Re: Contribution

Calum Benson wrote:
I don't know many "successful" Windows applications that don't broadly
follow the guidelines, though, apart from games.  (And Office, which is
a slightly special case, because it's where MS have always pushed their
latest UI developments first... but the successful ones all find their
way back into Windows and the guidelines eventually.)  Of course, your
definition of successful may be different from mine :)

A mental experiment... Imagine John Smith who takes a sheet of paper, writes "2+2=4" and adds below: "The Great John's Guideline". A year later, I do some "2+2=4" calculations on the other side of the planet, not knowing about John existence. Do I follow John's guideline?

I would say it's more the case that the HIG has been part of their
professional growth, to the extent that pretty much all the core GNOME
developers are now familiar with the parts relevant to them.  Prior to
the HIG, many of the developers may have been capable of writing
applications that were usable in isolation (although, frankly, some of
them weren't), but I would say the HIG has helped them to write
applications that are more usable as part of a consistent, coherent

This means that the HIG has also some educational value. Do not want to quarrel about HIG anymore :)

So here is that principle that I think make Google successful: reduce
number of UI controls and expand application functionality while
preserving UI/functionality coherency. I think that consumer electronics
inherently follow this principle (TV, video recorders, phones, etc.)
Well, I somewhat disagree :)  In general, it's just always not possible
to continue to reduce the number of controls while also expanding
functionality-- you often just end up with the typical nightmare
VCR/phone/remote control scenario where each control has multiple,
unmemorable context-dependent functions.

What you can certainly strive for is a simple UI that does a few things
well, progressively discloses more complex functionality if need be, and
interacts richly and predictably with the other (hopefully also simple)
UIs around it... much like the original Unix command line philosophy, in

The Google example you cite is a perfect example of that: their search
page user interface is so simple because it has precisely one function,
and the default behaviour and inherent complexity (as defined by the
search algorithm they use) is completely transparent-- and in most cases
irrelevant-- to the user.  If you head for the advanced search page, the
UI is a whole lot more complex, albeit still clean and well-designed,
but most users never need to see that.  That's pretty much the current
GNOME philosophy in a nutshell, too.
Another mental experiment...
Imagine a commander and his soldiers at a war. To be effective our commander cannot use normal language, so he *reduces* it to a certain number of command words. Also, he wants to *expand* a number of his soldiers, because he needs a manpower to win. At the same time he cannot use too many soldiers (or too small number of words) because commands and reactions may become not *coherent* - there will be a mess.

How does this metaphor apply to desktops? A commander is a developer, commands are widgets, soldiers are application functions.

So this, say, "Gideon Principle" is like a path to an effective control. Quite possibly some theory exists about this, but I don't have time and desire to find references :)

My main thought about Gnome is very general: too much bureaucracy and politics, not enough technology and real activity ;)

Well, I don't see it like that at all (although there are certainly
times when more cool stuff is happening than others, but that's just
natural), but maybe I'm just too used to working for bureacracy-laden
big companies :)  Which other large open source projects would you say
are doing things better?

It's FreeBSD, and I may try to explain why I think so ;)

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