Re: #4 on ToDo list: make the top panel prettier

2009/1/19 Brian Fleeger <brianfleeger yahoo com>

From: Owen Taylor <otaylor redhat com>
To: Brian Fleeger <brianfleeger yahoo com>
Cc: Gnome List <gnome-shell-list gnome org>
Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2009 11:00:33 PM
Subject: Re: #4 on ToDo list: make the top panel prettier

On Sun, 2009-01-18 at 19:14 -0800, Brian Fleeger wrote:
>> [...] Biggest suggestions are: taller panel (~43 pxls, give or take);smaller (16

>> pxl) notification icons with sufficient space between them (avoiding
>> crowding); stacked clock and action widgets; possible analogue clock
>> widget/eye candy.  (Reference: pillaged ideas from Hylke Bons' blog
>> )
>Well, the person writing the code gets to pick the ideas. :-)

Absolutely!  I am just making some friendly suggestions, based on some observations of where (in my opinion) Gnome could improve. :-)  You guys are doing a great job and I really like where Gnome-shell is so far.

>> I have one question: with the part of the top panel next to the
>> activities button empty, are there any plans to use global menus to
>> more effectively use that wide open space?  Is it going to go fallow?
>> Although the issue of task management and app launching has yet to be
>> resolved, I cannot help but think you would either want to put a task
>> manager or app launcher there, or use it for some type of global
>> menu.  [...]
>There is certainly a disaster going on when you have a full screen
>maximized browser, and you have:
>Top panel
>Title bar
>Toolbar-like-page header

Don't forget the bottom panel and its task-list taking up space at the bottom of the screen (at least in the "traditional" gnome layout) 

>So thoughts about how we simplify the top of the screen are definitely
>needed. I have some opinion that the global menu bar is pretty tied to
>the application-centric model of the Macintosh .. it's not entirely
>clear to me that you can go to the global menu bar without adopting that
>model wholesale. Which would be a pretty major change to the way the
>desktop works.

I think I understand your meaning, in that putting a global menu in the top panel necessitates putting the task-list or app launchers somewhere else -- which is how the Apple dock was born.  It is a slippery slope, but I think Gnome could tred it if it used the WIndow-picker applet from Netbook Remix to manage open windows, and put it on the top panel.  For launching apps, I still favor the "Activity" overlay.

Regarding Gnome's poor use of vertical space, a lot could be saved if Gnome used the following pattern instead: N05/3210742468/sizes/l/in/photostream/
That looks very nice!

Top panel = menu bar = task list
Why bother separating the systray and window icons? If we're trying to save space and simplify the interface, they can really be merged together.

Title bar = tabs


Toolbar-like-page header

Note, using window picker can obviate the need of a bottom panel at all, be it AWN-style or traditional.  As for moving tabs to the window manager level -- I just don't know how difficult that would be for you programers to acheive, even if you wanted to.  This layout reduces the vertical spacers from six (including bottom panel) down to three, and really simplifies the top of the screen.  These solutions might seem overly simplistic, but I am simply approaching this like a mechanic in a shop; using a, b, and c user interfaces to solve problems x, y, and z. 
It's possible if the community makes an effort. If necessary, I can commit time to patching applications.

(Alternatively, we could add some hackish magic into GtkNotebook and possibly make it work without patching any applications.)

I know this is usually a pretty quiet list-serve, so I don't want to clog your in-boxes!  Just had some ideas and wanted to put them out there...  Anyway, my idea-spring has run dry...


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One thing I've noticed when watching family and friends is that people are confused when they can't find certain options (the ones that appear under the right-click menu) by left clicking. Menus on Mac OS X don't differentiate between right and left clicks and I suggest that we do the same.


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