Thoughts for development from a lurker

Doug Way dway at
Thu Oct 8 22:19:40 UTC 1998

> At 4:29 PM -0400 10/7/98, Ken G. Brown wrote:
> >One thing that might be holding back acceptance of Squeak is the
> >look and feel of the user interface. That along with perhaps the
> >whimsical name 'Squeak'...maybe something like PowerRamboPRO-
> >8thGeneration would do better for the masses, who knows?
On Wed, 7 Oct 1998, Bijan Parsia wrote:
> Frankly, I don't agree with your premise (i.e., that acceptance of
> is being "held back")--after all, Squeak is (right now) a *research
> project*. Of course, it's one in which many of us are doing useful work.
> And a lot of people are experimenting with it.

I still partially agree with Ken's premise... Squeak is still mostly a
research project, but there are a fair number of people who'd like to use
it for various purposes but are scared off by the unfamiliar UI.  Someone
mentioned Kaleidoscope and user-customizable interfaces as a possible
future direction.  For starters, some sort of basic user-customization
options might be nice just for a few items such as the scrollbars.  (maybe
allow switching between flop-out scrollbars and fixed Morphic
Basically, I think it would be good to make Squeak as accessible as
possible to the non-research developer community, and a few
user-customization options to the UI would help a lot in that regard
without compromizing Squeak in any significant way. 
(Myself, I've gotten used to the Squeak UI, and it's generally interesting
to use something different from mainstream UI's and think about what makes
it more or less usable.  I love some things about it, such as being able
to resize the panes in the browsers. (although it would be great if some
panes could be specified as "fixed" such as the instance/class buttons)  I
still generally admire the Mac-based scrollbar as a model of simplicity
rather than the Squeak flop-out, though... (Windows scrollbars are roughly
the same as the Mac's).  Squeak's having different movement modes
depending on which thin vertical strip of the scrollbar you're in is the
biggest problem for me, whereas concrete arrow buttons are more clear, no
contest.  Flop-out versus fixed is more of a "what you're used to" kind of
thing... you could make the argument that flop-outs are improper because
nothing else in the UI suddenly appears/dissappears as your mouse roams
around.  Flop-outs do save on screen real estate, though... but fixed
scrollbars also give you a visual cue as to which panes have scrollable
information at a glance (okay, a very minor advantage).  The left-side
versus right-side issue is less important than the previous two issues
IMO, but I would concede that the left side is probably better because the
cursor starts on the left side, more text tends to be on the left side,
Okay, enough scrollbar analysis for one day. 
Also, I just noticed in the Getting Started window in 2.2, that there are
special single-click bits of text which instantly execute a bit of code,
or link to a web page.  Very cool! 
- Doug Way
  dway at
  dway at

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