This week in Usability & Productivity, part 16: new lock and login screens

Get ready for a Usability & Productivity avalanche! There’s so much to announce this week that I’m breaking it up into two posts! I’m super excited to announce that in addition to the normal stream of little quality-of-life improvements, a major and long-simmering change has landed: we’ve overhauled the lock and login screens to provide better usability and aesthetics, and more features!

The lock screen now displays the default Plasma wallpaper and behaves more like a screensaver: only the clock and date are displayed at first. Here’s how it looks with the new Plasma 5.13 wallpaper:

And after moving the mouse, typing on the keyboard, or tapping the touchscreen, the image is darkened and blurred, and the controls become visible:

Doesn’t this look really, really good!?

People who prefer less flashiness can set the background to a solid color, and the controls will not fade in and out–just like before. Those who want more bling can set a slideshow or an animated effect for the background, and it will be just like the attractive screensavers of yore!

Even cooler, if you don’t change the default settings, then every time you upgrade Plasma, the lock and login screens will automatically use the new wallpaper for that Plasma version.

We’ve also resolved a usability issue with the old version: light-colored or very busy backgrounds no longer obscure the text and user interface elements for either the login or lock screens because the background is blurred and darkened whenever they’re shown, and at other times the clock and date have a subtle drop shadow applied:

I pushed pretty hard for this redesign and did a bit of the work, but the overwhelming majority of it was done by Marco Martin, who deserves our praise and congratulations!

Users will be able to enjoy these incredibly beautiful and classy lock and login screens in KDE Plasma 5.13, which is slated for release in June.

I’ll note that this is a big change that’s just landed so we may tweak it a bit before the Plasma 5.13 release. The plasma wallpaper itself may be adjusted, and we might also decide to use a slightly different image by default. But for the most part, this is what Plasma 5.13 users are gonna see, and we think you’ll love it!

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But wait, there’s more… see it in part 2!

This week in Usability & Productivity, part 16: everything else

We weren’t done after implementing the new lock and login screens! Here’s this week’s process on the Open/save dialog project:

Open/Save dialog project

These improvements will land in KDE Frameworks 5.46.

And of course that’s not all; here’s the usual assortment of miscellaneous goodies:

New Features

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

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This week in Usability & Productivity, part 15

Let’s have some more Usability & Productivity!

I’ve initiated a big project: overhauling KDE Open & Save dialogs for greater usability and productivity. If you would like to follow along, here is the meta-task tracking the work: https://phabricator.kde.org/T8552

So far, we’ve:

All of this work–and hopefully the rest of the “open/save panel improvement” work–will ship with KDE Frameworks 5.46.

(Also, what do people think of the above style for these bullet points instead of the typical one I’ve used below?)

As usual, there’s more! Here’s the other Usability & Productivity-related work from the past week:

New Features

  • Kate and other programs using the KTextEditor framework gained syntax highlighting for GDB files (KDE Phabricator revision D11902, implemented in KDE Frameworks 5.46, authored by Milian Wolff)
  • Konsole now supports more XTerm-style cursor shapes (KDE Bug 347323, implemented in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Ahmad Samir)

Bugfixes

  • Bold, italic, and underline effects now work again for Kate’s syntax highlighting modes (KDE Phabricator revision D12221, fixed in KDE Frameworks 5.46, authored by Christoph Cullman)
  • Dolphin’s icon view grid spacing no longer changes unpredictably when previews are turned on or off, and has tighter spacing when previews are on and icons are large (KDE bug 393306, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.1, authored by me, Nate Graham):
  • Gwenview no longer crashes when zooming after reloading an SVG image (KDE bug 359736, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Peter Mühlenpfordt)
  • Gwenview’s “Failed to save” warning dialog no longer displays raw HTML in it (KDE bug 393170, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.04, authored by Peter Mühlenpfordt)
  • Okular no longer loses highlighted search results when a page is rotated (KDE bug 387282, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04, authored by Ahmad Osama)
  • The Media Frame widget’s mode chooser now displays the modes corrently even for languages where the words are very long (KDE bug 393232, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12, authored by Friedrich Kossebau)

UI Polish & Improvement

  • Changes to a Konsole profile’s keybingings are now immediately applied to that profile (KDE Phabricator revision D12255, improved in KDE Applications 18.08, authored by Ahmad Samir)
  • Plasma and Plasma widgets now all use the same color picker widget (KDE Phabricator revisions D12330 and D12318, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by Friedrich Kossebau:
  • Gwenview now positions the viewport more intelligently after crop and resize operations (KDE Phabricator revisions D12167 and D12170, authored by Peter Mühlempfordt)
  • Gwenview no longer shows duplicate confirmation dialogs when overwriting an existing image (KDE Phabricator revision D12346, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.1, improved by Peter Mühlenpfordt)
  • The KDirOperator widget (commonly used for inline file browsers in apps like Kate, Kile, and RKWard, as well as open and save dialogs) now has a reload button in the context menu (KDE bug 199994, improved in KDE Frameworks 5.46, authored by me, Nate Graham)

Might seem a little light this week, but trust me, there’s a ton of stuff in progress right now. It may not quite be ready yet, but it will be awesome once it is!

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This week in Usability & Productivity, part 14

Time for your weekly dose of Usability & Productivity! We’ve got some good stuff today, including some nice improvements for the Open & Save dialogs–with a lot more on that front to come soon!

Additionally, another major bug worth highlighting has been fixed! Previously, image slideshows used for the desktop wallpaper or in a media frame widget would leak memory like crazy, eventually crashing the system. Veteran KDE developer David Edmundson traced this to a Qt bug and submitted a patch that’s been accepted! It’ll go into Qt 5.11 which hasn’t been released yet, so go bug your distros to backport the fix into their Qt 5.9.x or 5.10.x branches, as we plan to do for the upcoming Kubuntu 18.04 release. Soon KDE Plasma users will once again be able to use slideshow wallpapers without blowing up their computers!

But wait, there’s more…

New Features

  • When audio is set to switch to new sources that become active, this is now indicated with an on-screen display depicting the new device (KDE Phabricator revision D12083, implemented in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by Kai Uwe Broulik):
  • You can (once again!) copy the text of the date and time from the Clock widget (KDE bug 355190, implemented in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Bernhard Schiffner))

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug that prevented removable devices from automounting correctly (KDE bugs 391706, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.5 and KDE Frameworks 5.46, authored by Stefan Brüns)
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Plasma to crash when switching the desktop from Folder View to Desktop View (KDE bug 391642, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by David Edmundson)
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Konsole to not copy long text correctly under certain circumstances (KDE bug 352616, fixed in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Mariusz Glebocki)
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Gwenview to not update an image’s thumbnail in the Thumbnail bar after rotating it (KDE bug D11714, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Peter Mühlenpfordt)
  • Fixed a bug in Gwenview that could cause an image’s thumbnail to not update properly after undoing a crop or rotate operation (KDE bug 356998, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Peter Mühlenpfordt)
  • Fixed a bug in Gwenview that could cause changed shortcuts to not take effect until after the program was restarted (KDE bug 389331, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Peter Mühlenpfordt)
  • Fixed a bug causing Baloo (KDE’s file indexing service) to incorrectly
    handle complex boolean queries (KDE bug 392620, fixed in KDE Frameworks 5.46, authored by Stefan Brüns)

UI Polish & Improvement

  • Columns in KDE Open & Save dialogs are now always sized correctly, and resize appropriately as the window is resized (KDE bugs 354388, 338502, 196508, 177743, and 96638, improved in KDE Frameworks 5.46, authored by Scott Harvey):
  • The Open dialog now opens in the correct location when using a file located on a remote filesystem (KDE bug 374913, improved in KDE Plasma 5.12.5, authored by Alex Richardson)
  • A consistent (and better) icon is now used for “configure” everywhere (KDE Phabricator revision D12034, improved in KDE Frameworks 5.46, authored by me, Nate Graham):


  • The login screen now uses the same icon as the Lock screen for the “find or log in as other user” feature (KDE bug 392830, improved in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Scott Harvey)
  • Dolphin’s Information Panel can now optionally show condensed absolute dates rather than long relative dates – try right-clicking on it! (KDE bug 392352, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0)
  • Gwenview now displays a better background for parts of images that are transparent, and lets the user configure more alternate backgrounds if desired (KDE Phabricator revision D11630, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Huon Imberger):
  • Gwenview now honors the chosen background color setting for SVG images (KDE bug D11629, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Huon Imberger)
  • Gwenview’s transition effect between images has been improved (KDE bug 373161, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Huon Imberger)
  • Dolphin’s “Open path” and “Open path in new folder” actions now scroll to and highlight the selected file (KDE bug 377510, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by me, Nate Graham)
  • Non-square icons can now be used for the Application Launcher’s button (KDE Phabricator revision D12161, improved in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Kai Uwe Broulik):

    🙂

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This week in Usability & Productivity, part 13

Another week in Usability & Productivity, another wish that I could make more announcements about all the cool stuff we have in progress! The wheels of software sometimes turn more slowly than we might wish, but in the end, the better result will be worth it. KDE’s patch review process is there to ensure that code quality is high as possible before making it in!

Nevertheless, we landed some great improvements this week, including a few long-standing requests. Come and see:

New Features

  • The volume of the program that’s playing media can now be adjusted by positioning the cursor over the Media Player widgets icon and scrolling (KDE bug 386588, implemented in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Radek Hušek)
  • Dolphin’s Information panel is now able to show Group membership information for files and folders (KDE bug 308002, implemented in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by me, Nate Graham):
  • New splash screens can now be easily downloaded and installed right from within System Settings (KDE bug 358839, implemented in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by Marco Martin)

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug causing Kate to open multiple empty windows after session restoration (KDE bug 360066, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Алексей Шилин (Aleksei Shilin))
  • Fixed a bug in Gwenview that made the left and right arrow keys not work for navigating between images after using the crop tool (KDE bug 321091, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Peter Mühlenpfordt)
  • Fixed a bug in Gwenview causing the window title to not update when a different images becomes selected in Comparison mode (KDE bug 314724, fixed in KDE Applications 18.04.0, authored by Silas Lenz)
  • Fixed a bug causing the desktop Trash icon’s “Empty Trash” menu item to not update properly (KDE bug 392738, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.5, authored by Kai Uwe Broulik)
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Konsole to execute hidden code when copy-and-pasting from a maliciously-crafted piece of text in a web browser (KDE Phabricator revision D11859, fixed in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Martin T. H. Sandsmark)

UI Polish & Improvement

  • Dolphin’s “Image Size” column has been split into separate “Height” and “WIdth” columns, to enable proper sorting (KDE bug 374559, improved in Dolphin 18.08.0, authored by Julian Schraner)
  • Gwenview now displays the selection rectangle using a correct size for SVG images (KDE Phabricator revision D11796, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by Huon Imberger)
  • Dolphin’s Information Panel now displays folder previews for folders that have been added to the Places panel (KDE bug 392621, improved in KDE Applications 18.08.0, authored by me, Nate Graham)
  • Context menus for Desktop items and the Wallpaper now show the appropriate keyboard shortcuts that can be used to invoke them (KDE bug 392730, improved in KDE Plasma 5.12.5, authored by Kai Uwe Broulik)
  • Dolphin’s close-multiple-tabs confirmation dialog is now more explicit about what will happen when you click any of the buttons (KDE Phabricator revision FFFF, improved in Dolphin 18.08.0, authored by Elvis Angelaccio):

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