[bt-devel] Development after 2.0 final

Eeli Kaikkonen eekaikko at mail.student.oulu.fi
Sun May 24 02:33:00 MST 2009

Gary Holmlund wrote:

> It seems like we should have a goal of getting BT into the standard 
> repo's for some of the major releases of linux. Jaunty currently does 
> not have Sword 1.6. Perhaps that is happening soon but I don't know 
> their plans. Its seems best to keep the code that supports the older 
> versions of Sword and Qt and have their use optional.

Yes, it's best to not make any fast decisions which prove to be bad 
later. However, whether some change is made for 2.1 or not depends of 
course on the release schedule. What's the difference between a, a.b and 
a.b.c releases? If a.b.c/d/e... are released every month or every two 
months, when or why to move to a.c.0?

> I think that we should have priority on issues that relate to the 
> Windows and Mac ports.

That depends on how much time and work people can spend with these 

> I think there are several opportunities to the usability of the program. 
> Here are some that come to mind.

At the moment we don't need much new features which don't enhance 
usability. And there's much to do with usability.

> 1. Both the Config and Bookshelf Manager are much easier to use after 
> you manually increase their height. I know that their current size is so 
> that small monitors can be used with them. How about checking the 
> monitor height and automatically increasing the height of these if the 
> space is available.

It's one way. However, both dialogs can have better layout which make it 
need less space.

First, the b.s. manager needs space only for the Install page source 
lists. Making the network warning dynamic and taking it away gives 
couple of lines more for the list. We could also save the size. Then the 
user would need to make it higher only once and next time it would have 
the same height which is good for the user. I think this would be easier 
than calculating the height.

> 2. The Bookshelf Manager initially offers to store new modules in 
> /usr/share/sword which is not writable. I know it tells you about this 
> after you try to add a module. How about not showing any path that is 
> not writable.

ATM it lets people add paths which are not writable. How about 
preventing that? But the paths can be added from outside BibleTime, too. 
Therefore it would be best to prevent selecting a non-writable path from 
the dropdown selector, or maybe not showing such paths at all. BTW, the 
selector should save the selection between sessions.

> 3. My son asked me to look at BT from a new users first time startup. I 
> erased my .sword and .bibietime directories and tried. When BT comes up 
> the Config dialog also opens, under the BT window so you don't see it. 
> The new user really does not know what to do next. We really don't need 
> the Config dialog coming up. It would be better to have the Bookshelf 
> Manager come up so you can add modules. Even better would be to have a 
> Greeting Screen that welcomed the new user and explained the first 
> couple of steps to the new user. (Add modules and then use the Bookshelf 
> window to open one of them). It could then open the Bookshelf Manager 
> for them.

I agree that the config dialog isn't needed. No configuring is necessary 
after startup, and no other application which I know opens the config 

Adding modules is the first task for many users. We really should help 
with that. Some kind of a wizard could be helpful. I'll write another 
post about that.

I want also add some other usability improvements:

4. The manual mode for windows is not good for me. I don't know how much 
people use different modes. I have to change it always for a fresh 
install. Many users don't of course know it can be changed. They may 
judge the UI and the whole app based on that, thinking that it's too 
complicated for them because they don't want to resize and move new 
windows manually. I would like to make "Tile horizontally" the default.

5. A larger, but necessary, task is to do something to the display 
window toolbars. They are a shame for us. Usability is very bad if the 
display window is narrow. Try for example some general books with a 
narrow window. Lexicons or Bibles are not much better.

6. Some people have complained that opening modules (display windows) by 
clicking a module name isn't intuitive. Maybe we could add text to the 
empty display area shortly describing how to open modules.

--Eeli Kaikkonen

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