Minor U.I. suggestions for future antiX versions

Forum Forums antiX-development Development Minor U.I. suggestions for future antiX versions

  • This topic has 58 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated Apr 10-8:58 pm by Brian Masinick.
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  • #120028
    Member
    PPC

      Let’s face it, if you have an updated version of antiX 23 on your computer, no matter how old it is, you have a nice looking OS, easy to use, configure, update and install apps in.

      In the thread about the release of antiX 23, I made some suggestions (mainly to stop multiple volumeicons on the system tray, to stop multiple app-select windows, etc).
      But I do not want to go too off topic there, so, I decided to create this thread.

      Suggestions:
      – Implement configurations to have only one instance of system related apps running (like volumeicon and app-select)
      – add IceWM Control Centre to IceWM’s desktop icons – so users now it’s there, even when they boot antiX for the very first time. It would act partly like an “welcome” to new users- I bet most people do not know that GUI is available…
      – add the default apps, that are not already in the menu’s first layer, to the Personal Menu (audio player, video player, image viewer, e-mail). This would allow people to easily access those generic applications, without having to look around the app categories…
      – in IceWM, have, by default the $HOME/.icewm/themes folder created out of the box – this does simplify a lot the life of non technical minded people that want to install new themes, saving the extra step of creating that folder. It does not take any space (well, no more than some bytes, on the iso)
      – in IceWM, add application icons to the window’s title bar by default (I’m almost sure that used to be the default, a while back). To acheive this, add, in prefoverride, the entry “ShowMenuButtonIcon=1”
      – in IceWM, remove showing window coordinates, when moving a window, by default: in prefoverride, add the entry “ShowMoveSizeStatus=0”
      – In the thread about antiX 23 being out I think I remarked that fluxbox settings do still require some tweakes to make it fully visible when using transparencies

      Longshots:
      – This may not be consensual, but I suggest also adding,in prefoverride, the option “CenterLarge=1” to automatically center large windows. I hate having my terminal popup in random places…
      – Append to app-select’s entry on the top of the first layer of the icewm and jwm menus (at least, possibly to fluxbox too) – something like …(and manage quick launchers). I would to the hard work in English and Portuguese, if anticapitalista aproves of this idea.
      – since fluxbox now has a “menu” item, in order to harmonize the 3 floating window managers, I think it’s toolbar should be very near to 100% (not 100% exactly because fluxbox users may be too used to right clicking that empty space near the toolbar to get to the menu).

      Edit: I’m making all this suggestions (along with the updated icewm control centre) because in a few days I may not have so much time to antiX… at least I got antix-updater and icewm control centre to the level I wanted, offering as much ease of use as I could to both old and new users.

      P.

      • This topic was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by PPC.
      #120030
      Moderator
      Brian Masinick

        Re. “. I hate having my terminal popup in random places…”

        You can save the geometry of any app.

        Wasn’t that a feature that you helped to create?

        I use it all the time so my terminal comes up in the same place on the same workspace, for example.

        When my browser starts I put it on a specific workspace in a specific location. Sometimes I will make the browser full screen and adjust it back when I am done.

        Usually I keep some real estate on each workspace visible and just enlarge the app window and then return it to the previous settings when I’m done and therefore the remember settings for each app work very well.

        Does that work for you or do you need something else?

        --
        Brian Masinick

        #120035
        Member
        PPC

          You can save the geometry of any app.

          Wasn’t that a feature that you helped to create?

          I think BobC helped create that script, that I tweaked slightly and integrated into the IceWM control centre.
          But having large windows centered by default is a feature I like (it can be enabled from IceWM control centre) and saves the work of manually placing the window in the middle of the screen and then running the script to “memorize” that setting…
          In my particular case, there are only some apps that start with non maximized windows that I use, like geany, the rox-terminal, control centre and app-select. The only one of these windows that is not automatically centered with the setting I propose is app-select – it’s the single one that I do have to have icewm “memorize” the position.
          Also, centering windows automatically is nice for users that connect laptops to large screens, like tv’s, because then “large” windows always open centered.. But using the “memorized” position may not place the window exactly where the user wanted it on the external screen…

          It’s nothing particularly important, just a “minor suggestion”, like the title of this thread states. I can, and do make those changes on my systems, but I thought new users would like to have centered windows by default…

          P.

          #120048
          Member
          blur13

            You probably already know this but in .icewm/winoptions you can add

            Links.geometry: 1180×1080+370+0

            This way, Links2 will always open up centered on a 1080p screen. Makes it easier to read text when the window is a bit narrower. You could do the same for the terminal. And by using the coordinates that show up when moving a window around, you’ll know just what to enter as the “geometry”.

            #120051
            Moderator
            Brian Masinick

              You probably already know this but in .icewm/winoptions you can add

              Links.geometry: 1180×1080+370+0

              This way, Links2 will always open up centered on a 1080p screen. Makes it easier to read text when the window is a bit narrower. You could do the same for the terminal. And by using the coordinates that show up when moving a window around, you’ll know just what to enter as the “geometry”.

              Right.
              Similarly if you have another resource that you want to display in a specific location you can specify the resource, the size and the location.

              When it makes sense you can wildcard certain things (be careful with that and don’t wildcard too much or the wrong resource); that will not go well at all!

              • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Brian Masinick.

              --
              Brian Masinick

              #120055
              Member
              PPC

                @blur13 – Once again, I worry too much about folks that don’t know how to use the terminal or edit config files… IceWM Control Centre was created with those people in mind – more advanced users that want to learn “how the sausage is made”, can do the same thing you did – inspect the code and learn how to do directly the stuff that the script does.
                I do not envy anticapitalisa’s position, of wishing to please the greatest amount of users. Most of the suggestions I made on this thread are irrelevant to advanced users such as yourself, and may even be prejudicial- I liked the way you showed that having IceWM display the current window position can be handy, for folks that know how to edit the window’s configuration directly into the relevant config file. I did do stuff like that, in the past… I enjoy the end result, having windows exactly where I wanted them to be… but not the process. The GUI to memorise window’s positions in IceWM is a much enjoyable way, for me, to have the same result… you may prefer to directly edit config files… To each it’s own right?

                Thanks for the delicate way that you used to point out that not everyone may enjoy some of my suggestions… I hope, at least that no one thinks that the possibility of having multiple volumeicons on the system tray is a feature that should be kept, for example. I also think that having IceWM Control Centre on the desktop would be positive – it may help many people that do not even know it exists, and if any user does not like it there, it can literally be deleted with one click… But I can also picture someone saying that my suggestion gives users too many ways of doing the same thing, that it stimulates having desktop icons, that are a waste of system resources, etc… Like I say, you can’t please everyone.

                P.

                #120063
                Moderator
                Brian Masinick

                  It’s nice when we can do stuff that is helpful and convenient to users who cannot afford expensive computers so they can run KDE Plasma (on Linux systems) or iOS on VERY expensive Mac-OS systems, or punch buttons on those systems that SHATTER when you throw rocks at the clear surface that their name describes!

                  I’m grateful that thanks to the combination of yad and bash scripts we can produce reasonably light, fast, efficient graphical interfaces that don’t stop or prevent geeks like me from writing small programs, scripts, alias commands, and shell scripts, and maybe even a few YAD commands and scripts, allowing me to explore diverse, efficient ways to solve problems. I’m particularly grateful that we can choose from either of these diverse styles RATHER than have to choose BETWEEN them! That’s the wonderful benefit of freely available software and freedom of choice!

                  --
                  Brian Masinick

                  #120075
                  Member
                  Karo

                    offtopic
                    I would not like to disturb here, only a small edge remark…
                    I find it great and extremely interesting to be able to throw at least a small look behind the scenes in this forum at the one and other place.
                    Remarkable with what meticulousness the approach of antiX is maintained.
                    Thank you for your passionate work!

                    Since english is not my native language and my knowledge is too poor to represent complex things I use a translator.
                    These are known not to be perfect. If you translate one of my posts from german to english into other languages, the result will be worse and worse. Therefore, I post in both english and german, so that non english speaking users can have the german text translated directly into their language.

                    #120273
                    Member
                    PPC

                      Another suggestion: not really U.I. related, but usability related:

                      – uncomment, by default this line in IceWM’s keys file:
                      #switchkey "Super+p" icewm-menu-xrandr

                      This is very handy for laptops/netbooks that are connected to external monitors. I’ll have to try to match the Fn+ whatever key combo that enables the option to “switch video output” in my laptops to this!
                      I think it also should, by default be something easier to remember, something like “super+s” (from Screen)…

                      -Still related to usability, at least for computers with a numeric keyboard, for easier “tiling” in IceWM, consider adding this to IceWM’s preferences file:

                      #  Let the active window occupy 1/4 of the screen.
                      KeyWinTileTopLeft="Super+KP_Home"
                      KeyWinTileTopRight="Super+KP_Prior"
                      KeyWinTileBottomLeft="Super+KP_End"
                      KeyWinTileBottomRight="Super+KP_Next"

                      P.

                      #120278
                      Member
                      PPC

                        Also:

                        @anticapitalista – if you want, you can update yad-calendar to the version that’s over at https://gitlab.com/antiX-Linux/yad-goodies/-/blob/main/bin/yad-calendar
                        It is exactly the same, but allows users to add events by clicking the selected day. A day with events comes up in bold, and the event is displayed as a tooltip – very basic, but useful. No alarms, nothing fancy, just an electronic version of a “pen and paper” calendar.
                        The version I use in FT10 is much more feature rich, very near to a complete calendar, with alarms, search function, displaying the current days event above the calendar (that feature is handy and can be added easily to the version that’s on gitlab)

                        Edit: this is handy for simple stuff, like doctors appointments, paying the taxes, birthdays, etc. In pure antiX way, the “calendar” can be easily managed by editing the text file $HOME/yad-calendar.txt (in the very simple format of “<date_using_the_current_format_for_the_locale> Event”, using one line per day. Events do not have to be in chronological order (ex: you can have all the birthdays next to each other, so, every year, it’s just a matter of changing the year- sorry, no “recurring events”, like I said, this is just like using a “pen and paper” calendar)

                        Edit2: While I think this is a useful mini addition to antiX, adding a bit of extra functionality, with no cost on system resources (other than maybe 1kb of data, from the script), I stopped working on creating a complete calendar because most people just use their smartphones and/or Google calendar, and adding synchronization to my “yad-calendar” would be too much for me… since Thunderbird is probably the most used E-mail app in Linux AND it has an excellent calendar, capable of synchronization with google calendar, etc… it would be a wasted effort, to keep trying to add extra features at my calendar script.
                        The current script, on gitlab (that I just made a small commit) gives users the same basic feature that, for example, Gnome gives, when users click a day on the calendar: i.e. add an all day event…

                        P.

                        • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by PPC.
                        • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by PPC.
                        #120299
                        Moderator
                        Brian Masinick

                          @PPC as you stated, these may be potentially “useful” contributions that a few people MIGHT be able to benefit from,
                          but they certainly are NOT essential – for a couple of reasons:

                          1) None of these matters have even arisen yet, despite years of having our IceWM environment available.
                          2) As you also stated, when it comes to calendars, there are plenty of options – apps available on Linux,
                          on office and Email tools, and certainly on other mobile devices.
                          3) These resources ARE available, and those interested can examine the extremely well documented
                          icewm resource files, particularly in the file /usr/share/icewm/preferences

                          --
                          Brian Masinick

                          #120324
                          Member
                          PPC

                            @Mr Masinick – I was very careful, when I selected the name for this thread – nothing I suggest here is of extreme importance. antiX has existed well before I came along, just fine 🙂
                            Still some suggestion are more important than others: changing the configuration so antiX does not allow users, using GUIs to have multiple volumeicons, multiple app-select or log-off windows, gives a bit of “polish”, making the OS act in what looks a bit more “professional way” – without changing anything major (and without any extra use of system resources).
                            Having IceWM Control Centre on the desktop, or the rest of the generic apps on the Personal Menu are tiny suggestions to allow new users to get the hang of using antiX
                            The calendar… funny enough, yad-calendar (that allows users to add events) is already available in antiX, just not used by default as calendar when users click the clock in IceWM’s toolbar … So it seems a bit of wasted potencial… The work was already done and the script is included in antiX (I just made a commit to make it work exactly like the current calendar)

                            • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by PPC.
                            #120335
                            Moderator
                            Brian Masinick

                              Yeah, I agree with you @PPC and I do not have any objection if the changes you suggest ARE implemented.
                              Our current release, as good as the other releases have always been, turns out to be the easiest release in several years for me to put on ANY of the remaining computers I have on hand.

                              I did get rid of the last of my 32-bit systems not long before I retired, and it wasn’t because they didn’t work any more; they DID, it was just that I couldn’t run 8, 10, or 12 distros on them any more because the number of systems that continue to support 32-bit hardware has been steadily decreasing for many years. One of the main reasons I got my Dell Inspiron 5558 laptop was that I still had a job and I could, at that time, afford a middle of the line laptop. Comparing it to the one I’m using right now, even though it’s older, it has a solid Core i7 processor, it’s just from an earlier generation; it’s probably twice as heavy as the unit I’m using right now. SSD was a relatively new technology when I bought it, and though I knew it was faster and had no moving parts, at the time I got the 5558 they also had an 8 TB 2 1/2″ HDD and 8 GB standard memory, so that’s what I chose.

                              When I bought a much faster Chromebook, it happened to have fast memory and for storage it used SSD. Even today, that system is as fast as anything else I have, so I reasoned that I could also speed up the Inspiron 5558 for a modest price as long as I was willing to reduce the internal storage capacity somewhat, which was fine; the choice I made still provides more than enough room to hold 4-5 distributions, each with their own decent partition and capacity. So even though the 5558 is kinda big, heavy and clumsy, it’s still a really good device.

                              Getting back to the utilities, as you mentioned, they are minor user interface suggestions, and while they are not mandatory, they are not a ridiculous change, so they may be worth incorporating into either the .1 release, a future update, or some modest package modifications that can be added at any time.

                              I’m open to either, and I can check them out if approved; I don’t need the changes for my own needs, but I’ll be happy to verify them.

                              I assume that you have put your suggestions into at least one of your configurations, yes? If not, please try that out.

                              I’ll do that when I finish my system updates and see 1) that they definitely work and 2) if I could ever include them in any of my every day use cases; if not, I’ll at least TEST them out.

                              --
                              Brian Masinick

                              #120342
                              Member
                              blur13

                                @PPC

                                I appreciate you sharing icewm tips! Its amazing what you can do with it.

                                I didnt know about icewm-menu-xrandr. If you simply run it as a command in the terminal it will output a menu option that you can paste into .icewm/menu.

                                Having a keybinding for changing the display of a laptop to an external display is obviously very useful. My solution was to take the script generated by xrandr and bind it to a key in .icewm/keys.

                                The annoying thing about icewm tiling options is that they dont work if the window is in fullscreen. Wingrid does. If you want to work with icewm tools you have to bind keys to use, as an example, icesh -f restore sizeto 50% 50% top left

                                #120346
                                Member
                                blur13

                                  @PPC

                                  Instead of trying to push every amazing new discovery you make about icewm as the new default for antiX, maybe you should write an ICEWM FAQ, similar to the one you wrote about antiX 23. That one is very good.

                                  Q: How do I get rid of those ugly numbers (coordinates?) that show up whenever I move a window around?
                                  A: in prefoverride, add the entry “ShowMoveSizeStatus=0”

                                  It would be like an abridged version of the icewm manual. I would certainly read it!

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