Re: Making a phone call with GNOME

On Thu, 15 Mar 2018 at 10:39:39 +0000, Bob Ham wrote:
My colleague François Téchené recently wrote a blog post³ proposing a
unified UX using a "feature"-based approach rather than an
application-based approach.  This proposal comes from the ideas of
Ethical Design⁴.  The technological underpinnings of this UX are already
largely extant in Telepathy.

Unfortunately, the technological underpinnings of that UX are also a
large part of why Telepathy is no longer actively developed. Designing
an abstraction across protocols that are not "the same shape" is really
hard. Maintaining that abstraction in Telepathy soaked up a lot of
developer time, and the need to keep that abstraction API-stable made it
disproportionately hard to add new features (which is why, as previously
noted, Telepathy had trouble keeping up with "modern XMPP": adding a
new feature required touching at least three projects, and making it
API-stable often required investigating multiple protocols to make sure
the API would fit them all).

(For instance, the call-centric design of telephony and the
non-patent-encumbered subset of SIP supported by Telepathy are unlike the
roster-centric design of XMPP, while the hard division between one-to-one
messages and chatrooms in XMPP is unlike the variable-number-of-users
"switchboards" in the now-defunct MSNP.)

If the UX that your users expect is very much "the same shape" for a
pair of protocols, then perhaps it makes sense to have an abstraction
across those protocols; but is that really the case for all of them?


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