GSoC idea: MacPorts GUI

Per Österlund m4ldin at
Wed Mar 30 03:46:43 PDT 2011

Hi again!

On Mar 30, 2011, at 9:48 AM, Rainer Müller wrote:

> Hello Per,
> On 2011-03-29 21:34 , Per Österlund wrote:
>> My name is Per Österlund. I'd like to work on the GUI for MacPorts.
> thank you for your interest in MacPorts.
>> [...]
>> I think it'd be a nice thing if MacPorts GUI reminded of the GUI for
>> Mac AppStore and iTunes Store. Familiarity and all that! Adding to
>> the native feel is probably a good idea, for many reasons. It makes
>> it easier for the casual user to grip what the point is and it
>> strengthens the overall feel of the usability of OSX and it's related
>> software (as a possible secondary effect).
> Did you have a chance to take a look at the existing GUI yet?

I've been using Porticus before, but that's not the GUI you're talking about I guess. You're referring to Pallet. I've not looked a whole lot at it, but from what I have seen the search function in there needs to be revisited slightly. For instance to be able to save what yo've previously searched for would be cool.

> Do you have specific plans what would make it feel more native?

A good few!

First off Mac App Store uses the same metaphor as Safari (and other web browsers) browsers, and that's that of a book. Besides what cocoa offers, I'm looking into making some icons that looks and feels like they could have been stolen directly from Apple. A current trend in Apple software (form what I've seen) is to put the content in focus and minimize the annoying buttons around (yet again, Mac App Store), and this I would like to use for MacPorts as well.

I am working on some design ideas graphically but it could take a few days, because I'm a bit tied up at the moment.

And also what's written next:

> What I always wanted to have was to differenciate between command line
> tools, graphical applications and libraries. We could add specific
> secondary categories for these. Then the GUI could filter out libraries
> and present applications only - as that is what the user usally want to
> install. That would be more like MacPorts Store.

The addition of categories, like what App Store uses is not a bad idea, and especially not seing how the users interact when browsing apps for the iPhone, iPad and now the mac; they browse categories and download rather than doing actual searchs. I don't know if this can be applied to the Open Source consuming as well though.

It would however require some additional meta data to be put in from the providers of the ports (how to get everyone to start using this?). Like what is an app, what is a library and so on...

> Rainer
> PS: Of course it's not a "Store", MacPorts is for free :-)

I was just referring to that the interaction of the user is similar; they click on a button and get a download of some kind. The metaphor is a good one to use, because it adds to the familiarity. 

Also, it would be cool to do something with the metaphor of the port itself, but I think that would probably only be doable for a loading screen to not make things too cluttery. And I'm not sure there needs to be a loading screen.

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- Per

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