#59 make terminal status notifications settable per tab

Possible_later
closed
nobody
None
1
2014-01-20
2013-03-29
Tom Metro
No

I turned on the "Show terminal status in close buttons" option (found on the "Tabs" page of the profile settings dialog) recently to find out what it does. It wasn't obvious, so for those curious, it does this:

When enabled, if a tab, that is not being currently displayed (active), receives characters, the "X" close button is replaced by a blue circle with an italic "i" in it ("information" icon, I presume; how universal is that icon?). Additionally, it seem that if the tab receivs a bell character, the "X" is replaced with a red circle with an explanation point, and the tab name will flash. (Does the tab name flash even if this feature is not enabled?)

A few tangential points:
Repurposing the close button seems wrong from a UI design standpoint, though if the status must be communicated via an icon, its probably the best you can do in limited space. If the tabs were bigger, I'd put the icons to the left of the tab name.

The label used for the option is vague, and while it was close enough that I guessed correctly at what it did, I wasn't sure. Is it really a "status" for the terminal? Technically it is an activity indicator.

I would probably address both of these issues by using a different notification mechanism, such as tab background color. Then your settings dialog would be more like:

[X] Change tab background color to notify when new text is received
Color: [_]
[X] Change tab background color to notify when a bell is received
Color: [_]

(These labels are still incomplete. They don't communicate that the notification only happens when the tab is in the background.)

Tab name text color or face (bold, italic) are other options, through probably less visually effective.

Though generally I'm not a big fan of overuse of colors, and the little "i" icons do look nice.

Anyway, the point of this feature request is:

I'd like to be able to selectively enable this notification feature on a per-tab basis. More accurately, I'd like to be able to set the default in the profile, and then override that via command line switch or context menu selection.

My use case is that I have a few tabs dedicated to running daermons, which spew out information all the time, but nothing of importance. I don't want the visual distraction of seeing the "i" icons on these unimportant tabs. It then makes the important tabs with activity less noticable.

Also, I'd want to retain the error (bell) notofication. Not likely to ever be seen on these tabs, but if it did happen, I'd want to know about it.

Discussion

  • Tony Houghton
    Tony Houghton
    2013-03-29

    When enabled, if a tab, that is not being currently displayed (active), receives characters, the "X" close button is replaced by a blue circle with an italic "i" in it ("information" icon, I presume; how universal is that icon?). Additionally, it seem that if the tab receivs a bell character, the "X" is replaced with a red circle with an explanation point, and the tab name will flash.

    The icons were the most appropriate I could think of/find among stock GTK/GNOME icons. Their appearance changes depending on the GTK theme, eg you may see a lightbulb instead of an "i".

    (Does the tab name flash even if this feature is not enabled?

    It's a separate option that was requested separately, I think it came before the icons. It's rather confusingly in the "General" section instead of with the similar option(s) in Tabs. The Tabs page definitely needs a revamp.

    Repurposing the close button seems wrong from a UI design standpoint, though if the status must be communicated via an icon, its probably the best you can do in limited space. If the tabs were bigger, I'd put the icons to the left of the tab name.

    Having an icon on the left as well as a close button does work well enough in web browsers, so I should probably do that. And use roxterm's own icon for the default status.

    Tab name text color or face (bold, italic) are other options, through probably less visually effective.

    Using bold etc has been discussed before. It's an appealing idea, but it would cause the labels to change size vertically as well as horizontally, which is likely to cause more headaches with the window geometry :-(.

    Though generally I'm not a big fan of overuse of colors, and the little "i" icons do look nice.

    Yes, I'd much rather keep the icons than have colour changes.

    I'd like to be able to selectively enable this notification feature on a per-tab basis. More accurately, I'd like to be able to set the default in the profile, and then override that via command line switch or context menu selection.

    Couldn't you just make an extra profile or profiles and select that on the command line?

    My use case is that I have a few tabs dedicated to running daermons, which spew out information all the time, but nothing of importance. I don't want the visual distraction of seeing the "i" icons on these unimportant tabs. It then makes the important tabs with activity less noticable.

    Also, I'd want to retain the error (bell) notofication. Not likely to ever be seen on these tabs, but if it did happen, I'd want to know about it.

    OK, separating those two options might be a good idea, but the flashing orange background makes them easy to distinguish. But perhaps that's too distracting for many people.

    I want to release 2.7.1 as soon as at least one of the translators catches up to 100%, but I probably won't leave it so long before going on to 2.8. Another poster has got me interested in implementing a "Quake"/drop-down feature; I realised I could sometimes find that useful myself.

     
    Last edit: Tony Houghton 2013-03-29
    • Tom Metro
      Tom Metro
      2013-03-30

      I think it came before the icons.

      I certaily remember seeing the flashing a long time in the past, but I don't know when the icons were introduced, but I'm guessing, yes, the flashing predates the icons.

      ...in the "General" section instead of with the similar
      option(s) in Tabs.

      Moving it to the tabs page would make a lot of sense.

      ...work well enough in web browsers...

      True. In Pidgin as well. In both cases, the icons are used to show status information,

      Couldn't you just make an extra profile or profiles and select
      that on the command line?

      I hadn't considered that possibility. Last time I tried mixing profiles within the same window I encountered issues, but I don't recall what I was trying to do at the time. I vaguely remember some problem with differing window sizes, but I can't remember why I would have wanted that functionality. (It may have just be a test case to illustrate the challenge of handling multiple profiles in one window.)

      If it can be done, sure, that sounds like a fine soution. It'll mean I have to maintain two profiles, but they change rarely enough it shouldn't be a big deal to keep their settings in sync.

      I probably won't leave it so long before going on to 2.8.

      Everything I discussed in this ticket are "nice to have" items. Nothing pressing. So whever its convenient.

       
  • Tony Houghton
    Tony Houghton
    2013-03-30

    I hadn't considered that possibility. Last time I tried mixing profiles within the same window I encountered issues, but I don't recall what I was trying to do at the time. I vaguely remember some problem with differing window sizes, but I can't remember why I would have wanted that functionality. (It may have just be a test case to illustrate the challenge of handling multiple profiles in one window.)

    It will (try to) force each tab to have the same font and geometry, and there are also other things that apply to a whole window such as whether to show the menu bar and always show tab bar. I can't actually remember how it deals with those. As long as the profiles have all these sorts of setting in common I think it should be OK with multiple profiles in the same window.

     
  • Tony Houghton
    Tony Houghton
    2014-01-13

    I've decided to keep things as they are. The flashing is a separate mechanism from the notification icon and can also cause the window to be highlighted in some way, so it does make sense to keep it with the bell options instead of moving it to tab options.

     
  • Tom Metro
    Tom Metro
    2014-01-20

    I wrote:

    Additionally, it seem that if the tab receivs a bell character,
    the "X" is replaced with a red circle with an explanation point...

    Typo there. I meant exclamation point, but that was probably obvious.

    In an earlier reply Tony Houghton wrote:

    The icons...appearance changes depending on the GTK theme,
    eg you may see a lightbulb instead of an "i".

    Yes, I discovered that while back after upgrading the Cinnamon desktop to 2.x. For some reason it reset my GTK theme, and whatever least objectionable one I picked this time used a different icon set.

    The light bulb is even less visually noticeable than the information icon. It almost blends in to the gray tabs. (Better for the tabs that were being a visual distraction, but worse for the tabs where the feature was desired.)

    I'm guessing one could customize this by hacking the GTK theme. (Tangential rant: Desktop Linux really suffers from not having a comprehensive GUI theme manager that allows you to set and customize each of the various UI aspects that are themed. Instead there are login themes, desktop themes, GTK+ themes...and customization largely happens by hand editing XML files.)

    Tony Houghton wrote:

    I've decided to keep things as they are.

    That's fine.

    I originally wrote:

    I'd like to be able to selectively enable this notification feature
    on a per-tab basis. More accurately, I'd like to be able to set the
    default in the profile, and then override that via command line
    switch or context menu selection.

    My use case is that I have a few tabs dedicated to running
    daemons, which spew out information all the time, but nothing of
    importance. I don't want the visual distraction of seeing the "i"
    icons on these unimportant tabs. It then makes the important tabs
    with activity less noticeable.

    Since writing that I did proceed with creating a "quiet" profile, that suppressed these notifications in certain tabs, as suggested.

    But I've since stopped using that, and now have the output from those services directed to log files. (I tend to use dedicated Roxterm tabs to monitor a service when I am developing code or introducing something experimental that I need to keep an eye on. This is only a temporary need.)

    I'm left with dedicated tabs for my machine's kernel log and a caller ID log (for inbound VoIP calls), both of which I want visible new text indications, so I'm using the default profile that has that featured enabled.

    In short, the specific need I outlined in the above two paragraphs is largely gone, or at least of low importance to me.

    I do, however, stand by most of the other suggestions for usability improvements.

    -Tom

     


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