Author Topic: Experimenting with interface layout...Need Help  (Read 2275 times)

superspy

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Experimenting with interface layout...Need Help
« on: September 19, 2013, 10:54:01 am »
Hi there

Out of deep frustration with the current state of the 1.5 Properties Palette, I have decided to try my hand at a better solution...

The Scribus source is quite dense and difficult to find an entry point.

What I'm trying to achieve is putting all the text properties ->

Font, Size, Line-height, Paragraph and Character styles and alignment in a toolbar.

What I need to know is first how and where in the Scribus code to declare a space for the toolbar. (I experimented with copying the PDF Toolbar code and references, but had no luck).

And, then how to essentially make this toolbar a widget space for the elements of the palette - which I presume I could just duplicate?

If the project was younger and smaller, I might have been able to figure it out, but it's mature and big and hard to just jump into.

Alternatively another idea is to seperate all the palettes into seperate palette windows...like AlignDistribute...

But seeing as Scribus is about text first and foremost...I think a permanent horizontal toolbar with text properties is ideal...at least for my purposes.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Nermander

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Re: Experimenting with interface layout...Need Help
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2013, 02:28:54 pm »
Scribus first and foremost about text? You tell that to all the people using it for photobooks:)

Second, for text the general recommendation is to use styles instead of text frame properties. I only use text frame properties in situations where I'm sure that not two frames will have the same text style. Otherwise I create a style.

GarryP

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Re: Experimenting with interface layout...Need Help
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2013, 04:40:01 pm »
superspy, I agree that the Properties palette could do with some work.

Some examples:
* The "X,Y,Z" and "Shape" tabs are very sparse and could easily be merged (until extra functionality is added).
* The "Group" tab has a lot of padding round the controls and could possibly be merged with the "Shape" tab (they have very similar controls, so the tab could change name depending on what is selected).
* The "Text" and "Colours" tabs can get very busy and confusing, especially when you've got lots of "sub-tabs" open. (E.g. On my Ubuntu laptop, with a gradient fill selected, there's only space for a one-line colour picker so lots of scrolling is needed.)
* The tab names take up quite a bit of space just for themselves (nearly a third of the whole dialog space).

Personally, I think Scribus could benefit from a similar toolbox to GIMP. I.e. With the tabs changed to icons at the top, and the bottom of the dialog changing depending on which icon is selected. And the controls could be implemented in a similar way to GIMP too. (The amount of functionality they've managed to fit into such a small space while still keeping it usable is commendable.)

This might be controversial, and I've not put a whole load of thought into it so there's probably some things that don't work, but the Properties palette needs a good review soon before it starts putting new users off. (Or maybe it has already?)

Personally I think that putting the palettes into separate floating dialogs would be a move in the wrong direction. That sort of thing was "cool and funky" in the '90s but UI design has moved on and, in my experience, they just get in the way of working with the document (you have to keep moving them out of the way which is annoying - not everyone has big/multiple screens).

P.S. I think I remember reading that the Properties palette was being looked at for 1.5.0svn but I've no idea if anything will come from whatever that was.

GarryP

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Re: Experimenting with interface layout...Need Help
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2013, 05:03:56 pm »
superspy, one extra suggestion: You might want to try getting in touch with the people on the Scribus IRC channel at irc://irc.freenode.net/#scribus

They might be able to give you info more quickly, rather than relying on a forum post to get to them. (I have no idea what the overlap between IRC users and forum members is.)

They've always been very patient with me - I hardly ever use IRC so I keep making mistakes - and they're really good at answering awkward/unusual questions. I've asked some awkward ones myself so I should know.  :-[

Anyway, it's worth a try.