App popularity in Discover

Currently, Discover sorts apps by popularity. In this case, popularity means “number of ratings”, and ratings come from user reviews. This is why GNOME Tweak Tool shows up first in Discover’s browse list: apparently it’s very popular among GNOME users, and they’ve written lots of reviews about it. We should all follow their lead and write some quality reviews about our favorite software; this helps the best apps bubble up to the top, and users love reading reviews from other users when determining whether or not to install an app.

Here’s how to write a review in Discover:

First, browse to an app page, and click on the “Show Reviews” text to open the Reviews pop-up:

Now Click on the “Review” button to write a review:

Now write your review, then click Accept:

Worth mentioning: the visual imperfections you might have noticed in the above screenshots are tracked by KDE bugs 390030, 390031, 390032, and 390035. We also have plans to make reviews more prominent (KDE Phabricator revision D10237) and allow sorting by criteria other than popularity (KDE bug 383518).

What to write in a review

Here are some examples of unhelpful reviews:

  • “1 star, it crashes on launch on Debian 3”
  • “1 star, doesn’t have this one specific feature I want”
  • “1 star, Electron apps are the worst! Rewrite it in Qt/GTK/Wx/ncurses you n00bs!”

These reviews don’t communicate much useful information, or will quickly become inapplicable. Useful reviews are about the app itself, not the conditions in which it’s run, or the toolkit of programming language it’s been created with, or any one particular annoying bug. They honestly describe the app and its features, usefulness, and impact in a way that will be relevant to uses in a month, a year or even later. Reviews like this are a blessing to users everywhere, and make it easier to find new apps.

So go out there and review your favorite apps!

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19 thoughts on “App popularity in Discover

  1. But which identity will the review be posted under? There’s no author field in the review dialog, and there aren’t any requirements for an account in Discover, is there?

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  2. Discover looks like a KDE app so stands to reason that users would prefer KDE (or qt) applications, when searching for something to install. For now it seems impossible to see if an app uses gtk, qt, kde or some other toolkit.

    Searching from the command-line “kde irc” I get konversation, kvirc and quassel. Searching for “kde irc” in discover gives me 1. pidgin (which is a gtk app) and 2. kvirc. The others are not mentioned.

    The app works well, and is stable, but search could use some work.

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  3. Reading the comments on https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=387379 it looks like the only way to make discover really useful is having more meta-data, something like tags for the toolkit, the desktop (if applicable), etc.

    For konversation the tags would be: kde, qt, irc. For Gnome tweak-tools: gtk, gnome, gnome-only.

    Konversation could arguably be useful on a gnome-desktop, tweak-tools is useless for a kde-user, unless that person uses both gnome and kde. The gnome-only tag would automatically add a note to the application that it is probably not what a person who runs kde needs.

    No idea if specs for snaps, rpm and debs have room for tags, if not then you would need a database with all apps, that would make things a lot harder…

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    1. Discover has access to tags from AppStream, but not from the app’s Desktop file. That’s why we currently can’t programmatically hide GNOME Tweaks in Plasma; the OnlyShowIn tag is in GNOME Tweaks’ desktop file. I agree that it would be great to get more tags added to apps AppStream metadata to enable the kind of filtering you’re wanting. Wanna spearhead that initiative? Take a look at https://pointieststick.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/how-to-make-an-app-look-good-in-discover/

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m testing Discover from KDE Neon 5.12 User Edition. I was waiting for stability, as I saw your and others hard work, but… Crashes everywhere… The first hour using it 5 crashes! They are always the same… When writing on the search field, when minimized and then maximized, and so on… I’m not a programmer, so it’s easy for me to talk about it, but… Do you consider to make another app from the beginning without crashes?

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    1. I know it’s frustrating to have an app crash. And I do apologize for that. If possible, please submit the crash reports when the crash reporter window pops up.

      As for starting over… think about it this way: if your house has a leaky roof, what’s easier: fix the roof (even at great cost or effort), or demolish the house and start from scratch? You might have to do that for a foundation issue, but not for a roof issue, and these crashes are definitely roof issues!

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  5. What about a “Please do not use the reviews to submit bugs” alert, with a link to the KDE bug report site? Hopefully this would prevent some of the unhelpful reviews from being written.

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