Fruits of CSS2013

Putting unexpected visions of space tourists aside, now for something completely different. This was a busy weekend with Calligra Suite Sprint 2013 which despite of different timezone fully dominated Essen and Bangalore. More about that here, here, here, here, here and here. You can find the full agenda on the KDE Community Wiki.

Lords of the ring like me were able to join at least remotely through various media. So here's a list of my limited activities.

A Mockup for Calligra Words Look & Feel Rework

The Modern GUI and Startup screen is already established in Kexi, people know it and use saving many mouse clicks. I took some time to present a follow up, mockup of how Calligra Words word processor would look. The topic was iterated before at the previous sprint.

Calligra Words before:

Calligra Words after:

You can read about the story behind the look and inspirations that can influence what I'll try to do. Obviously thanks to the Qt Quick taking over the overall GUI concepts, our users can expect the apps can be run will pleasure. Yes, it's time for the desktop.

Calligra Mail Merge

The Kexi virtual BoF turned out to be an IRC meeting between me and Smit Patel, a Calligra dev who is successfully collaborating with me already on the Bibliographic Database project for Calligra Words. It takes advantage of rather awesome desktop database capabilities that Kexi offers to other apps.

This time we covered fully fledged Mail merge for Calligra, an initiative that was planned long ago. It should be as easy as possible (no tinkering with database/data source as in LibreOffice) and visible in Words with some optional visibility in Kexi for premium integration. Like the Bibliographic Database, Mail Merge reuses certain features of Kexi so that provokes my attention. More on the Mail Merge Design wiki page.

Finally a small announcement about interesting opportunity: Karbon, Plan and Braindump apps from Calligra are looking for new Maintainers. That's rare opportunity for you!



The problem with the, frankly, MS Office 2010+ style menu system is it does not work with global menus, since the menu must be integrated in the application for the combined menu/start screen to work. In addition, as implemented in kexi, it does not work correctly with the bespin style (and perhaps other styles) since the start screen hides the menubar.

By beojan at Mon, 03/11/2013 - 21:03

Global menus forced by the Mac for example, force MS to offer specially crafted UI, that's natural trend and we're not different here. Even a simple buttons (from Qt, GTK etc.) do not feel 100% like native on the Mac. All that can be improved given there's sufficient workforce :)

As for the bespin/etc. anomalies with Kexi, could you please sent me a screenshot? The modern menu work surprisingly well on GNOME, etc.

By the way, these mockups do not cover the Modern Menu topic. The Startup UI can be used also with a traditional menu.

By Jarosław Staniek at Mon, 03/11/2013 - 22:46

I'm not talking about the Mac, I'm talking about plasma-widget-menubar or Xbar in plasma. While specially crafted UIs may be more native, a standard kde application food in perfectly with Beeson and one of these widgets. The modern menu however breaks this.

By beojan at Tue, 03/12/2013 - 07:09

Without evidence, a bug report or even a short email it's hard to say :)

By Jarosław Staniek at Tue, 03/12/2013 - 09:52

By breaks, I simply mean it would either ignore the global menu and have an in application menu bar regardless of the users preference, or clicking to open the main menu, in a menubar detached from the application, would immediately effect a change in the application window.

screenshot of kexi with bespin:

By beojan at Tue, 03/12/2013 - 10:37

Thank for the screenshot, it really helps. In cases of so different styles (tabs, menus) we can consider hardcoding specific style, similarly like Krita does for non-KDE environments -it falls back to Plastique. Compare

It's known that other apps have or had problems with tabs and bespin And Kexi's menu is based on tabs.

I've worked with custom QStyles for many years and can only guess, implementation of bespin may be covering average cases. But even if it lacks definition of some pixel metrics or if it overrides them, then the display glitch (hidden menu) in Kexi may be caused by the fact that we do not assume certain pixel metric can be overriden by the style. Even for Cleanlooks and Oxygen conditions had to be added. Perhaps the same is with bespin. It just needs volunteers :) Until then a workaround can be to use e.g. 'kexi --style plastique' commands.

By Jarosław Staniek at Tue, 03/12/2013 - 20:56

I also had similar problems with the new sidebar in calligra words, etc, where the vertical sidebar ended up with very small icons and text. This was eventually fixed in bespin:

I think many of these problems arise when calligra uses custom widgets that it creates from tabbars and other standard widgets. When those standard widgets are used in very non-standard ways, subtle issues arise. Because bespin is a very customisable and non-standard size, circumstances which cause only slight issues, or perhaps no (visible) issues in other styles can cause catastrophic issues with bespin.

Perhaps these issues could be far better solved by using completely custom QML based widgets rather than hacking together combinations of ordinary desktop widgets in ways that only work perfectly with Oxygen.

By beojan at Wed, 03/13/2013 - 15:44

On another note, how exactly is Krita broken with other styles, since it seems perfectly fine with bespin to me.

By beojan at Wed, 03/13/2013 - 16:19

Krita falls back to Plastique style if non-KDE environment was detected, it's not that the app is unusable with other styles. It's jut *more* usable with Plastique than with Cleanlooks which is default elsewhere, IIRC.

By Jarosław Staniek at Sat, 03/16/2013 - 16:58

Well, Krita seems to work perfectly with bespin (almost. once is fixed, it should be perfect). Since bespin can be compiled with qt-only, an option in Krita would be helpful for those using bespin on non KDE systems.

By beojan at Wed, 03/20/2013 - 10:47