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Notification UI Overhauled in KDE 4.10 (And a Plan For Modernized Notifications) 67

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the it's-the-little-things dept.
Via Planet KDE, some good news for people who hate the KDE 4 notifications applet (coming in KDE 4.10): "So, it seems it's that time of the year again... the plasmoid used in KDE Plasma Desktop to display notifications and the progress of transfer jobs started to really show its age, due to some bad limitations in the old QGraphicsview code to handle complex layouts, so it appeared quite buggy and not so smooth to use. ... The fact that there is some research/development being made to build a new backend for notifications that will support many new features, more 'modern' to be actually useful with the applications that are so heavily 'communication' oriented (both desktop clients and web stuff), that became essential part of out workflow. ... The story begins more than a year ago: we needed a way to display notifications on Plasma Active, and obviously the desktop applet used back then wasn't enough. ... Since we would have to rewrite it in QML anyways, we started it." The article has two videos: one of the new UI in Plasma Active on a tablet, and another of it on the desktop. They share basically the same code base, differing only by a couple hundred lines of QML. In addition to this, another KDE developer has been musing on a replacement for the freedesktop.org notification protocol designed to fix the deficiencies that have made themselves apparent over the last few years (parts one and two).

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Notification UI Overhauled in KDE 4.10 (And a Plan For Modernized Notifications)

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  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:39PM (#41406577) Homepage Journal
    A place where beautiful window frames and bizarrely spartan, giant, anaemic "X"es coexist in harmony.
    • by kiriath (2670145)

      I was about to say the very same thing, though It would not have been so eloquent.

    • by Swarley (1795754)

      Especially when the swipe to remove functionality pretty much removes the need for the fugly X buttons in the first place.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The swipe isn't familiar action for users, the X in other hand is familiar. The difference is that after learning swipe and as for touch screens, it is easier than pressing X. So disabling that X should be in options. But pressing multiple times X in same location, is simpler motion than swiping multiple times.

    • by hvm2hvm (1208954)
      It might be beautiful but it's huge and still seems clunky and wasteful.
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:46PM (#41406627)

    Looks like that group of whiners will finally move off of Gnome 3 and Unity, and start talking about how EVERYONE hates the new KDE.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wait! I'm not done hating the old KDE.

      • by jd (1658)

        Enlightenment is a gateway window manager. Exposure to E can lead to harder code.
        Will SOMEBODY think of the users?

    • Actually, this was the biggest issue that people had w/ KDE 4.x, - Akonadi - mentioned below. Once they fix that, one of the biggest issues about KDE 4.x spped will be resolved.

      So they're naming it KDE 4.10? In that case, they should have called its predecessors KDE 4.01, 4.02....4.08 for the current version. I thnk they should have instead called it KDE 4.91, and kept incrementing it, and hopefully terminating it in favor of KDE 5.0.

      Incidentally, what's the current status w/ Qt 5.0?

  • by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:54PM (#41406659)
    It's a step forward from the mysterious program in the taskbar unable to display a message due to not being run through a console and a bouncing mouse cursor going for 15 seconds.
    • I always have to disable them. Too often, they continue bouncing for all 15 seconds even though my app is already loaded, or perhaps isn't going to open a window at all.
  • by CajunArson (465943) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:58PM (#41406683) Journal

    I've done quite a bit of code but I fully admit to being a lightweight at GUI development. Having said that, QML makes the design of the interface pretty easy... even including wacky animations & stuff. Here's a link to some Python based QML tutorials: http://www.pyside.org/docs/pyside/tutorials/index.html [pyside.org]

  • Er... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:02PM (#41406699)

    I'm serious, how do they keep screwing this up? That looks hideous. Look at WebOS for a simple notification system. A small unobtrusive message appears at the time of notification. A small icon remains when it is unanswered. You can drop it down and swipe it away.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm serious, how do they keep screwing this up? That looks hideous. Look at WebOS for a simple notification system. A small unobtrusive message appears at the time of notification. A small icon remains when it is unanswered. You can drop it down and swipe it away.

      Because as with GNOME, designers are calling the shots. :(
      Android ICS has a fantastic notification system, if you have to be inspired by something be inspired by the best.

      • You do know the guy who designed the Android notifications was hired from the WebOS team right? Matias Duarte I think his name was.
        • Not really, Matius was not working for Google until maybe halfway through Gingerbread's development. That was the very earliest he would have contributed anything and Android's notifications have been pretty much the same as they are since the first release.

          • I've only been using Android since Gingerbread, and I thought the "swipeaway" notifications were new in that version... Oh well...
            • Yeah, the swipe away is one thing he may have added, but that isn't a particularly major change.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:58PM (#41406951) Homepage

    What happened to the idea that Freedesktop will come up with the standards, Gnome and KDE will implement that, and app developers will code to a single standard (and library)?

    As it is, I'm guessing that if you have a KDE program running on stock Ubuntu, it's not going to show notifications in the Ubuntu way (upper left corner)?

    • by Unknown Lamer (78415) Works for Slashdot <clinton AT unknownlamer DOT org> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:42PM (#41407245) Homepage Journal

      This is an implementation of the freedesktop notification protocol. The second part (overhauling notifications) presumably would become an fd.o standard after all of the kinks were worked out and the KDE/GNOME folks finished battling to the death over the details ;)

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      Thank god that never happened. GNOME has taken a direction that the FreeDesktop project would be insane to adapt. Actually, the rationale for FreeDesktop was there when GNOME actually was about creating what its name meant - a network object modelled environment, around Bonobo and other Object oriented standards, and combining it w/ the best features of KDE and Qt. But since GNOME dropped those goals and was all about being dumbed down, it is pointless for the Freedesktop to continue to develop as a stan

      • Particularly given that today, we have a plethora/bonanza of DEs & Window Managers - KDE, Razor-qt, GNOME, LXDE, XCFE, Unity, Cinnamon, Etoille, Awesome, Enlightenment, Window-Maker, ScrotWM, RatPoison and what have you. Why do we need FreeDesktop?

        While I agree GNOME has departed, fd.o was the organizer to help ensure all those DEs and their applications could easily communicate together in a uniform manner. KDE is a very strong supporter of fd.o from what I can see, so I expect if they change something they will work with fd.o to get it adopted by fd.o.

        Regardless, GNOME has apparently left the building for fd.o. So don't expect them to implement it.

  • by agm (467017) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:40PM (#41407471)

    As long as they don't do what they did with the PIM suite and the monstrosity that is akonadi. That is some very badly developed, badly tested software. I stopped using Kmail in favour of Thunderbird because of it and I wish I had done it sooner. Hint to KDE devs: Linux is a multiuser desktop. People want to log in remotely from home as the same user that is logged in from work. akonadi does not handle this. I've had mail with subject, sender and body stuffed up. Seriously guys, who is responsible for that massive disaster? It was just plain unnecessary to pollute what is otherwise a decent email client with that crap.

    • by bmo (77928)

      This.

      Kmail, and Knode are both applications that you want to work, but mostly don't. Akonadi is slowly getting better, but the speed of this is glacial. I can see the logic of having a central daemon controlling all your settings and such from a user perspective, but I think it overcomplicates things from a system perspective.

      Other than that, though, much of KDE is very useful. I use it rather than any other desktop suite (I have ripped out gnome and unity from Ubuntu manually (I dislike kubuntu)), and w

    • by bmo (77928)

      I should add...

      Go into Settings and Akonadi and remove all services except file indexing.

      --
      BMO

    • by paai (162289)

      I agree 150%. Much as I like KDE and Kubuntu, my strong advice would be a complete feature freeze an concentrate on all the bugs. Every new distribution has dozens of applications unexpectedly misbehaving, many of them are not fixed after updates that themselves introduce other problems again...for gods sake first fix all the broken stuff. I more than once mailed this to the K-people, but they do not even answer.

      Paai

      • by Shaman (1148)

        I almost want to abuse my four-digit /. number to get karma points for this post. Then I remember that I hate work. ;)

    • by timbo234 (833667)

      +1 But KDE with Thunderbird as the email client is still a great combination. Still not sure what akonadi's really supposed to help with in practice (I've read the documents and blog posts describing the theoretical rationale behind it).

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        First thing I always do when I setup a KDE system is disable as much of Akonadi as I can. I still don't have a clue what it actually does, I just know that if I leave it on the system runs slow and it pops up notifications every ten minutes for no apparent reason...

  • It is nice to see... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ApplePy (2703131) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:57AM (#41407795)

    ...that the KDE folks are working at making the little details better, rather than the Gnome fix-what-ain't-broke philosophy. (Not meant to start that old flame war, but mentioned because it's nice to have choices.)

    Count me as one of the people who found the Windows 95 desktop to be a godsend. Taskbar, docking for a handful of everyday applications, a clock so I know when it's beer:30, and one comprehensive "start" menu to find stuff I don't need that often. There's a reason this design has been so successful: it's intuitive for most everyone. KDE 3.5 -> 4.0 wasn't a major change, just like Win95 -> Vista. (Referring to UI there, not core) There were, of course, growing pains for both, but by KDE 4.8 and Win7, pretty much worked out.

    If we want to yet again bring up the conversion of Windows users to Linux, KDE is the only Linux DE that isn't a confusing pile of shit to a Windows user. It's a virtually painless transition, especially if the user in question has already gotten used to cross-platform applications like Firefox & Thunderbird.

    My job has programming and sysadmin duties, so I'm not exactly a fresh-from-MS noob. Do I lose nerd cred for using a DE that resembles Windows? Meh. I don't care. I've got KDE where I want it -- clean, simple, organized, a workflow I'm used to for 15+ years, and exactly the right amount of eye candy. I've no interest in using an incomprehensible desktop with tons of keyboard shortcuts just to prove I'm 1337. :-)

    • There has been a lot of "if it ain't broke break it" lately.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        KDE seems to have been doing things right this way. With the current focus on a complete software project rather than just a DE, they know how to leave well-enough alone. The other great thing about them is that they make separate DEs for separate platforms - one for laptops, one for tablets, one for phones.... And w/ all the apps they have there - Calligra Suite, Skrooge and so on, looks like they have enough on their plate to not mess w/ that which ain't broke.
    • When I launch KDE I have many reactions. First that it looks full featured at a glance, and modern even if the blue colors, fonts, icons whatever seem over the top. Oh my god, it's full of animations! Stop playing with my eyesight so much. Desktop items display big controls buttons whenever I mouse over them including "X". Ugh, I'd have to lock that feature out. A tabbed menu with four random categories! it shows a handful of programs at the time! Right. I only need to find firefox, the terminal and log ou

      • by vigour (846429)

        When I launch KDE I have many reactions. First that it looks full featured at a glance, and modern even if the blue colors, fonts, icons whatever seem over the top. Oh my god, it's full of animations! Stop playing with my eyesight so much. Desktop items display big controls buttons whenever I mouse over them including "X". Ugh, I'd have to lock that feature out. A tabbed menu with four random categories! it shows a handful of programs at the time! Right. I only need to find firefox, the terminal and log out anyway. Even then this start menu wastes space and is starving for it at the same time. The KDE3 start menu was brilliant when I used it a couple of times in 2004, possibly the best start menu ever. Back then the UI really looked like a windows clone, but better looking and more powerful.

        So, right from the start I have to fix at least four or five things, and didn't bother hunting for settings dialogs or a KDE control panel, because of the unfriendly start menu. So I'm back to LXDE which is an actual Windows clone (a sort of Xfce but without the control panel, easier to use taskbar and lighter).

        The whole thing is probably very nice but throws too much crap at you, and is so complex it feels like learning a whole new OS. and I know there are at least two weird databases to disable, thanks to reading slashdot rants over the years.

        You make some good points, KDE does look a bit too plastic, but the "control panel" is one of the first options in the start menu. You don't have to go hunting for it, and it's also very easy to turn the start menu back to classic 3.5 style. In my defence, I use Openbox on my netbook, Awesome on my laptop, and KDE on my desktop so I've no particular attachments to KDE.

      • by devent (1627873)

        That is so stupid. The KDE4 menu is the best menu I ever saw, between Windows, Mac, and other Linux desktops.

        You open the start menu and the first thing you see is "Favorites" with Firefox/Chrome or Konqueror as the browser, the Dolphin file manager, and something else I forget. The focused field is the search field, where you can just enter the name or the description of the application you want. Then you have it and can right click it to your favorites.

        The next tab is "Applications" where you have, oh sur

        • by udippel (562132)

          Partially I agree with you. At least on the W95/XP et al thingy. Actually, W98 was my favourite of that family.
          I can't agree with you on the 'stupid', because that's not what the parent was. Also, I can't agree with the default KDE being the best since sliced bread. And I have shown / given this to a number of users. It does not lead the uninitiated user to the fountain of awesomeness. At least, I have yet to see that single first-time user.
          I can agree that conceptually the KDE menu makes most sense. Being

      • First, I'd like to point that, as the GP says, the taskbar based interface it great. It is not good because it looks like Windows, it was Windows that was so successful using it because it is good. It loses some value with virtual desktops and KDE's activities, but it is still great. Now, for each his own. If you don't like it, ok. It may be because I make it very thin, but I rarely miss its space in a desktop.

        Now, aswering you:

        Desktop items display big controls buttons whenever I mouse over them including

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by BluPhenix316 (2656403)
      XFCE! XFCE I have found is absolutely brilliant. If you set it up right it has that classic Windows feel, though I set it up to look more like OS X. What can I say, I like the dock and bar on the top. Regardless, its clean, its fast. I'm using Voyager, which is a customized version of Xubuntu and I think its great, rarely does my system use more than 400 to 500mb of RAM though I have 6gb currently.
  • to figure out how to make a popup

    what? did you want balloons and a party at monkey joe's?

    • by Alex Belits (437) *

      They had those "popups" for at least a decade. What they are trying to do now is making those notifications less annoying.

  • Especially after KDE 4.9.1 finally started working properly with Compiz. That's my primary desktop at work after I had to leave GNOME3.

  • How about some love for Colibri notifications? No, you don't get the copying notification, and you can't have interaction, but they're pretty, customizable, and basically disappear on a mouseover.

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