Ayatana notifications for Plasma

Roderick B. Greening roderick.greening at gmail.com
Wed Sep 23 17:12:41 CEST 2009


I for one was one of the early skeptics, being a supporter of keeping Kubuntu 
as much a pure KDE dist as possible. 

Part of our goal was to allow Canonical to trial their new notifications under 
KDE, while defaulting to pure KDE notifications, thus permitting the user the 
choice to test out this experiment by opting in.

I believe this was a good decision, in that it allowed the Kubuntu team to 
maintain its goals, yet at the same time, allowed some experimentation with 
new ideas.

After having opted into the trial, I have found that these new notifications 
are quite appealing, and coupled with the Notification Indicator Applet that 
Aurélien has written, I find that I am having a much better user experience.

I do believe that while KDE may not desire to merge the patches for this, it 
is definitely worth a look to see what ideas may be taken from this experiment, 
and possibly something to consider as ideas for integration into KDE 4.4 or 
4.5. The "click-through" on notifications are simply beautiful, and allow the 
user to continue to type behind the pop-up and thereby not interrupt work flow.

Anyway, just to give a users perspective..



> Hi,
> I would like to present to you some work I have been doing for Canonical
> regarding notifications in Plasma.
> Before going further, let me state that my goal with this mail is not to
> get this work incorporated upstream, as I understand the Plasma project
> have a different position than Canonical on the subject of notifications.
> I decided to write this mail because I believe it is more correct to let
> you know about it in a more "personal" way rather than you discovering
> it in a blog post or a Kubuntu review.
> This work provides an implementation of Ayatana notifications for Plasma
> (Ayatana is the name of a Canonical project to improve user experience
> on Ubuntu and derivatives). Ayatana notifications have the following
> characteristics:
> - Notifications are queued instead of stacked. This helps reduce the
> "spamming" feeling.
> - Notifications are passive: they do not feature actions or close
> buttons. This is probably the most controversial bit.
> - Since notifications are passive, they are click-through: when you move
> the mouse over them, they fade away to become almost transparent and let
> you click through them to reach any underlying window.
> - Since they do not need any interactivity interface, they are drawn
> using Plasma tooltip SVG.
> Here are (slightly outdated) screenshots of what they look like:
> http://people.canonical.com/~agateau/plasma-ayatana-notifications/powerdevi
> l.png
>  http://people.canonical.com/~agateau/plasma-ayatana-notifications/kopete.p
> ng
> An important point: While the patch is integrated in Kubuntu, the
> default behavior is to use KDE notifications. The user can switch to
> Ayatana notifications through an option of the system tray configuration
> dialog (there are even preview buttons to help the user decide).
> http://people.canonical.com/~agateau/plasma-ayatana-notifications/configura
> tion.png
> I attached a patch for you to test if you feel so inclined. I updated it
> this morning to latest trunk. It is a single large patch because I
> believe it is easier to try it this way, but if you are interested in
> the incremental steps, you can find a patchset tarball here:
> http://people.canonical.com/~agateau/plasma-ayatana-notifications/
> As I said I do not expect this to be merged but I would be very happy if
> some of you just gave it a try for a few hours and maybe find some
> interesting ideas in it. The queuing and click-through features in
> particular could be interesting.
> I was quite skeptic about the idea of passive notifications first, but
> have since changed my mind after using them for a while. I believe this
> new approach needs to be tried for one to make an informed opinion on
> it. The feedback I got from Kubuntu Karmic users is varied: some like it
> a lot, other don't.
> Please let me know your opinion on this.
> Regards,
> Aurélien
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