Fwd: Re: tigert's mockups and HTML

Christian Hammond chipx86 at gnupdate.org
Thu Sep 23 19:12:46 EEST 2004

On Thu, Sep 23, 2004 at 05:00:40PM +0300, Tuomas Kuosmanen wrote:
> On Thu, 2004-09-23 at 02:30 -0500, Shaun McCance wrote:
> > Besides that, the last thing we need is some yahoo developers (you know,
> > the kind that skin their apps) breaking the whole accessibility stack by
> > setting all sorts of weird colors and crap, "because it looks good".
> > 
> > You want *good* design?  Let's face it.  A lot of developers couldn't
> > design their way out of a paper bag.  We don't make developers reinvent
> > the look of buttons and menu items.  Because they'll usually do a crappy
> > job of it.  They create a button with the appropriate function in the
> > toolkit they're using.  And then it looks like every other button in
> > every other application.  And it works.
> > 
> > Good design comes from developers (authors, content creators, etc.)
> > specifying the structure of things (which they're really quite good at),
> > and real designers (like you) saying how that structure should look.
> Yeah. What I am suggesting now is something that enables people like me
> to design stuff. A "toolkit". Not a styleguide. This spec is about the
> technical building blocks for notifications. I just want to make sure
> the building blocks are powerful enough.
> What we eventually want is stylesheets and a styleguide as of what CSS
> classes etc to use to make the notifications look good. That is what the
> developers would use.
> Just like how Gnome HIG shows how to make a good looking UI with GTK. 
> You can do horrible stuff with GTK as well. But when there is the HIG,
> it is easy for developers to use a consistent style so all Gnome apps
> look consistent.
> > HTML isn't even a very good document markup language, and it certainly
> > isn't easy to implement well.  HTMl wasn't very good at marking up web
> > pages, and it was even worse at marking up email.  I really doubt it
> > would somehow manage to prove itself in simple notification messages.
> HTML still is used widely and more or less works. It might not be
> academically beautiful, but it gets the job done. You suggest we create
> yet another markup system? 
> One of the good things with HTML is that it is familiar for us designer
> guys, so we can do our part of making the notifications look good. It
> sounds silly to come up with yet another markup language to learn just
> for this. And to me it sounds good that we could have CSS to separate
> the actual content of the message from the representation.
> I mean, if the look of the notification would come from a stylesheet and
> the whole thing would be rendered by Gecko or such, we could just create
> alternative stylesheet for accessibility needs - like high contrast and
> large font etc (and just for different "normal" themes too) - this
> sounds like a good thing to me.

There are valid points on both sides. I like Rodrigo's idea of having
html as an extension property. Say, stuffing it in a hint. We don't
want to require HTML, because that'd be pointless for a lot of
desktops, but if the implmentation wants to support HTML, by all

When I write things like this, I like to think about all the extreme
situations it can be used in. I have a couple Zaurus PDAs, and I very
much want to get D-BUS working on that, and Galago, and a notification
implementation. That's a pretty light-weight device, and I wouldn't
want an HTML renderer on it. I wouldn't even want to have to parse
each message to remove the HTML, and *hope* that it still displays in
some sane form. That's a major issue. Console usage is another.

So, what do people think of keeping the body simple with maybe basic
markup (which can be easily filtered out, at least easier than CSS +
tables + everything else) and adding an html-body hint?

Christian Hammond         <>  The Galago Project
chipx86 at gnupdate.org      <>  http://galago.sourceforge.net/
   If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done!
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