Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Evolution Canvas Love?

In the last few weeks major projects that were consuming time have been completed. The new desktop servers have gone live and it's time to move on other projects. OpenOffice 3.0 is out and it has been installed on our server for beta testing by some of our power users. There are tons of features that need to be QA'd before it is moved "live" and that's going to take several weeks.

I also have started doing a lot of work on testing modern Evolution with the GroupWise backend. Version 2.6 (+ backports) is currently in production on SLED 10 and now it's time to upgrade. Lots of the internals of the new version have changed, and I have started putting in bug reports.

Features are an important part of Evolution and the users will be happy with what is coming. However, I can't help but think we can improve the look of the calendar. A new look widget was added a while back, but I'd love to push live something with a bit more of a dramatic look. Yes, part of success of a project is bling in the right places. Unfortunately this type of hacking is beyond my skills.

Here is how Evolution currently looks when displaying the calendars of two users:

It's functional and works, but in my view is lacking the last little bling kick that provide user excitement. In reviewing other products, I found the screenshot below. If we could land something like this in Evolution, I know it would be received well.

Here is what I like about this look:
- Black/White colors for the calendar hash marks, very clean and paper like
- Glass like event UI makes it appear modern and it seems to have depth
- Overlapping colors (which probably should be an option) gives a visual cue of conflicts.

Here is a mockup:

Email is such a critical part of the desktop, and functional and UI improvements make my life so much easier. Chen, maybe this could be finished by the time I get up tomorrow? :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fun Time In Boston And Thanks

I just got back to Florida after spending a few days at the UI Hackfest in Boston. It was my pleasure to meet everyone and watch the process of open source software taking steps forward. I hope that my presentation was able to help with ideas and to point out improvement areas in the software and widgets.

It's completely amazing to me how much functionality we are running on Linux, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can all do in the future.