Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Nov 2007 23:05 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the seventh article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms [part I | part II | part III | part IV | part V | part VI]. 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. In part VII, as promised in part VI, we focus completely on CDE, the Common Desktop Environment.
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"Normal" desktop icons
by k6rfm on Mon 26th Nov 2007 04:19 UTC
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CDE does allow "normal" desktop icons (for files, folders, and "actions".) As I recall the CDE docs call them "desktop objects" to distinguish them from "icons" which are the minimized applications. You have to be running both the CDE window manager (dtwm) and the CDE file manager (dtfile) -- the icons are rendered by the window manager, but the file manager actually handles any operations. The trouble is you can't create desktop objects by just dragging the object to the desktop, you have to hold down the menu mouse button (normally right button) and select "place on desktop" from that menu.

Actions as desktop objects can be useful, especially as drop targets; you can drop a file on the action, which invokes the action passing the file's name. However, creating actions in CDE was never pleasant (read "man dtactionfile" if I remember right; don't have a Solaris box up right now to check.) Then to make the action into an object you have to have a file with its name the same as the action's name, with execute permissions turned on; the contents of the file do not matter at all (all my action files were links to the same zero-length file.)

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