Fwd: Re: tigert's mockups and HTML

Christian Hammond chipx86 at gnupdate.org
Sat Sep 25 00:21:12 EEST 2004

On Fri, Sep 24, 2004 at 05:08:05PM -0400, Franco Catrin wrote:
> El mar, 21-09-2004 a las 12:14, Christian Hammond escribi??:
> > I thought I'd forward this along for some discussion.
> > 
> > One more e-mail coming.
> Nice discussion
> I almost agree with all the drawbacks that having HTML in notifications
> have.  And I'd add that it promotes abuse/misuse.  I imagine a lot of
> applications showing notification in different ways/styles
> A solution for this should be an HIG entry for notifications, but I
> don't see the point of enforcing a particular HTML formatting in
> notification's client applications
> A different approach is to send notifications as a formal XML, it may
> include all the current parameters, simplifying the protocol. (that's
> another topic)

Really, that's no different than just using D-BUS, except if we use
D-BUS, we don't have to invent our own transport mechanism or
anything. The XML doesn't really gain us anything, since we can
structure our parameters and such in D-BUS messages anyway.

> This XML will be rendered by the notification applet as good as it can.
> A simple notification applet will render this XML as a simple markup
> language, like the one used right now.
> A more complex notification applet will render this as XHTML as tigert
> wish.

This still requires that every implementation have a full-blown parser
to weed out things and support others.

> For this rendering to take place, the applet could use simple parsing,
> or use a XSL file to make the conversion.
> Then, the HIG and/or the notification spec should say what tags should
> be included in the notification.  Theme authors should provide the XSL
> for their theme, solving the problem of consistency between the
> notification presentation and the desktop theme.

If we theme notifications, we start to break the cross-desktop
functionality we want. A particular desktop environment would no
longer be able to say exactly how they want the notification to look,
unless they overrode the theme, but that's assuming we want the
notification to look like something that can be produced using XHTML +

It's also more heavy-weight than we need. Remember, these are passive
popup notifications. There are other things that can be used for more
complex information.

> Simple example:
> Application client sends:
> <?xml blah bla.. ?>
> <notification>
> 	<title>Low Battery</title>
> 	<text>Your battery is too low, go and plug your machine</text>
> 	<icon>battery</icon>
> 	<sound>alert</sound>
> </notification>
> A simple notification applet (or configuration) will render:
> <span size="large" weight="bold">Low Battery</span>Your battery is too
> low, go and plug your machine

Grabbing the D-BUS message and pulling the correct parameters out and
building the string would be just as easy. Maybe even faster?

> Benefits:
> - Clients are simple

We have this already. More so than what would be needed if we had to
invent a new transport layer and require XML in a certain format.

> - Notifications are themeables

I'm not convinced this is a good thing. In fact, it really isn't,
largely for the reasons I stated above.

> - Low end machines still work fine, while high end machines render
> powerful notifications, like the one drawn by tigert

People will start making notifications that only look right in those
high-end machines. This is not good. It defeats the entire purpose of
what I'm trying to do here.

> - Notifications are extensibles, this should make implementations more
> easy to update to newer needs

They already are, and we can always add to the spec later.

What we're ultimately deciding is how the content should be. I will be
announcing an updated spec this weekend. The main highlights will be
that the body is to have simple markup only, with a few select tags,
and that there will be an *optional* html-body hint, for those who
wish to do bigger things. I will also explain more about actions,
because it seems that people forgot about them entirely and want to
just embed links everywhere in their notifications, which is a no-no.

There will be other things too. I just can't think of them off-hand.

Christian Hammond         <>  The Galago Project
chipx86 at gnupdate.org      <>  http://galago.sourceforge.net/
   If God had meant for us to be naked, we would have been born that way.
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