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Three screenshots from the new notification area that is part of the recent Plasma 2 Technology Preview. We've done a few touchups to the workflow there, in order to reduce visually jarring popups.

This new design loads the widgets for battery and brightness, network management, notifications and jobs, storage devices, and others into a single popup. In Plasma 1, these widgets in the notification area would all have their own popup, with different sizes. This means that switching between them involves closing and opening another popup. This process is now integrated into one popup, switching between the expanded views as a stack of pages. This design works, from a mouse interaction point of view almost exactly like the old notification area, but gives a "lighter feeling". The new version also has the active item visually pronounced, so it's easier to spot, dismiss and switch between items. The interaction is not completely smooth yet, but the approach seems very promising, and with a good portion of polish, it's going to be a very nice improvement in the Plasma 2.

One of the things that have been confusing for some people is how dismissing, and keeping open a popup works. In the tech preview, the (integrated) notification popup and the calendar (which is a separate popup), there is a small check mark (for lack of a unicode pin symbol, hints welcome!). By default, the popups slide back into the panel when they lose focus. Clicking that checkmark keeps will keep the popup open even when they lose focus. This allows it to keep the calendar, job displays, network management widgets open in order to monitor a job, or reference the calendar, for example, while working in a different window. This is a bit of an experiment in an early stage, so it might turn out to be a bad idea, but in this early stage of development, we should also use the opportunity to experiment with some concepts to solve problems in new, elegant ways.

Visually, we're aiming at a cleaner interface with more pronounced use of typography. Early signs of this can be seen in the calendar and job displays, but we're far from done doing this kind of visual update to the widgets. Not included in this tech preview (and also not in the screenshots) is a patch to change the translucency and blur effect behind the popups to make them more readable, also on less uniform backgrounds than the one shown in the pictures), so you can expect more improvements in that area.
Ivan Čukić's profile photoThomas Pfeiffer's profile photoTom Sisson (MyLittleBronco)'s profile photoSebastian Kügler's profile photo
i like 3 out of 4. I only dislike the network applet part. It somehow looks heavily out of place. But i don't have any suggestion to improve it either <_< Guess i will just stare at that picture for a while and see if i can figure out what is missing there.
Is it still possible to decide which things should have their own icons in the tray and which should go in the unified popup? If not, it would mean significantly slower access to functions which people could put directly into the Systray before but cannot now.
If people can still decide what's more or less important to them, I consider the new system a lot better overall.
+Thomas Pfeiffer yes, but the implementation of the configuration for that is not done yet.

Could you explain the slower access, I don't understand what you mean with that. For active icons it's one click (always), for hidden ones, it's two. Nothing has changed there, just the flow.
+Mark Gaiser some widgets will need a visual update, the NM one for sure, bit it still is heavily developed in the stable version, and I don't want to have a giant diff between these version while they're still being worked on.
+Sebastian Kügler Okay. From your original description alone, I was not sure whether all applets which are visible in the Systray in Plasma 1 will be there in Plasma 2 as well or whether some which are in the tray right now will be in the popup in Plasma 2. You eliminated that doubt now, thanks ;)

The system's decision whether an icon is "active" or not is not always perfect for me, that's why I set some applets/icons to "always visible" and appreciate that this feature will make it into Plasma 2 as well. Gnome 3 got quite some criticism for hiding icons in situations when some users still wanted to see them.
This depends on personal preference, so it should be configurable (but apparently I don't have to tell the Plasma team that ;) ).

I guess I should try out the tech preview and see what it does myself ;)
Do you guys have ANY GUI designer? Because this GUI cries to be redesigned. Animations to be removed. Settings to be replaced. Button bars in applications to be simplified. Lot of work.
+Arthur D Those are the kind of opinions that you should just keep to yourself.

But to answer your question: yes, there are designers active in KDE.

As +Martin Gräßlin pointed out in another G+ post somewhere is the simple following fact. If the design doesn't please you then kde has very flexible mechanisms to theme it yourself. You can literally modify everything (gui wise) so please do make your awesome gui, share it and perhaps even propose it as default for some next Plasma Desktop release.
+Mark Gaiser
>If the design doesn't please you then kde has very flexible mechanisms to theme it yourself
Not flexible enough. For example, gui elements in Oxygen theme are not bitmaps, they are hardcoded. I don't want to modify everything, just few things. But I can't. I feel more comfortable in UI that obeys to me. I should not obey to UI.
But this is nothing compared to reaction times. Why I should wait for selection rectangle to finish animation and come to place to click on selection? This is how you should not design an UI.
I am polite right now, but I can easily switch to language of "Pulp Fiction". Should I?
+Arthur D Convince the people that make it. Make patches. Start a - polite - conversation about it on the plasma-devel mailing list. That's the stuff you can do if you want to share another vision.
Looks really good +Sebastian Kügler  ! I especially like the multi-use systray pop-up and the great use of space in the calendar. 
+Mark Gaiser
>Make patches
I am a FUCKING user, not a FUCKING NERD who has nothing to do. I have a GOD DAMN job and almost no GOD DAMN time. Do you expect every KDE user to be a FUCKING GOD DAMN NERD who can make patches?! Let me disappoint you: majority of computer users don't know how to write a single FUCKING Hello World application. 95%. Why I should learn programming language when I can ask a MOTHER FUCKING DEVELOPER? It's part of YOUR job, not mine.
This conversation is FUCKING OVER.
+Arthur D "it's part of YOUR job". That's where you're wrong. I don't have this a job. It's just a hobby and i try the best i can do. For the record, i don't do UI design in plasma.

Your tone is way too rude now btw. You can just let your voice be known in a constructive manner  - on the mailing list or even on the kde forum - without knowing any programming or designing.
The trouble with Linux, allot of spoiled children thinking that the world has to be made for them alone or they will get a hissy fit and scream at you. Ignore him, Mark. He'll grow up at one point.
+Mark Gaiser
 With his comment, Arthur basically told us he does not want to discuss. We should grant him his wish.
I know. I was tempted to show him a link to donate to KDE :) but yeah, ignoring him.
+Arthur D Please stop. You behave like a spoiled child. I don't know you but if you where a friend of mine I'd ask you to behave like a grown man.
You started by insulting people, being rude, unfriendly. Then you made it worse by making it clear that you have no intentions of even lifting a finger, changing a setting in the GUI on your own, to help solve it. No, you just demand change for all, because otherwise you threatened you would employ bad language.

You insult people doing things, for free, for you, and think that they should help you because of that? This is the actions of a spoiled child AND you ruin it for the rest of us by making devs defensive and less interested in taking suggestions from the outside.

You're the problem. Not the UX design, you.
+Arthur D Believe it or not, but in a market economy, money can buy developers' time, and it can make them spend their time on stuff you want.
+Arthur D besides what +Thomas Pfeiffer said, it also allows for sprints to occur which quite often boost the part the sprint is dedicated to. So for your pleasure, here is a donate link: :)

And that allows people without a job or just people that don't have money to spare to attend to KDE sprints and contribute.

/me continues ignoring him, but just wanted to add this.
+Sebastian Kügler I know it has been discussed multiple times, but are there any plans in the near future to make plasmoids out of process? It should not be possible for a widget to crash the whole plasma desktop, which is very likely to happen, especially for third party ones. Is there any ongoing work in that direction resp. would patches regarding that matter be welcome?  
+Kde kdeuser Let me start with the simple fact that i don't know if plasma 2 is supporting out of process plasmoids. I guess not since it's quite complicated. to make such a structure.

Regarding patches. Sure, all good patches are welcome, but this is something you should bring up on the plasma-devel since it will be a quite invasive change.
+Kde kdeuser Don't expect that to happen. It would eat your memory, slow down the shell and open a can of worms^Wbugs.

For P2, most 3rd party widgets should be QML/JS-only, and those should not be able to crash the shell.
+Ivan Čukić What about qml widgets with c++ backend?
How can pure qml widgets not crash plasma? Suppose they would not be able to crash plasma, but they could at least freeze plasma, so the only possibility left would be to kill plasma. This could lead to data loss (e.g. of the notes widget). 
If out of process is not a good idea, is there another possibility of making sure a plasmoid cannot freeze or crash plasma?

What about activities? Could activities become out of process, so if one crashes you could still use the other? (of course if you are able to switch to the other one with a shortcut).

What about data in plasma in general (e.g. notes that are taken with the notes widget).
Are they instantly stored in plasma2? 

Suppose you install a widget that freezes your desktop as soon as it is activated, and every time you start plasma it freezes again. How should that be handled by a normal user not able to edit out the corresponding lines in plasma-desktop-appletsrc? A normal user would delete the corresponding files, all data would be lost, but he could work again. 

I think it would be nice if a way could be found to handle that cases to make sure plasma cannot crash so easily and to make it harder to loose data. 
Those are really good questions (IMO).

C++ back-stuff that we provide should be crash-free eventually. And the ideal is that no applet will need anything else.

The 'ideal' is rarely achievable, so there will be 3rd party addons with c++ parts. We can not do anything about that. Those can crash plasma, delete all your data, kill all humans, etc.

A single widget should not be able to freeze plasma, or at least it should be detectable (something along the lines of the 'the script is not responding...' message web browsers show sometimes comes to mind).
+Kde kdeuser  demonstrates how to provide constructive feedback. This is useful, it makes the developers think without causing any negative feelings. Everyone should do it that way!
For a  Unicode character for a pin, I would suggest the dagger (U+2020). It's not a perfect substitute, but I think it more closely suggests the intent. Unfortunately, Wingdings and Webdings--extensions of Dingbats, though a great idea, were never fully integrated and standardized. If they had, most standard fonts would include items like the thumb tack. (Microsoft Office had one in the included Office fonts.)
Thanks for these suggestions, will look into it once I'm out of post-x-mas hibernation.
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