Panel resizing

Ted Gould ted at
Fri Nov 16 05:42:58 GMT 2007

On Fri, 2007-11-16 at 18:07 +1300, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> On Nov 16, 2007, at 4:29 PM, Ted Gould wrote:
> > As long as the icons on the dock use the themes correctly this 
> > shouldn't be a big deal.
> > ...
> Unfortunately they don't, as you can see by playing with the "Panel 
> Properties" window in Ubuntu 7.10. The most egregious example is the 
> Ubuntu icon itself: despite the presence of 
> /usr/share/icons/Human/scalable/places/distributor-logo.svg, the Ubuntu 
> icon in the "Main Menu" applet doesn't scale beyond 48px, and the 
> Ubuntu icon in the default "Menu Bar" applet doesn't scale at all. (The 
> latter might be constrained by the non-resizing "Applications" text; I 
> think that's an example of basic aesthetic incompatibility between text 
> menus and a manually-resizable panel.)

Yes, I think that them not using them correctly is the issue here.

> Even if the icons did use the themes correctly, that wouldn't work well 
> for panel sizes such as 30px, 31px, and 41px to 47px inclusive, just as 
> it doesn't work well now. With a panel size that was specified in 
> points and scaling itself based on the screen resolution, you might 
> easily end up in those pixel ranges and not know why the panel looked 
> bad.
> > Think of it as we suckered the art team into hinting all the icons
> > already ;)
> That's why I suggest combining a scaling-resilient icon style with a 
> smart resizing algorithm. Each icon would need to be drawn only *once*, 
> and the panel would look much more consistent at different sizes. 
> Artists could spend less time redrawing the same icons at different 
> sizes, and more time increasing theme coverage.

I don't think that we'll ever get to the point of making one icon.  Just
likely it's nearly impossible to make a great font without any hinting.
But, we could get better.

Because all of the icons sizes are SVG, we can scale them within
specific ranges and it's like that they'll look pretty good, most users
wouldn't notice.  The next step would to be starting to do things like
"pixel fitting" rendering of the SVGs.  ClearType for graphics.  I don't
know of anyone doing this today -- it'd be tricky to say the least.

I think it is worth solving the first part of this, handling using the
icons we have first as that will gain significant improvement.  The
pixel fitting would definitely make it better.


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