User Interface of the X Configuration Tool

Sebastian Heinlein glatzor at
Fri Jun 1 22:07:17 BST 2007

Am Donnerstag, den 31.05.2007, 12:07 -0700 schrieb Corey Burger:
> On 5/31/07, Sebastian Heinlein <glatzor at> wrote:
> > I made a new design that allows a much faster workflow:
> >
> >
> >
> > To make the space limitations more visible I made a screen shot of the
> > whole 640x480 desktop.
> >
> > General:
> > * The new dialog only has got two tabs. One for the screens and one
> >   for the graphics cards. This removes the need to switch to several
> >   to only setup a different second screen. Furthermore this gives as
> >   space to put extra options corresponding to the graphics card on
> >   the second tab (videoram, disable 3D or custom option)
> > (* On Xinerama setups we could try to guess the screens and to display
> >    an on screen label)
> > * Using Screen and Graphics (Preferences) as a name for the dialog would
> >   make the gfx card driver settings easier to find
> > * The first tab now uses a singular as label, since the
> >   configuration options on the left side only affect one/the selected
> >   screen
> > * Hiding multiple the screens widgets would still scale down the dialog
> >   well for single screen setups
> >
> > Screen Selector (left side of the first tab):
> > * In the selector the screens are only listed by their output number
> >   and short information (default or disabled). This gives us more
> >   space for the options on the right side.
> > * The monitors of different cards will be separated by a separator
> > * Sexy-Python could be used to put extra information about the screen
> >   on a tooltip
> > * The icon in the selector will be shaded if the screen is currently not
> >   used (disabled)
> > * Disabled rules hint to reduce visual noise
> >
> > Screen Options (right side of the first tab):
> > * The options are separated into three groups that are separated by a
> >   larger white space: device settings, default screen, secondary
> >   screen
> > * Orientation support was dropped, since XRandR tends to break
> >   Xinerama setups and their is no store/restore infrastructure currently
> >   for this option. As a side note: instant apply of resolution changes
> >   is now also disabled on dual screen layouts.
> > * The make default button and the secondary screen controls are disabled
> >   for the default screen
> > * The device/model chooser is now also left aligned
> >
> > What do you think about this?
> It looks cool. Just a few notes:
>  * "Monitor" is a much more common term than "Screen".
>  * The way we display which monitor is very much suboptimal. Rather
> than simply showing the monitors and where they are and then be able
> to move them around, we end up with a situation wherein there is a
> great deal of wasted space (most users have a single monitor, a few
> have 2 and a vanishingly few have 3 or more). However, fitting that
> into 640x480 is a challenge.

You would need a lot of space for the drop target areas around the main
monitor. Furthermore drag and drop is very hard to discover for the
user. So we would have to add normals controls too. Since we need the
normal controls anyway we should use them as a starting point.

Secondly the plan is to hide the dual screen widgets on setups with only
one graphics card output.

Thirdly there are still more interesting questions about the monitor
drag and drop widget that are perhaps harder to solve than writing the
widget itself: How do you want to communicate visually the different
relations that monitors can have? How to represent a clone or extend
mode? Where to put disabled devices? How make the connection between the
selected monitor and the options e.g. resolution?

The location chooser is a feature that attracts me a lot more. By the
way thanks to Fabián Rodríguez!



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