Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:25 am Post subject: Image is everything.
First of all, freaking excellent to have put NeoOffice/J on the map. I used StarOffice at work for a while and really wanted to be an advocate, but I couldn't what with it not being available on my platform of choice.
Running OOo on the desktop has improved the look and feel of severalfold over running it in X11. But when I fire up Word, it just looks so much more solid. And perception is a huge thing. I had a couple of suggestions (and, not to spoil the ending, I'm ready to throw in and make them happen).
1) Icons. I read the post about maybe using the KDE icons. They are much better than the stock. But, the Mac has it's own style guide and perhaps it's own format for these icons? Without knowing the limitations of the OS X Java interface, is it possible to use native-style icons? I presume they are vector-based. (on a related note, can other aqua features be used? Like Word has a blue-translucent Margin indicator.)
2) Damn lightbulb. I have hated that lightbulb for about five years now and I really think it's time to end the hate. It's a terrible graphic and it's a terrible tool. The lightbulb will pop up for any reason and only when you click it do you find out what it's about. There are two things that I would like to see happen with that:
The first is change the graphic. People made fun of the paper-clip for a long time, how it was a waste of processor time and all of that. A good point but, sadly, all the lightbulb manages to do is be a poor cousin of the paperclip.
There should be animation there, why not? It would just be having different images for different types of situations. But let's take it one step further (into the realm of actualy originality): Let's make it themeable. We could have a professional one, one that was off the wall, and even one that was kid friendly. And anyone could build a set of animations that could go in there. Anything from Homestarrunner to their favorite movie (not an endorsement of copyright violation). It would make things a lot more fun. It would even give people something to show possible converts beyond just, "See how all word processors look the same."
The second, far less dramatic, is to just have the title of what it's sugesting appear. The tool is currently rendered useless the second time someone clicks on it, just to find out (again) that autocorrecting had been turned on. It's a total waste of time and you just want it to go away. Couldn't it have just told you that in first place?
We've had folks roll the KDE/Gnome icons in there from the Ximian project, but I think this may be the first bona fide attempt to re-engineer icons. As to the dividers and the like being a bit more aqua, we'll probably hold off on that until we do native controls. Dan did some work with rulers and the like back in the day but they're a bit trickier then even the controls as there's no underlying OS X equivalent (case in point, the little blue "split" control in Office v.X to make two panes in a spreadsheet). Those will probably require a graphics artist, too, which us developers are most certainly not
Ximian did also do a replacement for the lightbulb icon but it is, of course, static. The context help system in OOo isn't advanced enough to allow for animations or switching images based on context, unfortunately. I don't know if they have any plans to improve that system either.
Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:51 pm Post subject: Excellent to hear.
I went ahead and posted in that other thread. If that works out, I'll go after the OOo folks on the dim-bulb issue. AFAIK, they don't have any improvements planned for 2.0, but I'll download the snapshot.
Joined: May 25, 2003 Posts: 4752 Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 3:10 pm Post subject:
Sweet, thx for coming back and helping out
FWIW, I haven't had the time to check out the 2.0 snapshots myself. I've been too busy focusing on tasks at hand to really pay attention to 2.0. There's also a bit of selfishness involved too...
For all of my needs at work, OOo v1.0.3 sufficed. It met all my needs and then some and I was able to integrate it into my full-time job involving writing specs and pro-formas and the like. I had to adapt to it a bit, but once I adjusted my co-workers were unable to tell I was on a Mac, much less on something other then Office.
Since I haven't found a compelling need to upgrade at work, even to OOo 1.1, I guess as a result I'm not as driven to keep up with the latest "point update" or "pre-release" version
2. I look forward to any new icons... but for me, the next big breakthrough would be native file selection for open/save.. That's something that I think is throwing new users. It's probably a huge undertaking tho...
Anyway, I don't say "thanks" nearly enough for the amazing work done thusfar, so... thanks!
I look forward to any new icons... but for me, the next big breakthrough would be native file selection for open/save.. That's something that I think is throwing new users. It's probably a huge undertaking tho...
Agreed--I almost persuaded some friends/family to abandon the dark side for NeoJ, but the Open/Save dialogues threw them for a loop. They immediately wanted to trash NeoJ without any further investment of time. It's a shame, because the native menus and print dialogues are so nice, and my friends didn't get far enough to notice them. In a way, this has a lot to do with "image" too, more than icons (though they would be sweet). Transparency of file management, not making people realize the naked, chill-inducing file structure that underlies the pretty Aqua widgets, etc...
Agreed--I almost persuaded some friends/family to abandon the dark side for NeoJ, but the Open/Save dialogues threw them for a loop.
Transparency of file management, not making people realize the naked, chill-inducing file structure that underlies the pretty Aqua widgets, etc...
I agree, but as Patrick put it when he deferred it: this will be a non-trivial piece of work.. I'd include the bug number bug I can't access bugzilla just now.
In all honesty, the current dialog makes me wince every time it comes up. I do as much as I can from recently-saved entries en Finder (thank Patrick and Ed for the excellent integration there ). _________________ "What do you think of Western Civilization?"
"I think it would be a good idea!"
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
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