Re: application indicators

On Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:25 PM, Colin Walters <walters verbum org> wrote:
On the subject of the Ubuntu application indicators work:

First, +5000 that this change is being driven by designers, and +1000
that new useful code is being written.  There are definite problems
being solved here.

Now, both of those said, I have two issues I'd like to bring up.

* In the big picture, is this something we're recommending all
applications to use?  Some?  Only ones which send notifications?

I'd like to take the opportunity to talk about apps that may not fit
the AppInd model.

I agree this is an area of much needed clean-up, so I appreciate the
work. Unfortunately, I'm also the developer of Zapplet
( which I suspect doesn't
cleanly fit the AppInd model.  Zapplet provides notifications for
Zenoss ( events.  When an event shows up in
Zenoss, Zapplet displays a notification for this server.  Clicking on
the notification icon brings up a window near the notification icon
where someone can view all outstanding events and modify them easily
without having to go to a browser.  See the attached photo for an example of the status icon.  See for more screenshots.

Currently we generate a StatusIcon on the fly by rendering into a
pixbuf.  This icon contains the color of the highest event severity
and the number of events of this severity.  Using the AppInd model, we
would be required to generate roughly 5k icons just for this display
(5 status colors x numbers 0-999).

We also have the problem of event storms (100s of events).  Rendering
events in a TreeView allows us to show lots of data in an easy,
scrollable way.  Using the AppInd model, we'd be required to have a
menu, which is entirely unwieldy for events as a whole.  This is true
for a number of reasons:
  1. Menus with 100s of rows (events) suck
  2. Events show a bunch of data (severity, count, hostname,
component, summary, first time, last time, etc).  I can't really fit
this crucial info in a single menu item.
  3. With a menu I can't perform actions on multiple events
simultaneously.  This is a critical feature.
  4. Menu's can't perform sorting (for instance if I wanted to sort
based on event time)

Finally, Zapplet is also intentionally multi-platform.  We run on
Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, et al.  Its crucial that whatever
methods we chose work on all platforms.  I don't know the plans to
make AppInd work on Win/Mac/Lin/etc, but it is important to me.

So, that is the long winded way to say "my app doesn't cleanly fit the
AppInd model."  So what am I looking for?  Two things.  First, a way
to raise issues with AppInd early on to take our needs into
consideration. Second, suggestions on how I could better improve my
user interface while still fitting into the AppInd model.

Thanks for taking the time to read!  I look forward to the feedback.


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