Sunday, September 12, 2010

Netbooks, small screens, and portable devices. I hate you

Yay! I have found some time to start working on Journal again!

As someone who works exclusively on a workstation with three monitors it is very to hard to take account for the smaller screen size of a netbook. As such I have received a few complaints about the size of Journal's toolbar. While I find the toolbar to be more functional, intuitive, and extensible than the way we handled view switching in previous releases, I cannot overlook these complaints.

After a few hours of trying I have failed to find a way to retain the positives of a toolbar while reducing the space on all distributions. In future Ubuntu releases I suspect I could leverage their AppMenu panel plugin, but that only works for buttons not other widgets like GtkEntry or GtkCombo. Hopefully, in the end, I can find a way to make everyone happy.

A lot has changed in the few months I have been gone, mostly for the good. A couple of major bugs have appeared but I believe I can have a fix for them ready soon enough. The most crippling one causes misreported event counts, and older events to not display. A definite buzz-kill, but something that I will have more time to investigate as my workload decreases over the next few months.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Clickable tags and hamster support

I am a big fan of tracker tags and I wanted to do something neat with them. You can now click on another subjects tag to display which other events share those tags.

Another area of interest for me is hamster support. Support for time tracker is in trunk, and it is a amazing way to see how focused you are on your current task.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An introduction to the new Activity Journal

Recently there have been major changes inside the activity journal. On the technical side the whole application's core has been rewritten to increase speed and reduce the amount of information requested over DBus. Significant work on integration with other projects like Tracker has been a major goal of this release as well. Right now we support event searching enhanced by tracker, and tracker tagging.

The user interface has been modified, by adding a toolbar, to solve some accessibility issues in previous versions. There has also been a large amount of work on making the More Information pane visually appealing while still displaying a good amount of content to the user. The only other UI change was to the 'Pins' which were moved out of the Today pane and into an optional side pane. This apparently made some people happy, other mad, and still more confused to what a pin actually is. I am in the last group but I am trying to weigh both positions to determine what a pin is and where these 'pins' should be placed.

Anyway here is a video. I will try and get some webspace for a ogg version when I have a chance.

Hopefully my GNOME git access is approved or the repository request is granted so I can start moving the Activity Journal to GNOME infrastructure. Until then we are still at launchpad, which is a pretty nice place to be.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tracker tag support in Journal

I have spent some time adding tracker search and tag support to the activity journal. Right now it exist only in a tag cloud on the right side pane but eventually I would like to do more. I am always looking for suggestions if anyone has them.

Monday, May 3, 2010

GNOME Activity Journal 0.3.5 Progress

0.3.5 brings huge changes in way of a revamped user interface and a new back end which will significantly improve performance. The new-core branch will be merged into trunk in a few days.

I am also looking for someone to make icons to replace the view switcher icons in the upper left on the toolbar.

Friday, April 16, 2010

GNOME Activity Journal 0.3.4 Preview

Here is a little taste of what the next version of Journal will look like.

Activity Journal trunk is now able to display events without a backing file now like Tomboy notes, Empathy conversations, Firefox page visits, and Bazaar commits. Depending on which data data providers you have installed more information will be displayed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nautilus Zeigeist and Zeigeist GVFS

I modified zeitgeist-filesystem's(fuse) code to display commonly used items, and patched nautilus to add the side bar items. It is just a quick and dirty proof of concept that was made easy due to Markus's work on zeitgeist-filesystem. My approach however was not the best.

The correct approach is to write two GVFS backends, similar to gvfsbackendburn(burn://) and gvfsbackendcomputer(computer://). One for commonly used items and another for recent history. For simplicities sake the history backend should not allow navigation like the current zeitgeist-filesystem does, as it will only query and create the directory when the user tries to access it. These backends should help in writing a zeitgeist version of GtkRecentChooserDialog as it could just display the content of a directory.

The backends should be accessible using uris similar to:
  • commonlyaccessed://{mime/type or interpretation }
  • history://{today, yesterday, MM_DD_YYY}
I am not completely familiar with the limitations surrounding gvfs, but I don't think any of these ideas are unreasonable. Let me know where I got it wrong, and if there is a better way to approach the situation. Perhaps something good will come out of this, perhaps not.

* Today Functionality: