Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Oct 2008 17:04 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the tenth article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. Fitting for this rounded number, part X will detail the window.
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by RandomGuy on Tue 7th Oct 2008 17:54 UTC
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And please, don't make up all sorts of useless and bogus widgets and cram them inside windows just because they might be useful in some parallel universe scenario (I'm looking at you KDE 3.x).

I can only talk about the apps I use daily (Konqueror, Kate, Kile, Amarok, Kopete, Kontact, KPDF) but I can't imagine what part of their user interface could be useless. So what exactly do you find useless/bogus?

Also: extravagent -> extravagant

Reply Score: 3

RE: Useless?
by mtzmtulivu on Tue 7th Oct 2008 18:28 UTC in reply to "Useless?"
mtzmtulivu Member since:

i use KDE and the first thing i do in most KDE apps is turn off a lot of menubars and remove a lot of unnecessary(to me) buttons on toolbars i leave behind.

There is nothing wrong with having options in KDE, its just that KDE seems bloated if all available toolbars and buttons are displayed by default and leave it up the the user to remove what they dont need ..why not have a small set of mostly used toolbars and buttons and leave it to people to add additional functionality as they see fit instead of having on by default everything and leave it to people to remove what they dont need to remove clutter?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Useless?
by superstoned on Wed 8th Oct 2008 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Useless?"
superstoned Member since:

Indeed. Though I often change toolbars anyway, even in KDE 4 - but in 4 I generally ADD buttons, not remove them like in KDE 3 ;-)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by tupp
by tupp on Tue 7th Oct 2008 18:19 UTC
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From the article:

... the Xerox Star, which lacked some of the more powerful features of the Alto; most notably, it lacked overlapping windows, opting for tiled windows instead (dialogs were allowed to overlap).

The Star didn't have overlapping windows?:

Also, the GUI history of the article goes directly from Xerox to Apple, leaving out a very important, independent GUI player (that predates the Apple Lisa) -- the Three Rivers Perq (1979):

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by tupp
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 7th Oct 2008 18:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by tupp"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

That's a later version of the software on the Star. The first version did NOT have overlapping windows (only dialogs). See here (use your browser's search function for "overlap"):

As for PERQ - that's an interesting one right there. It's the work of ex-PARC employees, and is based on the Alto and the D* machines from PARC. I'm not all too familiar with it, though - I'll gladly admit that I'm no walking encyclopedia, and I don't know everything. However, I still think this article is pretty much accurate, but I don't carry the illusion of having covered everything.

Reply Score: 2

Douglas Engelbart
by irbis on Tue 7th Oct 2008 18:50 UTC
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"The mother of all demos" (1968)
With the NLS, Engelbart demonstrated, for the first time, several things that we are barely able to do even today. Hypertext linking, email, context-sensitive help, teleconferencing, instant messaging, full-screen text editing, networked document collaboration, and to top it all off, video conferencing. All this information was presented in a graphical user interface featuring a mouse and its pointer, and windows.

Yep, Engelbart would probably be my number one online collaboration and interactive human-computer interfaces visionary guru if I had to choose one. The other important researches in those IT fields often seem to only follow in his footsteps, much after him.

Reply Score: 2

Tiling, stacking & composite window managers
by irbis on Tue 7th Oct 2008 19:29 UTC
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Window managers, windowing systems and their design decisions seem more interesting to me than plain windows in themselves only. For example, stacking or tiling window managers have rather different ideas about useful window management.

At least the tiling window managers for Linux/Unix tend to be very minimalistic and spartan, and would probably turn away most but the more experienced computer users. I wonder how you could better combine some of the tiling window manager features into the easy to use desktop environment idea?

As an example, there's a tiling plugin for Compiz-Fusion available:

Edited 2008-10-07 19:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

sakeniwefu Member since:

I think tiling features should be included by default in all window managers. I find myself often having to tile the windows myself when using a stacking wm. If I am pissed enough I restart a session with dwm(dmenu is great, no need to browse menu-of-the-day), but then I miss the taskbar with network, battery, etc.
I seem to remember that Windows 3 could tile windows but maybe it was just MDI children.

Reply Score: 2

BluenoseJake Member since:

Windows up to Vista can tile windows. If you right click on the taskbar, it can tile them Vertically, or horizontally. Vista calls it "Stacking Windows"

Reply Score: 2

irbis Member since:

I think tiling features should be included by default in all window managers.

I agree wholeheartedly.
Anyway, if you miss better window tiling features and use Compiz-Fusion, I recommend that you give the tiling/grid plugin, that I mentioned above, a try:
It is really handy and one of the few reasons why using compiz feels actually useful (besides of just offering some visually pleasing effects) to me. The key combinations used in tiling are also easy to remember. I hope Compiz folks will integrate it (or something similar) to the mainline Compiz too.

Reply Score: 2

the first object-oriented language ...
by rdtennent on Wed 8th Oct 2008 02:52 UTC
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wasn't Smalltalk (1974); it was Simula (1967).

Reply Score: 2