Fullscreen interfaces

Stefan Majewsky majewsky at gmx.net
Wed Mar 11 00:12:02 GMT 2009


besides some other stuff, I've been hacking on a fullscreen interface for my 
puzzle game Palapeli (see blog entry [1]). Along with this, I have thought 
about the topic of fullscreen interface components, and as I read from the 
comments on [1] that there is interest in it, I want to raise this topic here.

[1] http://majewsky.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/the-week-in-palapeli-research-on-

Currently, we have some quite prominent apps with fullscreen interfaces, each 
one implementing its own solution. Let's analyse them:
* The most prominent example is the Plasma cashew, obviously the result of  
application of Fitt's law. It displays a widget with common tasks for the 
given containment. I cannot comment on plasma-mid, as I have not yet tested 
* Gwenview has a slideshow mode, which can be activated from the toolbar. Move 
the mouse to the top to get the interface. This interface is themable 
(although I have only one theme installed, and have not yet figured out how to 
install more themes or where to get some) and looks very clean.
* Okular has a presentation mode, where a similar bar appears when moving the 
mouse to the top of the screen. It is much uglier, however. (No insult to the 
Okular devs, you probably have better things to do, but a solid unstyled 
background is outmoded.)
* Aaron mentioned that Digikam also features a fullscreen interface, but I do 
not have it installed and cannot comment on that, either. I would expect it to 
be quite similar to the one that Gwenview provides.
* For Palapeli, I want a similar interface to that of Plasma, but with 
multiple cashews in all screen corners and more arbitrary contents in the 
container that the cashew shows when it's clicked.

None of these solutions are consistent at the moment: The Plasma cashew is not 
exported and therefore invisible to anything outside libplasma. Gwenview's 
nice interface is not reused in Okular, which is really a pity not only 
because of its theming; I really would like to have a bar with previews in 
Okular where I could also start automatic slideshows quickly. And Gwenview 
does not use Plasma themes, which should IMO have been the obvious solution 
from the start to enable theming. (Okay, that would have introduced a 
dependency of kdegraphics on kdebase-workspace in 4.0/4.1 days, but today, 
there's no technical excuse.)

I would like to have a collection of widgets for fullscreen interfaces in 
kdelibs, built upon concepts like the Plasma cashew and Gwenview's preview 
bar, with libplasma theming and such, to make KDE as a whole ready for mobile 
devices and media center applications. All applications on themselves are on a 
good way (esp. Plasma), but the desktop as a whole could do better.

Stefan (who is esp. hoping for input from the usability experts)
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