Clinging to Windows Classic

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Aape
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:29 am

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by Aape »

"Power Users" prefer the Win2K GUI because they are so used to it that anything else feels weird, no matter how much better it is.

And the UI is extremely important in computing. Plop a non-techie in front of a Linux box dropped to a shell and see how far they get. Computers, including the Operating Systems and programs that run on them, are ultimately tools. If you don't know how to use a tool, then that tool is ultimately worthless to you. Non-techies don't care about how their computer works, they just want to use it as a tool to get things done. Unless it's completely necessary (like say, for their career) or completely obvious, they just won't bother.

andrewweb
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Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by andrewweb »

kevinski wrote:So, I'm a troll now? Forgive me for bringing up a very valid point. It was just a thought, and - as someone else has already mentioned - ReactOS is shooting for a goal that it can never reach with its current aim. I complete understand that some people have "real life" to contend with, but I hate the "If you want it, then program it yourself." attitude.

NEWS FLASH: Most programmers know very little about good interface design. Companies such as Microsoft know what they're doing in this regard, and - despite what a lot of people want to admit - many of the changes made in Vista make sense. I'm not saying that ReactOS needs to look like Vista, but its usability needs to mimic that of Vista, and going with Windows Classic from the Win2K era isn't gonna cut it. I'm more of a designer than I am a programmer, so forgive me for attempting to make a recommendation.

Don't you think that there are going to be problems when ReactOS deviates from the accepted UI in newer versions of Windows? Doesn't that directly conflict with its ultimate goal? This is why ReactOS needs to have its own identity, rather than being that OS that looks almost just like Win2K. It's as though any idea that makes a shred of sense with regard to improving the usability of ReactOS gets shot down, and it's pretty sad. Really, you'd might as well make a clone of Windows 3.1 at this point. It'd be every bit as relevant at this point.
SHUT UP. PLEASE. I know, we know, the whole dev team and community knows that good interface design aint want MS is famous for. BUt.... the reason why reactos looks like old windows is that EVERYONE KNOWS IT. PUT SIMPLY.
Also... there are plentiful good reasons why reactos uses windows classic look:
- It is very easy to do, few resources needed to run, and industry standard
- XP's themes are windows classic but with bitmaps instead of simple shapes
- Moving straight onto the newest interface wont help... especially as its a great inconvenience for programmers to have to rework everything
- Vistas extra stuff can be added
- ReactOS is nowhere near a stage where it can look this good- it's buggy graphics driver means nice bitmaps are hard to get right
so there. please stop bothering us
eventually reactos will use something like luna on xp or vista aero (perhaps a cross?)... and this is a maybe. OK?

kevinski
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:23 pm

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by kevinski »

Thanks for being professional about it, andrewweb. If you'd read anything that I said, then you'd realize that I said that revamping the UI had nothing to do with using bitmaps, Einstein. This discussion was more so intended to focus on improving ReactOS' UI beyond what Windows offers. Sure, I said that it wouldn't be a bad idea to spruce things up a bit as far as appearance goes, but that doesn't mean that you can't simply improvise with what's already there and rework it to look better. As long as you stick to the vector-based UI, then I don't see how ReactOS would take a serious performance hit.
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Woegjiub
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Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by Woegjiub »

Now, excuse me if I'm just being stupid here, but I much prefer the windows classic look to the aero and luna rubbish that they have now...
My XP box runs windows classic, and that's the way I like it.
When one considers how much faster the default is, as opposed to adding new support for theming, etc.... It just seems like it is counter-productive.
Personally, a faster, simpler UI is much better than a pretty, heavy one.
All these points are moot, however, until a few years down the track, but I'm sure that by then some of you with UI complaints will have learnt enough coding to be able to implement a ReactOS equivalent of the patched uxtheme.dll and a theme manager which will be better than MS's.

Aape
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:29 am

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by Aape »

Not entirely true. While things like Wobbly Windows don't add much to usability (frankly it just gives me a headache), "eye candy" can be very useful.

Take the dimming and the making translucent of inactive windows, for example. I'm a bit too lazy to provide a good screenshot at the moment, but picture this. Ever been working with a lot of windows on the screen, where several inactive windows are covering each other? A lot of the time, you just want to see what you have in one of the concealed windows back there, right? By making inactive windows slightly translucent, you can see through them, meaning you can see behind one window to see what's going on in another one. I for one personally love this with my terminal windows...

Also, by darkening everything but the active window, you make it much easier to concentrate on your work. This is useful for ordinary people, and a godsend to those who have trouble paying attention (like me! :x). However, also note that if poorly executed, both of these can backfire. Compiz's "ADD Helper" plugin does the window darkening part, but poorly. When you switch to another window, it takes a few seconds for the new window to lighten back up and for the others to fade, and my desktop stops working until this nifty little animation is over. Xfce's built-in compositor does this a bit better, except there's no easy way to turn it off for specific windows, or for the whole desktop when I need to. At least Compiz lets you quickly disable/enable with Super+P... Say for example I'm watching a video and I'm talking to someone on IM/in an IRC chatroom at the same time. When the IM or IRC window is active, the video becomes hard to see.

As for other specific examples, I could probably go on all day, but I'll spare you...

Moreover, visual effects in some cases can actually IMPROVE performance. Depending on your hardware, Aero can feel much snappier than the "Classic" scheme, considering that with Aero enabled many more desktop tasks are done on the video card instead. Before anyone says anything, yes, I'm perfectly aware that it's possible to design a stripped down, Win2K-like desktop that utilizes the video card without having flashy bling. Also, for fullscreen apps like gaming, the desktop rendering can be easily turned off automatically (Vista already does a good job of this).

And finally, desktop effects and bling can have a calming effect. While this can also backfire (Compiz's fire plugin, Wobbly Windows, and those dozens of customized desktop screenshots you see online that are only fit for screenshots...), having smooth animations, curves, and colors has been shown to have a calming effect and reduce stress, whereas gray boxes everywhere do not... If the above doesn't apply to you, you're fully capable of turning all of that stuff off if you want.

Yes, some desktop effects are a waste of time, programming talent, and hardware resources (Compiz's water plugin), but others do serve a practical purpose. Please hop off the bandwagon of "BUT ALL THAT GLASS JUST STEALZ MAH MEGAHURTZ!!!"

kevinski
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:23 pm

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by kevinski »

I've never liked wobbly windows, personally. It just looks like crap, and - as you put it - it's just useless. While I understand the practical reasons for allowing transparent windows, I don't particularly like them. I just think that transparency is used incorrectly by most people. Rather than using it for seeing what's underneath another window, for instance, most people seem to think that it looks cool if you reduce the content on MySpace or YouTube pages to 15% transparency with a busy background image to transform what was already difficult to read into something that's impossible to read.

I do like some sort of transition whenever content is appearing or moving. I love the fade effect for menus, for instance. I'm really not a huge fan of the ridiculous transitions that KDE employs, though. We don't need to have really gaudy effects for every single event, but - as Aape pointed out - transitions can have their uses. They certainly do seem to make things seem a bit faster at times, and they can even make things more intuitive. For instance, the genie effect in Mac OS X lets you know exactly where your app is going on the dock. I can't say that I like Mac OS X, but its eye candy does have its uses.
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Aape
Posts: 95
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Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by Aape »

One way to solve that would make it so that, with inactive windows, only the part that covers other application windows have their opacities lowered.

And Windows 7 gave me another idea with its "Aero Peek". How about you can hold down a key/mouse button (for those with 5-button mice), and when you hold it down, the window it's over becomes glass so you can "Peek" through it?

The "Genie" animation on the dock is really also needed because the dock has problems of its own... And even afterwards, it's too easy to forget where it was. This is because the dock icons suffer from "sameface syndrome". If you have 5 Documents open, the icon for all of them is the same, and you have to go down to the dock to check each label to find the one you want.

As far as I see it, there are 2 ways to solve this problem in respect to the dock:

1. "Dynamic Icons." Each task has several icons (Maybe 7 or so), which are used with different instances of the same window. This can be a variety of things, ranging from different colors to completely different icons. This has its own problems though. For one, this puts more strain on developers, who of course can always ignore it altogether and only provide one icon, but this makes the feature pointless. As well, the user still has to remember which icons are which.

2. The better one, "Relevance Thumbnails." Apple tried this before, and it failed because it made things way too small to see. How about, instead, we only show part of the window, rather than the whole thing? Then, when we mouseover and start the parabolic zoom, it'll show more of the image?

billyswong
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:20 pm
Location: Hong Kong, China

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by billyswong »

Following this thread, I found this issue is less about UI look but more about UI structure/behaviour. While Windows Classic look of Win2k era is nicer to most developers here, Windows is changing. When ReactOS finally goes stable years after, the majority of user base will be a mix of XP / Vista / 7 or higher, where most of them using Win7 or higher. Start menu has changed. ("start > run > type the command" has become "start > just type the command") Task bar is changing too. (notification area + quick launch will be replaced by jump lists)

Will ReactOS follow suit? If yes, ReactOS UI could no longer be pure Windows Classic; if no, ReactOS 1.0 may risk being incompatible to Windows 7 or 8 or whatever.

SdC
Posts: 190
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Location: GMT +1

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by SdC »

billyswong wrote:..Start menu has changed. ("start > run > type the command" has become "start > just type the command") ....
FAIL: the bar in the start menu is Search Bar (=new feature, which might be implemented in ROS eventually; indexing service required). The Run option is still there, but hidden by default.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/137085/r ... _menu.html

Bond007s
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:09 am

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by Bond007s »

I find that the Search command doubles as the run command if used effectively. It even adds more functionality in my mind. I like not running the run prompt. Notice it is off by default. You can add it back on the start menu, but what is the point. The Search will search and double as the run prompt. You can even press Control + Shift + Enter to run as Admin without right clicking and running as admin.

I am a tech at a local school district. I am the district trainer in technology, web specialist, and server admin. Trust me, I never have used the Run command but once since using Vista about 2 years ago. That was just the first time I used Vista (I think in the beta before 2 years ago, while playing and comparing). I find the run prompt clunky and to my knowledge MS could just remove it.

Aape
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:29 am

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by Aape »

That said, not many people outside of power users/admins ever have to use run, so having it immediately there as soon as you press the start button is a bit of a waste in my mind, but at least it searches too which isn't terrible at all.

Though you know what I'd love to see in that little search bar? How about it gives you search results from the web as well as from your desktop? I'm pretty sure it's possible to do this with third-party software, but as far as I know there's no way to do this "Out of the Box".

Also, it'd be surely nice to see that little bar do a bit more, the first example I can think of being the ability to do simple calculations from it. I know it's stealing from OS X, it's a damn good idea. I despise having to set up to run Calculator from a shortcut :/

And something else? How about we let a configuration option to open the start menu on mouseover, rather than only on mouse click? That's something that's always bothered me.

billyswong
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:20 pm
Location: Hong Kong, China

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by billyswong »

Calculator on start search box is good, but web search is not that good IMO. But the dock-like taskbar in Win7 is a bigger concern. There will be no classic taskbar in Win7 anymore. After 5-6 years, What ROS1.0 will face is a large group of users who has grown accustomed to that new taskbar. Today's taskbar will look as ancient as program manager of Win3.1 to the younger generations. Now it's more than a matter of themes. The new design of taskbar is not just new features that can be plugged in; it is a remake, a redesign. We can only choose: to follow, or not to follow.

Of course, if everyone hate the new taskbar enough to force Microsoft to give up, then my point is moot. (Not that easy though: see, ribbon is penetrating into... what? mspaint?!)

SdC
Posts: 190
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Location: GMT +1

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by SdC »

You haven't understood or read my post:
I was making the point that beneath the "slick" UI features of NT6+ are still the same "Classic" features. So even if new Microsoft UI bloat is not implemented in ROS, there will not be compatibility issues.

billyswong
Posts: 55
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Location: Hong Kong, China

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by billyswong »

SdC wrote:You haven't understood or read my post
Should I reply the same to you? I am not speaking of start search box in Vista, my "incompatibility issue" is about the new taskbar in the oncoming NT 6.1.

That's not a feature you can just add. Just like you can't add a Win95 taskbar into Win3.1 and still looks like Win3.1, a taskbar cannot work like Win95 and NT6.1 at the same time.

In this thread I am not talking Windows Classic as in "the classic theme", but as in "the Win95-2k era UI structure". An application which utilizes systray cannot function in Win3.1 fully. Similiarly, an application which assumes existence of thumbnail + jump list + one and only one persistent icon per applications in NT 6.1 needs them for proper MDI. But if ReactOS really do the new taskbar by default, it no longer looks classic.

SdC
Posts: 190
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Location: GMT +1

Re: Clinging to Windows Classic

Post by SdC »

The "Classic" look only applies to Windows APPEARANCE not the actual Explorer shell FEATURES. You are mixing them up. If I switch to Classic in Vista, I still get the task-bar groupings and the Vista layout start menu.

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