Monday, September 22, 2008

Alt+Space

Didn't get the following to Danny on time. Anyway here it is :)

Introducing QuickSand

QuickSand is an alternative interface heavily inspired by the Primer interface of Quicksilver in Mac OS X.


QuickSand differs from the current KRunner interface in several ways. QuickSand has 3 different display modes: Icon Parade, Selected Item, and Text mode. The default display mode is "Icon Parade". Instead of displaying a line-edit, QuickSand presents the user with a match pane asking the user to type something to be searched. Upon typing, the search string is displayed on the upper left corner of the match pane. If matches are found, the number of matches is displayed on the upper right corner of the match pane. The icons are of the matches are lined up horizontally in the match pane and a popup completion box is shown to guide the user in selecting the appropriate match. The user can scroll through the available matches by pressing the up and down keys (when the popup box is shown) or the left and right keys.


Hitting enter will select the match and display only the selected item. Clicking on the arrow on the upper right corner of the match pane will toggle between Icon Parade and Selected Item modes.


If the user would rather see a line edit, pressing the period (.) key will change the display to text mode. A line edit will replace the scrolling icons in the match pane.

One of the primary reasons for writing QuickSand was to provide support for multiple actions. For example a match for an open application window can have several actions associated with it. The window can be minimized, set on all desktops, etc. QuickSand supports multiple actions in the same manner as matches for a search. If a particular match has several actions associated with it, an action pane appears below the match pane with the first action selected. Pressing tab will switch to the action pane and the user can select from the various available actions in the same manner as matches.


Hopefully, QuickSand will be provided as an option in KRunner allowing users to select between the default interface and QuickSand.

Another future development would be support for actions that require objects/targets. For example given a match for a file "sshot.jpg" and an action of "e-mail to...", a possible object would be "johndoe@commit-digest.org". Support for objects would be as simple as placing an object pane below the action pane and displaying it whenever the currently selected action requires an object.

7 comments:

Carsten Niehaus said...

Quicksand itself looks *great*. Only issue is this context-popup which really doesn't fit in there.

Beside this: wow!

felipe said...

Interesting... I'd like to give Quicksand a try, where is it? :)

Dread Knight said...

This seems like a great alternative and i really like the name for it. The only issue would be the pop-up like it was mentioned before; need a better approach, not just copy Gnome-do ;-)

Cheers!

Carlos said...

Great job!
But i think ppl out there would like to give it a try.

Can't you post a link where we can take a pick at the current state of the application?

Thank you.

B. Malengier said...

Why not join forces with the people from katapult: katapult.kde.org ?

Friday's Group Meetings said...

just another post to say that everything looks great except for the context popup that look out of place. Maybe you can just eliminate it?

dilettante said...

@everyone: It's in playground/base/plasma/quicksand. But you need to patch libplasma. The patch is included in the directory.

also @everyone: I'm not copying gnome do. It's a quicksilver workalike. :) gnome do copied quicksilver.

@b. malengier
This is powered by KRunner and will likely be integrated into KRunner. The Katapult architecture just doesn't fit into it right now.