This week in Usability & Productivity, part 19

This week we announced a beta of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.13 release, and so far the internet seems pretty excited about it. 🙂 But we’re nowhere near done, and here’s another week of Usability and Productivity enhancements to highlight:

New Features

Bugfixes

UI Polish & Improvement

See all the names of people who worked hard to make the computing world a better place? That could be you next week! Getting involved isn’t all that tough, and there’s lots of support available. Give it a try today! It’s easy and fun and important.

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal.

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This week in Usability & Productivity: part 17

Here’s another big one, folks!

Regular readers might have noticed that I’ve stopped the weekly Discover posts. I’ve decided to centralize that information here, and so I’d like to highlight several weeks’ worth of awesome new features and improvements for Discover:

Discover

In future posts, Discover improvements will be shown inline along with all the other changes.

Next up, here’s the 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

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal.

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This week in Discover, part 11

This week we landed a significant visual improvement for Discover: the app lists have been re-implemented using a new “cards” style in Kirigami. This was a lovely collaboration between Marco Martin, Aleix Pol, and myself. And best of all, this pretty “cards”-style list is also available to other Kirigami apps!

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug that could cause Discover’s “active tasks” view to not show any progress (KDE bug 391760, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by Aleix Pol)

UI polish & improvements

  • Discover’s list items look much prettier now (KDE Phabricator revisions D11316 and D11625, and commit 29a1228f67b8b65e866128df0d8aa85a72345f5b, improved in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Marco Martin Aleix Pol, and me, Nate Graham):
  • The Proceed dialog no longer shows a redundant close button in the corner (KDE Phabricator revision FFFF, improved in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by me, Nate Graham):

If my efforts to perform, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal.

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This week in Discover, part 10

This week saw many positive changes for Discover, and I feel that it’s really coming into its own. Discover rumbles inexorably along toward the finish line of becoming the most-loved Linux app store! Take a look at this week’s improvements:

New Features

  • Discover can now sort apps by last release date in the browse lists and search results (KDE bug 391668, implemented in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by Aleix Pol)

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug that could cause Flatpak apps to stop being available (KDE bug 391126, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by Aleix Pol)
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Discover to fail to download Plasma or Application addons (KDE bug 390236, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by Aleix Pol)
  • Fixed a bug causing Plasma and Application addons to not display large screenshots (KDE bug 391190, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Aleix Pol)
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Discover to not open properly when invoked from from its context menu’s “Updates” item (KDE bug 391801, Fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.4, authored by Aleix Pol)
  • Fixed a bug causing Addons to not be sorted by release data correctly (KDE bug D11387, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Dan Leinir))
  • Fixed a bug causing all Addon screenshots to be inappropriately rendered as square (KDE bug 391792, fixed right now, authored by Dan Leinir):

UI polish & improvements

  • On the Updates page, the selection text can no longer overlap with the Update button (KDE bug 391632, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by me, Nate Graham):
  • Increased the width of the “Add Source” dialog, so the URL is less likely to get cut off (KDE Phabricator revision D11219, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by me, Nate Graham):
  • Discover now uses a more intuitive and obvious UI for choosing which source to install an app from (KDE bug 390464, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by Aleix Pol):

    (We’re aware of the visual papercuts in the above screenshot, and will be working to resolve them in the coming days and weeks)
  • Improved the app page by removing the redundant second copy of the app’s name (KDE Phabricator revision D11364, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by me, Nate Graham) and fixed the top padding (KDE Phabricator revision D11362, fixed in KDE Frameworks 5.45, authored by me, Nate Graham):
  • Discover now shows a more obvious and less transient page when asked to open an invalid appstream://URL (KDE bug 391756, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13, authored by Aleix Pol):

Just take a look at these screenshots! Isn’t discover looking really good these days? We’ve chewed through most of our backlog of architectural issues and are working hard on adding much-requested features and polishing the UI.

If my efforts to do, guide, and document this work seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, then consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal.

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This week in Discover, part 9

We did a lot of polish work on Discover this week, and also implemented a much-requested feature:

New features

  • Discover now lets you change the sort order of app lists and search results (KDE bug 383518, implemented in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by Aleix Pol)

    We are still working on refining and polishing the UI here, but this much-requested feature is now implemented!

UI Improvements and polish

  • When you’re adding a new repo, Discover now won’t let you enter an invalid URL (KDE bug 390148, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.3, authored by Aleix Pol):
  • Improved the usability of the “confirm package removal” dialog (KDE Phabricator revision D10992, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12, authored by me, Nate Graham):

    As you can see, there’s more work to be done: alphabetize the package list, remove the red close button in the corner, reduce whitespace. Further improvements coming soon!
  • Improved the usability of the “Add Source dialog” (KDE Phabricator revision D11003, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13.0, authored by me, Nate Graham)
  • Transient notifications in Discover and all other Kirigami apps now last longer, so you have enough time to read them (KDE Phabricator revision D11009, fixed in KDE Frameworks 5.44, authored by me, Nate Graham)

We need your help! Consider becoming a KDE contributor, and help make Discover the best Linux app store in existence!

If my efforts seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal.

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This week in Discover, part 8

This was a week of polish and preparation for Discover. We’ve got some nice new features in the pipeline but we’re not quite ready to announce them just yet. One is implemented but needs more polish, and another is under construction. I think you’ll like ’em once they’re ready! But in the meantime, here are some bugfixes and polish work:

Bugfixes

  • Fixed a bug causing Discover to emit scary “unmet dependency” warnings while browsing apps on certain systems (KDE bug 391142, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.3, authored by Aleix Pol)
  • Fixed a bug causing the back and forward arrow to appear in the screenshot pop-up before the screenshot was loaded (KDE bug 391130, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.12.3, authored by Aleix pol)
  • Fixed a bug causing apps from Flathub to not appear when clicking on the Flathub repo on Discover’s Settings page (KDE bug 391126, 5.12.3, authored by Aleix Pol)
  • Fixed a bug causing review headers for addons to appear malformed (KDE bug 391189, fixed in Plasma 5.12.3, authored by Aleix Pol)

UI Improvements and polish

  • Discover and other Kirigami apps now correctly use radio buttons for mutually exclusive actions (KDE bug 391144, fixed in KDE Plasma 5.13 and KDE Frameworks 5.44, authored by Aleix Pol)

Want to see faster progress on Discover? Help us out! KDE has great software and a strong focus on usability, productivity, and user satisfaction. But we’re short in the manpower department. There are lots of other ways to contribute, too!

Kubuntu: how to fix pixellated app icons in Discover

Do your app icons in Discover look ugly and pixellated? If so, you’re probably a Kubuntu user. Every user of a recent Kubuntu version unfortunately sees horrid low-resolution icons in Discover. It’s very unpleasant.

Today I helped drive an investigation and resolution for this issue. Here’s the good news: it’ll be fixed in the upcoming Kubuntu 18.04, and you can fix it for yourself, today! Here’s how.

  • Run the following terminal commands:
    sudo sed -i "s/hidpi/large/" /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/60plasma-discover
    sudo apt update
    sudo appstreamcli refresh-cache --force
  • Restart Discover, if it’s running

Ta-daa! Pretty, high-resolution icons:

This turned out to be a bug in how Discover was packaged in Debian. Ubuntu was re-using the Debian Appstream configuration packaging, and that packaging was erroneously downloading HiDPi versions of small icons instead of large icons. This illustrates an eternal principle in software: the price of 3rd-party and upstream dependencies is eternal communication. When every layer of software is built on top of another layer provided by someone else, communication is mandatory; when the people responsible for each layer don’t talk to one another regularly, bugs creep in. Once all parties were talking to one another in the same (virtual) room, a fix materialized literally within minutes.

Thankfully, this bug has been squashed, and Kubuntu users will once again see pretty app icons.

If my efforts seem useful and you’d like to see more of them, consider becoming a patron on Patreon, LiberaPay, or PayPal.