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Testing Day 6 - Coming Soon to a deskop nearby!
08 Feb 09 - 15:45
Nearly everything is done and so it's time to announce the next SharpE Testing Day! Due to all the changes which have been done it is necessary to do TD6 as a full 12 hour testing day with live IRC support.

For the whole time developers will be present in IRC to answer your questions and solve possible problems. Detailed informations where to get the release will be posted when the testing day begins.

Date: Sunday - 22 February, 2009
Time: 12:00 to 24:00 (GMT)
Place: #SharpE on

So what are the changes that make this release so big and important?

SharpCenter and Configs
The plugin system of SharpCenter along with all configs has been completely rewritten. Everything is a lot more stable now and the overall design of the configs has improved a lot. Besides this all the remaining configs which where still missing in TD5 are finished now!

SharpBar and Modules
Similar to SharpCenter the complete plugin system has been rewritten. The result of this is less memory usage and improved performance and stability. As a result of the rewrite the amount of flickering in the bar has been reduced furthermore. In addition to this many small and rare bugs are fixed now. This includes those annoying access violations one could get when attaching an additional monitor to the system or when just changing the screen resolution.

Skin System
Getting left behind during the last releases the whole skin system received some improvements for TD6. Besides just fixing some bugs several improvements have been made. It's now possible for a skin developer to dynamically adjust the lightness of any color directly in the xml file. With this a skin author can use different variations of the same color directly without having to define new colors or using differently blended images. Another big improvement is the possibility for a skin to color blend and lighten icons similar to the icon blending of SharpDesk. To demonstrate and test those new features a new Skin ("Minimal 2") is included in TD6.

Notes Module
The for many people most important and loved module of SharpE is going to be improved a lot for TD6. Not much to say here, except: check out the screenshot below!

Application Bar Module
TD6 will include the new "AppBar" module. This module is a combination of the "Button Bar" and "Taskbar" modules which makes it possible to monitor and manage your most used and favorite tasks. Similar to the Button Bar you can add applications to the AppBar module. Those applications are then monitored, which means that their running state will be indicated at the button associated with the application. If you click an applications button while the application is running it will simply switch to this application (like in the Taskbar), but if the application is not running yet - then a click on the button will start it (like in the Button Bar). If the application is started several times or if it's using several windows then a popup menu showing all windows associated to the application will be shown when the applications button is pressed. Of course this new module is fully integrated into the shell, which means that you can hide all the applications which are part of the AppBar module from your taskbar. This makes it possible to easily manage often used applications and to stop them from filling up your taskbar.

Everything Else
These where only the big changes which you might instantly notice. Besides this a lot of fixed and improvements have been done all over the shell. The dll file behind the theme system was rewritten completely and a lot of other crucial bugs are gone. This includes the login screen on Vista not staying visible for too long anymore and SharpE no longer crashing when used from a directory with a very long path. In fact so many changes have been made that at some point we failed to keep a complete changelog.

Some screenshots of the whole shell in action:

As you can see a lot of stuff has changed and improved since TD5.
And to test all these cool new things we need your help!
Join us on Testing Day 6!

Wooop!!! cant wait.

[ Comment by yay am: 08 Feb : 23:26 ]

(not him yay, excited YAY!)

[ Comment by Codenomics am: 09 Feb : 19:08 ]

Sounds great, looking forward to trying the new Appbar module. Now if I can only get Pixol to update pZoom so it runs in the new bar, I can stop using SharpBarOld... Oh, and a trash bin would be good too, as a bar module. And a weather button. and a dropdown for "shut down, hibernate, restart, log out"

Basically the whole gnome UI

[ Comment by starkraving am: 09 Feb : 19:33 ]

Woah, lookin' very nice there! This may be the TD version that finally gets me back...

[ Comment by SpeedShift am: 10 Feb : 04:02 ]

LOL @ starkraving

It is looking good.
Cant wait for TD to be over so i can know what major issues(if any) there are.
( I only use windows at work, so i have to be sure it is semi safe before i load it on the work pc)

[ Comment by Codenomics am: 10 Feb : 15:38 ]

Oh yeah! Nice progress guys (have been messing with KDE4 and XFCE and it made me realise how important this project is to windoze). Good going, can't wait to try and break things

[ Comment by H!ATO am: 10 Feb : 16:17 ]

starkraving: It's pretty easy to make a new menu with the shutdown options on it, there are actions in the link creation config that will do the various things such as hibernate and so on. For example.

[ Comment by Nutter am: 10 Feb : 19:46 ]

Also it is now possible to define another action for a button on right click, so you could have a custom menu with all the shutdown commands as Action commands, and have the main button as your most frequently used shutdown command

[ Comment by pixol am: 10 Feb : 22:21 ]

So, I presume that someone will eventually tells us when and where from to download Release TD6. While it is nice to interactively report bugs and exchange comments live in the IRC, I would like to start testing a few minutes here and there over 2 or 3 days.

Thanks and looking forward TD6.

[ Comment by gsal am: 11 Feb : 10:43 ]

The build will be updated on our wiki, and available to all whether or not they attend TD6. Although we would appreciate as many who can make it this year, due to the big changes that have been made.

[ Comment by pixol am: 11 Feb : 12:24 ]

I use Sharp Enviro 0,75 TD5 In win Xp Pro.
Cpu 1,4Ghz
Ram 256Mb
and it works beter and faster than explorer.
I come by with that release.

Ps. sorry for my bad english.

[ Comment by Maksim am: 12 Feb : 15:21 ]

The one little thing that irritates me about SharpE is how long it takes for the menus to open. Something to do with caching the program icons, if I remember correctly. Would it be possible to have one of the services create an icon cache in the background that maybe gets updated every 10 minutes or so if anything has changed?

[ Comment by Nutter am: 12 Feb : 20:01 ]

I had this idea flying for some time now,
still some issues on how to code this properly and how to exchange the date between service and menu (different applications)

[ Comment by Billi Berserker am: 12 Feb : 23:24 ]

Now I have to admit that I haven't updated for a little while because I got sick of having to redo my entire desktop every time, but one thing that still *really* bugs me about the SharpMenu is to do with the Start Menu

- If I move over with any sort of diagonal movement at all, I often shift from one main folder to another, losing all the flyouts in the process.
- If I click on any of the menu items that normally have a flyout action on them, I lose everything and it launches an Explorer window of that folder.

What I would much rather is the following:

- If I just mouse over a menu item with a flyout it should do what it does and have a small delay while it waits for me to choose my next selection. *But*, as soon as there is one flyout past any menu item prior, the prior menu item should be considered locked somehow so that I need to purposefully mouse over another sibling menu item to the prior one. Since it has the delay it will still have the current flyouts open for a brief while, then if I don't move my mouse back the new flyouts will open instead and I'll correctly be starting a new menu drill-down
- If I click on any menu item with a flyout, it should spawn the flyout immediately, rather than launch an Explorer window. Since it's now possible to have right-click behaviours on menu items, if no other action is explicitly set on a menu item then that's when the Explorer window should open, when I right-click on the menu item.

I apologize if I'm complaining about something that's already fixed, but it's been bugging me for a while now so I'm glad I got it off my chest... :p

[ Comment by starkraving am: 13 Feb : 07:12 ]

Will try to improve the menu issues for TD6,
might give you a reason to redo your SharpE setup again :P

[ Comment by Billi Berserker am: 13 Feb : 16:52 ]

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