re: Menus (was Re: FAQ in postscript; aieee!)

At 09:13 PM 11/24/98 +0100, Jochem Huhmann wrote:

>IMHO a complete new style of menus is a really bad thing, if it would
>only work with one toolkit (Gnome, Gtk, GNUstep, whatever). I can
>imagine a typical Linux desktop in the near future, where users mix
>Gnome-, KDE- and GNUstep apps. [...]

This is a good point. Inconsistency across widget sets is a big useability
problem in X, in general, and with 3 competing-yet-interoperating desktops
on Linux, we're in danger of perpetuating the problem. Of course, we've got
the problem anyway, with things other than menus, across those 3 desktops.
The question I guess would be, does adding something to gnome that makes
gnome more useable (IMHO), but isn't compatible across desktops, increase
overall usability of the Linux GUI, or not? Will typical users be mixing
apps from different desktop systems?

>The Right Thing would be a protocol and a kind of menu-server or
>menu-manager, that handles menus for every app that asks for it. If the
>protocol is fixed, this menu manager could be written with Gtk/Gnome or
>Qt/KDE or GNUstep or Motif or tcl/tk and the calling app couldn't even
>tell the difference. Menus (and toolbars) are quite limited GUI-wise, 
>they just need to display some text or images, sub-menus, radio-buttons 
>and shortcuts. All this could be expressed in a quite simple protocol, 
>or am I completely wrong?

That's an interesting idea... Perhaps apps could define their menus in a
transparent & portable format (eg, XML), and communicate with a simple
server (via sockets, or some other cross-desktop-compatible method); the
server would use a desktop-specific engine for rendering. Maybe do
something like the Mac's underlying command number system for passing
menu/toolbar selections back to the calling app.

But this would require rewrites of every app, desktop, and toolkit out
there -- which, realistically, isn't going to happen.

So it's an interesting idea, but I think it's more in line with my
ambitions to work on adding good stuff to gnome than to try to influence
the design of a bunch of other projects that I know nothing about... :)

Which is not to say that consistency isn't a good thing, but I think that
ultimately consistency across desktops just isn't going to happen, whether
gnome has good (IMHO) menus or not.


[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]