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Removal of Categories in Gnome Shell? Won’t happen!

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We won’t see the above figure, or more correctly will see the half of it!

There were some reasons why Gnome developers discussed and decided to drop categories, and I personally was over it, not fanatical over it, but sure I was in favor. Most of people seem to be against that move, and Gnomers listened to these complains and changed direction (at least for now!). Yeap it is better to allow people to personalize their applications in an OS. Yes Gnome3 is moving to a complete core but not isolated (no Gnome OS distro) Operating System.

And the good news continue. Gnome will ship the newApplication Launcher (if not having any surprises!):

Overview allows to switch between running applications, open windows and *launching new apps*. Initial design introduced a tab-like interface, expecting new categories to be introduced (Finding & reminding). That functionality has moved to the Applications themselves now. The tabs are hard click targets and spatially inappropriate.

It is super true that Gnome extension contributors avoided to use Gnome Shell tabs for their extensions. I think that only Journal extension was working there, but they moved this functionality on the new App Launcher. So no need for them (Tabs).

I won’t risk to describe how this new “icon” works as its features aren’t quite clear, but you can see an animation/video demo here:

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  • alex

    in theory categories are a conceptual mistake,

    in real world they are super useful. :)

    this time userbase has been listened, not Jimmacintosh. good news.

    • alex285

      haha a new term, Jimmacintosh? However avoid to blame people by name and blame just the actions :) I am saying so because I think that Jimmac also believes “in theory categories are a conceptual mistake,in real world they are super useful”, even if he designed the category-less GS.

  • rw

    This is absolutely fucking retarded.

    The process is: 1) Go to UPPER LEFT to activate activities. 2) Go to LOWER RIGHT to display application icons. 3) Go to UPPER RIGHT to select categories.

    GNOME, quit being so absolutely retarded. This does not work for a mouse. How on earth could you think this is an improvement over GNOME 2?

    • alex285

      First, you can use your Super, second you can get the Dock or another Gnome2 menu extension (hello there are extensions!), third you can set an key and open directly your Apps. But most importantly please explain me, how opening an App in Gnome2 by navigating in menus is faster than pressing Super and type 2-3 letters?
      Suddenly all Gnome users become so mouse-depended? And still, please count the time to open an App in Gnome2 and Gnome3 exclusively with the mouse.
      And even if this isn’t very practical (the long distances – I agree on that), are you serious to compare it with Gnome2? Gnome-Do was one of the most popular extensions there for exactly this reason, the bad menu of Gnome2

      • rw

        This video isn’t showing keyboard use. It’s showing MOUSE use. Sure, typing a few letters is pretty quick. But if you’re not typing those 2-3 letters (there are TONS of use cases where users won’t be simply typing those letters), this sucks.

        Besides, don’t tell me an desktop works well by saying “You can fix its suckiness by installing other stuff that actually works!” That’s an admission that the actual desktop is horribly broken.

        Gnome-Do wasn’t there to fix a broken menu system. It was there to add a DIFFERENT method for users who wanted that, and it didn’t get implemented in a way that destroyed the perfectly useful GNOME menu. The menu wasn’t everybody’s favorite, but then again a lot of people DID love the menu. And at any rate, it is objectively better than this mess of having to dart around a huge (and slow-to-populate) screen with my mouse. At least the menu was in one corner, and the thick GNOME padding made the targets plenty large.

        • alex285

          “Besides, don’t tell me an desktop works well by saying “You can fix its suckiness by installing other stuff that actually works!” That’s an admission that the actual desktop is horribly broken”.

          Gnome extensions is part of Gnome, they are hosted on they are reviewed by Gnome Developers and they are made from Gnome Community, and Gnome is a Community driven project.

          With your logic, Firefox/Chrome is not Default Gnome, so we cannot browse internet with Gnome. Your Gnome2 menu is just one click away, whats the big deal?

          You aren’t satisfied with the default Gnome? I’m with you, I have installed like 15 extensions. But I love the fact that people that love Gnome have spend their spare time to create these 170 extensions. You are just trying to be negative, I think.

          • rw

            We’re not talking about core functionality that is missing or broken.

            This isn’t like Firefox. This is like saying “Oh, GNOME doesn’t let you run applications from the GUI anymore? It’s fine! Just type it from the command line, or install an extension to let you run apps from the GUI! It’s part of GNOME!”

            If Firefox made you type in IP addresses instead of allowing you to enter URLs, THEN you could compare the two.

            And, as MANY people have pointed out already: Extensions are not an acceptable solution. They have to be made to work with every new gnome-shell release. They are often of poor quality. They don’t have the integration that native features are capable of. They are limited in what they can do. The extensions website as of right now isn’t even discoverable or marketed. I only know about it because of following its conception on PGO.

          • alex285

            My FF example was a failure, forget that.
            I am not sure what you mean by “They are limited in what they can do”. At least for the action you are asking here, extensions are perfect.
            I agree that GS extensions aren’t easy discover-able and their page isn’t the best (but this is another story), they don’t have a stable API and they just have a basic ranking to sort by quality. But it makes a bad impression because you obviously know how to install a Gnone2 like Menu and you still complain so strong about it.

            If you would make a bad comment about how Gnome treats on extensions when lot of people ask for traditional menus (etc), I would applause on you. In my opinion the real problem is how the extensions works, but not the Applications Launchers in any case!

          • jf

            If the default is broken then the default is broken, if it works then all is fine but if it does not and is easy to fix then fix it, do not ask most users to do the same fix or put up with the problem if the interface is only better for a small group.

            Minimizing mouse movement and maintaining the direction of movement across actions are both simple principles to make mouse user interfaces easier to use, which should carry over to touch. This failed on both points, it would work two handed on a tablet, but you should not be relying on your user’s having both hands free even for touch, making something that works with one hand will also make it easier on the mouse.

            The text based input is usfull for when I am already typing but otherwise requires you to switch interaction mode which is a surprisingly mentally expensive task, a couple more clicks is easier if you are already using the mouse. “Task switching” is also known to become more mentaly “expensive” as you get older, so having both working properly should become more of an advantage and either one of the two broken more of a disadvantage for older users.

            Also remember how common dyslexia is, people who can read even complex works relatively easily can also often find it hard to spell even simple words. This problem gets worse the more tired or stressed you are to the point where in the evening of a bad day “the” becomes a challenge to spell even if reading is still doable. Any modification that makes Linux harder to use without remembering the spelling of application names will dis-enable several people I know who do use Linux (although not all gnome).

    • Cliff Wells

      I can see how this would work really well for a tablet/phone (you could use both thumbs to navigate quickly), but yes, it’s an absolutely horrible way to navigate with a mouse or touchpad.

    • ScionicSpectre

      The idea is that you would more likely just wack the corner than click it (easier than GNOME 2’s menus), and search for the application you want (easier again). For a long time before GNOME 3 was around, people used GNOME-Do and similar applications very often to do these things. If you do want to look through all of your applications, you do have to reach a little further, but the hope is that you’d be favoriting or searching for common applications so this happens less frequently. This also gives you a larger target, making it easier to select an option once you find it.

      By the way, it’s upper left, then lower left, and we are going forward with pagination because categories were becoming incredibly inefficient and confusing, as you’ve noted. It will work well on a touch-screen, and for mice you can simply scroll.

  • Takie Dela

    Hi there,
    I think, there is too much cursor moving.
    Look at the picture attached, such design is much more usable (but less aesthetically attractive, although).

    • alex285

      I guess you can move the App Launcher on top anyway, your design looks like deepins, except in deepin they hide dash there.

      • Takie Dela

        >I guess you can move the App Launcher on top anyway

        App Launcher on the bottom may confuse people, who use Gnome Shell the first time.
        This is hard to guess. The Launcher must be obvious.

    • Denis

      I do agree that the app icon has to be on the very top of the dash. Also i think dash is doubling the app launcher’s functions. What we can do here is to change the app dash functionality to sort of category/lens dash. Starts with: (1) Activities {that will show all the active apps} (2)Apps {all apps/after pressing the apps icon our dash extends and shows the category of the apps} (3)Recently used {including apps, documents, web pages} (4)Frequently Used {including apps, documents, web pages} (5)Favorites {including apps, documents, web pages} (6)Custom dash/lens
      I don’t see a problem here at all. Why people are whining all the time about flaws in design and stuff like that?? “I dont like this, it was better like that” Firstly is free. If you will pay i understand why, but since its free and no laptop afaik comes preinstalled with gnome shell, i asume those people installed themself the de, nobody forced them to. ok? great. Now shut up and take it as it is. No DE is perfect, including OSX or whatever is there. And if you would like to change something, learn how to freaking code and help the community and make things happen. Maybe its rude?? IDK. The only thing i know that i like this website, i do like gnome shell, i do like open source..i do like FREEDOM.

  • Takie Dela

    And the other idea: link on the top panel.

  • liam

    This is fantastic news! Dropping categories never made sense.
    On my phone I have tons of apps and trying to find what I want is a huge pain (wel, i twas…recenrlty I just created foldere for each category and that is so much faster).
    I hope this sort of conpromise is a positive sign of things to come.

  • liam

    About the “hard click target” of tabs, why aren’t they worried about the tiny click targets of the gear, and back/forwards buttons? The last two are genuinely hard to target.

  • Jrodd

    I’m glad they decided to keep categories. (for now lol)
    But I really like the idea of having apps you are able to move around and place (Like Google Chrome or like in iOS or Launchpad)
    Is this being considered? So far Gnome and Unity don’t really have it. But it seem like a cool Idea.

  • ScionicSpectre

    Sorry to say, but this video’s a little old. I was just talking about pagination on the IRC channel the other day about this feature, and it seems we were going forward with it for 3.6. I haven’t heard any word on the feature being rescinded.

    • alex285

      I got this info from Jakub yesterday. Twice. Can you please confirm?

      • ScionicSpectre

        Oh, in that case it must be correct. He was in the channel when we were discussing it two days ago, so I guess they must’ve decided to delay the feature. It may be because we were discussing how to make the feature more presentable, and those modifications wouldn’t be ready in time or something.

        Did he say anything specific about why? Either way, thanks for the correction.

        • alex285

          I asked him two days ago because any change wasn’t on Git and there is feature freeze in 10 days. He said that pagination won’t happen but the new app launcher will. Next day I saw his push on Gnome-Shell-Design with the pagination draw, so I asked him again and he said more or less what you said. They need to make some improvements first.
          I hope that is the final scenario :)

          • ScionicSpectre

            Well, it’s probably for the best. We did a heck of a lot this cycle to begin with, and the categories work well enough for now. Better to have a complete feature by the release than cram in something that’s difficult to debug in time.

          • alex285

            In my case you better postponed it, otherwise I’ll get humiliate for printing this :)
            May I ask who are you? Your Jack G? Because you’re using “we”, but I couldn’t find you in Gnome people.

          • ScionicSpectre

            Ah, I didn’t notice you were that alex. I’m a fairly new contributor, but I’ve been up to date on the design team’s work and try to contribute to discussions and advocate for GNOME as best I can. As such, I really do appreciate the work you’re doing with this blog, since otherwise many people might be uninformed as what goes on in GNOME.

            Aside from reporting design-related bugs, I’ve been working with Cosimo on a new, more consistent GTK 2 theme for Adwaita we’re hoping to include in 3.6. That’s the extent of my involvement at the moment.

          • alex285

            I found you on Deviant, so the first thing was to check gnome-themes Git :)
            Btw as a small suggestion, it would be better if you could use some robust CSS engine. I think CSS should be dropped from Gnome for STYLUS or SCSS or anything similar. CSS is the cancer of Web, don’t bring that mess in Gnome!
            Well, good luck with your new “career”!

          • ScionicSpectre

            I’ve contributed artwork to a variety of open source projects, so it will be nice to get something upstream that will be useful to me on a daily basis. Since GTK 2’s features are stable and aren’t likely to change, the existing engines should do the job. Of course, we have discussed making an Adwaita engine for GTK 2, and I’ve personally thought a lot about making a CSS-compatible engine that could work in various toolkits (think QtCurve).

            However, with our resources the pixmap theme with gtkrc is the most viable solution. Also, I’ll have to research these alternatives to CSS. I suppose I’ve been so spoiled by CSS in web development that I never really thought of an alternative.

          • alex285

            I meant for GTK3 and GS. If you do some Node.js or Rails, they have already drop CSS. But anyway check it if you do web-devel anyway!

          • ScionicSpectre

            Ah, we’ll see what happens with those themes. I’ll certainly take a look, thanks for the pointer. :)

  • oystercatcher

    I have been using redhat/fedora since rh 5.0 and it has improved significantly with time.
    I dont use any extensions but I do disable the top left hot mouse corner as it drives me

    Looking forward to trying out fedora on the raspberry pi when I finally get it.

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