Re: inline system notifications

> I was just dealing with some notification stuff, looking at the Ubuntu
> thing versus libnotify - it seems a mess but is beside my point here.
> I think the FIrefox style of inline notification system has worked out
> pretty well as a way to inform people of events in the application
> that are "modal-ish".  And I was thinking that for gnome-shell you
> guys could look into something very similar for the shell.
> I did up a simple and quick mockup, using the existing gnome-panel
> because I can't seem to get gnome-shell to appear on my system yet.
> I'm in the middle of something else but also tried to put together an
> animated gif, flip book style, version to help explain (4 frames! 1
> per second!)
> The goal is to provide people with a modal-like dialog that has to do
> with the desktop / system itself.  Dialog with ( OK ) / ( Cancel )
> buttons suck and mostly because it's somewhat difficult for the user
> to understand where they came from.  I've tried to design these things
> a million times with a "operating system look" but it's not much use.
> What really works is when the dialog is actually connected to the
> system that needs attention.  The Mac does this with sheets and that's
> also another option that could work with this or instead of this.
> The inline system notification gives you a place to insert a desktop
> wide notification that doesn't get mixed in with the window manager
> and other windows and could only be raised by something like the shell
> itself.  I'll leave you guys to take it or leave it but figured since
> you're on a new path you could fix up some of the mistakes of the
> past.
> Ignore the obvious errors in wording, lack of matching battery icons,
> and old school panel.  You get the design quality you pay for, which
> is probably similar quality to when I was paid for it :)
> Cheers,
> ~ Bryan

This is one of the things I mean when I rant that window managers should
be cleverer and currently apply the bare minimum of usefulness. Thanks
for the awesome mockup.
There are piles of handy hints being set for windows, so I get the
suspicion this could even have legacy support with relatively little
fiddling, although optimal functionality would want some extra

This is the same direction phone interfaces are moving, and it really
does make sense. This way the message is there and obvious, but it stays
completely out of the way. Your mockup is a good non-modal dialog that
doesn't want to disappear, and the modal version could be implemented
with similar styling but appearing over the window client area instead
of pushing it away.
I suspect the same underlying technology and API calls could be used for
either system-wide messages or ones specific to particular child
windows, too :)

Non-modal dialogs today are a mess because the parent window is still
controllable but the dialog blocks access, rendering the functionality
useless. It's either that or the dialog can be stacked beneath its
parent, which is the worst thing any application could ever do.

Dylan McCall

PS: On a similar topic of making window management useful, here is that
other thing I find troublesome.

Having two places with window titles (the window list and the, err, real
window titles) is horrible. Window titles should all remain visible at
all times, but never duplicated. For example, when a window is stacked
above another window, the title bar for the bottom window should merge
with that of the top window (as in Fluxbox's tabs, but less rigid).
Needs mocking up, but with love and care it could be way easier to
follow than the current state with everything: "window is not physically
visible... scan window list which is organized following a completely
different pattern... which window was I looking for again?"

With GNOME Shell already hinting at it from the Activities view, windows
themselves could become more flexibly portable objects. Perhaps one
could drag a window (as in X drag and drop, not pushing the frame
around) to the panel if he wants to 'iconify' it. As for minimizing, I
for one think shading makes fine sense and could be applied rather
smoothly where necessary. Perhaps a smart choice would be making it
quick to throw windows between workspaces and studying which windows
people tend to minimize / why.

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