Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back Online & Humble thought about windecs and styles

It's been a VERY long time since my last post. I'm not a compulsive blogger you know. And I could add to defend my self that I've moved and could connect on the wifi of my neighbor until the walls were rebuild and then I had to struggle three months with a French provider called Free just to discover the owner of the flat did not get the phone cable installed and Free forgot to call me telling they couldn't find my line ! So even though it's more expansive I settled for FranceTelecom that get things done within a month. And here am I, happy to find my once lost extension to my brain : the Web !

So I'm sorry for vanishing without telling first, I never imagined it would last so loong ! It good to be back.
I had a short discution with Kwwii on irc earlier that gotmy mind filled with ideas about windec.

So I'll expose my humble opinion about what problems I face as a kde user concerning Windecs and kstyles configuration, and what ideas I've managed to come up with to adress this.

Keep in mind : I'm no developer but a mere graphic design student without any coding skills. I like to impress people with my linux box with nice styles and windecs and I value working on a clean and stylish Desktop environment. But I never get it to exactly look as I want it to despite all the options these themes usually feature.

Well, the reason why windecs an kstyles developers are filling settings panels for their work with so many options that it exceeds the size of my widescreen is that they understood that people ask for customization.

The thing is that few are able to produce windec and styles for kde since it requires technical knowledge. So a few people are triying to satisfy tons of users with a few windec and kstyles. And in the aim of satisfying most of them they create "meta-themes" with loads of options. But I for one am never totally satisfied with the windecs and kstyle i'm using, even tuned to death.

From that three problems can be identified that kde4 might be a good occasion to address :

- creating a windec or a style requires technical knowledge
- kstyles an windecs configuration panels are :
  1. depending on the developer's taste
  2. overcrowded with bazillion (sometimes useless) options that fail to give total satisfaction to some users
  3. inconsistent
- you have to configure each Windec/kstyle wich creates extra panels

By addressing the first problem, we resolve the others.

I.e, if there was a tool making it really easy to create a widec or a theme in the vein of beryl editor but cleaner (something smartly called like "Windec Maker" or "Style Maker" for example) anyone could build themes. You could make your own theme. And you would see personal themes appearing on the web.
There would be no need for big cluttered not-that-easy-to-deal-with meta-themes anymore and we'd get rid of overcrowded and inconsistent panels.

But we can take this further and resolve the third problem and at the same time give a more consistent feeling to Kde by giving specific guidelines for Windec so that their configuration could be handled only through a unique settings panel dedicated to that task. It would feature a predefined set of options the windec should comply with (plus a very limited set of options specific to the current windec in the case it has been coded and not created/edited through the Windec Maker)

I have an example of how things could work for example : you could define what corners are rounded or not : all corners, top corners, or none. and this would apply system-wide independently of the theme you choose.
Or you could even imagine something more extreme like "use buttons from the widget style instead of the ones specified by the windec".
This wouldn't be handled by the windec style. Instead, the style would inherit the properties you choose.

The benefit of this approach is that it simply avoids multiple configurations of the same element at different places like it's currently the case.

And to make things fit perfectly all themes you may create through these tools would hence comply with Kde guidelines.

Plus they could easily be packaged and distributed on kde-look !

This gives us :

- very consistent look and feel responding to some rules to avoid insanity
- one place to configure everything
- a simply and highly customizable look
- more content to share and download through KNewStuff to satisfy more users

Of course, this is just my POV as a Kde user with a big concern for looks and consistency.
I hope you've not been bored to death reading this ;)


Blogger Maxilys said...

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Blogger The E V A N G E L I S T said...

hm... nice thought... and... wonderful effort... all the best... :-)

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