Thursday, March 08, 2007

MIME Bar Update

Thank you to everyone that responded to my blog about experimenting with creating MIME bars to help users with files. I have made some change based on feedback. Anyone hacking GNOME that wants to work in this area, feel free to hit me up on the IRC. I'm going to focus starting tomorrow on direct printing and being able to bypass starting a full application in order to print. Photos should be pretty easy, and I saw some information about printing OpenOffice documents on the command line. I'll start poking in that area.

Today I pushed out my first Acrobat Document document helper for email and Nautilus to beta testers. I reviewed our support calls and found that we get a lot of requests for help in extracting single pages from a PDF document and then inserting that page into OpenOffice. Often we will receive something like a 20 page PDF file, and they want to include only a few of those pages in a memo they are creating. So I created a button that does that very thing. It runs 'convert' and extracts the pages in PNG format and places them into their Pictures directory. Previously users were using GIMP, and had problems remembering the steps.

Here is the bar that comes up for application/pdf files:

Here is what happens when you select the option to extract the PDF into multiple PNG images. Nautilus creates thumbs of the resulting files.


Alex said...

You know XDG has provisions for file actions?

They do exactly what you're talking about, but in a standardised way. Unfortunately, Nautilus has no support for this yet.

I suggest you make this app read its actions (and icons) from the XDG database, and then maybe work on integrating it with Nautilus' file context menu.

Keep up the good work.

Fabianx said...

I guess what will happen is that the "Pictures" folder is completely flooded with data and people have a hard time finding the things.

But what about:




so users can easily find it again and use it?

Its also easier to cleanup this way ...

Perhaps even make this folder read/only (if its technically possible) and add a message that this folder is just for temporary storage of converted images.

Else I can imagine the following happening:

- User converts PDF
- Opens file and changes it, also saves OOdoc in same folder

- Later sees that he does no longer need that folder and accidently also uses his OOdoc ...



Alex said...

Here's a link for more info on that:

Pierre said...


In your screenshots, you have no Size and View items in the right side of your pathbar.

I love it. How did you get that ? Is it Nautilus 2.18 new feature ?


Simon Howard said...

So does this thing come up every time that you click on a PDF? If so, that seems incredibly annoying. When I click on a document, I expect it to just open, and I don't want some annoying intermediate step just on the offchance that I want to do something unusual with the file. Exporting pages like this should be done in the "file" menu for the document being used, or in the right-click context menu. Popping up a box like this sounds like a cheap and ugly hack to me.

Dave Richards said...

Fabian: Yes, I agree about putting them into sub-directories. I probably would have gotten to that today with additional testing. I just made that change.

Simon: Your perspective is very understood. But you would not believe the inability to understand file management and system navigation by users. All features must be on the left mouse options menus, no right-clicks. They don't use them, don't understand them, cannot be trained in using them. We also have to work around the fact that a there is a lot of turnover of staff, with new people starting all the time. It needs to be quick and easy to pick up. The advanced users can bypass these modules with drop and drags and right-mouse clicks.

Fabianx said...

I think it would be also nice to have the following in ksh/sh script:

if [ -r "$HOME/advanced_user" ]
exec $APP "$@" # Just start app directly

so you have the possibility for advanced users to just shut the functionality off.

Of course that "advanced_user" file must be created manually as a "Test" that the user really is advanced enough ...