A contacts update, in which robots take over the world

After a vacation and an excellent week in Berlin at the Desktop Summit I’m now back working on Gnome Contacts.

I’m slowly getting most of the UI mockups implemented in preparation for the UI freeze next week, and the evolution-data-server backend in libfolks has landed and been made the default. We also have support in evolution-data-server for the new Online Accounts system. This means we’re currently in a pretty good shape for Gnome 3.2, although there is still a lot of work to do, like getting contacts linking working.

However, today I’d like to talk about something else that I’ve been working on. As you can see in my last update Gnome Contacts relies a great deal on avatars in the UI, and its often the case that your address book contains a lot of people that don’t have one. All these default avatar icons makes it hard to scan the contact lists.

To solve this I’ve been talking to the guy behind the awesome robohash site. It turns out that he’s actually somewhat of a Gnome fan, even helping out with news.gnome.org a long time ago. He’s agreed to let us use the source images and code (in exchange for pimping robohash.org, which you should use! It’s awesome!). I’ve been working on turning the code and images into a library that can be used locally by gnome-contacts. It’s still a work in progress, but here is a screenshot:

This is still a work in progress, but I’m very hopeful that we can land this for Gnome 3.2.

19 Responses to “A contacts update, in which robots take over the world”

  1. this looks incredibly cool, and I agree: robohash is awesome!

  2. Tomasz says:

    Another solution I saw recently which is very nifty: generate image with just the initials of person. So avatar for Another Test would become a circle with letters “AT” inside.

  3. I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords.

  4. alexl says:

    Also, i’d like to point out that even if we add this to Gnome 3.2 it is perhaps not right to enable it by default. Its not quite the gnome 3 visual style, and not everyone appreciates robots.

  5. This makes me deeply happy. The robots certainly aren’t for everyone but I’m certain that in future releases we could get an art style which allowed for the goodness of stable, unique, fallback images without startling the horses.

  6. Jeff Waugh says:

    That’s delightful and inspired. Onya! :-)

  7. waldi says:

    To strengthen our identity I vote for garden gnomes instead of robots. We are GNOME, not Android after all.

  8. Flo says:

    That’s my new favorite hash!

  9. That’s not what I look like! ;)

  10. alexl says:

    Andrew:
    Thats what they all say!!!
    We know the truth!

  11. I vote for kittens, and perhaps ponies. Pony–kittens.

  12. Jack says:

    That is one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen. See, it’s the little touches that make stuff really shine- I can’t wait to use Contacts and see how folks integrates with GNOME 3.2. So excited! *fingers crossed for another great release*

  13. Lapo says:

    Interesting, but very very ungnomey, please don’t have it on by defaul

  14. Matt says:

    +1 for garden gnomes: they would be great!

  15. Ben Asselstine says:

    This inspired me to write my own random avatar library.
    Here are some faces it produced: http://www.asselstine.com/faces.png

  16. liam says:

    Luv the robots. While not gnomey it looks good in Contacts and is politically unobjectionable esp compared to essentionally human gnomes.
    Besides this is just fun and a DE should be fun and not sterile.

  17. Lestibournes says:

    I think you should use a different theme for the robots, something that looks more “professional” (and therefor boring yet respectable looking).

  18. Ikem says:

    Elementary OS has a similar tool called “Dexter”: http://elementaryos.org/discover/dexter

  19. noko says:

    it would be even more awesome if they were ponies!