Home > Syllable, AtheOS > Syllable Readies New UI Syllable Readies New UI Eugenia Loli 2003-01-17 Syllable, AtheOS 46 Comments Rick Caudill uploaded two screenshots (one, two) and he is seeking feedback on the new Syllable UI that is presented in them. Here is a glimpse of the older UI. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 46 Comments 2003-01-17 4:27 am I think Syllable is looking great. I’m impressed by their progress. I’m not sure about this new UI so far, though. Honestly, I think I like the look of the old UI better. 2003-01-17 4:31 am Am I the only one who much prefers the older UI (which just needs a bit brighter theme color)? The new UI looks like some ugly X/Motif/TCL-TK apps… The blue color used in the menus and window headers is bad (too “acid” instead of being “deep” with white font). Then, there is this monotony. Buttons, scrollbars, background color on windows all have the same grey color which really makes it look like the default GTK+ 1.x. As for the menu font, it does not fit in the menu place, it needs more space around it (check the grambled fonts on the menu on the Albert application). Moreover, check the header of the focused window with the blue color. Its buttons on the left and right hand side (close, minimize, zoom) are BARELY visible! This is bad UI design I am afraid. Widgets and especially such important buttons should be extremely visible and clear. I think that the Syllable project needs a UI designer who is also a gfx designer, who will be able to guide Rick and the rest of the gang. Other than that, I am happy to see progress on Syllable. 2003-01-17 4:40 am I’m indifferent toward either. I agree with Eugenia that the new one looks more like some old Unix GUI, but the old one looks more like some of those older non Unix OSes that have died off. The fonts in te new screen shots aren’t bad for an OS of their caliber. They look like the Gnome fonts in Red Hat 8.0. 2003-01-17 4:42 am yeah the UI in that 3rd screenshot is much better, but for those whom have not run syllable or atheos, only the BORDERS are themed, and their colours are changeable anyway. The scheme rick has there is quite hideous (no offense rick ), and the schemes are customizable. 2003-01-17 4:43 am You know what syllable needs? Transparent windows! Look at the peeks of that wallpaper… 2003-01-17 4:44 am I’m really happy Syllable is progressing, but I don’t understand the UI change. The old, like Eugenia said, needed some work, but was really clean. This new UI…what a step backwards. 2003-01-17 4:54 am I like the new one. Looks much better and professional! hey Rick Are you reading? The new one is better I like the way tabs look in the first screen shot, reminds me on Windows XP but I don’t like the windows title bar and borders. If you can combine the first shot with the the borders from the second shot, that would be nice. 2003-01-17 4:58 am >I like the new one. Looks much better and professional! Mother: “Aleeex, you forgot your glasses!” 2003-01-17 5:01 am I am sorry, that I also have to say, that I liked the old look much better. It’s like Win2000 (old look) compared to WinXP (new look): Some people will like the new look, but the old one is much cleaner I think and distracts less from the actual work you wan’t to do. But at least you keep these sharp-edged-corner and don’t switch to these ugly rounded corners of many modern OSs 2003-01-17 5:02 am BTW: The new look resembles the “Watercolor” theme from early Whistler betas nearly exactly I think. 2003-01-17 5:08 am [i]Mother: “Aleeex, you forgot your glasses!” Hehe that’s a funny one because I indeed wear glasses but currently they are not ON because I don’t need them I guess we have different taste. Am I the ONLY one in here who prefers the old one?? My god! lol Clear your eyes people. The new one is nice and shine and bright like a real OS! hehe The old one is too dark and the elements are too small. I have to agree it does resemble Win2k but not quite! If they make it a bighter and make it look more like it then I wouldn’t object 2003-01-17 5:27 am The new theme looks poorly laid-out. The text (in unselected tabs) is overlapping with borders). The window border icons in the top right are too close to the border, and they blend in with the window. The text is too close to the tickboxes. The top right of each tab looks broken. The thin window border looks too beveled. The scrollbar doesn’t look like it’s a peer of the scroll buttons – it looks like it could just slide over them. The blue background highlighted options in a drop down menu looks like it ends too soon, maybe it should be a few pixels higher. The icon set looks like an XP ripoff (I know it’s not, but there must be other sets that don’t like like XP). That black border running along the top and right of the status bar looks out of place. Unselected windows appear to have a taller area for the window text title – this looks out of proportion. The dragable volume controls have a different look to the dragable scrollbars. I can be even more picky if you want – but that will do for now. 2003-01-17 5:29 am Oh, and the keyboard shortcut plus doesn’t look like a plus. BeOS got this right by using a keyboard key icon – which seemed to more naturally infer that it was a keyboard shortcut. The right aligned plain-text isn’t as intuitive, I think. 2003-01-17 5:30 am These look more like themes rather than seperate UIs. Other than that, they look OK… 2003-01-17 5:34 am I think the new one looks better too. You’re not the only one! Well, perhaps it I like it better just because it’s different. Unlike most people, I like change. 😉 2003-01-17 5:49 am Looks like a weird hybrid of Watercolor, KDE, and OS 8/9. 2003-01-17 5:49 am I just did a *quick* clean up over the older UI and here is the result. The differences are all in DETAILS. http://img.osnews.com/img/2547/syllable.png However, these details, when fixed, they give an overall cleaner look to the UI, even if that UI is not “ultra-modern”. I did changes to the header of the windows, to the positioning of the fonts inside the widgets, in the coloring (lighter color now) of the background colors and a darker color on the buttons, bold fonts for the header of the boxes, clean up of the scrollbars etc etc etc. Very small changes, but when put side by side with the older UI, it “shows”. I believe that the Syllable team should just use such a cleanup of the current UI and focus on the under-the-hood things of the OS. 2003-01-17 5:55 am “Oh, and the keyboard shortcut plus doesn’t look like a plus. BeOS got this right by using a keyboard key icon – which seemed to more naturally infer that it was a keyboard shortcut. The right aligned plain-text isn’t as intuitive, I think.” Well I like the text shortcuts in the menus. What the heck is the difference if I look at “Ctrl” as text or at an bitmap which tells me “Ctrl”? By the way… … what is much more important is IMHO keyboard shortcuts for dialog elements. E.g. you underline one letter from a checkbox, and then you can toggle this checkbox by pressing Alt+this letter (like in Windows). 2003-01-17 6:11 am But, the fonts are a lot better in the new UI thought. The best is from top to bottom. 1) http://img.osnews.com/img/2547/syllable.png 2) http://homepage.ntlworld.com/daryl.dudey/Shots/screenshot.png 3) New UI 2003-01-17 6:21 am Just make the OS skinnable (I guess it already is) and provide a few skins with it and everyone will be happy. 2003-01-17 6:22 am is better in my opinion. I hope that it gets implemeted. 2003-01-17 6:38 am Eugenia’s changes are definately well-thought and… dare I say successful in making the UI a lot cleaner. IMHO this mockup is far superior than the new themes. 2003-01-17 6:45 am Really sad to see the new UI… I prefer something innovative, but only see some mimic action.. 2003-01-17 6:50 am I will go with others and say the old one looked much better. The new one looks like yet another ugly unix UI 2003-01-17 6:51 am Ok, lets face it, the new gui isn’t THAT great, but.. it’s better than the old one! (wich really makes me feel like using an ugly UNIX system). I have been analyzing the images a little and what i see is a problem of consistency between sizes and proportions, besides that.. its a great job the one you are doing Rick, coz the GUI needs to be improved!. (As colors are changeable, i don’t even see the point of arguing about them here). Ps: Eugenia your comment saying: “Mother: “Aleeex, you forgot your glasses!” ” is really RIDICULOUS, an opinion is exactly that an opinion, and you MUST respect it, at the end WHO are you to say if something is or isnt OK? GOd perhaps? 2003-01-17 6:57 am Yes, I am God. And you should also find your glasses because you obviously did not see the emoticon at the end of the sentence. Where is your humor? Give me a break. 2003-01-17 7:35 am The new one makes me feel like I’m using UNIX, enough said. 2003-01-17 7:41 am of taste (of course) but agree with Eugenia… The new one looks too new! I prefer the older one, except that it is a bit to dark 😉 Syllable looks promising thow! 2003-01-17 7:46 am I like the old UI better 2003-01-17 7:48 am The old one looks like BeOS meets NeXT. The new one looks like OSX meets RiscOS using AmigaOS window gadgets (which is a step forward from just ripping the Amiga look right away like the original AtheOS). It seems to be just a sketch at the momen, though. Rough in the edges, but with some spit and polish, it might find its own way. I still prefer the “old” look, though. It doesn’t remind me of UNIX at all, save perhaps NeXT, if that counts. UNIX looks like CDE, which looks like a pink 3D version of Windows 3.0, hell-bent on making a 1280×1024 screen look small. And Linux looks like “Hey! Let’s see in what way we can clone the Windows 9x interface today!”. The old Syllable interface does however look like a GUI should look. It doesn’t disturb you, while providing just enough eyecandy without looking like a toy. That’s industrial design. In contrast, Windows is “Made in Taiwan” design, and MacOSX is Italian design. OTOH, I suppose the “looks like an old UNIX” crowd think that MacOS (pre-X) looks like an old UNIX, too. 2003-01-17 8:09 am Eugenia, you should be that UI person for Syllable – the mock-up looks great! 2003-01-17 8:29 am and have a kick ass toolkit for gui programs, and then just start konquering the desktop… I think I am gonna go a look over the Syllable pages now.. Michael 2003-01-17 9:07 am I have to say I like the old gui better. Maybe it is just the choosen colour scheme chosen for these particular screen shots. I must say that the mockups done by Eugenia are well done and if Rick is reading, I would suggest possibly following her lead. Especially seeing as she is god and all ^.^ And that goes to prove my assertion that god is female, only a female would be so fickle. But I digress, the OS is looking nice. Add a dock(minus the magnifying icons) and a few other things and who knows… 2003-01-17 9:17 am The Syllable UI isn’t changing, or at least, isn’t changing soon. The screenshots linked there are some concept shots that Rick did while he was hacking around inside the appserver, nothing more! In fact Rick and I discussed this just yesterday, and we have agreed to leave the look and feel alone, at least until libatheos is “complete” and stable. Obviously the UI does need some cosmetic work: I personally like Eugenias concept (Maybe a little lighter, though). Either way though, we’re not ready to start fiddling with cosmetics On the subject of Fonts; they are changing for 0.4.3 due to licencsing issues, but they will not be changing to the ones in those screenshots. The fonts used there are I believe, from Windows. We can’t distribute those The “new” fonts can be seen at http://www.liqwyd.com/screenshots/0.4.3-fonts.png A few things to note: o I am not 100% happy with the ATerm font, but that is the best monospace sans-serif I could come up with… o The Window decorator is not in the base installation (Get it from Kamidake ) o Daryl will fix the layout of the Font preferences dialog before 0.4.3 is released. o No, ogg123 is not 100% working yet o Yes, that is ABrowse 0.3.3, doing tabbed browsing. Shawn is still doing a lot of very good work in that department, so excuse the user interface for now! P.S: The bad font spacing on Albert is due to coding I’m just as guilty of this myself, in fact. 2003-01-17 10:21 am I would like to see an interface using the colour scheme from RedHat’s Bluecurve or Mac OS 9. I always liked that platinum shade. It’s much more uplifting/less depressing than the Windows grey. 2003-01-17 12:34 pm I like Eugenias touch ups and agree that some small fixups are good while we work out the stuff under the hood so to speak. To the guy discussing the porting of Qt: We don’t need it. We have our own c++ widget kit that is coming along nicely. We do have a very small qt port that is used in ABrowse which mostly just maps functionality to the native api and allows us to compile KHTML. Syllable is not KDE, Gnome, OS X or Windows. I suppose we have more of a BeOS mentality here in creating something new. Vanders, you are much too kind . Yeah ABrowse’s gui definitly needs some work and I think it’ll get better as time goes on. Especially once the KHTML update is finished. I plan to start that in the next couple of weeks. Shawn 2003-01-17 1:45 pm The new one looks closer to a half baked GNU/RTFM/Linux/Project-X/Amateur distro, but hey, it’s ***their royal choice*** to paint all windows in high contrast for the visually impaired and electric blue decors if they will to do so. The latter is also coherent with their high contrast aquaish website ( http://syllable.sourceforge.net ). “No one” has UI designers these days, not even Xandros Linux after more than a $11M invesment for a desktop OS, so go figure with a non-profit homemade one… 2003-01-17 1:46 pm The real problem here has nothing to do with the GUI in my opinion. I started playing around with Atheos a while back and when syllable branched i was ready to continue, but the OS seems stagnant. For me I really dont care what it looks like if I can’t even mount a cd-rom, or if all the hard drive access goes through bios calls and is slow. Or the fact since i only have a modem at home I have no net access in syllable. No offense to the syllable people I think they do a great job, but the desperately need some kernel developers for the OS to really advance, for now Ill just keep my eyes on the project. 2003-01-17 2:14 pm The reason I mentioned QT as a possible API for Syllable was that it provides a mature, proven C++ toolkit for developing GUI applications, and any kind of application for that matter. With QT comes things like QT-Designer and QMake, both very valuable tools. Making QT the primary API of Syllable would result in having development tools (rapid I might add) available instantly. But I am not in a position to critize, I haven’t forked Atheos and I have never written code for Syllable.. Next to QT the BeOS api looks dated and clumsy. QT would give Syllable the potiential developers and firm professionel ground on which to deploy/write new software… If you ever plan to leave geek-space, QT is even more helpful because coorperations can develop windows/mac/linux/Syllable in one go…. Think about it Michael Wulff Nielsen PS. QT is available in a GPL version for GPL software. I suppose Syllable is GPL?? 2003-01-17 2:56 pm Yes, most of Syllable is GPL or LGPL (??? I’m not the one to ask about this). I don’t doubt that Qt is more more mature than the Syllable gui api, its had a lot more developers and time. However I think that the issue is usability. Yes multi-ported widget sets are convenient for mass deployment of software but still have issues. For example, Syllable is a desktop OS developed (remember it is still young) for users. A major key to this is in application consistancy. An app developed to fit in with Windows, or any other OS, will not look quite right on Syllable. So there will be guis rewritten which then throws out part of the need for a Qt based gui system. I mean if you really want a window manager built from Qt just use KDE. I use it all the time (when not using Syllable) and I do like it. Again at this moment its probably not so apparent that we are striving for this user utopia I’m talking about. Give it time. Shawn ps – I realize this seems like a hard approach. Yes we could port Qt, GTK, X and have an amazing amout of good software. However we do not want Syllable to turn into linux. No one ever said application consistancy was easy. 2003-01-17 4:29 pm If you want to run Qt software there are already several easy, free ways to do so. Simply install Redhat, or Mandrake, or any other Linux distro. The world does not need another platform to run Qt software. 2003-01-17 5:35 pm http://www.boing.nu/scripts/zwiki.pl?id=ToDo/GUI&sid= you can see it here. Keep the good work up!! 2003-01-17 6:47 pm The biggest problem you would have with a Qt port to Syllable is that Qt is not thread safe (I understand it is better in Qt 3.x, but not all classes have been made thread safe). The Syllable GUI relys heavily on threading though. All of this is covered in the FAQ (On the website), by the way. 2003-01-17 7:04 pm Why does everybody just copy existing stuff when making a ‘new’ UI. This new one looks like a lame XP rip off right down to the blue colour and the icons. The XP UI isn’t that good. Please don’t copy it for the sake of conformity or something. 2003-01-17 7:51 pm That’s the only one with workable contrast on the window controls. I really am amazed at how hard it seems to be for developers to do good GUI design. I can’t code worth a damn, so I guess this makes sense. 2003-01-17 8:22 pm Please no QT. It makes redundant the whole point of making another OS. Might as well make a Linux distro then. All the slowdowns and brain damages of Linux to AtheOS is pointless. Besides, I want something that’ll run on a new computer faster than Win98 does on a P133. Syllable doesn’t have BeOS APIs and isn’t a BeOS clone, for the person who thought it is.