The Mynydd Factor - Review of Gideon

Alexander Dymo cloudtemple at
Sun Sep 28 13:43:15 BST 2003

> In dialog boxes, tips of the day and "What's This" messages there is more
>  room to explain things, but even the tips are full of unexplained terms and
>  are therefore almost useless as tips. They do mention how handy "What's
>  This?" messages can be, but Gideon has not implemented "What's This?". Late
>  Note: Automake Manager tool buttons and some menu items have "What's This?"
>  as at 25 September. Some are good, but several still have unexplained
>  technical terms in them. 

Feel free to take it over. We do need some help with that. I've added most of
that whatsthis entries but I'm used to those technical terms and I don't need
to explain them ;). Another thing, I'm not a native english speaker.

If you could proof read and improve any of 
it would be really great.

Tips of the day are outdated. Another area for you to improve...

> So most of Gideon's buttons are unintelligible, which means you have to
> hover over them with the mouse and wait for the tooltip to come up, thus it
> would be quicker to use menus (preferably popup) or text buttons

Agree, I often use menus by myself ;). But there is no place for text buttons
in project managers.

> Problems with the Automake and QMake Manager Interface
> What to Call Them?
Withing KDevelop they are used not only to build the project but
also to organize files, to call some commands specific to a certain file
type (like Qt ui subclassing), to call cvs and any other commands for
anything selected in views.
Websters Dictionary:
Manager: One who manages
Manage: To have under control and direction; to conduct; to guide;
      to administer; to treat; to handle.
I think everything is correct with the term "Manager".

The words "automake", "qmake", "ant", "custom" ... describes the underlying
build system for a project manager. The generic "Project Manager" is being
developed and it hides the underlying build system, providing a common
interface for them.

> The next problem is that the two Managers are almost invisible in the user 
> interface

I don't know how to provide a menu for them. Their actions are too dependent
on currently selected objects.
I can only see a top level menu with
"Automake Manager"
"File Selector"
Can you suggest how to call this menu.

> Even so, such simple widely-used "journeyman programmer" devices as 
> conditional compilation settings and library linkages are hard to find --- 
> hidden away in dialogues under the buttons --- and they are not easy to use 
> when you find them. 

This is my time to disagree with you. Everything is quite clear in qmake and
automake projects about that settings.

> In Gideon, some direct edits seem to "take" in Automake Manager and some do 
> not. Are there rules for this? Does it matter if Automake Manager gets out 
> of synch with the actual ".am" files? How can we Gideon users be sure? 

This should be documented. Automake manager in KDevelop will retain everything
you write in when the project is not opened.
Updates in don't syncronized with KDevelop if the project is
Same for QMake.

> In QMake, the ".pro" files are written in simple language that any 
> experienced C programmer can understand (unlike ".am" files), so the need 
> for a QMake Manager just about disappears

Disagree. You didn't see large QMake projects...

> There is scope too for clarifying and standardising the terminology used, 
> making its usage more consistent and making the various dialogues more
> intuitive. Why "subproject" when it is known in other applications and 
> Gideon as "subdirectory"? What is a "target" in Gideon? Clearly it is not 
> the same thing as "all", "install" or ".o" in "make". Why does the 
> "Subproject Options" have "Prefixes" on one of its tabs, when it is really 
> "Installation Directories" (I think). It took me days to realise that this 
> was the place to add a target installation directory for my application's 
> data-files, but I am still confused by this, I find. And whatever are 
> "services" and "applications" in the Automake Manager context? And what is 
> "Flags" (a vague term) in the "Target Options" dialog. The box marked 
> "Other" (even more vaguely), seems to contain nothing less than the 
> all-important library search path. 

Those are autotools terms. They are described well in info pages.
Of course a description should be in the KDevelop manual.
Feel free to take it over ;)

> The Need for Input Validation and Prompts

#62288 was correctly closed because it is not the problem of KDevelop
but a problem of your (.in) or admin/
#62289  correctly describes your wish for KDevelop to provide some
feedback about names. And it is not closed btw. Same for #62291.

> but finally the bug was marked RESOLVED, INVALID, without comment and 
> apparently without identification of the individual responsible. I am truly 
> disappointed.

A brief look for discussion about #62288 says that it is not true and you are
just disappointed that your bug was closed.

You could clear things yourself in #62289 but you didn't. So I suggest to
change it to a wishlist and copy coolo's comments about 
autoconf --trace=AC_SUBST 
there. That would be a real solution on a plate.

Btw, don't expect a solution for your bugs in a short time. I have time
constraints now, other developers have also limited time.
We have over 200 bugs opened. I know that there are
more important bugs than yours, so stick around or provide a patch.
So please, don't rush things.

About symbolic names and default installation locations: just write an
explanation and we will be glad to put it in.

Alexander Dymo
Ukrainian State Maritime Technical University, IT Department

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