Re: [Usability] An extended default applications dialog (Christian Neumair)

I think Christian's idea is long over due and is excellent. I do have some suggestions from an end user point of view, though.

1. Make a return to default button. This way if the user wants to try a different program to open something and dislikes it they can revert to the default program again.

2. Have a way for default program to  set by the Distribution of Linux. I think if you could allow the various Linux versions to set what they want as default then your idea might go further to being accepted. An example would be Fedora 6 they use Firefox as their default browser, whereas Suse might use Konquerer. It would also make it easier for the user if this were to be implemented because then when they install Mplayer plugin for that browser the default file types (flash, java, and so on) would be set already and they would just need to set Mplayer for the streaming media.

3. Have a "suggested programs to use" with a brief, clear, explanation of what the program does, example: "GIMP - used for veiwing and modifying image files, the alternative  of Adobe PhotoShop."   This would help with the comment that someone made "  Vector graphics != raster graphics (but try explaining that to a random user). I don't want to view svg files in the GIMP, I want to view *all* vector graphics in Inkscape. Would vector graphics be exposed as a top level type? it's clearly a sensible group of file types." . Then if someone wants to edit a svg file they have a vague idea of what to use to view the file.  There is a lot of programs that do the same thing (basically) and this would be a huge help to someone just starting with Linux to decipher what is supposed to be launching in the first place. 

On Sun, 2007-01-28 at 12:00 -0500, usability-request gnome org wrote:
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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: An extended default applications dialog (Christian Neumair)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 16:04:55 +0100
From: Christian Neumair <chris gnome-de org>
Subject: Re: [Usability] An extended default applications dialog
To: Kai Willadsen <kaiw itee uq edu au>
Cc: usability gnome org
Message-ID: <1169996695 5218 9 camel localhost localdomain>
Content-Type: text/plain

Am Samstag, den 20.01.2007, 08:46 +1000 schrieb Kai Willadsen:
> > Again, if the categorisation is done well, and thought out there is
> no
> > reason that it can't work (in my opinion). Christian's mock-up is a
> good
> > solution, someone may be able to do better. As I said above, in his
> > mock-up the individual file-types would be tucked away in the
> exceptions
> > bit, so most users wouldn't need to see them.
> > 
> > If you haven't seen Christian's mock-up there is a link somewhere in
> > here:
> It's an interesting approach, and it addresses a use case that isn't
> addressed by the current system. I personally feel that corner-cases
> are
> likely to interfere with it working properly, but that's a pure hunch.

I'm extremely interested in such feedback! :)
The categories I made are rather random and just a list from the top of
my head. I asked people to come up with their own ideas, but I didn't
get any feedback until now.

Note that we may also add code for setting Image Viewer and Image Editor
separately, and let the user pick whether he wants to edit or view them
from the context menu, as we have gthumb and eog as viewers.

We may also allow that each MIME type can register against a category.

> IMO, enumerating all of the specific file types that people are likely
> to care about is going to get ugly. The expectations about what file
> types are easily configurable (i.e., without getting into exceptions)
> may well be long and somewhat confusing. For example:

> * PDF files are probably a top-level item, PS files are not. They
> clearly come under the same category; what would it be called?

I'm not sure, really. PS + PDF are really an own class of documents. You
usually use acroread (PDF only) or evince. Having both a viewer and an
editor option for this may also be useful.

Note that we could also add an extra button for dealing with
uncategorized file types.

> * Photos != jpg/gif files downloaded from the web. These are actually
> probably the same file type, which is fun.


> * Vector graphics != raster graphics (but try explaining that to a
> random user). I don't want to view svg files in the GIMP, I want to
> view
> *all* vector graphics in Inkscape. Would vector graphics be exposed as
> a
> top level type? it's clearly a sensible group of file types.

Yeah, that is a good idea I've also been considering.

> * All office types are sensible top-level types, but I suspect that
> users (particularly people running MS Office under wine) are more
> likely
> to think in terms of OpenOffice files vs. MS Office files than in
> terms
> of Spreadsheet, Word Processor, etc.

We can offer to change the association for a whole set of categories if
the user switches to an application that is elegible for multiple
associated categories.

> I realise I'm being pretty negative here, and I feel bad because the
> interface looks so nice and elegant, but the corner cases seems to be
> so
> incredibly messy.

You're just asking the right questions.

> I could attach a screenshot of file-roller telling me
> it can be my default word processor if that helps. (I assume it's
> trying
> to claim that it can open the gzipped xml files used by various office
> components.) 

That's just a problem with the current category code which is really an
ugly hack. Ignore it for now.

More feedback + ideas, please! :)

Tim McConnell <tmick1 earthlink net>

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