[sugar] Mini-Conference Proposal: Toolbars & Tabs (or lack thereof)

Gary C Martin gary at garycmartin.com
Tue Mar 25 12:41:58 EDT 2008

On 25 Mar 2008, at 15:47, Eben Eliason wrote:
> Taking these concerns to heart, I'd like to propose an alternate to
> the tabbed toolbar design which attempts to address these new concerns
> with the current design, again making some tradeoffs but hopefully
> coming out on top in the end.  The core component of the new approach
> is the introduction of the "toolbar button", which you can see mockups
> of at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Designs/Toolbars.  There is no text
> with the mockups yet, but I'll add it later.  In the meantime, please
> consider the following advantages:

Yes, I do like the idea a lot.

The main issue I see not covered in your list (and it's quite a  
whopper), is that the extra tool-bar strip shifts the top of the main  
activity canvas down, resizing it in the process. Problems:

1) As you mouse over, the main canvas content will jerk up and down  
like a pneumatic road drill.

2) The window resize is going to trigger the contained widgets to  
redraw/re-scale/re-align. This may be fine for a trivial activity with  
minimal UI complexity, but if any of those widgets require some  
processing to regenerate their visual appearance or content flow...  

3) Activity developers should already be using flexible layouts to  
cope with potential screen rotations, however the added potential for  
a reduction in main canvas size will add to the UI design/testing  
complexity, with designers making a little less use of the space by  
default so they leave some vertical space to prevent things getting  

Can't see a practical solution to this just now, the only other option  
seems to be to have the revealed tool-bar strip appear over the  
activity, but that would cause even more UI issues as parts of  
activity real-estate get obscured.

I guess (1) is the UI design flaw, (2) and (3) are technical issues  
that would need to be resolved and/or require developers to redesign  
their activities (other than just adding some pretty SVGs to their old  


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