[Parley-devel] Welcome Screen

Daniel Laidig d.laidig at gmx.de
Sun Jul 20 11:52:04 CEST 2008

On Saturday 19 July 2008 22:12:00 Frederik Gladhorn wrote:
> Hi all,
> thanks Daniel!
> On Saturday 19 July 2008 17:49:37 Daniel Laidig wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > the last few days I started working on a welcome screen for Parley and
> > now I've come to a point where it makes sense to show some screenshots
> > and discuss about it. (The cool thing about screenshots is that you don't
> > see that all the buttons don't do anything yet...)
> >
> > http://daniel-laidig.de/temp/2008/07/parley-welcome-screen.png
> First of - I like the general appearance of the welcome thingy. But as
> Daniel said, I personally think it is rather confusing with the menu and
> toolbar and even more so the lesson list.
> My goal would be to achieve an easier way to start Parley which could
> especially benefit school, where the editor part is not used by the average
> student I imagine.
> So a school setup could even have a more restrictive welcome (we could do
> that easily tweaking some config) that would only allow practicing. Seeing
> the document before might spoil the exercise sometimes.

So, how long will it take until everybody knows that you can open KVTML files 
with a text editor and be very successful in "learning" vocabularies? ;)

The current welcome screen allows direct practicing of recent files and I plan 
to add a checkbox to the open file dialog to allow opening in practice mode. 
The only use case left is opening KVTML files in a file manager, which is 
likely to happen in school, e.g. teachers putting files for the class in 
shared folders etc. I don't know what's the best solution, one approach could 
be to have a flag "always open this document in practice mode" in KVTML files 
which the teacher could set before distributing the document.

But I don't think restricting Parley to only allow practicing in schools makes 
sense. There could be some cases when students just have to open a file given 
by the teacher, but my experience in school tells me that this will be a rare 
case. ;)

I think it will be more likely that each student generates his own collection 
or, if you're lucky, the teacher distributes the work of a student for the 
rest of the class. In any case, restricting the user doesn't make sense and I 
guess any student working with Parley will have to use the editor once in a 
while. Also getting an overview of the word list and how many of the words 
you know or exporting to HTML for printing are other use cases where you need 
the editor. But it definately makes sense to allow the user not to see the 
editor when he doesn't need it.

Another issue that I haven't thought of: If you open a file in practice mode, 
how do you select the lessons you want to learn?

> (I'm still not sure if we want to support "real" written vocabulary tests
> with easy evaluation for the teacher, but this sounds like a good place to
> implement it. Of course the statistics after the practice would have to be
> expanded.)

I think for that we would need some kind of client server architecture because 
giving the solution in plain text to students will be suboptimal. ;)

I don't know about the situation in other schools but some teachers at our 
school are really enthousiastic about a so-called e-learning platform named 
Moodle (written in PHP). Integrating Parley there could also be an 
interesting thought in the long term.

> > The aim of the welcome screen is to make it easy to get started, create
> > new documents and load recent files and so on and of course to create a
> > better default appearance for Parley (showing an empty table view just
> > doesn't look like fun).
> Yep, I can even imagine one of the artists will create a nice background
> image for it :)


An icon for KVTML would also be really nice. ;)

> > The welcome screen should be simple and easy to use which is why it only
> > contains basic options. It can create new documents, open files and
> > provides a more visible access to GHNS. With the Goya-powered list of
> > recent files you need just one click to load files and -- as a new
> > feature -- directly start practicing without bothering you with the
> > Vocabulary editor.
> Maybe even a checkbox or two:
> [x] always start editing the last opened document when starting Parley
> [ ] always resume last practice ...
> > When disussing this with Frederik there was one big issue where we both
> > have different opinions, therefore some more ideas on this topic would be
> > helpful: I would like to integrate the welcome screen into the main
> > window of Parley as you can see it in the screenshot (replacing the
> > QTableView until a document is opened) while Frederik prefers to have a
> > separate top level window (without the toolbars etc).
> Yeah :)
> > Here is why I prefer integrating the welcome screen:
> > - Having the toolbar available still allows "old" behaviour (for example
> > using the file menu for opening files). This might also be easier to
> > access with the keyboard (especially opening recent files).
> I find this confusing and incoherent ;)
> > - Having a separate window would make Parley have three different top
> > level windows (Welcome, Editor, Practice) of which only one is visible at
> > the same time. IMHO this creates confusion and makes Parley less easy and
> > predictable to use. I hate it when an application window suddenly
> > disappears and gets replaced by another window. This is also the case for
> > the Practice window, but I think in this case it really makes sense.
> Agreed, not great.
> > - Directly showing the main window in contrast to a "welcome window"
> > creates some sort of identity as an application (which is hard to
> > describe). It also feels more like an KDE application (which usually
> > don't constantly switch between main windows). In my approach the welcome
> > screen would just be a useful non-intrusive placeholder for the
> > vocabulary editor. - Different windows have different geometries, which
> > makes Parley feel inhomogeneous.
> Agree, we could take over the size or with more coding effort use the same
> window, with different contents.

Which is basically what I am doing, except for that I want to keep the toolbar 
and the file menu to make it look like Parley. ;)

I thought about temporarily hiding the dock widgets (because they're really 
useless without a document loaded) but I'll have to see how to best implement 
this. Of course, many of the toolbar and menu actions will have to be 
disabled without a document loaded.

Without the dock widget it would look like this:

> > There are a few small issues I would like to discuss:
> > - Of course there will be an option to enable the old behavior (restoring
> > the last opened document).
> > - I think there should be some way to access the welcome screen again
> > after loading a document (other than restarting Parley). My plan is to
> > add a "Close" action to the file menu, just like many KDE applications
> > do.
> Yep, sounds reasonable in both scenarios.
> > - Frederik suggested to use the term "Collection" to describe a kvtml
> >   document, because "File" or "Document" are meaningless and suck. ;)
> >   I did this in the welcome screen, but obviously all the other
> > occurrences in Parley will also have to be renamed. Are there any
> > objections (or even better terms) for this?
> Vocabulary Collection in some places as that makes it even clearer.
> > @Carsten: I'm CC'ing you because Frederik told me that you had probably
> > some ideas about this. :)
> Haha, I love cc'ing Carsten, I think it's a good habit.

It would've been even better if you gave me the right e-mail address. ;)

> So, give us more opinions, its 1:1 for now :)
> Greetings,

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