I found this shell as a replacement for my windows xp sp 3 shell on my minicomputer. I love it's simplicity and version 4.1 (the exe version) is already very usable.
I hope the focus of the desktop wil remain on it's key functionality which is it's greatest strength i think. The development realeases after the latest exe release show an expansion like the systemmonitor, but i would like to urge the developers to making the core functions the priority and only add to that when they are considered perfect. I have used the shell to little to say if it's stable but that's fo course as important as functionality is. To clearify what i would like to see in the desktop i'll list my wishes from most to less important:
1: simple, stable, low-resource, modular and welldocumented shell. The latest exe version is that i guess.., and hope concearning stability.
2: a goodfunctioning systemtray. By the looks of it that seems pretty ok, simple, no nonsense and it works... great..
3a: functional desktop. The rightclick menu suffices very well wich is the most important thing. The point with the desktop is that there are of course heavy weight replacements/extentions but if u want to stay low-resourse and depent only on the emerge destop the desktop is reduced to a rightclickarea with optionally a nice backgroundpicture. It's enough but i would realy like to also be able to place objects (files/links/maps) on the desktop with the explorer "create new" command. Now i just lauch a link to the original desktop and use that window to place files and stuff in but it's not as pretty and handy as being able to use the desktop for it. So the most important thing i miss in emerge destop as it is now is elementary file/object management for the desktop. very important though that a low weight solution is found. Maybe something like this: add a "create object" to the rightclick menu. In the window that opens then have a button that activates explorer's "create new" . Have the newly created object be put in a map assigned to the emerge desktop.
3b: effective task/window-management. I like the iconrepresentations instead of the windowtitles like on the windows taskbar, but a 1 click option displaying the full titles along them would be handy. The middleclick menu on the desktop does that, but it's to clumsy and i don't like the middleklcik anyway. Perfect would be a button on the emerge taskwindow that would show all titles of the open windows at once (the help tips that show the title also i find to clumsy and slow, they also don't give an overview off all open windowtitles) Please don't try to do something fancy like visual previews because it has to stay light weight. A good alternative would be to have the taskmenu launchable as a straightforward menu with open windows. so that with 1 klick on a launchbutton u get to see all open windows. I also would like to mention that the behaviour of the taskbar sometimes seems unpredictable. When i minimze an explorer window for instance and click on it's icon it becomes visible again but NOT the active window. To make it the active window i need to click the icon on the taskbar again. Strangely enough an internet explorer window doesn't display this behavour. So i get with explorer: click --> displayed --> click --> active window --> click ----> minimized --> click displated ... etc. and with internet explorer: click --> displayed and active window --> click ----> minimized --> click displated and active window... etc. To make switching windows realy straight forward maybe make optional extra buttons for any thinkable command like (minimize, activate, activate and maximize, etc, ) on the taskbar that then show all available windows like in the taskmenu on wich that command would be performed. Maybe some automated arrangeemnt features would be neat to, like a button that says "side by side" and would display subsets of the windows side by side. In other words, this particular module has a lot of low resource development potential i think.
4: functional launcher. Very nice, but less important because there are replacements although leightweight replacements are rare. The only things i might want to see extra in it are:
- allow individual items in the launch bar to be highlighted (for instance from see through to solid) when selected by holding a mousepointer over it, instead of all items at once when the launchbar itself gets selected by holding mousepointer over it.
- allow fow launching a tasks window (see earlier)
- allow launching maps (open them with explorer, now i have to execute a link to a map, detail though)
5a: a good clock. Looks absolutely perfect but there are so many alternatives that it's not the most important thing. nice little util though, love it. Oh now i think of it: a launchoption of the windows timesettings might be handy.
5b: Desktopswitcher, but actually it's more of a windows-switcher. Because the emerge desktop can hold no objects like files, links or maps, switching desktops actually means switching windows layout and background. Would like to see this work on an emerge desktop containing objects.