Themeable panel

Various Stuff

Source (link to git-repo or to original if based on someone elses unmodified work): Add the source-code for this project on opencode.net

0
5 .0
Description:

N.B: THE SCREENSHOTS ARE FAKE; ACTUALLY THERE'S NO WAY KICKER COULD LOOK LIKE THIS.

To summarize the contents of this post, I think kicker should be more gkrellm-like, allowing the artist who develops a theme for kde to have a panel that fits gracefully in the context rather than being a punch in the eye (wait, I'm not saying that it is plain awful, but it definitely is if compared to the beauty and quality of certain styles, windecs and icon sets that we can use with kde).

The idea is to have a fully customizable panel, being able to define themes for it which (among the other things):

- set some properties of the behaviour of kicker (some of which are actually editable and some not), such as having applets looking flat rather than sunk in the panel, hiding the applet handles, defining the parameters of the "mouse over icon" effect and so on.

- define a sort of a "window decoration" for the panel: a stylish border, a "titlebar" and custom "hide left/right/bottom/top" buttons, with custom positions as well (just as an xmmms skin, or an enlightenment windec); moreover, it would be lovely to have buttons to perform other actions too, such as having a button to show/hide the desktop (iconify any window), another one to toggle auto-hide on/off etc.

- define a set decorations for the panel itself, that is a background (color. gradient, or pixmap based), setting panel translucency (if available), stylish panel tiles, pixmaps to be used to render applet handles, applet borders and so on ... got the idea?

This themes would make it possible to be rearranged into custom combos: just the way you can apply a kde-theme and decide to affect, say, just the wallpaper and the windec, you could decide to change just the panel windec and behavior, keeping on with the previous panel background.

I'd be glad to read your comments on this topic; mostly, as I'm not a kde developer and I never gazed at the source code, I'd love to know how far is this from being realizable.

The screenshots are (1:) a fake demo themed panel and (2:) a fake desktop with the themed panel showing itself.

The download is a collection of gimp files used to render the fake scene.

Thanks

Daniele

P.S. : please, don't judge the scrrenshot as I didn't spend much time on it, but the idea.
Last changelog:

17 years ago

2002-11-12 @ 09:29 CEST: few corrections to the text

2002-11-3 @ 13:58 CEST : stylish taskbar added; new screenshots and new download file

2002-11-2 @ 18:39 CEST : uploaded two new screenshots

srmeena

15 years ago

it looks fabulous...dont know if it is possible in near future

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Sudonix

17 years ago

Wow...no words...
Actually, I also think that the current kicker isn't customizable enough

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Reivec

17 years ago

It shouldn't take so long to make this as KDE4. KDE 3.2 is a more than reasonable date to make a new themable kicker. I think this is a definate need for future KDE releases as it is really the only major part of KDE usage that is being left behind. But on the other hand, the kicker isn't all that MAJOR to the functionality of KDE. You can run KDE without the kicker, it is only there for ease of use. So even if there were a new kicker design that was more customizable, nothing is stopping you from using the old kicker instead of the new one. But if the kicker were themable enough, you should be able to make the new kicker look JUST like the old one if you don't like the change. In fact, I think this is a very important aspect. If a new kicker were to be made, I think it would be important to have it configurable enough to look like the old one, or something totally different like the one in the screenshot. The look really shouldn't matter since they both do basically the same things. They hold buttons that are just links to apps, and menus, and some applets. The key is to make the project as modular as possible and maybe more applet based, so it would be an easy task to load and unload cetain features of it. I am willing to bet the KDE team is well aware of the consern the users have over a new kicker design considering all the posts and theorical screenshots made on this topic. I really hope they can pop out something new by KDE3.2.

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Unleaded

17 years ago

The main thing that should rise from the discussions raised thanks to conceptual art that daniele has created - is not that the 'new' kicker should look like that, but the fact that a 'new' kicker should _be able_ to look like that, be very skinnable/themeable/alpha-transparencyable ;) (whatever you want to call it).

As a bit of a KDE application developer I could see it would be a bit of work, but imho kicker is a very important part of KDE as it's the crucial link between the desktop and the application management. The current kicker (KDE 3) is very restrictive, but still pretty good, although I do believe that themeing and the ability to _easily_ modify the menu contents (remove the menu editor, and allow the contents of the menu to be edited directly - like *gasp* windows (using konqueror, or just mouse clicking)) is the biggest problem, that would go hand in hand with the 'new' kicker I recon.

Would love to help develop the new one, enjoy hacking the old one in my spare time too ;)

My 2c

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protoman

17 years ago

This is the way to go.
I always tought that KDE should support objectdesktop/window-blinds of make some own system to allow great customization on desktop.
I bwelive that with XML and SVG there is no escuses for not making a system for great customization of user interface.

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wvl

17 years ago

.. but does anyone actually take into consideration that it's meant to be usable aswell?

(I'm aware that this is only a screenshot. These suggestions/half rant is meant to perhaps make your efforts more useful)

- Everything on the panel looks like a potention button because you don't differentiate between art and function.

- The K button is much more difficult to access because of the space to the left of it (you're now not able to 'throw' your cursor to the bottom-left of the screen to click the K menu).

- Same goes for the quick-launch buttons only now the poorly used space is underneath it.

- The buttons underneath the quick-launch buttons are more easier accessible than the quick-launch buttons themselves. So users are going to use those buttons more often than quick-launch buttons? If not, what is the argument to make them more accessible than other, more important buttons?

- The contrast should be greater so that the 'raised' area's are more visible.

- The taskpanel-applet is unusable for people who are less skilled with the mouse. It would be pointless allowing a 'view icon & application title' option because only 2-3 items could be displayed because of the oval design.

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daniele

17 years ago

... some of you guys just look at the screenshots and don't read the text on its side.
I'm not proposing to design a kicker looking like this one, but one that would let users customize its look by means of themes; the screenshot is an example of a "possible" theme, that is "just one of possibly an unlimited number of ways your kicker could look/behave".
The discussion should be about the concept, not the picture.

Moreover, keep in mind that there are themes and themes, that is you will have themes which are very usable and less eye-candy, some others which will be just the opposite, few themes which will combine great look and feel and ease of use.

Daniele

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wvl

17 years ago

.. I read the text. Read my comment as a rant against all these "wow, this should replace xxx" responses as of late on KDE-Look with regard to user UI design idea's.

Not to discourage people's efforts, but rather to make people aware of some restrictions that need to be placed on some people's creativity.

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daniele

17 years ago

The fact is that this site is about look, and the average user is more likely to judge the graphics rather than the idea.
The proof is that I had first uploaded a very bad-looking demo themed panel, and though the idea was exactly the same, people wouldn't comment nor take part in the discussion (read the comment about thew LCD clock!).

So, I had to provide a stylish screenshot to have people reading the post.

In the post I actually ask a programmer's point of view, but I had no response.

I didn't mean to be rude with you, I apologize if I gave this impression

Daniele

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CipheR

17 years ago

That K button is the biggest thing on his proposed kicker. Looks to be bigger than default on a normal kicker. If you couldn't hit that button, maybe you need a designated mouser.

CipheR

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wvl

17 years ago

.. matter.

You need to take into consideration that the edge of the screen is the most accessible area available.

While the K button on the screenshot is definitially bigger than my "medium" sized default K button, mine is far more accessible because it's on the edge of the screen (bottom-left).

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daniele

17 years ago

that's why I've never been a theme designer :)

Daniele

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mendred

17 years ago

screenshot? u r being very modest danielle. Ur kicker is a work of art. There are minor glitches like those arrows :) but who cares this is absolutely fantastic. U think that with kde 3.1 the kde guys have done it all and now somebody springs a surprise. This definitely should be a part of kde 3.2 no kde 3.1.1 !!
Now if only kde could run on berlin... oh well i'll keep deaming. Keep up the good work!!!



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daniele

17 years ago

making kicker really themable would require lots of work, possibly an almost complete rewrite of some of its components.
Even if the idea was seriously take into account, I think this couldn't find its way before kde 3.3 / 3.4 (or, if it broke backward compatibility, even 4.X).


Daniele

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ZIOlele

17 years ago

... e chi se ne frega^^ (anche se non arriva subito, l'importante

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star-flight

17 years ago

I hope it ships with the next release, please, please, please :-). It looks really good. Last time I liked the Win-XP-Style very much, but KDE become so the eyecandy in the past (the new K-Menu, this new Kicker-style, Crystal, ...)

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PARENA

17 years ago

Those new screenshots look so futuristic, I love that idea. Let's hope it'll be not TOO futuristic for the KDE devs and they'll implement something like this. Or anyone else for that matter. Kicker is a seperate application. You can just run another one instead. Though, all applets would probably have to be redesigned. Anyway... good stuff. :)

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daniele

17 years ago

As kicker is on his way up to now, I myswlf think the idea would be more likely realized if it was developed as another application.

Daniele

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bradenm

17 years ago

Keep up the good work.

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gunman

17 years ago

this would really rock!. that would become my default panel!!!
-gunnar

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uga

17 years ago

I'm really impressed: great work, and good idea!

I cannot understand what the left green buttons are for though If you haven't done so yet,...could you please e-mail about this post to:
kde-devel@mail.kde.org
and
kde-usability@mail.kde.org

I think they might be interested, or they even might have discussed this before as usability....

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Ashari

17 years ago

That second (newer) screenshot with the kicker panel is very cool!
Hey, can someone please implement this?!
I'd *love* to have it.

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salmankhilji

17 years ago

fabulous job!!! Looks really professional. I'd like to have it once implemented.

Salman

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lobo_double

17 years ago

First dump those ugly green/arrows arrows!

I think the word "theme" is misused. A theme for me is something that also adds and/or alters functionallity. This is basiccly just a skin and what kicker needs is a lot more functionalutty. I would love to have menu's, drawers and whatever element i wished on the panel (much like gnome's menu but more flexible).

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daniele

17 years ago

(I had asked not to judge the graphics, as I didn't want to spend a day on it; it is there just to give the idea of what I'm talking about).

Of course kicker needs more functionality, but this is not related with this post, which is about look and customization.

Anyhow, it is agreed that kicker needs lot of work to get better, maybe a complete rewrite.

Moreover, I think a theme is something that changes look and behaviour, while a skin just affects look; anyhow, neither the first or the latter can add/remove functionalities (they can add/remove a button from an interface, but not the functional code that is triggered when that button is clicked).

Daniele

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17 years ago

2002-11-12 @ 09:29 CEST: few corrections to the text

2002-11-3 @ 13:58 CEST : stylish taskbar added; new screenshots and new download file

2002-11-2 @ 18:39 CEST : uploaded two new screenshots

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