KNewStuff3

Finally LibAttica has landed in kdesupport (that’s where additional libraries are kept, that are not by definition part of kdelibs). Téo promised to bring his price winning Amarok about dialog into KDE-Land for KDE 4.5 :)

I am just about to finish the first big big re-factoring of our Get Hot New Stuff framework. Since it got ported to KDE 4, Jeremy kept it up and running but didn’t have a chance to run with it due to some issues that belong to the land of “real life”. I poked at it two years ago, but then I’m a lazy bummer, so nothing at all happened there either.

Finally, Frank pushed me to get around and do work work on the dialog. The version in our re-factoring branch is ready to be merged into kdelibs, take advantage of LibAttica and just wants to put a smile on your face. Well, it’s not quite there yet, some features are missing – just the ones that are important to me :( that is the social community interaction part. Rating items, seeing more information about the author and so on. But with LibAttica doing the actual work, it’s at the tips of my fingers. Just need to do the right connections. So far I’ve been redoing all the backend stuff.

It”s time to start polishing our good old dialog a bit. And here I’d like feedback from you! I have experimented with different ways of showing the rating of an item. Let’s say, we get a number between 0 and 100, how should we represent that in the user interface? In the original version we showed the number “Rating: 79″. Maybe not the most visual way. How about a progress bar? Nope, doesn’t really fit. Nepomuk uses stars. Those fit very well with the “Get Hot New Stars” icon that we have for “Get Hot New Stuff”. So why not go and borrow the widget? In the first iteration, I used 5 stars, just like Nepomuk. But it didn’t seem quite right to reduce the large range 0-100 to that. Plus the widget looks insanely huge and dominates the dialog just a bit too much for my taste. So I personally prefer the ten-little-stars variant.

But I probably think much too limited, knowing what goes on in the background… And I still have the old dialogs in mind. So dear reader, let me see some creative mockups, ideas and fresh ways to go about this dialog and it’s layout, contents and so on. Why not layout items in a grid? Something completely different? Throw it at me. Maybe the next version will be yours! Should we have different layouts for showing Wallpapers (images in general) and things that don’t necessarily have preview pictures? Vocabulary files usually are not that visible. Plasma Applets should have a preview, but here the text is important.

You can reach me at lastname@kde.org. Since Frederik is my firstname, use the other one ;)

And if you ask yourself as developer, what will change, that’s easy to explain. Instead of having the somewhat strange logic of going through a class to give you a dialog, you will use the new dialog just like any other KDialog – either modal or not. When you’re done with it, ask it for a list of changed or updated items and be happy ;) The only thing you need as well is a appname.knsrc file which is just a KConfig file that contains a bit of information about where to download from, how to install the items. That’s usually two lines and I’ll put an updated tutorial on techbase. Speaking of which, I started a small Attica tutorial, let me know if you’d like to read on or there’s something unclear about it. Porting an application that uses the Hot New Stuff framework already should take no longer than ten minutes.

Many thanks to Frank and hive01.com for making this possible!

25 comments to KNewStuff3

  • asf

    hi,
    i prefer the stars. whether the 2nd or 4th, they are both very well designed ;)

    greets!

  • Hi,
    I think that this dialog has a lot of potential but it currently needs some serious work as is still is missing some basic, fundamental features.

    For example it is still not possible to click on the screenshot to show a bigger version (the thumbnail is often useless) and a link to the homepage and kdeapps/kdelooks pages.

    Another really important improvement would be to allow for remote search (vs current local search), and to browse for more results.

    Thanks for your work, really appreciated.
    Regards.

  • Frederik

    @Massimiliano: Server side search is implemented – see my last hot new stuff blog entry

  • vespas

    Hiya, to be honest, I prefer the 5 stars widget, both for consistency with nepomuk and for the reason that I don’t really care if wallpaper a is 3% better than wallpaper b :) . At least if the sorting takes the real values into account and quantises for presentation I think it should be good enough and make it easy to compare visually. the 10 stars make it a bit harder to immediately tell has a higher score in the unsorted view.
    Also the ability to see a larger thumbnail for wallpapers is quite necessary, as the thumbnails are not very useful. But we probably have to think about image sizes and when the retrieval is going to take place (on hover, on load etc) to reduce latency etc. For the plasmoids a description button with more details could be useful.

  • Paulo Fidalgo

    One feature I miss is the possibiliy of upgrades.
    I don’t know if it’s automated, or what. But i would like to have the latest versions of my HOT STUFF.
    If it’s implemented the user has no idea, if it’s running an updated version of the content. In the stuff like backgrounds it doesn’t make much sense, but in plasmoids and amarok scripts, it’s important IMHO.

    Best regards!

  • JR

    I’d vote for the ten stars, too.

    On another note, one pet peeve I’ve had about Get Hot New Stuff since way back is its scrolling behavior. I have my mouse wheel set up to scroll three lines each tick, and scrolling with it in the ‘Stuff list will scroll more than one screen each tick. So as not to miss any entries, I have to use the keyboard. This is on a netbook, so screen budget is scarce (1024×600); the normal Add Widgets view that pops up when I want to add desktop widgets can only show 4.5 entries before being cut off. (Needless screen space is wasted on the “banner” saying Plasma Workspace Add-On Installer, too, which contributes to this.)

    Can it be told to be less aggressive in this regard? Perhaps ignore KDE’s settings and just scroll one line per tick?

  • I think, the 4th (with 10 stars) looks best, but I second vespas, that the 3rd (with 5 stars) is more consistent in the whole KDE context, so I would prefer that one.
    In order to avoid latency but to get better previews, it would be good if GHNS would download bigger pictures only on demand (so if you click on a thumbnail).

  • Kyran

    In the best case people only have three possible opinions about something: they like it, they hate it or they don’t care (thumbs up, thumbs down, meh)

    If you’re ever going to allow people to rate something in the getnew hotstuff dialog, keep this in mind. Even giving a rating on five stars is quite hard (my amarok collection just consists out of non starred and 5 starred tracks)

    Now ofcourse when you average this out you get more than 3 states, so some more differentiation should be done. I think that 5 stars are enough to visualize this. (again, something which rates 65 or 71 is not enough of a difference to most). Out of these designs, I’d go with the 5 star one. It is consistent with the rest of the desktop and contains more than enough information.

    If you’d implement a thumbs up/ thumbs down rating system we should maybe reconsider how the rating is shown. No rating would be halfway, thumbs up would move the rating to the right, thumbs down to the left.

  • Parker

    @Kryan. That’s exactly the system the the OpenDesktop sites implement. You can vote “Good”, “Bad” or not at all. All content starts out with a 50% rating. Good ratings increase that percentage. Bad rating decrease it.

    As a result, most content is in the 40 to 70 percent range. This is why my vote is for the second option which shows the actual number. If we went with the 5 star option almost everything would be 2 or 3 stars. The highest rated wallpaper on KDE-Look right now is at 73%. That means there wouldn’t be a single 5 star wallpaper.

  • Peter

    I like the variant with 5 stars the most.

    An important feature missing is, that I cannot display multiple pages and get always only the first X entries in a category (newest/best rated/most downloaded). This is quite confusing.

  • mat69

    Well I’m for the 5 stars widget, it can have 10 states anyway so imo that is enough.

    I think the problem that many entries are not rated actually goes away when rating gets easier, i.e. you can use the GHNS dialog to rate.

  • TheBlackCat

    I personally agree with the consensus that the 5 stars is probably the best choice. However, I wonder why these are mutually exclusive. For instance couldn’t you have a star rating with the number beside it? I think that would provide a consistent UI with the rest of KDE yet at the same time provide additional detail if anyone needs it. Another idea: why are the stars limited to half-star increments? Couldn’t each star act as a mini progress bar covering 20% (for 5 stars) or 10% (for 10) of the 100-point range? So for instance if something was at 37 points the first star would be completely full and the second star would be 85% (17/20) full.

    Also, I would like to second (in order of decreasing importance to me), Peter’s request for multiple pages, JR’s issue with the scrolling behavior (it is not just an issue on netbooks, I have the problem on 1680×1050 screen), Paulo’s request for upgrades, and Massimiliano’s request for larger thumbnails on hover.

  • Will Stephenson

    Remember that the Nepomuk rating widget allows half-stars to still give a rating from 0 to 10.

  • jospoortvliet

    I also vote for the 5 stars, looks much better, the 10 stars are to small. However, as Parker notices, most ratings would be between 2-4 stars. I don’t think that’s a big issue, but maybe the algoritm on opendesktop needs to be adjusted to spread the results a bit more.

  • Marc

    Thanks for your work. I think what I have been missing most of the time when I used the KHotNewStuff dialogue was a possibility to enlarge the preview pictures. Especially for desktop themes you can’t really figure from the tiny preview pictures how they will look like in full scale. So usually I ended up looking how they look like on kde-look.org before I clicked install. This is kind of weird. So it would be awesome to have this implemented!

  • Jamboarder

    I love GHNS! Of the choices presented, I think 5 stars is best. If you want to communicate the finer grain of the percentage you could rely on sort the real values or a simple combination of 5 stars and the percentage string (***** 82%)

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PostRank – OS, Frederik Gladhorn. Frederik Gladhorn said: Want to influence Get Hot New Stuff? Gimme feedback! http://blogs.fsfe.org/gladhorn/2009/11/19/knewstuff3/ [...]

  • Jamboarder

    Oh, and if you want to allow rating directly from the dialog then it should only present the simple good/bad (thumbs up/thumbs down?) options as on opendesktop.org. The point is you may need to visually separate rating display (5 stars) and rating action (thumbs up/thumbs down). It’s not strictly consistent with other rating mechanisms in kde but that’s because the opendesktop.org rating mechanisms are different. :-)

    best of luck!

  • I definitely prefer the five star version. The 10 star one you can’t easily make out the number of stars without stopping and counting. I think Parker has a good point though about stuff being in the 40-70 range, although I think this is a problem with open desktop’s implementation.

    I’d also like to second Massimiliano Torromeo’s request to be able to see a larger picture. I currently never use GHNS because every time I tried I ended up having to go to the website to see what I was thinking of installing at a visible size.

  • Tjaart

    I think 5 stars are enough. You really have to think hard to think in 10 stars. Also it would be nice to see how many people rated something. If one person rated something with 1 star it’s not necessarily bad. The numbered ratings dont make sense to me. Everything starts on 50 when in fact unrated would be a better description. Stars are cool and easy. 5 is enough. I also agree with folks who say there should be larger views for thumbnails and also a way to browse all the content and not just a top 100 kind of thing. Categories would also be cool especially for wallpapers. Nature/artistic/minimal/branded tagged wallpapers could make it easier to find what your looking for. In addition to that things that are at your resolution(or maybe higher). It would also be nice to have the “become a fan feature” and commenting/reading comments… :)

  • Fri13

    I might be the only one who votes the second one.

    Good and bad sides on all four:

    #1
    + Number is shown as on the webpage
    + Accurate rating is very important
    - New users do not know does higer or lower number mean better.
    - Need more attention to read result

    #2
    + Number is shown as on the webpage
    + Accurate rating is shown
    + Graphical information is shown, user sees the rating visually
    + Follows the style of KDE

    #3
    + It uses stars what people looks right away as rating
    - It does not show accurate rating what is on the site
    - Different rated stuff is not visually different rated.

    #4
    = Accurate rating when comparing to #3
    - Still inaccurate rating when compared to websites, not good.
    - Needs more attention to see difference between stuffs

    I would select the #2 right away. It has a visual information and accurate information what match with the sites.

    If we would just like to update littlebit the current one. Just make the rating as x/100. So we would have 76/100 and 43/100. But still missing which one is better… so take the second one.

  • David

    5 stars. I don’t need the extra precission.

    If all the submissions are in the 40-70 range, then fix the voting system, or make 40 to mean 0 stars, and 70 five stars.

  • MirzaD

    -number representation together with 5 stars would be great.
    -ten stars are too small any you tend to loose count of those little stars
    -bigger picture preview is the most crucial feature that should be implemented IMHO

  • Ik like the one with 5 stars. Maybe you can add the rate next to it, so people can see more detail but also have a good overview.

  • Frederik

    Ok, thanks for the great feedback! I put a quick response into a follow up post.