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Pop(ular) Application Menu Items

Pop() is a function that removes an item from a list. Also pop stands for popular. It seems that Pop() has become popular in Gnome 3.12 ;)

Here we go again with issues in Application Menus. Application menus items are meant to affect the global scopes of application, where Window menu items are meant to affect the current window context.

This discrimination is never going to work, because it has nothing to do with the way that menus are placed.

What Gnome actually does, is to ask from developers to write clear scopes in application UI functions, that affect either the current running context or the whole application. Can’t be done.

Think of the import/export example. Import might affects the current context, when export affects the Application.


Documents

Documents in 3.12 moved the Grid Menu from Application Menu to Application Window.

The reason?

#697591 It is confusing that the grid/list options in Documents are in the application menu and not in the toolbar like in nautilus.

It is good idea to read the full threads on these bugs to understand the full reasoning.

documents-grid

In Documents 3.12 the grid menu is removed from Application Menu and is placed between Search and Select, as a two states button (Grid/List).

While this change is an improvement it brings an obvious question. If Gnome Designers can’t decide where a menu belongs, what do they expect to happen with 3rd-party apps? Either a mess, or they won’t just get bothered to use AppMenus.


Context Apps

Kinda odd but Applications Menus were introduced on Gnome Context Applications (Documents, Photos, Music, etc); They were introduced on the applications that actually don’t need an Application Menu, because everything is about context.

Looking at Documents Application Menu we can now see only [Help/About/Quit/Fullscreen] which are the only items (some more: new window, kill) that can be standardized in Application Menus.


Nautilus

Nautilus 3.12 also comes with such a change. Enter Location Item moved from Application Menu to Gear Menu.

The reason?

#686967 The "Connect to Server" and "Enter Location" options don't really belong in the Application Menu, since they affect the current window rather than the application in general.

nautilus-location

A wayland screenshot with root rights. A file in my Home Folder that I can’t remove :(

This change might seem very insignificant, but let me tell you my story. When Nautilus added the “sort ” functions under the Arrow Menu, I couldn’t discover them. I never imagined that the Arrow Menu would serve this purpose. As a matter of fact I asked someone “how can I sort out my files!?“.

The point is that you can’t change menu placement in every release. For such modules as Documents and Nautilus, it might be okay (not always), but what if we were doing that in applications like Gimp?


 
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  • Eduard Gotwig

    how I can sort out my files!? should be how can I sort out my files!? Enrage :3

    Gimp is not going to adept those changes anytime, if they dont work well under windows and OS X as well.

    • alex285

      They won’t coz they can’t even if they want. I really admire what MS did in Office 2010 + with menus.

      • http://varemenos.com/ Adonis K. (Varemenos)

        almost everyone hates the ribbon menu

        • alex285

          That goes to the people that were used on 2007. If you try for 1st time 2010 and 2007, you will go with the new menus. My opinion.

          • Eduard Gotwig

            AFAIK in Win8 they want to drop the idea of ribbon menus again. Its quite funny to see that every fucking windows version they change the look of their application widget toolkits completly xD I am shocked.

            And in the future I think Microsoft will not even care about such widgets anymore, and just play in their quadratic sandbox.

          • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

            Win8’s new Windows Explorer ribbon tells another story.

        • http://funsurf-blog.blogspot.com/ Satyajit Sahoo

          I like it :D

  • Hamvil

    The first steps toward dropping the whole appmenu concept…

  • Josh

    I think this is unfair. The GNOME 3 HIG doesn’t seem to even be complete, never mind stable. It’s entirely reasonable for GNOME’s app design to be in flux while the designers figure out what works and what doesn’t, what makes sense and what doesn’t. In the end, that means GNOME can offer finished guidelines that have already been tested in real applications.

    For better (or worse), GNOME is not Microsoft, it can’t do this behind closed doors for a few years and then release a finished product.

    • Khurshid Alam

      Actually its horizontal global-menu that works everywhere (at-least on desktop). Its more or less same on Mac, Windows, Unity, Mate, KDE except Gnome (3). They (Gnome3-dev) have to invent something that nobody uses & then struggle for a-decade to figure out which menu-option goes where!

      • Svitozar Cherepii

        Invented in 3.4 release(March 2012) > to be improved in 3.12(March 2014)
        They have done in two years, not decade :)

      • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

        But you are forgetting about Android, iOS, Windows Phone / Metro, ribbon, Opera/Chrome/IE/Firefox menus combined in a single button, etc.
        Classic menus are dead.

    • alex285

      1. My opinion is that there isn’t such thing as Menus that affect current content and Menus that affect the application. There is nothing to separate.

      This will never work in spatial memory because there isn’t a logical orientation of menus. We will always iterating in menus to find what are we looking for. My opinion.

      2. That is actually an advantage of Gnome and free software in general. They have real testing at real time.

      • Márcio

        Some times “They have real testing at real time” is not true, becouse the developers rarely listen users’ opinions.

        • alex285

          They might don’t agree with users opinions, but they *do* listen. Mailing Lists and Bugzilla is full of responses of Gnome Devs explaining their choices.

          Besides this is very tricky. Lets say that Gnome has 100.000 users, and 200 of them are complaining about Application Menus. That means that the rest 99.800 are happy? Quite complicated :)

    • Alex

      GNOME could at least keep UI changes in an experimental branch until they are finished. It´s also inexcusable that they are still making deep UI changes in 3.12, it means they have no clue what to do. The app menus are a disaster, they confuse users since you have multiple menus with items arranged semmingly arbitrarily and them changing items between menus makes things even more confusing. On top of that they don´t properly integrate to other DEs. They should just drop them.

  • Eduard Gotwig

    Just an idea, please dont throw stones at me: Merge with the elementary Project, and develop ONE new IDE. Could be ready in near 2015.

    Its just ambarassing to see that the elementary project has like a LOT of talented application designers, I worked there are as a programmer, but not a lot of people who actually can program. If you could bring the mastermind forces of GNOME together with the designers of elementary, we will have an IDE that will please a lot of people. I am sure and hopefull!

    • Svitozar Cherepii

      You need to close your eyes to not see how they are drastically different. I highlight for you some of the obvious, but important points:
      – elementary is distribution, GNOME is desktop environment and development platform
      – elementary reaches usability through design, GNOME – productivity through simplification
      – elementary main goal is to be better, GNOME – to be accessible for everyone
      – elementary prefers patching software downstream, GNOME encourages working working with upstream

  • Everyman12664

    I have the same feelings. I hope Gnome Designers will follow Firefox
    Australis example: one menu with big icons and secondary items. Everyting easily accesible without searching – in application (not shell) context. So why the current desing is so invincible? I guess Designers don’t know what to put in upper-left corner, when hardware button will eventually eliminate “Activities” button. :-)