A few weeks ago the Media Explorer team released the first “stable” preview branch of Media Explorer (0.2.x) and this week we’ve started a new unstable series (0.3.x). The new features since 0.1.x include:
Telepathy plugin from Collabora, which enables video chat within Media Explorer
Integration with Nautilus via the “Open With” menu
The usual round of bug fixes, performance improvements and enhancements
The 0.3 branch (master) has started with a lot of refactoring work. The dbus-glib dependency has been removed and all dbus functionality is now implemented with GDBus. There is also work going on to improve the plugin framework and greatly simplify the internal API. We also now have our own domain: media-explorer.org, which we are using as the basis of a revamped DBus API.
The stable 0.2 branch of Media Explorer also coincided with a new stable branch of the Mx toolkit, which is now at version 1.4 and includes many improvements, including support for clipped redraws which should be a boost to performance. There are also lots of new features in the kinectic scrolling widget from another Collabora developer, Tomeu Vizoso. Other new features include support for direct unicode character entry (using the ctrl-shift-u shortcut); better keyboard handling in comboboxes and popup menus; the implementation of the GAction interface on MxAction; and many other performance and memory optimisations.
Internship in London
In related news, the Intel team in London is looking for a student to join the developer team for a 13 month internship, starting in 2012. We’re really keen to have someone who is enthusiastic about open source technologies. If you’re currently studying at university and are looking for a placement, the full details are on Intel’s jobs page.
Last Friday we released version 0.1.4 of Media Explorer. This version includes some exciting new features, such as support for connecting to gnome-dvb-daemon to watch live TV and plugins for justin.tv and blip.tv. There’s also been a considerable amount of effort to increase performance and neaten up the transitions between screens.
We also released versions 1.2.1 and 1.3.0 of the Mx Toolkit, a Clutter based widget set. Both versions contain performance enhancements and bug fixes. Version 1.3.0 is a development version including new API.
Some of the Media Explorer developers are giving a talk at the desktop summit tomorrow, where they will be talking about Clutter, including demonstrating Media Explorer.
Media Explorer is a media centre application for Linux (including MeeGo) developed by the Intel Open Source Technology Centre. It uses Clutter, Grilo, GStreamer and Tracker to find, index and play local and remote media.
Chris introduced the project in April and since then we’ve added a few more features, including very simple music library support so that you can play music files and add them to the queue to create a playlist:
We also added some nice transitions to and from the video and slideshow that can be seen in our latest screencast, as well as animations when scaling pictures in the slide show. We’ve also been streamlining the performance, so animations are smoother and startup is quicker.
Checkout the new website for more information and instructions on building it. We’ve also created a Twitter news feed to keep people up to date with the latest developments.
One thing everyone might not have noticed in the new MeeGo 1.0 for netbooks is the nice new zones panel, which I had the pleasure of working on. One of the neat things is that you can drag and drop windows between zones, and there are some nice animations as this all happens. I wrote about how I implemented the animations back in December last year, although I couldn’t mention what it was for at the time!
Unfortunately I didn’t get time to do a video yet, but here’s a screenshot showing the drag and drop in motion:
Meego™ 1.0 for Netbooks is now available, with a revamped user experience based on Clutter/Mx. The Mx toolkit now sports a number of widgets and classes, as I mentioned in my previous post. The API reference documentation is now also available online, or can be built from the source code using the –enable-gtk-doc configuration option. Source code is available from git or source tarballs.
The first stable release of the Mx widget toolkit was quietly released a few days ago. Mx is a traditional GUI toolkit, built upon Clutter technology. This enables smooth animations and special effects through hardware accelerated graphics (OpenGL).
The 1.0 release brings API and ABI stability to Mx and a good deal of bug fixes. The source code is available from gitorious.org/mx-toolkit, along with some of the other optional supporting packages such as clutter-gesture and clutter-imcontext. The 1.0 release is tagged and there is a branch that will carry bug fixes for this release. I’ve also made tarballs available in my personal directory on freedesktop.org. To build with minimal requirements, you may want to disable the optional dependencies from the configure script (–without-clutter-imcontext –without-clutter-gesture –without-startup-notification –without-dbus).
Here’s a list of some of the features that made it into 1.0:
Other features: Drag and drop, keyboard navigation, CSS styling
As with any 1.0 release, there are bound to be bugs that haven’t been caught yet, so if you find any, please file them in the bugzilla located on bugs.meego.org (the Mx product can be found under “Meego Projects”).
Many thanks to all those involved in the making of Mx 1.0!
Nick and I had a discussion a few days ago about what search should look like in the new Settings shell. I had a go at implementing what we discussed and now it is possible to search not only panel names, but also their descriptions:
Showing the match in-line (much like search engines do) gives the user an understanding of why the item has matched, but also some context. It probably needs some tweaks to detect things like word boundaries, and the description of each panel needs to make sure it includes relevant keywords.
I also made sure that keyboard usage was easy. The filtering is done as you type and pressing enter will activate the first (top left most) item. Hitting the escape key will clear the entry and return you to the All Settings view. I also need to add arrow key support so that it is possible to navigate directly to the results view from the entry.
If you’d like to try it out for yourself, the code is in the extensible-shell branch of gnome-control-center.
I’ve been looking recently at what can be done to improve the GNOME Control Center shell for both GNOME 3.0 and for Moblin. In Moblin, we wanted a single window approach, so that finding a setting and opening a preference pane could be done within a single environment. After some discussion on IRC and on the control center mailing list, it seems people within the Gnome community were also interested in this idea. I’ve been having a go at prototyping this behaviour to see how it would turn out. We’ve now gone through a couple of iterations of refining the design into something that is more promising. Here are some screenshots of how it looks right now:
Displaying all settings categories:
Searching for a setting:
Opening up the keyboard preferences:
The work is all available in the single-window-shell branch of gnome-control-center. At the moment, the single window behaviour is implemented using the XEmbed protocol via GtkPlug and GtkSocket. This allowed us to quickly prototype and experiment with the behaviour while making minimal changes to the existing capplets, although any capplets without the added functionality will open in a new window as before. Jon McCann of RedHat is also looking at using GIO Extension Point based approach, but this requires a more significant re-write of the capplets.
At the upcoming GNOME Usability hackfest I hope to gather more feedback on the design and possibly start working on refining the UI for many of the individual preference panes as well.
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