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Old 03-26-2012, 05:52 PM   #1
WinstonWolfe
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Exclamation Contribute to a new look for Web/Ui

Good evening,
i am using this great open source software everyday and i think now its time to give something back.
My Question:
Is there any way that i could contribute to a better design of calibre? I am a UI & Icon Designer and would love to create a better look of the website and the app icons
I think it would be quite easy and would make that great software even better to use.
Portolfio:
http://microwave-css.de/
Dribbble:
http://dribbble.com/WinstonWolfe
Hope to have a anwser soon and cheers from Berlin
Chris
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:18 PM   #2
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You are welcome to contribute improved icons and or graphics resources for the website. Just be aware that your designs may or may not be adopted, depending on whether I can can be convinced they are actually better

You can test your icons in your own copy of calibre by followingthe instructions here: http://manual.calibre-ebook.com/cust...lates-etcetera
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:18 PM   #3
luketheobscure
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Don't bother

I think you will find the community quite resistant to change. Everyone I've spoken to about the look/feel/workflow of Calibre agree that it's terrible, but most of the lead developers don't seem to see what the problem is.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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Do bother.. but be prepared to both give and take criticism and to work with the other developers in a co-operative manner.

Do not come in on a high horse claiming to know it all....
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:39 AM   #5
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I think if there are suggestions to improve look&feel or workflow in Calibre - all the developers and the community will discuss about. BUT there are always 3 groups:
  • it's ok - I can work
  • the old is better because I know all
  • the new is better because....

If you want to change the ui in Calibre - there is no way around the main developers. If convince them - the changes will be implemented.
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:47 AM   #6
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I believe some of the difficulty lies in the fact it is cross platform, and needs to be relatively the same on Linux, Mac and Windows. Some more comes from the fact that calibre is a Swiss Army Knife and functions that are important to some are useless to others...ie. I would almost never use scissors on a knife, but need the screwdriver.

It also has to be maintainable and give no additional support headaches.

I hope you can succeed, because nobody is really happy with the current one, but it is hard to figure out how you can fix it without creating additional issues.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:43 AM   #7
kiwidude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luketheobscure View Post
I think you will find the community quite resistant to change. Everyone I've spoken to about the look/feel/workflow of Calibre agree that it's terrible, but most of the lead developers don't seem to see what the problem is.
What an ignorant, stupid and insulting comment to make.

MrMikel has it spot on - the biggest problem around changing the UI is finding a compromise that will keep the majority happy across all platforms *and* a range of beginners to advanced users. Unlike the ease with which some come on to mouth off about it, actually stepping up with a specific suggestion and being prepared to both adapt it and follow through requires a completely different level of time commitment and skill.

Personally I am in the "icons could be better" camp, such as the oft quoted trash icon. In my mind one of the cheapest potential wins that could be made would be a new matching icon set, as it would offer a very different look that has neither cross platform issues nor the controversy of moving/removing things from screen.

However *someone* who has both the graphical UI skills and is prepared to volunteer dozens of hours of their time has to step up for a change to be made. Not just make cheap shots from the peanut gallery. Speaking for myself I don't have those skills, so like most of the calibre developers I've spent thousands of unpaid hours trying to add value in other areas of calibre.

The OP on this thread appeared to have such graphical skills and I for one would have loved to have seen what they came up with. Likewise Kovid gave them all the information needed to experiment locally. However the OP has never responded further on this thread, so I can only guess they either lost interest or no longer had the spare time available. So how are the calibre devs at fault for that?

If you have a specific suggestion around other aspects of the UI in terms of workflow, by all means start a new thread and make it so others can agree or disagree. But don't toss your toys out of the pram if flaws are pointed out in it. Just because you think it is better for your purposes, doesn't mean everyone else will agree. And unless you are doing the development yourself then you are going to have to convince another developer why they should be spending their evenings/weekends implementing it. There may be types of usage that you haven't thought of, since most users only scratch the surface with a subset of calibre features. There may be practical considerations and technical complications (in particular the cross platform and Qt quirks/limitations).

And if all else fails presuming you have the skills you could always customise calibre for yourself as it is of course open source. Then post a screenshot and tell us why your version is better.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:59 AM   #8
HarryT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luketheobscure View Post
I think you will find the community quite resistant to change. Everyone I've spoken to about the look/feel/workflow of Calibre agree that it's terrible, but most of the lead developers don't seem to see what the problem is.
I have to confess that I've been using Calibre for a fair few years, and "terror" is not an emotion that it inspires in me. What is it about it that terrifies you?
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:19 AM   #9
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@kiwidude These are the new icon set (that give you a clue about the old ones )

Except for the 'matched set' requirement, you can place your own icons in Your (private) calibre configuration directory for any or all. just use the exact same name as the programs resources folder has

from time to time: Users have posted alternate Icon packages here at MR (search)

Calibre's functionality is #1
Calibre's cross platform is #1.1

Pretty GUI is way down on my list.

Near the top is... Just:
Make it work.
Make it work better (converting).
Make it work Faster

We have gained, over time:
Customize Menus
Alternate-Custom Edit Metadata forms
customized field value display
Custom Fields, including User chosen composite values

I don't agree with all the placement (there may be unknown to me cross platform restrictions)... But I would never say it is terrible
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:02 PM   #10
kiwidude
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@theducks - I haven't seen any screenshots of the old icons, but I can imagine . I've had years of pain as a developer agonising over whatever limited icons I had to hand trying to pick one for a feature, and plugins have made that a million times worse given the hundreds of features I've ended up implementing. I've been trying to re-use calibre icons for plugin features which are similar to the main UI, so I've looked at calibre's current set pretty closely far too many times. Hence my awareness of their inconsistency in appearance sticks out particularly to me. It isn't the fault of the original icon developer that calibre has had a load more features since then that developers have had to come up with random icons for - like any type of development graphics need ongoing effort/contribution.

So I don't want in any way for users who are considering contributing a set of icons to calibre to be put off. Which is why the utter stupidity of luketheobscure's comment pissed me off so much. Of course there is no guarantee someone's new set will be accepted as appropriate to be the new calibre standard. Does every calibre user want a Star Trek theme or whatever - we have no idea what someone will come up with until we see it. But at the very worst users would have another set they could choose from and install for themselves.

Risking theducks wrath here, sorry mate! - just in case others leap in support of the "but UI is less import than an xyz feature". Too many UI threads in these forums have descended into a procession of those sort of statements. In my opinion they don't add any value - we know the UI doesn't matter to some people (particularly longer term users), just like it does matter to others. This isn't a contest or a public vote situation dictating what Kovid or the other developers spend their time on. Remember we are for the most part unpaid and working on it in our spare time in evenings, weekends and holidays. As developers we will work on things that give us the most interest or satisfaction - be it eliminating bugs, adding features often in response to ideas mentioned in the forums or just working as a team with Kovid/chaley to test some new components/features before they hit the public eye.

I want to see ideas, suggestions and contributions - not just criticisms. If an idea is good enough and you can't do it yourself, someone out there will probably take it on. If it is a really good idea, then depending on the effort required it may well be Kovid himself that does it. That has been proven over and over again in these forums - whether it is the incremental improvements every week to the main calibre, or the myriad of plugins. How many applications do you have installed that have an update every week? To say that the calibre community resists change is just complete and utter nonsense.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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@kiwidude No wrath tossing here
I take what is offered.
I offer (hopefully constructive) suggestions. I think I have succeeded in the latter considering how many have been run with (and usually exceed my original idea).
And I volunteer to try and break (and report) all of your efforts
to save others the pain later on.
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Old 07-13-2012, 01:38 PM   #12
kiwidude
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@theducks - indeed your contributions to the forum along with Walt and too many others to name have been the sole cause of many of my weekends and evenings being spent doing calibre development instead of having a life. So you are certainly to blame for many hours being frittered away implementing some useful features (or fixing those I broke). I'm sure many grateful calibre users see that as a good thing, not entirely sure I see it that way .

My comment was purely to try to stop the inevitable "me too" posts that have plagued other UI threads when it comes to people thinking the UI has less importance. Someone proposing a change should not have their threads flooded with "I prefer the developers worked on xyz" responses instead - thats what has irritated me in the past. Either you have an opinion on the merits of the specific change itself, or you don't in which case just move on...
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
I believe some of the difficulty lies in the fact it is cross platform, and needs to be relatively the same on Linux, Mac and Windows. Some more comes from the fact that calibre is a Swiss Army Knife and functions that are important to some are useless to others...ie. I would almost never use scissors on a knife, but need the screwdriver.

It also has to be maintainable and give no additional support headaches.
There is another well known program that shares some of Calibre's characteristics, open-source, multiple platforms, written in Python - I'm sure many would have heard of it - The Gimp.

GIMP supports themes, these can be used to recast the look and some of the feel of the User Interface. IMO The Gimp's UI is more complex than Calibre's. If any substantial redevelopment of Calibre's UI was undertaken maybe it could be done along the lines of what's been done for The Gimp.

Although I fall into the function over form camp, I do prefer basic black to bright white. Samples attached

I eagerly await someone to tell me "that's easy BR, see Preferences->......"

I think there should be a Suggestions section in the forum - I know there's one for Plug-Ins but how is a mere mortal supposed to know whether a suggestion for improvement might be best implemented as a plugin or in the core product.

BR - thanks to everyone
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:36 AM   #14
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Although I find GIMP very powerful and useful, ease of use is not the first thought I have for GIMP.

In part it may be that abilities which could only be done by full time professionals in the past are now available on the desktop....if you can figure out how to use them.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:46 PM   #15
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What an ignorant, stupid and insulting comment to make.
Thank you for proving my point.
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