More about "intents": Several improvements to desktop files and caches

Ryan Lortie desrt at
Sun Jan 5 20:48:12 PST 2014


On Sun, Jan 5, 2014, at 23:11, Jerome Leclanche wrote:
> though. My original wish was for an app dev to be able to just say
> "this app is a TwitterClient".

What does this mean?  What makes an app a twitter client?  What about
emacs with twitter support?  Does it implement some particular

Probably the best answer here is "this is something that a human user
would think is a program that they could use to post to twitter".  It's
not about a particular concrete interface, but rather a "fuzzy"
definition that's mostly beneficial in terms of human understanding.

This sort of thing is useful precisely because it is explicitly
enumerated: people implementing menu systems can know what categories
apps will use.  If we explicitly defined a "twitter client" category
then that might be nice.  This is only particularly useful if widely
respected (which is why the list of valid categories is specified).

Intents based on solid interfaces are beneficial for another reason: all
you need is a provider and a consumer who agree on the interface.  It's
not something that is interesting to humans in the "fuzzy" sense I
discuss above and therefore totally useless to support except when both
sides agree on the protocol already.

The idea of X-Foo categories starts walking you into an area where the
benefits are not clear: you have a poorly-defined fuzzy idea of
something that is useful to humans but also not widely understood in
terms of categorisation by different desktop environments in terms of
how they present that information to the human.

That said -- other than the lingering feeling that maybe we should
deprecate the menu spec -- there is no reason that I would oppose adding
an explicit nod for use of X-Foo type categories if people really want
to use them for some specific-to-desktop purpose with the understanding
that it will not work well on other systems.  If anyone else has
something to say about that, they can speak up now, but otherwise I'd be
open to accepting a patch for that.

This is definitely something separate from the concrete
designed-for-machine-consumption Implements=, however.


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