in the text in the thing.- Do you think desktop widgets are usefull at all? Or just crap no one needs?depend what desktop widget :, weather is neat, and note plus a battery object would be nice too , but i'll rarely use a clock widget because i already have time taking less room in the bar. So widgets are real nice for me as soon as they display usefull information.- Are you using all the default folders? (My Documents, My Pictures, My Movies,...) How important is it that those folders are fully integrated into your interface? (open/save dialogs)i'm not using the default folders a lot but integrating custom folders in my interface would be great.- Do you need quick launch toolbars? (in taskbar, apple toolbar style, ... ) How do you prefer to start applications? (start menu? explorer?)as you know i'm starting apps using the old "menus" plugin that allow me to access categories of apps from the bar, i think categorizing the applications is important when you have a lot of them.Oh and the google desktop auto suggest is nice to launch things because it's suggesting from the startmenu.. hmm a start menu db would be neat - Do you have a problem with messing around in ini/xml files to configure your unterface? guess why i'm not using litestep Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 SuS Disclaimer: I am an unix sysadmin (all mayor distrobutions: Solaris, HPUX, AIX, Linux) and I am stuck with a Windows desktop. I have been in the 'shell scene' for quite a while. Mostly as user, sometimes as themer. So I have experience with a lot of shells: Litestep, Darkstep, Blackbox, BlueBox, GeoShell, and so on and so on. The one I used most was a little gem called Spark (from azathoth). Because it had the essentials: popup menu, vwm and was small (like 39 kb). Most of all it had speed! Couldn't help myself so I used your examples as guideline.At first look I like the nice and fancy desktops (if its KDE or even MS Vista) but in the end I disable all the clutter and switch to something minimalistic: Xfce style Widgets... In my opinion they are just a waste of desktop space. Not interested in stock quotes, a big clock, rss feeds, etc on screen. Even a widget as the Weather plugin is considered extra. Most of the time I don't even see it since my screenedges are SharpBars and the rest of the estate is filled with terminal windows. Themes... I am a sucker for great themes and I have the XP neptune style for SharpE selected. And i intend on making atleast one theme for SharpE Application start: its either QuicklaunchBar, PopupMenu or Hotkey. So mouse then keyboard, its kinda contraproductive but grown on me.SharpE has already some great features. Once the 0.7x versions of QuickLaunch and VWM are there I have all I need. Well a gui like SharpCenter so I can access all configs (without screwing something up) would complete it.Conclusion: Stable, (can be made) minimalistic and fast are my requirements. PS: multi monitor support is important to me. That the popup menu on the lower res monitor is partly inaccessible is annoying. Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 viper0825 I've used the other shells, KDE, Gnome they all have their good and bad points. What I look for is ease of use and configurability. Flexibility is important, load what you want or need for the environment you are going to work in whether coding, gaming or anything else, and it needs to be intuitive.Changing between multiple themes is nice, each theme can reflect your mood, day, season and so forth. Eye candy plays an important part for me whether I'm using a quick launch, or desktop icons it's a matter of mood and taste.Above all it shouldn't be a resource hog and it must be stable. KDE is a resource hog under Suse 10. Blackbox is plain, Litestep can be a pain to configure and not all the modules like to play nice with one another. SharpE Beta 0.7.04 for me is stable, flexable, and easy to configure, One can find something nice from all the shells and GUI environments, i think it is a matter of taste and needs. Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 ferovlk I used a lot of shells and each has its cons and pros. What an "ideal" shell would be for me is mainly - flexible with easy gui config. It should be configurable from a very simplistic "no resources" setup (for the ones preferring speed) to a full bloat of graphical nonsenses.Litestep with many additional modules woud be my choice if not that horrible manual config. But still there are things I miss in Litestep.WIth Windows some more questions arise - all the shells should have the possibility to remind the default Explorer shell. The things that should be configurable - Start menu to have direct link to "Programs" category, keyboard layout switcher with a hotkey and GUI frontend, default Windows directories integration (although I prefer my own dir structure and avoid these "My shits" folders).Skinning theming - if one's searching for an alternative shell better skinning is probably one of the reasons. Ideally it should contain also the Windows NC area skinning and system colors changing all integrated.The "must have" features: - Good quicklaunch with hierarchy and easy adding of apps (right click in menu item should have "Add to quicklauch" possibility that then displays all the categories in quicklaunch.- autohide for all bars - autoshow "onMouseOver", no clicking- well documented plugin API for others to support with new functionalityWell, all in all SharpE 0.6 is the current winner Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 starling I must say #E is the first and only shell I have used.Function is more important than style, but may as well be DOS without style. Custumization is important in both style and function.As far as other systems go, I've been using the MacOS X quite a bit recently and I often find myself squeezing the mouse on other systems to show all windows. The show all windows function is the best part of mac in my opinion.Another thing I like about the mac is the launcher bar. It is quick, but more than that, once a program is open, it acts like the tray by switching focus when u click the icon. It also allows dropping files into the program icons, also very handy. Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 BoredinNJ Intro The first shell I've ever tried was GeoShell many years ago on Windows 98 and I thought it was a great idea since I never knew there were alternatives to explorer. I gave up on GeoShell because development was extremely slow and releases rarely happened. At this time, after I installed Windows XP I forgot about alternative shells and used explorer for a while. I forget how I came across SharpE, but when I did, it caught my attention because it reminded me of GeoShell mainly because of the bars and throbbers before there were skins.What I look for in a shellWhat makes me want to use an alternative shell is mainly it's improved functionality over explorer and its eye candy. Customization is also key. Although I am somewhat familiar with XML, I don't want to have to edit one to customize. That's just not user friendly and won't attract newbs.I can't deny that I love the eye candy and SharpE can create a rather attractive desktop. I don't think that desktop widgets are all too important because how often is your desktop visible? So, if the desktop contains anything, it should be a kind of homepage with things such as RSS feeds or whatnot. I'm not saying I'd use these features, it's just an idea. I personally like a very simplistic desktop, with as little as possible on it. Everything I could need should be accessible with as little mouse clicks as possible. I am a huge fan of quick tasks, that was one desktop widget I loved but with the latest release, it seems to not work so well. What I would like to see is a sidebar with quick launch features and maybe something else that wouldn't require much space. Of course this sidebar should function just like the other bars. You should be able to hide/show and all that good stuff. If there is no plan for a sidebar, like someone else mentioned, we need drawers back. Although I think a sidebar would be more attractive with skins enabled. What I like to do is have all of my main applications right there, in my face... ready to be clicked on as needed so I don't have to dig through the start menu. I think the sharpMenu is a little bit tricky and you need precise mouse movements to not lose focus of the menu your in. My friends who use my computer feel it's a little bit of a hassle as well.Skins are a very nice feature and I'm very pleased with it's state so far. Like I said, eye candy rox0rs One thing I think is very important is maximizing the workspace. If I maximize an application, I want it to take up my whole screen, which is why I always disable the empty space at the top and bottom of the screen (I forget what this is called). This is when I find the hide/show feature of the bars most useful except they need an always on top option like the older builds have.Drag and drop functionalityI think you should be able to drag and drop and right click items in the sharpMenu similar to explorer. This allows for easy creation of shortcuts and finding target folders. This may not be an easy feature to implement but I feel like it's very important, especially if you want to attract new users that are used to explorer. Another thing that would be great is if you can allow the Start Menu>Programs to display everything in more than one column like explorer. It's kind of annoying and time consuming to scroll all the way down the menu if you have a lot of applications installed. I also think that the sharpMenu Editor needs some work. I found it pretty difficult to get an item exactly where you want it and sometimes an item I added doesn't even work. It's great you're giving the user the ability to edit the menu but I think the approach should be reconsidered. Also my icons in the sharpMenu have been gone for quite some time. All of the icons are the same. I haven't looked into how to get them back since it's not vital, it's just a bug that's been around for a while and I'm hoping will be fixed in time.That's all I can think of right now.. I'll post more if I think of them. Love it so far though! Keep it up! Re: Discussion: Deskop/Shell Interface 2006-10-12T05:15:44-07:00 glacialfury I spend a great deal of time at my computer, as I'm sure many of us do. There are certain things I like to do quickly, and ones I don't mind taking slowly - that often translates into whether I use the keyboard or mouse.Anything I might need to use rapidly and frequently (SharpNotes) I want accessibly by a keyboard combo, as a toggle - same hotkey for on and off.Interface needs to be nice and clean - I tend to have things arranged along the edges of my screen, and hence being able to sort bars both horizontally and vertically is important. However, I'd like my interface to be malleable; that is, I want to take my sharpbar and stretch it to any size or rectangular shape, and *freely* position the components within it, as free-floating entities.It's very important to be able to size things the way I want, and toggling the sizes would be great. I'd love to have a large animated clock that covers most of my second monitor, which, with a toggle, I could shrink to a small version in the corner using a hotkey.Arranging windows is important when you've got a lot of them, so it helps to be able to roll them up to the title bar and send them easily to another desktop (or monitor!) with a click or two.Menus (like the SharpMenu) need to be easily customizable, like having a pin function that forces them to stay open, and then allows you to drag and move things around within them without going to a separate config screen.Consistency is very important. Interface elements need to match, else the user needs to rely on his or her graphical skills to make it work, and that's too much effort. Everything should be intuitive; draggable, clickable, with a minimal amount of instruction needed.