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Eclipse UI Outlet

This article describes a proposal for creating an outlet for Eclipse User Interface design. The idea is to provide a community driven thing which can be used by all Eclipse projects to improve their user interface.


Use Cases

There are a couple of use cases that the thing must/should/may cover.

Search

I need a certain icon so I want to search all existing Eclipse icons. The following search criteria would be useful:

  • Size: Regular (16x16), Overlay (7x8), Wizard banner
    • Typically the quickest way to find non-regular sized icons. Overlay icons and wizard banners are less than 10% of all icons.
  • Filename
    • The filename contains the most basic metadata of what the icons represents. If I'm looking for a delete icon, a search for 'delete' in the filename gives good results.
  • Plug-in name
    • Sometimes you have seen a certain icon in the UI of an existing plug-in.
  • Keywords
    • For example, "new" and "folder" would result in the new folder icon.
    • As a practice, the keyword set would need to be agreed upon and maintained (i.e. updated in some organized fashion).
      • For your reference, the keywords for Eclipse projects and core tools (CDT, WTP, TPTP and more) are supplied with the graphics drop in bug 170720. We have developed a schema for Actions/States, Objects, and Attributes that you could reuse: P, Q, and R columns, respectively in the "eclipsedata.xls".

Navigate

Once you are looking at a specific Eclipse icon, it would be nice if you could navigate easily to other related icons:

  • Smaller
    • Shows other icons with the same/similar content but smaller in size
    • Example: When looking at the regular 'warning' icon (shown in the Problems view), it should be easy to get to the smaller 'warning' overlay icon.
  • Larger
    • Shows other icons with the same/similar content but larger in size
    • Example: When looking at the regular 'java class' icon (shown in the Packages Explorer view), it should be easy to get to the larger wizard banner of the New Java Class wizard.
  • Variation
    • Shows icons that are slight variations of the current icon
    • Example: When looking at the regular 'folder' icon, it should be easy to go the the 'new folder icon, or the 'export file system' icon
  • Similar
    • Shows 'similar' icons
    • Example: When looking at the regular 'warning' icon, it should be easy to go to the 'error' icon.
    • 'Similar' is a vague term. We might have to rely on users tagging icons as 'similar to'.
  • Same plug-in
    • Shows other icons in the same plug-in.

Contributions

I have created a new icon and would like to make it available to the community.

  • Distinguish between icons used in official Eclipse projects versus user created icons from other projects (but still covered by the EPL)
  • Allow users to rate icons (maybe only needed for icons of non-Eclipse projects?)

I'm a committer and would like to request an icon from the community.

  • Allow committers to request icons and other goodies
  • Allow contributors to submit and have icons rated and accepted by committers and community members alike (if desired, sometimes it may be just a project level decision)

Proposal A - Make it an Eclipse project

One way that thing could work is using a regular Eclipse project. Using an Eclipse project we would leverage the existing infrastructure and the existing processes. No new tools would have to be installed and maintained by the Eclipse Webmasters.

Bugzilla

Will be used for:

  • Submitting User Interface assistant requests
  • Discussing issues and their solutions
  • Attaching solutions as patches

CVS/SVN

Will be used for:

  • Publishing common stuff like
    • Icons
    • Design templates/examples
    • Code templates/snippets
    • ...
  • Developing tools/scripts that would help this thing

Wiki

Will be used for:

  • Project website
  • FAQ

Blogs

Will be used for:

  • Community engagement