Quick (or not so) thoughts

July 18, 2007

Pyro is the right technology

If you haven’t seen it, Pyro Desktop is a cool project. Alex is spot on about developers and HTML/JavaScript in particular. It’s not that are current desktop APIs are necessarily bad – but they are different. Someone who wants to code something cool that may be coming from a OS X or Windows background will have to drop down for a week while they learn the APIs.

A window manager, or…?

Now, what confused me honestly is that Pyro seems mainly to be focused on being a compositing window manager. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I don’t find the desktop bling that interesting – from any source, Compiz/Pyro/whatever. Sure, it looks pretty, but at the end of the day it feels like there are just a few things (fade-in menus) that are definite improvements, and everything else is just “because we can”. Maybe it’s also because I’m an all-windows-maximized+alt-tab person. I also don’t use workspaces.

The apps

What I thought was missing from the Pyro demo was the apps. To someone who’s not a developer, it looks like a desktop theme. The Flickr feed I see on the website is more interesting to me. Certainly, if I was going to start a project like the Big Board part of the Online Desktop now, it would make a lot of sense to write it using Firefox/Pyro. I had to spend at least a solid week of work on the HTTP library in BigBoard alone. One thought is it may be interesting to embed Firefox iframes inside Big Board.

-JavaScript

If you’re like me, you acknowledge JavaScript’s ubiquity, but you still hate its crazy prototype “object system”. Enter Google Web Toolkit. I can definitely imagine the future of application development being HTML+CSS+Java (or another sane language).

Online Desktop

Havoc had a good summary. One thing I think that should have been stressed more strongly is that in a lot of cases, being online is just a matter of changing workflow or defaults for existing regular GNOME apps, not just dropping them. For example, changing F-Spot to make it easier to get your photos online – getting your account info (or pointing you to some samples if you don’t have one), but still having a good local photo tool for picking which photos to upload, fixing redeye, etc. I think there was actually a talk about this which I missed.

Hotwire

Gave a lightning talk on Hotwire and talked to a few people about it. Seemed like people were interested, but it’s really hard to get people to switch. But I think it’s been successful in letting me prototype out some shell ideas. I have been having some different UI ideas lately though, and am also pretty frustrated right now with the Python runtime (not the language) – the GIL is a serious brick wall for improving Hotwire.
Update – Just discovered POSH when googling for the GIL link – this may be exactly what I need.

Photos

Haven’t seen many people blog their GUADEC photos (I’m sure it’ll happen en masse after the conference), but I tossed my current photo set online.


Beach


Victoria square


Hackers in Etap

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