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NeoOffice :: View topic - Unified toolbar
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netocp-1
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Joined: Sep 22, 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: Unified toolbar Reply with quote

Hello everybody.

I was browsing in this page and I decided to post a question.

I'd want to know why NeoOffice doesn't have an unified toolbar?

All the time that I had my ibook I could see that most applications unified the title bar with the toolbar, creating so an "unified toolbar".

I know that NeoOffice has emerged from the OpenOffice's code and therefore it is seem (in appearance) to this.

But is there any possibility that in a not so far future NeoOffice can get an unified toolbar like most Mac OS X Applications? Confused

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sardisson
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Unified toolbar Reply with quote

netocp-1 wrote:
I know that NeoOffice has emerged from the OpenOffice's code and therefore it is seem (in appearance) to this.

Right, and the OpenOffice.org code has no concept of a unified toolbar (or a number of other Mac OS X-specific control types). OOo only has the concept of controls which existed on old versions of Windows (plus a set of custom, OOo-specific controls), and even some of these do not map well to native controls available on Mac OS X.

netocp-1 wrote:
But is there any possibility that in a not so far future NeoOffice can get an unified toolbar like most Mac OS X Applications? Confused

Obviously Patrick knows best, but I believe it's extremely unlikely that this will happen, as it would require massive changes to the OOo codebase to introduce the concept of unified toolbar (and then handle all of the assumptions that the rest of the OOo code makes about what sort of layout/features/functions are available in a toolbar).

I think the last time this question came up (5-6 years ago, so my memory is fuzzy), Patrick was able to tweak the color of the existing OOo toolbar background to better match the Mac OS X toolbar colors of the era. I don't know if that is still possible (if I'm even remembering correctly), nor whether the end result of these tweaks would look any better than what we have today.

Most importantly, by and large, those users who have contributed/purchased NeoOffice over the years have cared more about basic compatibility with new Mac OS X versions and their core features (e.g., CoreText, Versions, Retina text, Gatekeeper) rather than every small bit of native appearance compatibility, and I expect this to continue to be the case in the future, and will guide development priorities accordingly.

So, unofficially, don't expect to see a unified toolbar in NeoOffice.

Smokey

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pluby
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Unified toolbar Reply with quote

sardisson wrote:
Obviously Patrick knows best, but I believe it's extremely unlikely that this will happen, as it would require massive changes to the OOo codebase to introduce the concept of unified toolbar (and then handle all of the assumptions that the rest of the OOo code makes about what sort of layout/features/functions are available in a toolbar).


This is true. To put it simply, the Mac OS X toolbar is really designed for applications that only need to display a small number of toolbar icons. In contrast, NeoOffice's underlying OpenOffice.org code has a huge number of toolbar icons. Since there are too many icons to display in a single toolbar, OpenOffice.org uses its own custom toolbar management code to allow users to choose which group of toolbar icons to display and set the position of each of those groups.

sardisson wrote:
I think the last time this question came up (5-6 years ago, so my memory is fuzzy), Patrick was able to tweak the color of the existing OOo toolbar background to better match the Mac OS X toolbar colors of the era. I don't know if that is still possible (if I'm even remembering correctly), nor whether the end result of these tweaks would look any better than what we have today.


This gave me an idea. One possibility that might be feasible (although I do not know for sure) would be disable all of the gray background that the OpenOffice.org code draws for all toolbars and let the "metal" native window background show through.

I am not sure if this approach, even if it is feasible, would look better or worse than the current toolbar look and feel. So, to give people a sense of what it might look like, I have attached to images:

1. The first attached image shows a native window with nothing in it. This would be the "metal" native background that would show through if I could disable OpenOffice.org's gray background for toolbars.

2. The second attached image shows the standard Writer toolbars. If I was able to disable OpenOffice.org's gray background for toolbars, the toolbar icons as well as all of the items circled in red would still be drawn and the gray between all of these items would be replaced by the "metal" native background in the first image.

I would like to hear from at least a handful of users of what they think of this approach. If a few users think this approach is better than NeoOffice's current toolbar look and feel, then I can investigate if it is feasible to implement.

Patrick
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sardisson
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a quick and dirty mockup I made based on my understanding of what Patrick was proposing (a textured window from the Cocoa simulator plus the NeoOffice toolbar buttons with the OOo-grey background zapped out by the Magic Wand tool). Daniel or someone else with better Graphics-Fu (or more time) could probably make a much better mockup.

That said, based on my mockup, I think it looks worse Sad

Smokey

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pluby
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sardisson wrote:
This is a quick and dirty mockup I made based on my understanding of what Patrick was proposing (a textured window from the Cocoa simulator plus the NeoOffice toolbar buttons with the OOo-grey background zapped out by the Magic Wand tool). Daniel or someone else with better Graphics-Fu (or more time) could probably make a much better mockup.


Thank you for posting the excellent mockup. Your mockup is very close to what I visualized it would look like and I was having difficulty making one.

Patrick
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netocp-1
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Joined: Sep 22, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sardisson wrote:
This is a quick and dirty mockup I made based on my understanding of what Patrick was proposing (a textured window from the Cocoa simulator plus the NeoOffice toolbar buttons with the OOo-grey background zapped out by the Magic Wand tool). Daniel or someone else with better Graphics-Fu (or more time) could probably make a much better mockup.

That said, based on my mockup, I think it looks worse Sad

Smokey


I think you're right. It doesn't look so awesome as it should be. I think that the current NeoOffice toolbar design is better than this. Anyway, it looks nice. I don't know. (Maybe because I've not seen nothing like this).
BTW, I think that it would have a different perspective if you'd be able to post a complete snapshot of the NeoOffice windows with the toolbar mockup (if possible of course) Surprised

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netocp-1
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking about this and watching once and again the provided snapshots, I think that the problem is not that the toolbar now has got a grey background, but if that the toolbar icons don't contrast with it.

It's to say, the toolbar icons look awesome with current NeoOffice toolbar color (grey), but I think that as they are not designed to be located on a "metal" surface, they don't look as nice as they should.

I guess Confused

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pluby
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

netocp-1 wrote:
It's to say, the toolbar icons look awesome with current NeoOffice toolbar color (white), but I think that as they are not designed to be located on a "grey" surface, they don't look as nice as they should.


Reworking all of the hundreds of toolbar icons is not feasible for our icon design volunteers so the only approach that I will consider implementing is what you see in sardisson's mockup.

Patrick
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netocp-1
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pluby wrote:
netocp-1 wrote:
It's to say, the toolbar icons look awesome with current NeoOffice toolbar color (white), but I think that as they are not designed to be located on a "grey" surface, they don't look as nice as they should.


Reworking all of the hundreds of toolbar icons is not feasible for our icon design volunteers so the only approach that I will consider implementing is what you see in sardisson's mockup.

Patrick


Sorry but I didn't mean that you should rework all of the icons, I was just saying that they don't look well on a metal surface. Because they're designed to be on a grey toolbar surface.

But I think that to avoid the over-load work for you , the toolbar should remain as it is now. I just wanted know if it was feasible to implement. If not. it's ok.

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sardisson
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I don't think it's necessarily that the icons weren't designed for a (dark) grey background, since some of them look really good--although that's clearly part of the issue, and I remember that lots of apps had to tweak their toolbar icons when the unified toolbar became much darker in the 10.5 era--but it's more about the fundamental principles of gradients and the fact that the standard Cocoa toolbar is designed to have only a single 20- or 32-px high row of icons.

To have a consistent gradient (i.e., the top ~40px of every window in the OS should have the same gradient with the same colors in the same places), if the area to be covered by the gradient is taller, then gradient has to keep getting darker in the "extra" area. And 2 (or more) rows of 16- or 20-px high icons requires more space than a standard Cocoa toolbar, so the gradient keeps getting darker. (It also seems to me like the textured NSWindow gets darker faster than the NSToolbar--though I haven't verified that empirically--which makes the situation worse here.)

At any rate, to me this solution seems too dark and heavy, and I'd prefer the current, somewhat-dated look over a bad, more modern look, but I look forward to hearing others' thoughts.

Smokey

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djpimley
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a few problems with NeoOffice toolbar icons on a gradient background. Firstly the unified toolbar background is darker than the present background, and that makes a darker outline around the icons preferable to help them stand out.

Secondly the gradient is visually busy and not well suited to being used as a background for dense groups of multi-colored icons. Apple's increasing trend towards monochrome icons in unified toolbars and it's treatment of the System Preferences window are instructive of the best practice in such cases.

A few months back I was wondering how NeoOffice would look with Lion-style monochrome toolbar icons (this led off from a thought I had about giving NeoOffice a new set of toolbar icons based on resolution-independent vector source files.) I have a feeling the NeoOffice toolbars would be a lot harder to use without the extra visual cues that come from the different colours of the icons.
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ovvldc
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Daniel here. We use colour for a lot of things in the icons, separating the main elements (object and operation, like a database and an action or a file and saving or closing it). Much of the set would have to be redesigned to work without colour and even then I doubt we could get the at-a-glance clarity.

I am anyway at a loss about Apple's interface design recently. A combination of monochrome icons and skeuomorphism doesn't do it for me. It's a computer with a colour display, not a notebook bound in leather.. I am still using my own personal folder icons that I saved from Tiger Wink.

I am anyway still on 10.6, so I'll see what life becomes like when I switch to 10.8

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netocp-1
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ovvldc wrote:
I am anyway at a loss about Apple's interface design recently. A combination of monochrome icons and skeuomorphism doesn't do it for me. It's a computer with a colour display, not a notebook bound in leather.


I really agree with you.

I think that Apple is trying to "black and white" its OS, I don't think it is a good idea, because at least me, I loved Mac OS X Tiger it was a really good system in performance and interface. Leopard was pretty much better because it added a nicer iterface giving a bit a modernism to the system but still keeping the rules imposed by Tiger. Mac OS X Lion began to change everthing: the color disappears from the Finder and from many other Mac icons and applications, Apple gets more interested in the cloud and that can be seen in Mountain Lion where everything has a link to share online.

I think that from Lion Apple has started to mess up its OS, and in my case that I'm saving money to purchase a MacBook Pro, sometimes I get to think if it really worth to pay $1600 for an OS that it's getting closer to chrome OS. Confused

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