New to the list

Jasper Huijsmans jasper at
Fri Apr 8 21:48:40 CEST 2005

Joe Crawford wrote:
>>>I've been involved in a few open source projects, and thought I might
>>>be able to benefit xfce. (Which I already think is doing phenomenally
>>Thanks and we will certainly appreciate your input.
>>Well, luckily Xfce is written in plain C ;-) Anyway, doing mockups
>>(perhaps using glade) or simply telling us what could be improved can
>>already help a lot.
> I can use glade, for sure. You use gtk2 right?  I have many gtk2
> interfaces with glade.
> Worse comes to worse, I can just use gimp/inkscape to mock up stuff.
>>I was actually hoping some more people would be interested in reviewing
>>Xfce user interfaces and make sure they are consistent and usable. And
>>pretty ;-)
> I'm more concerned about usability than prettyness, but the visual
> layout doesn't strongly affect usability. Often prettyness and
> usability go hand in hand.

Agreed. The prettyness remark was a bit of a joke, although a visually 
pleasing interface is more comfortable to work with.

>>We don't really have any user interface guidelines, but we generally
>>loosely follow GNOME HIG recommendations. For me the most important
>>deviation is the spacing around dialogs, which I find a bit too big in
>>GNOME (12px), so we generally use the gtk default, which I believe is 6px.
> I agree. Actually, in many ways I think Xfce is more intuitive than
> gnome. There's no reason it can't be better right across the board,
> (while still being super fast). Better preplanning of layout and
> interface doesn't cost any cpu cycles.... :)
> I do really love the Gnome HIG book, however, I think of them as loose
> guidelines, not absolute rules. No set of rules ever works perfectly
> in all situations... that would require pretty heavy AI. We need to
> use best judgement, and refer to HIG whenever possible.

Being in line with the GNOME HIG has the additional advantage of making 
GNOME apps fit in naturally with Xfce.

>>I expect there will be a lot of new interfaces that need to be designed
>>for 4.4, so ideas about that are more than welcome.
>>        Jasper
> Awesome. Where could I get some information about things that need to
> be thought about?

*Cough* Ehm, yeah, that is the weak part of my plan... ;-) We have only 
just started with the 4.4 development cycle and I don't think we have a 
clear idea of what will be in there eventually.

I have started some work on the panel redesign and I'm trying to have a 
bit of a discussion on the Xfce wiki: . Most of it is API 
discussion for a new plugin system, but i did create a User Interface 

There are a number of things that will require new interfaces:

+ Multiple panels. Taskbar and iconbox will (most likely) simply be
   other instances of the panel. This means configuration can no longer
   be global. So, how do we differentiate between different panels? How
   do we access each panel's configuration.

+ Better multihead/Xinerama support. An extension of the first point;
   the multiple panels can be arranged over multiple monitors. How do we
   expose that in the user interface?

+ New external plugins require a new interface for adding and removing
   items. My current idea is to use an interface like the toolbar editors
   for firefox or Terminal, i.e. a dialog with the available icons that
   can be dragged to the panel. In the same way .desktop files may be
   added to the panel to create a launcher.

Hmm, I'll add that summary to the wiki ;-)

Like Erik said the thunar file manager effort has been gathering 
information for the design. Check out and perhaps 
the mailing list archive.

Other developers will have some plans of their own for what they'd like 
to do for 4.4, but the big picture is far from clear yet. It is a good 
opportunity to try and fix all those big or little annoyances that the 
current Xfce has, though.

There was some consensus that it would be nice to aim for a 4.4 release 
in August. We're not very good at roadmaps and schedules though ;-)

> One thing I think needs a lot of work is the default settings of Xfce.
> They could definitely be a lot better, I'll make some reccomendations
> along with the reasoning for them.
> This will be fun!

I look forward to that. Welcome on board ;-)


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