Feature proposal: blank slate for applications


When you run a program to create a new piece of data (document, image,
audio), you often get presented with a blank slate that has some default
configuration, as in the page size for print-oriented media. You must
then figure out the program's conventions for making that default blank
slate into something actually useful.

Also, programs have different ways of offering you templates that you
can start with instead of using a blank page.  Sometimes these go into a
"File / New from template" command, sometimes in more obscure places,
but this is far from standardized.

A program may even offer other ways of creating a new document:  from
the contents of the clipboard, from a scan or a screenshot, etc.

The purpose of the "blank slate" scheme is to gather all the ways to
"get started", into a good UI pattern.


Federico Mena Quintero

Involved parties

GTK+ team
Application authors

Current status

I've described this in https://live.gnome.org/DocumentCentricGnome/Blank
%20slate%20helps%20you%20get%20started (sorry about the ugly URL).

This is in an early state; right now that wiki page has a description of
the problem, some examples of current practice, and some preliminary

The question is whether we should provide a standard, GtkBlankSlate
megawidget that applications then use as a basis for their "startup
window".  This would have two sections:

   Create                   |  Recently-used
    [mode1] [mode2] [mode3] |  +--------------------+
                            |  | foo.doc            |
                            |  |                    |
                            |  |                    |
                            |  |                    |
                            |  |                    |
                            |  +--------------------+

On the left, the "Create" side has options to create a new document in
the various ways that the program may allow it.  The GIMP may want
"empty image", "from clipboard", "from scanner", etc.  LibreOffice may
want "text document", "spreadsheet", etc., plus some templates.

On the right, the "Recently-used" list lets the user get started with a
file he already used, without having to go through the extra step of the
File/Open command.

This megawidget is not the right thing for all applications.  For
example, in the wiki page listed above, people wrote about starting new
games or loading saved games.  Games may want to have different screens
but with a similar spirit.  For these cases, we can publish well-known
style class names so that apps can say, "this label has the same look as
the big 'Create' label in the standard GtkBlankSlate".


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