mime-type icons, a proposal

Alexander Larsson alexl at redhat.com
Mon Sep 27 14:40:03 EEST 2004

On Sat, 2004-09-25 at 16:02 +0100, Thomas Leonard wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 24, 2004 at 12:22:43PM +0200, Alexander Larsson wrote:
> > * We should strive to avoid adding new "false" mimetypes. I know we
> >   often add non-standard mimetypes to the database, but at least
> >   these are real types of real files. We shouldn't add mimetypes to
> >   the database, or in any way create them, if they aren't a possible
> >   type of an actual real world file or stream.
> Why? I agree we might want to keep them distinct from 'real' MIME-types
> (eg, by using new media types), but apart from that, do they cause any
> problems?

However much we try to keep them distinct, they'll eventually creep out
into actual use and will increase confusion wrt mimetypes. If we can
avoid creating them, that strikes me as a very good reason to not add

> [...]
> > I propose we make up a list of common generic type of the form
> > "mime-category-presentation", and "mime-category-spreadsheet". Then we
> > add a new entry to the mime database where each mimetype can specify
> > the generic mimetype icon to use. If none is specified we fall back to
> > the old way. update-mime-database will extract this and put in the
> > same file as the app-specific icon is stored in. (In the case of the
> > old-style fallback we don't even put this in the file, to save memory.)
> The problem with doing catagories this way is that it doesn't allow
> grouping. Eg, GNOME doesn't just show a two-level tree of types, but
> groups them. In gnome-control-center -> Advanced -> File types and
> programs, you get a box that looks like this:
> - Documents
>   - Diagrams
>     - Dia diagram
>   - Numeric
>     - StarOffice formula
>     - MathML document
> etc

Don't tell me about that monstrosity of a ui. Hopefully its gone now in
Gnome 2.8.

> And if you want to allow this, you need translations and inheritance of
> catagories, in addition to icons. Even though 'Catagory/Documents.Numeric'
> isn't a 'real' MIME type, it behaves just like one. It has a translated
> description, a parent class, an icon, and maybe some aliases.

I'm not sure we need the full things like translations and inheritance.
Maybe we should just call it "generic-icon-name" instead of "category"
to avoid confusing it with something more complicated that we don't

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl at redhat.com    alla at lysator.liu.se 
He's a deeply religious dishevelled librarian who hangs with the wrong crowd. 
She's a cold-hearted tomboy bounty hunter who don't take no shit from nobody. 
They fight crime! 

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