[sugar] alt-tabbing to the Journal

Gary C Martin gary
Wed Oct 8 03:26:30 EDT 2008

On 8 Oct 2008, at 03:51, Walter Bender wrote:

> The bottom line is that, at least as far as the XO is concerned (and
> other machines with limited memory and no swap) the list of activities
> to tab through, with or without the Journal, is going to be a short
> list, so is it really such a pressing issue?

For tabbing, I think one frustration here is the current issue with  
tabbing where the delay is way too short before an Activity you're  
tabbing past is pulled into focus (I'd argue there should be no auto  
delay focus, only focus when alt key is lifted, allowing you to easily  
skip items in the stack). Currently in 8.2, accidentally tabbing the  
'wrong way' through the active instances on the XO and getting shown  
the wrong thing (usually Journal given only having a few activities  
running) is painful enough time wise to distract you from whatever  
goal you had in mind. Example: TurtleArt, and 2 x ImageViewers showing  
some screen shots of different brick code you want to reference.  
Tabbing between TurtleArt and the images you trying to reference is  
constantly intruded upon by the redraw, and update of Journal ? if  
you're just mucking around, it's less of a pain, but if you're  
actually trying to 'get stuff done' it can get quite annoying pretty  

> I'd love the same passion developed to some of the issues/topics that
> impact the learning. How can we make the Journal better, regardless of
> how we open it and regardless of whether we consider it an activity or
> part of Sugar core?

I guess most interested parties on the sugar list are more technical  
than pedagogical types. Both my parents were teachers, and when  
computers started to make their way into some of their lessons/labs,  
way back when, I seem to remember they would come home somewhat  
bemused, having been handed boxes of cables and computer kit. As an  
~11yr old I would set it up, get things going, and show them how to  
load-up and use the software. It's an interesting generational shift,  
I wonder what new idea is going to come along and be so far from our  
expectations that we'll be too inflexible as adults to really pick it  
up well (here already?). Maybe it's just a personality trait thing and  
not age at all; I guess I know enough people my age who I wouldn't  
trust to safely 'shut down' an operating system without being given a  
lesson or two first ;-)

OK. Journal, and its related use, have some UI improvement  
possibilities that could be targeted (and I think a few might be  
targeted already for work), without having to solve the big 'impact on  
learning' type wider research/study goals. Some things that come to  
mind just now (in no special order and I'm sure most have been  
discussed already at some point):

- Sort view by creation date, not just by last modification date.  
Currently when you resume something, even just  to take a look, it  
pulls it out of the time context of other entries it was created  
alongside. One click, and last weeks essays narrative/reflection is  
lost (the photos you took, the chat discussions you had with  
classmates, the audio you recorded, the picture you painted etc).

- Filter view for starred items only, a single click way to quickly  
hide the unwanted.

- Improve the 'Anything' pop-up UI. It takes me about 4-5sec of  
scrolling to get to the bottom of the Activity and mime file type  
list. And worse, if you do scroll way down, it takes just as long to  
get the Journal back to default after your search. I guess ideally  
this would become a custom palette grid of some kind, perhaps with  
just icons and mouse over text for the full names to save space.  
Another option could be for a short list of the most frequently used N  
activities (or the current Home view favourites), and then a 'more...'  
end item that would reveal a large slide-out, below toolbar dialogue  
with all installed activities and file types listed. Actually, you  
could cut to the chase and have an 'Anything' button that just  
triggers a slide down alert panel with all installed activities.

- Realtime scrolling so you can just grab, drag, and look as it goes  
past. Currently, if what I'm after is not on the first page, and I  
think it's more than a page or two away, it might as well be  
infinitely far away. It's then time to try and remember the activity  
object type, or some text/metadata and start typing until it  
(hopefully) makes it onto page one.

- Text search works reasonably well for me, but as mentioned already,  
some kind of slide-out alert to prompt for an Activity title, tags,  
star, possibly description (though I can't say I've ever meaningfully  
used the description field) would make a large difference in Journal  
entry quality. Think the dialogue will need to auto countdown and  
dismiss with sensible default values where ever possible. This feature  
could be really tough to make work without annoying everyone. Perhaps  
could also do with a "don't keep" button there for quick dismissal of  
unwanted work when stopping.

- Inline, or same context detail view. Switching content to get to the  
detail view, and then having to switch back again seems to put the  
details too far out of normal use/view.


More information about the Sugar-devel mailing list