Also recreate user interface?

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denisw
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Also recreate user interface?

Post by denisw »

Hi,

The ReactOS project seems quite interesting and promising to me. However, I have one important question about it which I don't see answered in the FAQ: is the goal to only reach binary compatibility with Windows or to actually also create a Windows clone in terms of the user interface? I like the compatibility aspect, but I personally think that the Windows interface is flawed in some ways and should not be taken over. One example is the labeling of message boxes with labels like "Yes" and "No" instead of more descriptive ones like "Save" and "Don't Save" (though this might be limited by the API - however, additions don't break ABI compatibility); there are plenty of others, like sometimes not optimal control panels.

So, how important is the familiarity aspect in the design of the ReactOS interface design? I would rather like to see a unique, more usable interface for ReactOS, even despite Windows users would have to get familiar with it a bit. This would remove the need to stick to suboptimal UI design decisions from Windows.

Comments are very much appreciated.

Haos
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Post by Haos »

Frankly speaking UI is not our top priority, at least not at the moment. Currently we want it to achieve basic win2k feel, lightweight and without too much eyecandy. In future, any variations to UI will be easy to apply, but i doubt that we`ll adopt any fancy UI theme.

denisw
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Post by denisw »

Haos wrote:Frankly speaking UI is not our top priority, at least not at the moment.
I understand that, the base system is probably more important.
Haos wrote:Currently we want it to achieve basic win2k feel, lightweight and without too much eyecandy. In future, any variations to UI will be easy to apply, but i doubt that we`ll adopt any fancy UI theme.
The theme is not that important. I'm perfectly fine with the current windows 2000 style look. I primarily mean the interfaces themselves in terms of usability, which is not optimal in some of Windows' applications. I just think we shouldn't force ourselves to recreate the base applications, control panels etc just like they are in Windows just to have a familiarity bonus. I believe we can do better, also by learning from other OS's interfaces.

GoBusto
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Post by GoBusto »

Regarding this:
is the goal to only reach binary compatibility with Windows or to actually also create a Windows clone in terms of the user interface?
From http://cia.vc/stats/project/ReactOS:
ReactOS is an Open-Source operating system, which aims to be compatible with the Microsoft Windows NT(R) family of operating systems. This encompasses full binary compatability with applications and drivers, plus adopting the look and feel of Windows to retain familiarity

Haos
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Post by Haos »

I understand your approach, but you have to understand that there is no common or generaly accepted default of Windows GUI, with default one from MS being the closest. This means that the changes you wish to introduce, while being perfectly reasonable in your view, may be unacceptable for other parties.

elhoir
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Post by elhoir »

i like the interface ReactOS has built-in for now...

z180
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Post by z180 »

The Yes/No is in the MessageBoxW() function hardcoded as a parameter
to the function but it is possible for a programmer to use better text
descripions in his programs and making them more understandable.

denisw
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Post by denisw »

z180 wrote:The Yes/No is in the MessageBoxW() function hardcoded as a parameter
to the function but it is possible for a programmer to use better text
descripions in his programs and making them more understandable.
I've already seen message boxes with more descriptive buttons, Windows itself is moving in that direction in Vista. But maybe the boxes are custom windows or only available in some .NET API (WPF?), I don't know.

Anyway, a better description doesn't really do the trick. The point of properly labeled buttons is that the description doesn't have to be read in detail, which is especially useful in often used but maybe sometimes varying messages. For instance, in Windows I often find myself reading the text of save confirmation dialogs although I know they are save confirmations, just because the context of "Yes" and "No" is not always consistent across apps - sometimes the question is "save changes?", in others it is "exit anyway?"(i know the former is increasingly common, but I'm rather save than sorry). Thingslike these slows users down. On the other hand, if the buttons would be labeled "Save" and "Don't Save", what each of them does is clear - you don't even have to read the description in order to make the description. That's why I think this feature is important. Apple and most Linux GUIs (GNOME, KDE) do it this way, and as I said, Microsoft is moving the same direction, probably for the exact same reason.

Maybe an API addition would be feasible? That wouldn't break binary compatibility.

SdC
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Post by SdC »

denisw wrote:Maybe an API addition would be feasible? That wouldn't break binary compatibility.
That would be pointless; applications would have to be developed especially for reactos to use this feature....

Haos
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Post by Haos »

Additional API would need to be used in the applications you run. This means that existing software wouldn`t use it anyway, open source apps would require rebuilding and both - would have to issue separate version for ROS. This would break our first rule - windows compatibility.

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