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Authored by ngraham on Jul 3 2019, 2:24 PM.
The KDE Plasma and usability teams recently converged on Valencia, Spain for a combined development sprint. The teams admired Valencia's medieval architecture and stayed up until midnight eating sumptuous Mediterranean food. But of course, the real purpose was work! The aim was not only to hack on Plasma and the U&P initiative, but to benefit from the cross-pollination opportunities provided by hosting both at the same time and place.
The result was a huge amount of work on Plasma, KWin, Dolphin, Spectacle, and many other bits of KDE software!
Present for the Plasma sprint were Kai Uwe Broulik, David Edmundson, Nicolas Fella, Eike Hein, Roman Gilg, Aleix Pol Gonzalez, Marco Martin, and Bhushan Shah. They had quite a busy agenda:
<li>Plasma 5.16's new notification system received a great deal of polish</li>
<li>Fixed a ton of bugs in Plasma Browser Integration</li>
<li>Re-wrote the widget positioning code for the desktop, making it much more robust, future-proof, and usable on touch.</li>
<li>Started work on making the Task Manager understand window stacking order, which will allow it to implement new interaction modes for grouped windows (e.g. bring forward the last-used window when clicked)</li>
<li>Worked on a variety of architecture improvements to KWin to make it more future-proof</li>
<li>Add calculator and unit conversion functionality to Kickoff and Application Dashboard</li>
In addition to the technical progress, the Plasma and usability teams converged to discuss a number of long-standing Plasma issues and figure out how we resolve them:
<strong>Make it easier to test a custom-compiled version of Plasma</strong>. We implemented changes that allow you to integrate your custom-compiled Plasma into SDDM by running a single command, after which you can log into it normally. For more information, see <a href="">this article.</a>
<strong>Make it more obvious and discoverable that Plasma is made of widgets, and how they're configured.</string> We decided to create a new "global edit mode" that's triggerable from within System Settings, which is where new users generally expect everything to be configured. In this global edit mode, all widgets become visibly configurable, editable, removable, etc. We also want to make it easy to change the wallpaper when in this mode. With all of that done, we'll be able to remove the Desktop Toolbox as it currently exists.
<strong>Unify the disparate scaling methods.</strong> We decided to visually connect the scale factor chooser with the "Force Fonts DPI" setting, since former actually affects the latter, but not the other way around. This should make it clear that the scaling slider is the primary way to scale the screen, the the "force fonts DPI" control is nothing more than a way to further tweak things.
<strong>Make Plasma respect the systemwide scale factor on X11.</strong> We came up with a path forward and a plan for getting it done!
<strong>Add power actions to the lock screen.</strong> We concluded that not only does this make sense, but it will be necessary for Plasma mobile anyway. In a multi-user environment, the user will need to enter an admin password to shut down or restart the machine when other users are also logged in.
Over in the Usability & Productivity room, we had Méven Car, Albert Astals Cid, Noah Davis, Filip Fila, Nate Graham, and David Redondo. The agenda was similarly jam-packed, and included the following:
<li>Annotation support in Spectacle</li>
<li>Port Spectacle to use KGlobalAccel and away from KHotKeys</li>
<li>Make the quit-after-copy feature in Spectacle finally work</li>
<li>User-configurable sort ordering for wallpaper slideshows</li>
<li>Auto-play-on-hover for media files in Dolphin</li>
<li>Inline name feedback when creating new files or folders</li>
<li>Optionally allow closing windows in the Present Windows effect with a middle-click</li>
<li>Many user interface improvements for the Purpose framework, which implements sharing support in many apps (Dolphin, Spectacle, Okular, now Gwenview, and so on)</li>
<li>Started working on improving the default selection of pictures available for user account avatars</li>
<li>Started working on a new "Recently used" feature for Dolphin and the file dialogs that will pull its data from a single consistent location and actually notice everything</li>
In addition, we came to some conclusions for higher-level goals:
We plan to pay for professional user research to generate new "personas" (target user groups that represent the people using our software), and use these personas as the basis for professional usability testing for Plasma, Dolphin, Gwenview, Okular, and other components of a basic desktop.
We also discussed how we can add release notes data to our apps' AppStream data, so that it shows up in software center apps like Discover. The big blocker was getting the required translations added to the tarball, so we've started a dialogue with AppStream maintainer Matthias Klumpp regarding adding a new feature to pull translations from a remote location, which would support our workflow. The conversation is proceeding nicely so far.
Finally, VDG member Noah Davis dug deep into Breeze to work on visual consistency improvements regarding selection highlights. Given his growing familiar with the code, he's well on his way toward becoming the next Breeze maintainer!
All in all, it was a very productive week. KDE Plasma and apps are in a great place right now, and the teams' effort to further improve things will be making it into into future versions, so stay tuned!
ngraham created this paste.Jul 3 2019, 2:24 PM
ngraham created this object in space S1 KDE Community.
ndavis added a subscriber: ndavis.Jul 3 2019, 4:28 PM
ndavis added a comment.Jul 4 2019, 2:01 AM

Are we sure Breeze doesn't already have a maintainer? It would be good not to offend the existing one by implying that he will be replaced. Although I guess it's possible for more than one person to be a maintainer. I believe that is the case with KWin since Martin stepped down.

Hugo formally stepped down as the Breeze maintainer last year. Since then, nobody else has volunteered to replace him.