[PATCH 0/2] network-manager-applet: more user-friendly network order

Hello NM developers,

I have been experimenting with NetworkManager's source and I have a few
ideas for improvements. Apologies for any poor-quality code, this is my
first time looking at NM source and also my first time hacking on GTK+.

My first idea is to change the sort order of (wireless) network
connections in nm-applet. Right now, this is the current behaviour:
1. Connections are sorted by 1) networks the user has connected to in
   the past, 2) secure networks, 3) insecure networks -- and
   alphabetically within each group.
2. The top five networks in this list are selected and placed in the
   main menu, while the rest go within a submenu.
3. Within the main menu, networks are sorted alphabetically; similarly,
   within the submenu, networks are sorted alphabetically.

This double-sorting behaviour makes it unclear exactly which five
networks are being shown to the user; I never quite figured out which
networks were being shown until I looked at the source (since it seemed
almost alphabetical, but not quite). Furthermore, when a large number of
connections are shown, the connections with existing configuration that
the user likely wants to actually connect to are mixed with some random
other names (which are near the beginning of the alphabet, and so likely
appear first).

My proposal, then, is to just use the first sort and remove the second
(alphabetical) sorts. This works surprisingly well, doing a much better
job of showing me the networks I am really interested in. The main
caveat is that the main menu now appears unsorted, which may be
confusing to someone who doesn't care much about which networks they
have already connected to. So, I have also added a small icon to
indicate networks which have been configured in the past, which makes it
clearer what is going on. I have chosen to place the icon to the right,
though it could go to the left of the connection name as well.

Here are two screenshots to describe the behaviour.
Original: http://elfery.net/files/images/nm-old-sort.png
Proposed: http://elfery.net/files/images/nm-new-sort.png

You can see that there are two networks I care about, but with the
original code my second network appears at the bottom of the list; it
seems unclear how network-manager is selecting networks to appear in the
main menu. It is also unclear which networks I have connected to before
(and thus, which ones network-manager may try to auto-connect to).
[You'll notice that the signal strength does not match the notification
area icon, that appears to be an unrelated bug...]

I have included two patches: the first changes sorting order and the
second adds the icon. Any comments/suggestions on this (particularly on
which icon/indicator should be used if any)?

David Williams-King

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