Re: Style: Universal vs. GNOME-specific

On Tue, 28 Jul 1998, John R Sheets wrote:

> Does anyone have an opinion on whether the style guide should
> differentiate between universal UI issues that could
> (potentially) apply to _any_ UI but that GNOME officially
> endorses, and issues that can only apply to GNOME?

If its one thing that i'll never be short on, it's opinions. :)

GNOME should be GNOME -- Its own flavor, its own personality, its own
character. Sure, there are common threads between all UI's, just the same
as every ice cream company in the world makes a Vanilla -- But given two
gallons of the stuff, you can still tell the difference.

> For example, a lot of the menu styles are quite common among all
> UI's, things such as the File and Help menu-placement, Quit/Exit
> being the last item in the File menu, etc.  These would be the
> low-profile (yet still every bit as important) issues that most
> UI programmers should already be familiar with, but may need a
> little clarification about where GNOME stands.

Yup. The standard File/Edit/View/Options/Help arrangement wont be leaving
us anytime soon. :)

> The GNOME-specific styles would be things like whether or not to
> have a foot/app menu for the common menu items that don't really
> belong under "File", or how to handle keybindings or CORBA or the
> Properties dialog(s), and would most likely be issues that
> programmers new to GNOME would not be familiar with.  So put
> those issues in a separate section.

An interesting idea.

> The point to separating these out is to help make comprehension
> of the style guide quicker & easier.  When you open it up for the
> first time, you skim through the Universal styles, nod your head,
> uh-huh, uh-huh, and then know to start really paying attention
> when you hit the GNOME section.  If you want to know what make
> GNOME "GNOME", you know right where to look.

An even better idea!

> Also, once the Universal section is written, it will pretty much
> stay the same.  It will contain the basics of good UI design,
> which won't change.  The GNOME-specific styles however will be
> subject to change, as new things are added (e.g. pie menus) and
> as GNOME matures and settles.
> Am I making sense?  Does anyone have a good reason why this is
> _not_ a good idea?

Ill take a stab at it, despite the fact that my fingers are one step shy
of bloody from typing so much today. :) 

In order to retain the coherence and consistancy of the desigm, its
important that things appear to be "Gnomeish" across the board -- Not
just in the details. Its a touchy area -- and such things really only
manifest themselves in the details. The same goes for visual consistancy.
Its vastly important, but somehwta intangible - Its only after youve used
an interface which lacks it, do you realize just how important it is. 

We certainly dont need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to the Style
Guide, thats for sure.  I like your idea. Infact, I like it alot. Rather
than build purely from scratch, start with a generic set of universally
expected/established guidelines, and then garnish the plate from there.

Hmm.:) These are the kinds of ideas I like. Graceful and efficient--
especially when such ideas replace brute-force methods of accomplishing
the same goals.


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