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Re: Category-based app browsing, was Re: Some impressions about the current status of Unity


On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 03:12, Josh Strawbridge
<holyknightjoshua@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM, Jo-Erlend Schinstad
> <joerlend.schinstad@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On 26. feb. 2012 17:55, Josh Strawbridge wrote:
>>> when reading through this i thought the premise was more along the lines
>>> that the user doesn't know what is installed or can't remember what it was
>>> they used before but know they have installed.
>>> while the software center is good for checking what you've installed with
>>> it (it doesn't show that i've got blender, mypaint, or world of warcraft
>>> installed since i wanted newer versions than were available in the software
>>> center) it doesn't let you launch applications.
>> That's a bug. Of course you should be able to run installed applications.
>> And it should display applications regardless of the archive it came from.
>>> aside from that, my first thought is that it is for installing and
>>> uninstalling stuff not for simply checking out what i have on my computer.
>>>  not everyone is going to think to open up a program in order to easily see
>>> what they've got already installed. i never even thought about using the
>>> software center for that until i read it here.  my inclination is to go to
>>> the dash and try to check out what i already have through there.
>>> to me this thread seems mostly about the way some of us want a much more
>>> mouse friendly way to browse and launch something what the dash currently
>>> offers.
>>> to be honest i think this is mostly an issue of the arrangement of things
>>> in the dash rather than how the dash works. the dash can do both searching
>>> and browsing but the search experience got a lot more love and development
>>> than the browsing experience did.
>> Yes, and once you consider the number of web applications you've used
>> during the past few years, it will become apparent that browsing isn't
>> really going to be a suitable way of browsing your software for long. It is
>> possible, but as the number of browser-apps keep growing, it will become
>> less feasible.
>>> i posted what i think is a decent explanation, with visual aids, about
>>> this in the "some impressions about the current status of unity" thread. i'd
>>> link to the post but i can't get the public archive to load right now in
>>> order to do that.
>> I saw your mockup and it looked quite nice. I think it makes browsing a
>> little too dominant, however. It should be phased out entirely over time.
>> When I started using the web, we used web directories to navigate. Then we
>> started using bookmarks in the browser, and these were organized in folders.
>> Later, we got search engines that replaced the web directories, but the
>> bookmarks didn't change. But then Firefox' began to use the Awesomebar.
>>  Since then, I haven't used hierarchical bookmarks. So for me, the web is
>> not entirely non-hierarchical. The same should happen with the desktop.
>> --
>> Jo-Erlend Schinstad
> i don't see how not being able to launch apps from the software center is a
> bug.  the dash is for launching what you've got the software center is for
> installing/removing.
> web apps are all well and good if you've got an internet connection or if
> they're downloaded and can be used when you don't have a connection but
> rarely use any web apps. i don't find them as enjoyable as my traditional
> applications.
> that said it's quite easy to make launchers for web apps you may wonder
> what's the point but it can make it that much easier to get to web based
> applications and it makes it feel more integrated into your system.
> it also enables people you let use your computer find the apps you use
> instead of them wondering where your programs are.
> chrome makes it very easy. you just go to the tools menu and click "create
> application shortcuts..." and it gives you the option of putting the
> launcher in your applications menu, on the desktop, or both.
> if you pick applications menu it shows up in the dash search.  for instance
> if you use chromium and install angry birds from the chrome web store you
> can make a launcher for angry birds but the launcher really just runs the
> command "chromium-browser --app=http://chrome.angrybirds.com/";
> your experience with the web and awesome bar is nice but you still have the
> ability to browse through your bookmarks just as well as you always have.
> browsing hasn't been phased out at all in that situation. it's just they've
> added an option to quickly get to what you know you want. which is what the
> dash search does.
> it still doesn't help you with just a look through your bookmarks which is
> what browsing is for.
> if you're anything like me, using the awesome bar for too long will cause
> you to have a lot of favorites you've forgotten about.
> some you may still want to keep, others you'll probably just get rid off.
> without some way of sorting those files while browsing through them
> eventually the number of items just becomes too messy to look through
> efficiently.
> browsing with categories helps this situation a lot. though i wouldn't want
> sub-categories with applications since that tends to over complicate things.
> when unity hit the browsing experience took a big hit and got more
> complicated than it should have.
> searching is a great way to find what you know you want. it's not a great
> way to simply look through what you've got.
> any public machine is going to need to be easily browsed and expecting
> people to open up a program to look through what we've got is ridiculous.
> i don't see how my
> suggestion https://lists.launchpad.net/unity-design/msg08197.html makes
> browsing any more or less dominant that it is now.

Perhaps the idea is to avoid make browsing too pleasant ,    for fear
that too many users would tend to prefer it instead of adapting to the
search approach   ?      :D

> the dash already looks like a way to browse things even if it is more
> pleasant to use the keyboard in it.

The layout suggested by Josh looks very nice .

Is it possible to write a new lens with the suggested layout  (without
changing anything in Unity) ?     I mean :   when writing a new lens
is it possible to fully control the visual representation ,   or only
provide the contents ?