Multi-monitor Magic!

Nuancier is a Python Flask voting application for the supplementary wallpapers included in Fedora releases. This season, I’m working with awesome mentors Pierre-Yves Chibon & Ralph Bean to solve the design constraint that doesn’t let users with multi-monitor setup to take advantage of these high resolution wallpapers such that they can set different parts of the wallpaper on different monitors without breaking its continuity. GNOME Shell, my favourite desktop environment and so does Fedora’s, just allows to set different images on different screens but it can’t split a single large resolution wallpaper to be displayed continuously on multiple screens of same resolution, let alone different resolutions, like

High-res wallpaper displayed continuously on dual monitors with different resolution
Multi-monitor manga 

Now, this wallpaper has been carefully split by the user according to its multi-monitor setup. So, a download widget will be created with multiple cropping windows like

Download widget's mockup
Download widget’s mockup

such that users can easily segment & download parts of the wallpaper in multiple sizes without compromising the continuity of the image across various different or same sized monitors. Moreover this solution doesn’t even require the wallpapers to be curated for multi-monitor.

After reading the documentation & exploring the code, I have been tinkering with different ways to crop the image locally using JavaScript, HTML Canvas or jQuery plugin. I’ll soon start working on the download widget template.

Advertisements

return “Hello GUADEC!”

It’s been a week after my first GUADEC and I hope you haven’t got sick of the overwhelming amount of post-GUADEC posts 🙂

Getting Things Gnome!

It was really weird to see that Getting Things Gnome! had little or no presence at GUADEC, considering it has two GSoC projects. So I tried to squeeze in some bits and pieces of what’s going on in our application in my intern lightning talk, maybe making the talk a bit vague and long.

GnomeAGM

I am really impressed to see how Gnome as an open-source organization has evolved and focused on usability testing, security, privacy, quality assurance and even on the emotional aspects of software development like awesome release video. Gnome community is welcoming and I never felt like a newcomer. I would like to contribute to the core modules this winter and be active on the engagement team.

GUADEC

I attended/session-chaired a mixture of technical and non-technical talks, but the best part was to meet & know the people whom I identified just by their IRC nicks. I had a great time with my mentor Nimit. He helped me to get acquainted with the dynamics of an open-source organization and introduced me to many Gnome contributors.

  • The talk I admired the most was “Where has all the Python gone?” by John Stowers. It may be due to my biases, but it touched the same point for Python as a language that I feel for GTG as an app.
  • Though I was sceptical about the process of usability testing, I hope we would use the data to redesign the specific apps in next iteration.
  • Matthew Garrett’s keynote on “Why do we do desktops?” was rosy and motivating but the toughest part I believe would be to co-ordinate and collaborate towards the abstract goals, across all the applications.
  • I am also excited for Builder, a new IDE for GNOME.

Though I was a passive participant in a few BoFs, they were quite informative. I was amazed to see how Benjamin literally played with the GTK using CSS.

Volunteering was fun except on 25th. On 25th, I got so exhausted setting up chairs in White Room after 19 hours all-nighter (layover) in Paris that I got late to the Pre-registration event and just slept afterwards.

StrasbourgStrasbourg

FEC was nice & convenient place to stay: within walking distance of Epitech (the venue) and near the iconic cathedral of Strasbourg. First few days, the GTG team, comprising Nimit, Parin & I, explored the city in the evenings after the talks.Reasons to like France Unlike the popular belief, French were nice to the English speakers. I am thankful to Alexandre for welcoming us and making our stay enjoyable at Strasbourg. Alexandre helped the interns, including me, a lot, to understand Strasbourg and its functioning. Apart from the pleasing environment of Strasbourg, I loved the idea behind the light show of the Strasbourg Cathedral. Instead of maintaining the cosmetic beauty of the cathedral, they embraced its structural beauty and highlighted it with beautiful storytelling during the tourist season, brilliant!

I thank the Gnome Foundation to partially sponsor my travel and accommodation. Also, special thanks to Tobias who expedite my invitation letter else I just couldn’t attend GUADEC in first place.sponsored-badge-simple

Hope to see you all at Gothenburg, next year.

House of Services

Task manager and to-do list online services offer a range of interfaces for the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology and to unify them under the Getting Things GNOME‘s (GTG) service engine umbrella involved a lot of thought. Google Tasks, Remember the milk (RTM) & Todoist are good choices to be integrated as service plug-ins to GTG as they offer very different implementations.

Authorization

Google Authentication Screen for GTG
Google Authentication Screen for GTG
Authorization code for Google OAuth 2.0

Google Tasks provides standard OAuth 2.0 authorization with only caveat that user needs to copy the authorization code from browser window to GTG (a desktop client) to receive access token & refresh token, else GTG will be required to setup a web server listening to a port to receive authorization code. Also, users behind the firewall will have to grant the incoming port access to GTG for the latter, so it’s much of a hassle for just account authorization which is a one-time deal.

RTM, on the other hand, has OAuth 1.0 authorization, requiring to sign every request, with authorization support for desktop clients such that redirection to a callback URL isn’t required. Todoist simply provides authorization token by username & either password or Google OAuth 2.0 access token (for Log In with Google Account).

Task models

While GTG has no special status for top level tasks, all three services handles the top level tasks as projects/tasklists, as suggested by GTD methodology. Google Tasks provides infinite nesting of tasks using parent ids (just like GTG), Todoist only provides 3 levels of subtasks using indent level, and RTM provides none. To handle these differences, service engine will manage top level tasks of GTG as tasklists to be compatible with online services. Moreover, feature to add notes to a task is paid in Todoist.

Next…

I will implement a local service plug-in to store the GTG’s tasks locally and then move to implementing service engine and synchronization.

Rocky Road to Design

Last few weeks have really been rocky. According to my proposal, I was set to design an API of GTG for the service plug-ins. I read several articles, watched awesome lectures on API design. As I started to learn more and more about APIs, I came to realize my project doesn’t need one. Instead what would really simplify the life of GTG service plug-ins’ developers (hopefully you) would be to just create wrapper functions for (generally RESTful) API of online service and leave the rest of the implementation details to us.

GTG service framework diagram
GTG service framework diagram

​So, I came up with above rough design and resolved the conflicting ideas in my mind, which were slowing me down, with my mentor Nimit. He has been really helpful in resolving my conflicts and providing me a line of thought on approach.

Now, I have been busy implementing service plug-ins so that I can sense the pattern of several API (esp. RTM & GTask, Todoist) out there, which probably would be following the best industry practices. This would help me to decide the design choices for Service Engine.

Moreover, in news, Todoist silently released v5 (directly from v2) of its API along with its apps’ updates.

I’ll be posting again as soon as substantial amount of work is completed.

Summer is coming!

This summer I will be working on Getting Things GNOME (GTG) to revamp the backends’ experience, under Nimit Shah.

The status quo of Getting Things Gnome heavily depends on generic backend & local xml database for different third-party services. The class generic backend is inherited by backends for different services. This makes it quite difficult to add new services independent of generic backend, and maintain the core modules, including generic backend, independent of backend service sub classes.

My project aims to introduce several features that make GTG not only developer friendly but also user-friendly. These include detaching backend services from the generic backend such that new & customized services can be added easily, and also improvements in synchronization that will provide flexibility to users.

GTD

So, stay tuned for more updates & nightly builds for beta testing, while I get things gnome.