Some thoughts on xfce4 design

Jasper Huijsmans jasper at
Sun Sep 29 10:30:05 CEST 2002

On Sun, 29 Sep 2002 10:39:00 +0530
Biju Chacko <botsie at> wrote:

> > This must be seen separate from the user interface issues with the
> > dialogs. We can still keep the distinction between right and left
> > panel controls and the central panel. New items are then inserted
> > before or after the central panel in the list. 
> I don't like this. It's an unnecessary complication. Treating the
> desktop buttons as just another PItem simplifies the code and  the UI
> and adds flexibility to the panel

Well, the thing is, the ends of the panel are a bit special. I think
people tend to put special things at the start and the end (like the
clock, an exit button, trashcan). Just adding new items to the end would
seriously affect these arrangements.

Perhaps adding a 'position' option to the dialog would be sufficient. It
also feels strange to add an empty icon to the panel (as happens now
when you increase the number of controls) and then change it to a
desktop switcher.

Ideas about how this could work are very welcome. Designing a
good configuration interface is not easy.

> > Alternatively we can have one value for the number of items and one
> > for the position of the central panel (if not hidden) and add new
> > items at the end of the list. I don't think this is very intuitive
> > for the user though.
> > 
> > There are some complications if we allow an item without a popup
> > menu to replace one without. The user would then lose the menu. I
> > think it might be wiser to only allow special builtin objects like
> > the central panel or a separator (I really like that feature from
> > Eugenia's screenshot) to not have a popup menu. This means there has
> > to be a separate way to add these special objects to the panel,
> > presumably from the global dialog.
> As Olivier said, a warning should be sufficient. If you also allow
> easy(perhaps dnd) rearrangement of popups then it won't be a problem.
> The user could merge/move popups or redistribute popup icons before
> making them disappear. In addition, removing a popup shouldn't destroy
> it's settings, so that adding a popup at the same position will
> restore the same settings. Thus the user is pretty much protected from
> losing too many settings.

Well, I don't know about that (the DND thing). It sounds too complicated
for poor little me to implement. My idea is to not lose settings when
still in the dialog, but after that it's gone.


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