n+1st report about arrow keys in krunner

Diego Moya turingt at gmail.com
Sun Mar 7 15:55:14 CET 2010

On 28 February 2010 09:34, Aaron J. Seigo  wrote:

> On February 27, 2010, Miha Čančula wrote:
> > I suggest that the history should be added as just another runner. It
> would
> > show the last N used things when started, and then display a filtered
> list
> > when you write something.
> which does not address the issue of the interface by which to show such
> history without getting in the way of actual results that match what is
> currently being typed.
Having separate lists for history and search results in the same widget is
going to have usage problems, no matter what you do to invoke them.
Information retrieval theory shows that the user doesn't care searching
through history and searching through the list of pre-stored items, it's all
the same. This is why you see unified interfaces popping up everywhere
(Lancelot, Firefox Awesome bar, Mac Os X Spotlight, Gnome Do).

Every search function I've seen that does this right follows more or less
the same pattern:

1- Down arrow on the empty text field shows either a list of recent
searches, or the selected result in recent searches. The first item is
selected and the text box is updated with the item content. (If the item
contains a description, then the text field contains the command name)

2- Typing begins a search, showing results in the same list as in step 1 but
filtered to match the typed characters. Results from history that match the
characters are also shown in the list.

3- Down arrow moves to the first element in the list, and the text box is
updated with the item content. The focus is ALWAYS on the text field.

4- Even if an item in the list is selected, typing new characters add them
to the end of the current text field contents.

5- Tab is a synonym for the down arrow, they work exactly the same in every
possible state. This works to avoid ambiguities. (An alternative is not to
update the textfield content when pressing up&down, and having Tab to
replace the field contents with the command for the current item).

6- Pressing the Up arrow when standing in the first item in the list
restores the original characters, exactly how the user typed them (except
after step 4, in which the content is the whole command name plus the last
typed characters).
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