[sugar] A Launcher Activity

Eben Eliason eben.eliason
Wed Aug 15 13:36:09 EDT 2007

I'm sorry I didn't missed the beginning of this discussion.  I have to say,
I'm a little concerned about the underlying principles at work here, since
we've been doing everything we can to eliminate the notion of "launchers" or
"splash screens" altogether.  TamTam used to have this, but was broken up in
favor of 3 distinctly separate activities.
The concept of a launcher doesn't really fit well with the Sugar object or
collaboration models.  If I open a launcher activity, what do I get?  Do I
get a Journal entry telling me I launched a launcher? Likewise, if I share a
launcher, what do I get?  It seems like the idea of the launcher activity
here is taking over a task which the Journal is already itself designed for.

Each activity should be self contained (as you've mentioned yours are), so
that they can be individually tracked and versioned by the Journal, and
individually shared across the mesh.  This model works well with Sugar.
 This also means that each of these self contained activities will have its
own entry in the Journal (the activity object itself), from which new
instances of the activity can be launched directly.  By applying a single
filter in the Journal, the child could have a view of all the MMM
activities.  In order to support this, simply tag each activity object with
"MMM" and "MaMaMedia" in the activity.info file.  A search or filter for
this tag will provide a "launcher-like" service, without the need for a
separate activity, hidden or otherwise.  Of course, each should also be
tagged uniquely as well, so that they can come up independently when the
child looks for a "math" activity vs. a "spelling" one, for instance.

The notion of shared data is still a consideration, but one that should be
handled independently I believe.  I think we should squash the notion of
launcher activities up front, since Sugar was never designed with this type
of interaction in mind.  The Journal is great for launching and providing
views of activity sets, particularly because it doesn't require a static
grouping, and I think we should emphasize that.

- Eben

On 8/14/07, Carlos Neves <cn at sueste.net> wrote:
> Marco Pesenti Gritti wrote:
> > On 8/14/07, Carlos Neves <cn at sueste.net> wrote:
> >
> >> The problem with current builds, specifically 542, is twofold:
> >> - the 'success' and 'error' signals no longer exist and
> >>
> >
> > The idea is to show error messages on launch failure?
> >
> > Ccing Eben, it was discussed recently and our feeling was that the
> > icon disappearing from the home page was all the feedback we could
> > give to the user. Displaying a "Activity blahblah cannot start." would
> > just be more intrusive without providing any additional information.
> >
> >
> >> - Home view is brought to front
> >>
> >
> > I guess I don't see why we should not use the normal startup
> > notification in the case of an activity launching another one.
> >
> > Marco
> >
> I can understand the whole concept of giving some information without
> giving all information being nothing but puzzling, but the whole idea of
> clicking on an icon that launches an Activity (remember you are already
> in an Activity, all be it a launcher one) just to get that activity to
> magically disappear and the Home view appearing with a flashing icon
> stating that there is something going on, which may or may not be
> related to the action the user took (clicking the icon to start an
> activity) is a bit confusing.
> Sure, once everyone knows by heart that the flashing icons in the home
> circle are activities being launched and that particular icon (remember
> many more may be there) relates to the activity you just launched, then
> it's obvious and all, but isn't this 'obvious beacuase you learned
> before' system what we try to avoid with sugar? Is it not more intuitive
> to click on the icon and, without more changes, getting the wait cursor?
> If you then press F3 you'll get to the home view, the flashing icon will
> be there, but that was your action.
> I don't believe that having Launcher applications getting hid is a good
> thing, honestly.
> About error notifications, well, the 'sorry, no can do' volatile message
> could be substituted by a red circle (we use circular 'bubbles' for
> icons) but again, we are assuming red as the color for error, and it's
> not understood that way in some places, like china.
> --
> cn
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