Re: GNOME Online Accounts 3.34 won't have documents support

(Hopping on to desktop-devel@ to follow up to this)

Jeremy Bicha wrote on 23/01/2019 8:21 pm:
A few months ago, I talked with mpt about GNOME Online Accounts being
added to Ubuntu's version of gnome-initial-setup. I believe his
opinion was that the app itself should offer the "add a new account"
feature instead of the Initial Setup or Settings apps.

Yes. This was for two main reasons. First, gnome-initial-setup is pretty
much the worst possible time to expect someone to know which accounts,
if any, are useful to configure. At that point, someone is unlikely to
know even what apps are preinstalled, let alone which of them they’ll
want to use, let alone which of them use GOA. For example, even if
someone knew that Firefox is preinstalled, and knew in advance that
they wanted to use Firefox rather than Chrome or Opera or another
browser, and knew that Firefox integrates with Pocket, so they set up
a Pocket GOA account from gnome-initial-setup … Even if all those stars
aligned, eventually they’d discover that g-i-s had wasted their time,
because Firefox doesn’t integrate with GOA.

The second reason is more relevant to this discussion: It’s not sensible
for any app to be beholden to GOA for its account setup in the first
place. This in turn has many factors:

*   Many of the apps, that Gnome users spend their time using, also run
    in other environments where GOA doesn’t exist. So the developer has
    to do their own account UI for those platforms anyway.

*   As demonstrated by Michael Gratton in this discussion, app vendors
    can’t rely on GOA including the account type and service type they
    need in any particular release. This is impractical if they don’t
    read desktop-devel-list@ frequently, or if their release schedule
    doesn’t happen to coincide with Gnome’s, or if it doesn’t happen to
    allow time for suddenly introducing their own account UI because
    somewhere someone altered a selection of “default apps”.

*   For some reason that isn’t clear to me, GOA cares what you use each
    account for, rather than merely recording which apps the user has
    granted access to each account. Why was there such a thing as
    “Documents support” in GOA in the first place? This suggests that if
    Facebook or Google or Microsoft announced and released a new chat
    app XYZ tomorrow, which integrated with their usual account
    system, it couldn’t use your Facebook or Google or Microsoft account
    stored in GOA, because GOA wouldn’t include “XYZ support”.

*   Even if GOA does contain both the account and the toggle relevant to
    a particular app, the app may have settings that are
    account-specific, but which GOA does not include (for example,
    “which folder should sent messages be filed in” or “which words
    should be muted in this timeline”). In those cases the app needs
    per-account settings UI anyway, resulting in a weird bifurcation.

*   The combination of those reasons, plus all those apps that use
    accounts of types that GOA doesn’t provide in the first place,
    reinforces a mental model where GOA is generally not where people
    expect to find account UI.

None of that is to say that GOA shouldn’t exist. It has the potential to
save people time. “I set up an account in App A. Now it will be quicker
to use the same account in App B.” Anything more than that is noise.


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