Usage Stats

Kexi usage statistics is an experiment started two years along with Kexi 2.4. The information helps to make certain decisions related to design and direction of the project. Today I'd like to show you first results.

On every startup of Kexi, background job sends anonymous information to project's server. User's privacy is a top priority here; users need to opt-in by enabling Share usage info option at Kexi startup. For detailed idea and plans behind the effort, click the "?" mark in the startup window, here's a copy of the text. Naturally, the raw data is never presented online.


I'm going to Bilbao

I'm going to Bilbao... well not quite to the whole Akademy but mainly to the QtCS. Looking at my calendar I conclude even getting these two days is a success. I'll try to show up @ Akademy too and say hello to you friends and chat a bit.


Ten years!

It's been 10 years since I joined Kexi and thus the KDE community. I think writing down some history and summary makes sense.

2003-03-28: first touch on Kexi sources for porting

It all started at a technology fair in Warsaw, 2003. I wasn't too keen to go but got free tickets and free time. I met a founder of OpenOffice Polska LLC (later renamed to OpenOffice Software) from Warsaw presenting its adaptation of deeply localized, nicely prebuilt office suite based on The office suite has been open sourced StartOffice over two years before by SUN and then localizations or user handbooks basically did not exist. During the meeting among other topics we also discussed apparent missing bit in the suite: a rival of MS Access. I proposed to perform some research on how the app can be added. I got hired and engaged full-time from March 2003.


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.


Google Code-in experience - Kexi

KDE is taking part in Google Code-in (GCI) this year once again. It's a contest to bring 13 to 17 year-olds closer to Free Software.

One of the tasks I proposed for Kexi was Adding d-pointers to the code. Because of its size I split the challenge into two GCI tasks for truly motivated students. One part has been taken by Shou Ya and second by Andrew Inishev. Both parts have been finished successfully, the patches (2 * 10 thousands of lines) are already in the Calligra master repository.


Awesome License

Good news. The Font Awesome project's founder responded at speed of light to my request and now he plans to release the icon set under the LGPL within a month or so, making the icons as accessible for reuse as the default Oxygen set.

After that the "only" remaining matters would be adaptation to KDE and artistic vision. Here's a mockup of how KWrite's look could be transformed. Original:

To make it play more right I also reworked the Oxygen style quite a bit. Nearly no gradients or shines, post-Vista aesthetics inspired by web and mobile UIs where contrast is king. "Awesome" style:

Last week fri13 commented: "Monochrome icons are terrible from usability standpoint. They don't offer at all same information as colorful skeuomophisim icons."

Whoa about the colorizing the icons to give benefits of color coding?


New icon theme for KDE: Awesome

Font Awesome is an iconic font designed for web UIs. It's a full open source suite of pictographic icons available with examples and documentation.

During the QML network lecture at QtDD, Jeremy Lainé has noted that icons based on Fonts Awesome are useful for optimizing network usage, especially ones with high latency. While I have never used them I knew the technique which seems to be quite popular among web developers.

So I came to related idea. How about adaptation of the Font Awesome icons for KDE? Obviously number of icons expected by KDE themes is much larger, but there's a way to start. It would be awesome (!) if someone implements that to show power of QIconEngine...

Of course the adaptation would only be semi-automatic because mapping is needed between Font Awesome naming and naming.


Kexi 2.6: Text Trimming

Kexi 2.6 now shows indication that edited or pasted text is trimmed if maximum length for field has been reached. See also for the same feature in tabular view. The rationale for this feature is to make sure user knows that data has been only partly entered into the database.

Text trimming in tabular view


Beyond Bug Tracking

During my short summer holidays I had the opportunity to perform overdue bug triage for Kexi.
Funny enough, that alone dominated (by numbers) the Commit-Digest's Bug Killers list for 12th August :) Some bug reports were really dated, 2006 or so, anyway the Calligra 2.6 series is a good occasion for such cleanup.


Towards Kexi 2.6

I hope that Kexi like all the Calligra software will benefit from having a big release every 3 or 4 months. This way more than ever users become co-authors.

2.5 series
First, it's worth mentioning the 2.5 series received many improvements in already released 2.5.1 and 2.5.2 versions. Many users apparently found the forums (the link is now more convenient than mailing lists; not only questions moved here but for actual improvement and some planning discussions. It's honour to work with people that not only devote their limited time to the project but also use Kexi for their daily tasks, yet they store and process their valuable data with it!

As always it's important to have updated software so I can only encourage to do that. If you distro is slow with updates - politely request it every time, that's their job as a part of the equation. Many distros catched up and Calligra is now pretty well supported. There is no reason to keep software in the waiting-room too long when every feature and fix counts.