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Looking at Konversation

Hunh, so I fired up Konversation on FreeBSD this weekend (after deciding that hanging around via irssi in screen was no longer something I wanted to do) and after three minutes had a list of usage questions a mile long. Jos Poortvliet wrote a little about the last mile and polish last week. That kind of polish applies to Konvi as well. Keep in mind that comments coming from a new user (like me) may not be applicable to old-time users. This applies in particular with regard to moving UI elements around: for new users it might make them easier to find, for old users it means horrifying surprise when something isn’t in the old, learned, location. Anyway, here’s a list:

  • Why is server list under File, while identities is under Settings? Why are neither of these configurable through the "Configure Konversation" menu item under Settings?
  • Why are channel settings under the Window menu?
  • In the server list dialog, double-clicking a network or server connects to it; in the identities dialog it edits the identity. My comparison here is KMail, where identities and servers are both edited by double click.
  • In the server list, when I edit a server within a network (as opposed to editing the network itself) why does the network editing dialog pop up and then the server edit dialog on top of that? Why does only the server edit dialog go away when I click OK in that case?
  • In the network editing dialog, if I double-click a server, nothing happens. Inconsistent again. In this dialog, too, the "Add" button is text and the "Delete" button is a big red minus sign; I would expect either add and delete, or + and -.
  • The "duplicate identity" button in the identities management dialog looks disabled, even when it isn’t, because the graphic is so grey-on-grey.
  • Although on first startup the server selection dialog comes up so you can pick or configure an IRC connection, it’s not all that clear that you can also configure the user identity — that goes through edting a network, then clicking "edit" next to the identity selection dropdown. On the whole I think I’d prefer a tiny wizard (two steps: pick an IRC network, and pick a username and nick — possibly integrated with the addressbook so ideally you just click "next" twice to connect to the default network with the default addressbook identity).

These are issues that you really only run into the first time you run Konvi — after that, you rarely see these windows anyway. From there on it’s a wonderful IRC client.

Of course, since it’s in git (on git.kde.org now!) I may as well see if I can write some patches for these issues, if only as practice in using git.

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4 Responses to “Looking at Konversation”

  1. Eike Hein Says:

    > Why is server list under File, while identities is under Settings?

    Opening a connection is in some sense Konversation’s equivalent of opening a file: It’s the first thing you do. Think of the Server List dialog as Konversation’s “Open File” dialog.

    > Why are channel settings under the Window menu?

    This most likely has somewhat historical reasons. Tabs are sometimes referred to as windows as well (in fact, the German translation uses a word that translates back verbatim as “sub-windows”), and the “Window” menu hosts nearly all of the actions applicable to the current tab context / found in the tab context menu. I agree this might deserve a second look, however.

    > In the server list dialog, double-clicking a network or server connects to it; in the identities dialog it edits the identity. My comparison here is KMail, where identities and servers are both edited by double click.
    > In the network editing dialog, if I double-click a server, nothing happens. Inconsistent again. In this dialog, too, the “Add” button is text and the “Delete” button is a big red minus sign; I would expect either add and delete, or + and -.

    These are both regressions from the KDE 4 port, I believe. Thanks for pointing them out.

    > In the server list, when I edit a server within a network (as opposed to editing the network itself) why does the network editing dialog pop up and then the server edit dialog on top of that? Why does only the server edit dialog go away when I click OK in that case?

    Whoever did that probably wanted to make sure people don’t miss out on the fact that the network can be edited as well, since there are important options there. I agree that it’s a bit of a kludge, however.

    > The “duplicate identity” button in the identities management dialog looks disabled, even when it isn’t, because the graphic is so grey-on-grey.

    I assume you’re aware that we don’t make the icons.

    > Although on first startup the server selection dialog comes up so you can pick or configure an IRC connection, it’s not all that clear that you can also configure the user identity — that goes through edting a network, then clicking “edit” next to the identity selection dropdown. On the whole I think I’d prefer a tiny wizard (two steps: pick an IRC network, and pick a username and nick — possibly integrated with the addressbook so ideally you just click “next” twice to connect to the default network with the default addressbook identity).

    FWIW, the default identity is auto-populated with system identity settings on first startup, and the connection process will complain and offer editing on the spot when a required field is not filled in. We’ve discussed adding a first-run wizard in the past, actually, but back then multiple distributions (in particular, Kubuntu) had a policy to disable any first-run wizards in applications.

    As a closing note, we have an IRC channel on Freenode (#konversation) and a mailing list, konversation-devel@kde.org. KDE also offers a bug tracking service at http://bugs.kde.org/. All of these are better ways to get in touch with application developers and have your problems heard than posting a blog post on Planet KDE. While it may be successful as an attention grab, that very fact may also sour developers against you, since it feels like you’re forcing them to respond by calling a public tribunal. Please consider that going forward.

  2. mat69 Says:

    Another thing I came around:
    Users aren’t searchable.

    Sometimes you know the full-name yet not the nick, if the users-list was searchable this would help a lot.

  3. adridg Says:

    @mat69: see Eike’s lengthy response: this isn’t the right spot to talk about Konversation issues. There are better venues for that.

  4. Eike Hein Says:

    @mat69: IRC has that built in in some sense, e.g. if you do “/who Eike*” you will find me:

    [23:02] [Who] Sho_ is ~EHS1@kde/hein (Eike Hein)
    [23:02] [Who] End of /WHO list for Eike*