Let Categories out!
First I want to say that I am very lucky to be part of a big (non open) web-project and around 1 month ago we were working towards to remove categories from an application similar to e-bay (smaller though!). Categories can be proven a real disaster specially on systems that 3rd-party people are placing items. But even if we place and categorize the items our-selves it can’t be a perfect categorization and we just have to add more and more categories, even for just one single item.
Of course I am referring to categories that are supposed to help us out in searching and not in discovering (there is a huge difference). Anyway there are plenty techniques that replace categorization from UI.
However you have to think that the only reason that categories “somehow” works in GNOME is just because there aren’t lots of items. Just install 200-250 Apps and you will find out the real issues with the categories ;)
I don’t want to talk about the problems with categories but I want to extend into a more “controversial” aspect. In my opinion GNOME at some point should also drop the “Video, Music, Documents, Pictures” views from their system.
- Is a Music VideoClip, Music or Video?
- A WebM images-slideshow is video or pictures?
- A printed Document is Image or Document?
- Etc etc
Right now the separation is done by the file-format and not by the meaning/semantics of the files. I think this is a mistake.
First of, categories haven’t been dropped from GNOME’s infrastructure but just from the Shell UI. That basically means that if you want categories back you will probably get them with some extension. Instead of Categories, in GNOME 3.8 there now are AppsFolders which work better(?) than Categories in usability. Someone let a comment how he can group his “Games”. There you go..
All you need to do is to play a bit with dconf-editor.
What I am doing here is just to add the [games] value to the [app-folders-categories] schema. Don’t be scared to use dconf-editor, there is a”Set to Default” button in case you messed up with it :)
Of course for every change you make here you can also make the equal with gsettings.
$ gsettings set org.gnome.shell app-folder-categories "['Utilities', 'Sundry', 'Games' ]"
Furthermore, you can create as many cutom Categories/AppsFolders as you wish with Alacarte. I will add this in a next post, I haven’t tried it :)
Creating AppsFolders 2
In the next GNOME (3.10) application groups will be customizable from inside the Shell. That was the initial design, but the UI changes weren’t ready yet.
We will be able to customize the AppsGroups from the button on the Right Bottom Corner. The only way for Categories / AppsForlders to work, is to drop items there ourselves, the same way we do with our Files. The old, good (dirty?), classic way and GNOME will let us to do so ;)