Back from Paris, nothing about my niece, and some words about konqueror

Hi all,

so now I'm back from Paris, now already almost for two weeks, where I visited the finale of the Tour de France this year.
It was a great experience :-)

Ulle had a great day during the time trial and managed to get on the third place overall. Even if Rasmussen wouldn't have had the problems he had, we wouldn't have been able to defend his third place. This weekend is TEAG Hainleite where I'll see them all again :-)

Is Linux for geeks only and too hard to use for "normal" people ?
Last week the niece of my girlfriend visited us for some days. Among others she played some games on the computer and surfed a bit in the web. She also managed to create her first web page ever (she didn't know what html is before this). Now, well, I don't have any Windows boxes here. IOW she had no problems using Linux/KDE, she liked the KDE games and with Kooka, Quanta and Gimp she was able to create a simple web page. So for somebody new to computers Linux/KDE is not especially hard to use I'd say (actually she didn't care whether the box runs Linux or Windows or whatever).

What's happening on the KDE side of things ?
Not much currently. I don't have much time left over from work and my holidays start in two weeks. This is at the same time as Akademy so that I won't be able to attend Akademy.

I'm still trying to compile kdelibs using cmake. It's progressing, but slowly. The problem is that I don't know much about our current build system, and so everytime the cmake build stops I have to find out what our current build system does differently in this case. Once I have figured this out implementing it in cmake is usually not the big issue. But if e.g. there was a missing define in config.h, this means that then config.h changed and so almost *everything* will be rebuilt. This takes time. Additionally there have been major changes to the makefile generator of cmake, which had the result that cmake cvs was some days a little bit buggy. Now that the next stable cmake release is approaching the situation is getting a lot better :-)

And finally some words about konqueror: it is right that currently konqueror is neither the perfect web browser nor the perfect file manager. I really like konqueror, I don't want to miss the ability to have several tabs open, some with local directories, others with man pages, some web pages, pdf files. This really rules. But it is also true that the default konqueror profiles are quite full of icons, toolbars menus and other stuff which can confuse users (including me).
Do we have to split konqueror into three separate applications to improve the situation ? I don't think so.
Konqueror supports profiles. Each profile can have its own xmlgui file attached. This way it is possible that the "file management" profile can have a different user interface than the web browsing profile. Some time ago I created the "Simple Browser" profile for konqy, which quite radically removes stuff from the default layout. I use it since then and don't miss anything. But some things are not (yet) possible with konqy and profiles. So what can be done to improve the situation ?
Some points:

  • we should provide three konqueror profiles by default:
    1. Swiss army knife - full featured as we know it today
    2. Webbrowser - tailored for web browsing, maybe based on "Simple Browser", with a simple layout similar to Safari or Firefox
    3. File manager - a simple file manager, maybe inspired by Rox Filer or Mac Finder

    For the Webbrowser and the Filemanager profile we need to radically simplify the user interface. This will inevitably mean that some things some people consider essential won't be there: maybe the print icon in the toolbar, the cut/copy/paste icons or others. These actions will still be available either through the menu or shortcuts or the context menu. We don't have to put everything into the toolbars. For the users who want everything in the toolbars, there's still the "Swiss army knife" profile.

  • AFAIK currently all profiles share the same home URL. This must also be made a per-profile setting.
  • The profiles should be hidden a bit from the user. Creating and switching profiles is IMO a developer/geek/power user feature. IMO we can simply remove the "Settings -> Load View Profile" item from the menu. The different profiles should be started either via the "Konqueror profiles" kicker button or dedicated konqueror buttons/links. I also don't think it is necessary that konqueror can switch profiles on the fly. It just complicates the code and leads to bugs.
  • Using xlmgui and KParts it is possible that parts add their own actions to konquerors toolbars and menu. It is currently not possible that the xmlgui file of a part hides/shows actions belonging to konqueror. If this was possible, e.g. the khtml part could hide the "Copy/Cut/Paste" actions, and the directory (i.e. file managements) parts could show them again.
  • Maybe it should be possible to limit the range of ioslaves which can be used with certain profiles. So that e.g. file:/ is disabled in simple browser mode (although I wouldn't like this) or that http is disabled in file manager mode (which I wouldn't like either).
  • Now that konqueror supports tabs, do we actually still need the splitting of the views anymore ?
  • General polishing: konqueror exposes a bit too much of it internals to the user. E.g. the concept of linked and locked views in konqueror is hard to grasp. It stems from KDE 2 times when we were proud to show we are able to do. It should be hidden from the user. Maybe a profile editor (where you can set up the views, link/lock them, set the home url, edit xmlgui etc.) would be a good idea.
  • Konsole integration isn't really good. Same as above, we were proud that we are able to embed a konsole part in konqueror.
    Konqueror comes with a midnight commander-like profile. Does it work ? Kind of. Do the views follow the embedded konsole ? No. Does the konsole follow the views ? If you have the right link/lock combination, yes. Is it easy to jump between the views, the url line and the konsole ? No. Tab in the konsole doesn't change focus, but acts as a tab in konsole. Then it has a shortcut to open a terminal in the current directory. And it has a shortcut to execute a command from the shell. IOW three ways to have something executed from a shell. I'd suggest to throw all three of them away.
    Instead add a shortcut which opens an embedded konsole in its own tab. The same shortcut should change back to the previously active view. This would make navigating between the view and konsole easier and faster and additionally provide more room for konsole.
  • There was even a Preview profile for konqueror. The sidebar with the directory tree, then a file view, and on the right side a locked view which displayed the file selected in the file view. This failed completely if you changed the directory from within the file view. Then the locked view and the file view both displayed the new directory.
    A nice working preview profile would be nice to have. This can't be done simply with linking and locking views. AFAIK there is already a patch to implement something like this.
  • Last but not least: konqy needs some dedicated developers. Currently the main work is going into khtml/web browsing, and not much into the file management part of konqueror.

So, these are some issues which come to my mind and there are probably more things like this in konqueror. But IMO they don't require a rewrite or a split, just a good amount of polishing. With this in KDE 4 konqueror will be able to show its full potential as a powerful and userfriendly everything-browser :-)

Ok, enough for now.


>Now that konqueror supports tabs, do we actually still need the splitting of the views anymore ?

I hope you don't mean giving up the ability to view a directory tree on the left side and the contents of the selected folder on the right side. The tree view is Konqueror's single best feature because it allows the user to visualize where exactly they are in the directory structure. Having appeared in “File Manager

By vladc at Wed, 08/10/2005 - 01:21

> Now that konqueror supports tabs, do we actually still need the
> splitting of the views anymore ?

Of course, we still need the splitting of the views. I use split views regularly for webpage administration. One view shows the local files, one view the remote files and a third view shows the webpage. Actually, for all task which involve moving files around split views are extremely useful. For obvious reasons tabs are completely useless (even if Konqueror does switch tabs if one drags a file on the tab; I don't know whether this actually works and I don't have a current Konqueror here to check). And using two Konqueror windows also sucks because windows tend to cover each other partially and valuable screen estate is lost because each window wants to display its own menubar, toolbar, location bar, etc.

Split views are in my opinion one of the most useful features of Konqueror (in file manager mode). OTOH, for webbrowsing split views are not needed.

By Ingo Klöcker at Wed, 08/10/2005 - 08:22

IMO we can simply remove the "Settings -> Load View Profile" item from the menu. The different profiles should be started either via the "Konqueror profiles" kicker button or dedicated konqueror buttons/links.

I personally think that this one is a rather useful menu entry, so i dont see the point in removing it.

I also don't think it is necessary that konqueror can switch profiles on the fly. It just complicates the code and leads to bugs.

But its a very cool feature. I usually browse with the mc profile, but when viewing documents i switch over to another profile.
I agree that konqueror needs polishing and maybe a GUI reconstruction, but i think we should meditate much about it, before removing features.

Now that konqueror supports tabs, do we actually still need the splitting of the views anymore ?
At least I use it (in the midnight commander profile), i guess the Tree view and the embedded Konsole use the same code? Its a pity that the preview profile didnt work correctly. Maybe one can fix or reimplement it?

And i agree to vladc in that the right-click-menus should be customized for the selected files.

All-in-all it seems we all think that the filebrowser-part really needs improvements.

By gemuend at Wed, 08/10/2005 - 10:20

Ok, so split views will need to stay, for mc-like operation.
But do you really think it is important that you can change the profiles on the fly ? E.g. it clashes with preloaded konquerors and makes the code much more prone to errors.


By Alexander Neundorf at Wed, 08/10/2005 - 15:45

Splitting views is IMHO Konquerors killer feature... It is particularly useful if you want to transfer ftp files to a remote site... File managing... and keeping an eye on a constantly updating page while browsing another one.... There are things that could change. Indicating which frame is active could be a lot more obvious.

The frame locking etc... Has never made sense to me - If it stays it should probably be reworked....

By kayosiii at Wed, 08/10/2005 - 23:33

Sorry for stealing time but couldn't hold myself!

I do not remember well if I have ever read such crap ever before!


By joaobr at Thu, 08/11/2005 - 01:50

I started using konqueror-as-a-web-browser just recently as khtml grew better and better, so many of its problems eluded me. Konqueoror-as-a-file-manager is quite good, stable, and fast.

So perhaps I'll just repeat here things that have allready been said but no harm saying them again.

A file browser is a file browser. Konqueror can display /usr/bin in about 6 seconds on my computer which is rather fast considering gnome's that nautilus takes about 20 (!!!). What else should there be here then?
And i'm not sure that i like all those new ioslaves (system:/ home:/ etc). In fact there are times that these ioslaves provide no compatibility with other kde-apps. For example using home:/ and the find-file utility i could not search within the file itself. So i had to traverse through the directories find the directory i was in and reasearch within it. Aw well that was about two weeks ago and perhaps in the current svn version this problem isn't there

The konqueror profiles were a step to the right direction. I've hacked two profiles for myself (one for web-browsing and one for file-browsing) and I'm quite satisfied right now. I even have done some of the things that you say, for example hiding the profiles from the menu.
One thing though... Here's the deal. I'm using my super-duper web-browser profile, i click on a link that opens in a new window and voile the window opens in the default konqueror-profile, not my web-browser profile. I hope in the future this will be resolved (I have allready filed a bug report on this).

So profiles are good, maybe there can be some aditions, but how about a more user friendly way of editing them? In a gui-environment that is and not editing text files?

And PLEASE dont take away the split view thingie... If there's one feature in konqueror i miss in other web-browsers it's that.


By elias pouloyiannis at Sat, 09/10/2005 - 01:03

Is it really needed to try to be all-in-one program? I can see the value for combined browser/explorer-like-file-manager/viewer, but not everything should be done. Particularly MC-like profile -- download krusader and check it out. Is it really possible and necessary to recreate its functionality in konqueror?


By ceplm at Mon, 09/12/2005 - 19:55