[kde-edu]: [Step] Suggestions

Hans Chen hanswchen at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 18:59:59 CET 2008

Hi again,

First I just have to say that it's amazing to get such fast and kind
responses, and on top of it, to already be able to see the result in

> Done in SVN. Now the Palette is resizable, has scrollbar when its too small
> and you can turn icon-only mode (with dynamic column count) by right-clicking
> on it.

Very nice, almost exact how I wanted it. The only "flaw" is the
minimum width for icon-only mode - I want to be able to shrink it to
one column (at the moment the minimum is three columns). Would this be

Wait. While writing this, I played around with Step (multitasking with
two screens is nice ;-), and this is quite strange: after moving the
Palette to the right (with the other dock windows), I can make it wide
enough to only show one column (there's some space for a scrollbar
too). After dragging it back to the left, I can still freely resize it
(not restricted to minimum 3 columns). Bug?

Now, the only request I have is to get rid of the unused space (where
the scrollbar would appear). I'm not sure how this would work if you
resize your window (reducing its height until the scrollbar is shown),
but maybe you can figure something out.

If what I said above was confusing (I'm sure it was), try it yourself:
set the Palette to icon-only mode and try to make it show one column.
(Think: space efficient). If it's still unclear, I can send some

> I like this scheme. Moreover it looks somehow similar to the new dolphin
> selection system so it will be known to the users.

After thinking for awhile, I've come to the conclusion that my first
suggestion (auto-fix + drag and drop) isn't very good. The scheme
described above, + possible modifier key (ctrl + left mouse button?)
could work pretty good. You wouldn't be able to see the icon in
icon-only mode (right?), but I don't think that is a big problem with
a modifier key. However, you'll probably have to introduce a new*
pressed mode for the buttons when they're "fixed".

(* new as in "visually different", for example another color. Maybe
the "icon" I described in the last mail shouldn't stay visible at

> I see a problem here: what should be defined as initial state if user creates
> the experiment from the scratch ? What if the user wants to switch to
> different "initial state" ? How intuitive would it be ?

I feel that I've reached my limit regarding this question, as I'm not
experienced with this kind of application. But maybe I can give you
some ideas (whether they're good or not is up to you to decide).

"Reset" could go back to t = 0. Yes, this is what we called the
initial state. However, the point is: you're free to choose your
initial state. If you start a simulation, realize  that something is
wrong and make some modifications, you'll be able to set t = 0 for the
new state (you can of course always undo this). This way, "Reset" goes
back to your new initial state.

I don't really know how time works in Step (haven't found a way to
manipulate it other than with Simulate), but this could be a reason to
introduce a "reset time" (with other words, set t = 0) feature. Not
sure how this should be done though (a button in the toolbar?). It
would probably lead to some changes to the application (GUI-wise), for
example it should be more obvious what the time is at the moment.

A more advanced Simulation Toolbar with a timeline  popped up in my
head, but I don't know if it would be any good.
Too good I'm not the maintainer: I would bloat Step to Oblivion. ;)

Finally, I have two questions (hopefully not too hard to answer):
1. What is the statusbar supposed to show?
2. I've had some draw issues with Step lately. Is it because of the
upgrade to Qt 4.4?

Looking forward to your comments.

With best regards,
Hans Chen

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