Friday, September 26, 2008

A few clarifications

I realize that my last post didn't make things clear enough for everyone to understand so let me address some questions about QuickSand.

What exactly is QuickSand?
It is simply an alternative to the spinning squares in the default KRunner interface. At its core, it is still powered by the infrastructure of KRunner.

Where can I get it?
If you read the latest commit digest, you'll see I committed it to playground. It's in trunk/playground/base/plasma/quicksand. But before you checkout the sources, let me address a related question.

Can I run QuickSand in KDE 4.1 and lower?
No. Actually, you can't even compile it using the code in trunk. Multiple action support requires two things: 1) a patched libplasma that supports multiple actions, and 2) runners that actually use multiple actions. To fix #1, there's a patch included in the directory. The patch is against trunk/KDE/kdebase/workspace. #2 is not really an issue but runners that have multiple actions can be found in playground (mediaplayer and windows directories).

Won't you release a KDE 4.1 version?
The interface itself can be run in KDE 4.1.x. Initial development occured on my stable 4.1.1 installation. I still have a KDE 4.1 branch locally. However, multiple action support requires the use of a patch which is against trunk. If enough people clamor for a 4.1.x version I could release a QuickSand version without multiple action support. (Please do not send me e-mail asking for one, a comment here would suffice.)

Are we aping GNOME Do?
No. Similarities between GNOME Do and QuickSand are due to the fact that they are both inspired by Quicksilver. If anything, QuickSand is more related to Katapult than the relatively new GNOME Do. GNOME Do and Katapult mimicked the Bezel interface. QuickSand emulates the default interface (Primer) but I think most of you will agree it looks way better.

The primary inspiration for making KRunner multithreaded was my experience getting multithreading to work properly with Katapult. Anyone remember Katapult-Fast Track? One of the comments for Katapult-Fast Track encouraged me to work on KRunner. Well, guess what... I did. :)

Recall the feature list of improvements in Katapult-Fast Track: real transparency, multiple matches per search, multiple actions per match, and multiple threads. These have all been implemented (or at the very least are in the process of being implemented) in KRunner (and thus QuickSand). All that's really left is adaptive search. Oh yeah, would have loved to do all of this for GSoC. :)

Can't you just get rid of the popup box?
The design isn't _all_ about eyecandy. Sure only having scrolling icons may look nice, but in practice it may be difficult to work with. Take the following picture as an example.

Can anyone tell me which is the match for result.h without scrolling through all items? Thought so.

I don't want to _have_ to scroll through all the items to find one particular match. Having the popup completion box makes it easy to distinguish between items with similar icons and select the desired match immediately. The popup completion box also enables interaction with the mouse. Scrolling through the items and selecting matches when the popup box is not shown can currently only be done using the keyboard.

Don't want to see the popup box? Just press escape or click elsewhere. Never want to see it? I'll add an option to hide it in the config dialog sometime soon.

Miscellaneous stuff:

A picture of text mode which I forgot to include.

And just a minor plug, I like where the Raptor menu is going. :)


xvalentinex said...

A 4.1.X quicksand would be nice.

Владимир said...

Please, 4.1.x version.