Re: Vbf:Ang: [GOK] plan for GNOME 3.0 - please comment

You make some excellent points Mats and I agree about speed being an
important priority. It's amazing how fast some users can scan.

2009/10/12 Mats Lundälv <mats lundalv vgregion se>:
> - the selection button grid I envisage similar to a table component (in an
> office application) – possibly built on some existing one – where a regular
> grid with a certain number of rows and columns is set up – then the width of
> columns and hight of rows may be adjusted, cells may be joined, grouping
> options may be added etc.  – with a limited set of built-in focus navigation
> schemes (that may later be expanded). (I remember a button grid component
> like that in the good old NextStep development environment – is there
> something like that floating around in the Python universe ;-)

Well Maavis [1] ticks quite a few of your boxes but it's XUL +
javascript, with a Python server for some functionality. It is
deployed as a Firefox extension but could be ported to XUL Runner.

The vision is that Maavis will be a platform for creating new and
innovative styles of interaction by those with web-style technical
skills and yet provides very simple configuration for non technical
facilitators. An intermediary level of skill could easily be added for
using a GUI to configure cell layouts etc. So far we have a simple
touch UI and have just added switch support for research in schools.

I took the design approach that selection sets are created in XUL
(which is similar to HTML) + CSS + javascript. The idea being to use a
familiar declarative web style that gives great flexibility and has
low barrier to entry as far as technical skills are concern. However
this is not suitable for non technical facilitators who use a simple
file copying paradigm to setup resources (plus some text files that
will eventually become a GUI). The platform is rich enough to allow
the development of GUIs for editing selection sets, indeed work has
started in the form of a 'settings' UI . As experience has grown it's
clear that much can be abstracted into standard features available
from the higher levels. This is done by adding new XUL elements and
attributes as well as providing a small API for using from javascript.

The switch access we have added for Maavis school was designed to be
expandable from the simple linear scanning provided and to allow
spatial modes as well. This is yet to be proven though. Technically it
is a simple event driven state machine with the specifics of
navigation and selection/focus being provided by the layout code.
We've started with 1/2 switch auto/user scan with USB devices as
suggested by Simon Judge.

While Maavis has been developed on Windows XUL is naturally cross
platform and the platform specific areas have been localised. It uses
Outfox which is a local Python server, currently for voip integration
and switch input (via pygame). There is obviously scope for moving
functionality across the client/server divide but I would expect UI
and network services would stay on XUL client side as they are it's

I'd be very happy to discuss how Maavis could be used as we are keen
to have engaged users and contributors .



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