On 10-09-08 1:49 , Joshua A. Andler wrote:
> Yes, we do want people to use new features. I myself want to use
> them. :) I think that if we have things implemented in a sane way to get
> non-finalized features in (especially taking into account that there is
> no proposed syntax for a lot of these things yet even), that we can
> possibly help to ensure that the features DO get added to the spec.
My opinion is based on the User experience side. Please excuse my
ignorance of the possible issues it might/might not introduce in the
programming field. I might be completely off here. :) I think that the
implementation is not too hard from the User Experience point of view.
Additionally, it could allow us to gather some insights from the users
that we can use to improve UI, too. A simple example, presuming that
there's no 'experimental' branch, but one Inkscape, that allows the
widest user-base, would be:
1. Not to let down the trust and loyalty of the people, a stable
Inkscape release should be all nice and by-the-book, out of the box, I
2. The new features are introduced with a honest and clear, but serious
approach. E.g. User enables the feature(s) explicitly using Inkscape
preferences' 'Experimental' panel. The panel states:
-what is the feature the user is turning on
-info on the implications, and the fallback
-a link to more info online
(it would be great to allow user to turn off the feature, too :))
The panel might have a prominent black/yellow stripe pattern to indicate
the 'experimentallity' of this. (or some color...)
This explicit acceptance gives the user a clear signal and choice of
crossing from the 'safe and stable' into the 'experimental area'. It's
like opening the hood of the car, removing the back cover of the TV set,
or lifting a lid on the pot to add some more pepper to mother-in-law's
3. Any new UI element that might appear following this user's decision
is visually labeled to clearly indicate the 'experimental' status. For
example, using the same pattern or color the user sees on the
'experimental' panel would provide a clear correlation.
4. The user should never lose the data, so the fallback Krzysztof
suggested, plus a fair notice when saving or opening such a file, would
be nice. A link to a shoutbox, of even an ability to send feedback
directly from Inkscape, would be awesome.
From my experience, an approach like this indicates the user a clear
'crossing line' and removes (I'd say) all the confusion and
helplessness. Additionally, with an ability to send feedback, it turns
user's frustration into collaboration. SVG people could and try and see
the thing too and maybe speed up some things! ;)
The ability to test features live, real users using the real stuff (and
by 'testing' I mean their code, implementations and acceptance) is a
huge advantage the open source has over any other development paradigm.
Excepting evolution ;). We should embrace this more, I think.
The issue of standards is and always will be a love/hate thing. But, as
Joshua said, Inkscape is a factor in shaping of these standards.