Palapeli: The new window layout

September 28, 2009

Palapeli has reached about 2000 lines of code. Today, I combined both the puzzle library and the puzzle table into one window. This is how the application looks like now:

The Palapeli window, showing the puzzle library

The Palapeli window, showing the puzzle library

The Palapeli window, showing the puzzle table

The Palapeli window, showing the puzzle table

The new interface layout is based on two fundamental findings:

  1. All actions (except for the standard actions like “Help” and “About…”) do only make sense when one of the two views (puzzle library, puzzle table) is visible. I’ve therefore decided to place the toolbars for those actions inside the tab pages.
  2. With this change, the only remaining interface parts outside the tabs are the tab bar and the menu bar. Those are both concentrated at the left side, wasting much space at the top right corner. To save space, I’ve put the menu bar into the tab bar. After this change, I found that the new order is much more intuitive (at least to me): The tabs are at the place where the user expects menu items, and also feel much the same. The only difference is that they do not open a submenu, but another part of the application.

There are two problems left with this layout: The menu bar is now always at the right end of the window, while I would like it right next to the tabs to emphasize the altered role of the tabs. I’m still investigating on how to solve this issue. The other issue which I also couldn’t solve yet is that good ol’ “Configure toolbars” dialog does not work.

Update: Issue 1 is solved.

Apart from that, the next tasks are library management (i.e. import new puzzles, delete puzzles from the library, and KNewStuff integration).


9 Responses to “Palapeli: The new window layout”

  1. Andrew Lake Says:

    Very nice. I really like the care you’re putting into user interface. It makes for a very elegant looking piece of software.

    much respect!

  2. Caig Says:

    Strange interface…but very nice! I like a lot!

  3. KlavKalashj Says:

    Hi! I followed your instructions carefully, but I can’t get it to build. It fails during cmake .. with the message:

    CMake Error at CMakeLists.txt:12 (add_subdirectory):
    add_subdirectory given source “palapeli” which is not an existing

    How do I solve this? Thanks!

  4. Parker Says:

    That’s an interesting interface. I’m honestly not sure if I like it or not, but I guess the fact that I don’t immediately hate it means it must have some potential. šŸ™‚

    I don’t really love the current tab titles. “My library” seems pretty formal for something as simple as a list of puzzles (which in the real world are typically an disorderly pile at the back of a closet). I would suggest simply “Puzzles”. “Puzzle table” doesn’t thrill me either, but I haven’t really come up with something much better. Maybe “Current Puzzle”?

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I’m very interested in seeing what form Palapeli ends up taking by the time the feature freeze hits. I haven’t had time to do much KDEGames work myself lately and I’m enjoying the chance to do so vicariously through these blog entries.

    • gumb Says:

      For the tabs, “Puzzle collection” and “Puzzle board” perhaps?

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      Concerning the tab titles, you’re right that they aren’t optimal. The first one was “puzzle library” at first, but I changed it to the current form because two captions with “puzzle” are hard to distinguish (IMO).

      When I do usability testing at my LUG next week, I’ll put a question for better tab titles on the questionnaire.

  5. DanaKil Says:

    hi šŸ™‚

    this looks very interesting ! Do you think that with your library, you can do in the future a desktop plugin for plasma ? Something very simple with just a dark background and the puzzle ?

    • Of course it will be possible, though such a project does not have top priority for me.

      In fact, the slicing library would not even be involved. The code for reading puzzle files is completely inside Palapeli, and libpala is only used for creating new puzzles.

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