Re: Gnome-shell and moving across the menus

On Sun, 2010-01-17 at 17:53 +0100, Alexandre Kaspar wrote
> I wondered if there was a way to move between all those menus in the  
> overview mode.
> It's great to be able to access the overview and come back from it  
> just by hitting the Window key (or some other combination of keys).
> But then, you're stuck in the overview since you must use your mouse  
> to select things.
> Here, there are two particular movements which could be (and should be  
> in my opinion) added :
> 1. move between the menu items, for example, <Tab> to switch between  
> the menus (Seach, Application, Shortcuts, Recent files), and then the  
> directional keys to select the menu item we want to use (within the  
> currently selected menu).
> 2. move between the workspaces (and possibly add some or delete some)
> Actually, the most important one which needs to be implemented is the  
> first one as the second one is easily done while staying in the  
> desktop mode where we can use <Ctrl><Alt>Left/Right to naviguate.

You might want to try out the patch in:

That makes control-alt-arrows work in the overview as well, and adds
some other keynav features.

It doesn't address keynav in the "Dash" (the thing on the left of the
Activities Overview)

There's a distinction that I think is important to keep in mind:

 * Eventually, every element of the user interface must be keyboard
   navigable, so that, for example, a visually impaired user using a
   screen reader can find out what's where and isn't excluded from any

 * But navigating linearly through the user interface is seldom how
   we would expect a user to accomplish a task with the keyboard,
   whether visually impaired or not. In many cases, we'd like the
   user to use search.

So, if I go to the overview, and I see that the 9'th item down in my
list of "Recent Items" is a text file called "Meeting Notes", I could

 - hit tab 3 times
 - hit down arrow 8 times
 - hit return

Or I could type "meet", then hit return. (*)

Both of these types of keynav are important and great to have work on,
it's just worth keeping in mind which is which.

> ((Note :
>   it would be great to have the possibility to naviguate also in the  
> up-down direction so that we can have a lot more things in the session  
> and still be able to use them all easily and fast (as long as we  
> remember where it is).
> Actually, we are stuck to the left and right neighboring workspaces.
> That's not too bad, but it looks like a waste of space since it would  
> be easy (looks like) to add the capability of moving up and down.
> Moreover, that would really give us the impression that we are in an  
> open area (add to it the fact to be able to cross the border to come  
> back on the other side of the area and that would be perfect !).
> ))
> To come back to the internal overview key movements, it is missing  
> since we may all love mice, but I don't love touchpads as I do love  
> mice...
> On a netbook, it's better to use keys, and it's faster in my opinion.
> And anyway, what would be the best way to try implementing those  
> behaviours by myself (in C / Java / Javascript or whatever) ?
> I would like to invest some of my time in gnome-shell. I suppose the  
> sources are available on some svn/git/hg. Is there a documentation of  
> it or only the inline code documentation ? is the main starting point
for development. And certainly we encourage jumping on IRC and asking

We don't have a lot of very detailed ideas of how keynav should work in
the overview, so one of the first things would just be to come up with a
detailed plan of how it should work. That could be done as a wiki page

In terms of implementation, what I'd do to start off with is look at how
keynav currently is done for the search results and extend that. There's
some recent work in the MX toolkit (the basis for our ST toolkit) on
adding standard keynav support, and that may eventually be the way we
want to go, but I think porting bits between MX and ST is not an easy
way to get your feet wet in gnome-shell development!

- Owen

(*) Annoyingly, if I type "meet", "OpenOffice Impress" is the first
search result, because the description in the desktop file is:

"Create and edit presentations for slideshows, meeting and Web pages by
using Impress."

So, there's an extra down-arrow. Not sure what to do about that - when
the match in the second section is clearly way better than the match in
the first section, should we reorder the sections, or is that confusing?

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