Actions: grouping vs. extensibility

Aaron J. Seigo aseigo at
Mon Jul 16 14:46:58 PDT 2007

On Monday 16 July 2007, Rodney Dawes wrote:
> On Mon, 2007-07-16 at 12:23 +0200, Jakob Petsovits wrote:
> > contact, document and window (for the "new" action), but if we want to
> > put something else into kdelibs (bookmark-new, project-new, tab-new)
> > we'll break the spec. Which is bad.
> How does foo-new break the spec exactly? The specific action is the more
> specific part here.

i believe what Jakob is trying to say is that "new" is the generic action. one 
creates a "new document" or a "new song" or a "new dream" or a "new page", 
and they all have the concept of "newness" in common. the variant is what is 

one could inversely argue that "new" only makes sense in relation to what is 
being made new, but i think that's a bit of an odd argument particularly 
since that is covered perfectly well with new-foo.

so it isn't that it "breaks the spec" in terms of some internal discrepency, 
but that it seems to break the patterns followed in the spec with the 
unfortunate results that Jakob later notes in his email.

> > Therefore, I demand that the spec is changed as follows:
> Demand is such a rude word. Suggestions, constructive criticism, etc...
> are welcome, but demands are not.

"request" would've been a better word, yes. i hope we don't focus on that poor 
choice of words here, though. particularly since we all live in glass houses 
these days.

> > * Add a "new" icon
> >   "The icon for the create action."
> >
> > * Add a "close" icon
> >   "The icon for the close action."
> What will the metaphor be? How will these icons relate to all formats?

probably an "x" for close and page-with-star for new or something along those 
lines. essentially what we've been using for how many years now for something 
meaning 'close' and 'new'. it doesn't need to relate to all formats 
perfectly, since that's what the more specific icons are for, no?

> > * Remove the "document-" prefix
> >   from the open, open-recent, save and save-as actions
> You're misinterpreting the term document here, to mean "files formatted
> for print that primarily contain text," which is incorrect. All of the
> files a user can view/edit/play/etc... are documents.

i think jakob answered this in his original email.

> > * Add an "edit" icon
> >   "The icon for the edit action."
> What exactly would this be? Why do we need it? All of the icons under
> edit-* are for things that normally appear in the "Edit" menu of an app.

i think jakob answered this in his original email.

> > * Rename "system-run" to "run"
> I don't see any specific benefit for this. For the icons you mentioned

this one is debatable, i agree.

> > Could you help us to achieve both?
> The spec was never meant to be an absolute conglomerate of all icons for
> all occasions in all desktops at all times. It is meant to be the base
> minimum set of icons a desktop should require to maintain visual appeal.

if you read Jakob's email carefully, you'll see that it makes it easier to 
provide such a minimum set by defining "new", "edit", etc... as base icons so 
that one doesn't get the dreaded ? icon in the case that there isn't a 
foo-new icon that is requested, but rather can get the generic new icon 
instead when calling new-foo.

the downside to this is that it is rather late in the spec's history to do 
this and would require a number of changes to icon references. a bit of a 
pain for apps that are using the current spec and a raises a tough question 
about how to manage compatibility between old and new icon themes.

personally, i think Jakob is quite right here, but i think it comes down to 
how widespread the current icon spec is in production use and how much pain 
it's going to bring to fix the spec. if it is too much for 1.0, this could 
perhaps be put on the bench for v2 of the spec. it would be nice to get this 
right sooner rather than later, though.

> But that doesn't mean that we can change the spec so heavily, for one
> desktop or the other.

just keep in mind that the more a spec fails to meet the real needs of all 
potential users of it, the less useful the spec becomes.

Aaron J. Seigo
humru othro a kohnu se
GPG Fingerprint: 8B8B 2209 0C6F 7C47 B1EA  EE75 D6B7 2EB1 A7F1 DB43

Full time KDE developer sponsored by Trolltech (
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : 

More information about the xdg mailing list