Questions about a unified API for file choosers (and platform/toolkit integration)

Emmanuele Bassi ebassi at
Tue Mar 28 11:30:02 UTC 2017

On 28 March 2017 at 12:11, Roman Hargrave <roman at> wrote:

> Regardless, concentrating on packaging/runtime systems' support for such a feature is
> tertiary, and detracts from the overall idea and discussion.

If you allow me to be quite blunt: there is really nothing to discuss, here.

You have:

 - no proof of concept code
 - no draft specification
 - no buy-in from toolkit developers
 - no buy-in from application developers
 - no actual definition on who your users that are "annoyed" by
different file selection dialogues are - no actual number on how many
of these users are there in the wild,
 and what's their fraction of the total users of the impacted toolkits

What you *do* have is your own position of being annoyed by the GTK+
file selection dialogue. As much as I can empathise with your feelings
about that particular user experience (it's not the best, but there's
really no "best" that will satisfy everyone, really), there's no way
for you to state that "all users" are inconvenienced by this. A vast
majority of users won't mix and match applications and desktop
environments; and even when they do, the difference between file
selection dialogues is not so pronounced to impede use — after all,
we're talking about file selection, not quantum mechanics. There may
be impedance mismatch between Easter Egg features, like search, or tab
completion; that's unfortunate, but that's also life when your OS does
not have a single toolkit and a single UX.

You can check the archives of this mailing list for similar past
discussions — none of which resulted in a single line of code or
documentation, because the problem space is more complicated than a
simple "I want all my file selection dialogues to look the same", and
if you cannot grasp the problem space then finding a workable solution
is going to be even less likely to happen.


[@] ebassi []

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