A possible Dash replacement

  • I've been working on this for a bit, but I wanted to release an early version of a possible Dash replacement. You can find it for download on the OpenStore. It's a bit more of a traditional home screen, but that's where the your feedback comes in. What do you think of this possibly being the default on your phone? Nothing official has been decided, this is just an experiment that I've been working on.

    When taking a look keep in mind that's is pretty early stage. Although it already has support for the same icon packs that Falcon uses (props to @CiberSheep for those!). I hope you enjoy it and please leave any feedback/discussion here!

  • @bhdouglass Personally, I like it. We don't need to imitate the home screen of any other system, but having something more organized than the current app scope is clearly a need. Eventually we should optionally also get time/weather in this screen.

  • Personally I'm fine with it since it'll be nice for those who are coming from traditional home screen and likes them.
    However, it'll be redundant once we get the new app drawer. That will also get the gesture that usually gets you to the dash (scopes). And it's just doesn't seem to be designed for convergence in mind and no long term goal.
    Good work though as always ๐Ÿ™‚

  • @bhdouglass I love it. ๐Ÿ˜ In my opinion it is much nicer than the app drawer. It is clean, simple and familiar for users from Android or iOS.
    I have two ideas: Instead of widgets like on android, the icons could access the informations from the circle lock screen (or we create a new API for this) and show this informations in the icons, when they are placed on the grid. For example the messages app would be the normal logo and after two seconds the logo will disappear and only the background will stay with a tiny font:

    "4 SMS
    sent today"

    The weather app will show the actuall weather like:
    "3ยฐ and

    A little bit like the dynamic tiles from Windows Phone. It wouldn't be too much informations because the user can only place one page full of those dynamic icons.

    And my second idea for convergence would be to make the app launcher forced to be maximized and greyed, when it is not selected. So it would look like the menu in Endless OS: https://distrowatch.com/images/cgfjoewdlbc/endlessos.png

    Edit: Another thing for the favourites: In the homescreen you have favourites at the bottom and you have docked apps in the launcher. We could combine them, so every app docked in the launcher will automatically a favourite app at the bottom of the homescreen to make this more logical and easier to access from everywhere in the system.

    Edit 2: Of course also app folders would be nice ๐Ÿ˜ƒ and a global search bar at the top, which can also search stuff from the internet with for example duckduckgo or wikipedia

    Sorry, I'm just thinking loud. ๐Ÿ˜… I really like your work!!

  • Nice! I would be fine with the app drawer if it was not sorted alphabetically. For me it would be one app per letter and a lot of space in between leading to a lot of scrolling to get to the apps... As there might be other reasons to prefer a classical home screen over the new app drawer it is very cool to have this alternative!! I think you'll make a lot users very happy with this. Thanks!

  • @krille Like your ideas regarding widgets alternative! Also the idea to use the home screen as the desktop (if i got you right with that) sounds great. I'm not so sure about the favorites. I found it always somehow redundant to have favorites on the home screen and apps pinned to the side bar (how is it called again...? ๐Ÿ˜). Maybe making that automatic and more consistent makes it also even more redundant...? But maybe we could make that configurable...?

  • @hummlbach The separation of apps by letters in the app drawer is somewhat unrelated to being sorted alphabetically. It should be pretty easy to get rid of the separation and condense down, while still keeping alphabetical sorting.

    There were also plans to provide sorting options for "Most Often Used" and such, but the necessary APIs were not finished before Canonical dropped everything.

    Other options could also be implemented in the app drawer, but I think we should in general not deviate from what makes unity8 what it is. Going to a traditional home screen setup that is basically a straight clone of Android, definitely takes away from that. Ironic, considering all the noise from people saying we should not get rid of scopes or change indicators, as core parts of the unity8 interface, because they are what make it "different/better."

  • @bhdouglass
    my personal preference would be to utilize the Dash button, and have a search box from there. I don't see the need for an app grid at all, but then, I'm a minimalist.

  • @3arn0wl Hmm, for me this would feel a little bit weird. Then there is nothing that "feels" like home. A lot of my friends who have tried my Ubuntu Phone have asked: "Okay, but where is now ... HOME ...?" and after a time they defined the scopes app grid as home. If the app drawer is only a side menu, it does not feel like "home". I hope it is understandable, what I'm trying to say ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • @krille But why is the app drawer not "home" in this case? What defines "home" exactly? Something which covers your background with a bunch of icons, or other kinds of widgets, so you can no longer see the background art you've chosen?

    To use the "home" analogy a bit more literally, wouldn't it be odd to be unable to know where your domicile is, unless you had a hundred different unique plants in the front yard as your only means to know what and where it is? So why do we need that on a computer? ๐Ÿ˜›

  • i have some comments. first, very nice work on this. I'm now witnessing the 'familiar' feeling of 'push-hold-move' of apps.

    however, i might not be properly understanding the functionality because in my opinion, all we need is to take exactly what we have now, and then add the 'push-hold-move' functionality so you can move the apps around the 'home' screen like other OS designs.

    We have the launcher for 'favourites' and showing what is open and accessing quickly.

    I think the problem is that currently it's operating as an 'app' but if it was built into core, then all of this would make more sense for me?

    I see that even with "sprint" running now I can still access the launcher which is great.

    In fact, it seems like this should work great. The only thing I feel is missing in this version is the ability to swipe to the right/left so you can access 'empty desktops'

    Again, I think if this was built in as core OS operation this would all make sense?

  • I will keep it like it is .
    this will appeal to some, and may gain more users.
    this should be used as an alternative launcher, for those that prefer it
    my 2 cents worth

  • @wayneoutthere said in A possible Dash replacement:

    i have some comments. first, very nice work on this. I'm now witnessing the 'familiar' feeling of 'push-hold-move' of apps.

    This would be a nice feature. The ability to quickly reorganize the "desktop" is nice. Right now it requires planning, and then you get one shot of dropping the icon in the right place.

    Good job on this!

    The overall feel of Sprint is nice and familiar. As long as there's a starting point, then people will get the feeling of "home". You could make it look however you want. I think people really look for the "home" button rather than home itself. To use the literal analogy from @dobey , people just need to know how to get to the domicile, but it doesn't necessarily have to look a certain way once you get there.

  • Great job! I do really appreciate the efforts to not only fix numerous issues but as well design entirely new things!

    I do really like the option to be able to easily pick and arrange icons on my home screen (UT Tweak Tools does that at the moment). That's something that would definitely add some value to UT.
    -> I would like to see a feature to tap - hold - shuffle around icons.
    -> Also I think it would be good, if apps would be either on the homescreen or on the other page. So you don't get them twice.

    How about this:
    0. the launcher for some apps you would like to reach from every place on your phone (i.e. settings, OpenStore, ?)

    1. home screen as in sprint with your most favorite apps for quickest access
    2. at the bottom numbered icons that will load separate "app folder pages"
      -> number 1: all other apps that are not assigned to one of the other screens
      -> number 2: custom = maybe games
      -> number 3: custom = maybe social/communication apps
      -> more numbers if the screen allows it ๐Ÿ™‚
      On my BQ E5 there won't fit more icons unless they are smaller. But 4 will quite likely be possible.

    With this layout you can quickly reach lots of apps.
    Custom icons/group icons would be a plus to make it more obvious which type of apps you are holding on your pages.

  • In my opinion, the idea is so-so. Today, Ubuntu Touch has a wink interface with Scopes and so on. Make it look like an Android... Why, then, in general, such a system.

  • We could add an option to hide the bottom launcher ๐Ÿ™‚ so, with the scopes gone, it could be a replacement for the app scope.

  • Personally I'm not a big fan of the idea, to me it seems far to android-y.

    I like Ubuntu touch because it's Ubuntu touch, and I like it's personality.

    I don't mind some ideas, but I do much prefer the style of homepage that I've seen before.

    I'll try and find it, but it looked a bit like the today scope, except only had the weather and some apps.

    Personally, I think the homescreen would be nice if it you could edit a bit more, if you could have your weather, your row of apps, your row of music or friends or what ever you want, but I think it needs to keep the unique feel, I think if it wants to, it can be a bit more KDE or gnome inspired.

    There's a Android launcher which basically adds the windows 10 start button to your phone, I don't mind it, as it feels decent to me, but it's just windows 10 styled, I think we would be better imitating that, as it seems more like our kind of feeling than Android default.

    Another problem I see, is that you swipe from the left to get your launcher, then you pull it all the way to get home, then you pull down from the bottom to access all apps.

    The app draw means, you pull it from left to right slightly, you have your pinned apps, you pull it more and you have all your apps.

    It's quicker and more responsive, it might not be editable at the moment, but my opinion is that, you've got the coding skills, I bet you could make the app draw look and feel amazing and add new ability's to it, and make it keep it in the feeling and style of Ubuntu touch.

    That's just my opinion on the matter.

  • Hi everyone.
    Personally, I appreciate Brian's work and abilities, but I think the original idea of โ€‹โ€‹Ubuntu Touch and then Ubports is to have an innovative OS. Android, iOS, Plasma and other systems, revolve around more or less the same scheme: a grid of applications.
    Ubports has the sidebar that contains the "favorite" applications, so an alternative solution could be tested.
    I was thinking of proposing an idea that is based on entities called "universe" that are customizable in the home.
    Each "universe" is an icon (or logo) that can be pressed in two ways: quick click or long click.
    I can have, for example, a "universe" WORK and a "universe" FRIENDS. By clicking on the "universe" WORK, I will expand the links to the applications I choose to make belong to this universe (eg Dekko2, Contacts, Camera, Message).
    But this is not the "containers" of the apps in Android.
    Clicking on the Universe will expand the links to the applications contained around the logo.
    The links contained in the "universe" will pre-set the opening of the applications, based on specific parameters.
    For example, if you open Dekko from the "WORK" Universe, the app will show the work account, the address book will show the work contacts, Telegram will open on a specific group, etc.
    The same application (uniquely installed) can belong to several Universes.
    Around the Logo will be placed the simplified icons of the applications that notify, with the number corresponding to the notifications received.
    A long press on the Logo of the Universe will cause the drop-down to show the notifications referring to the specific Universe (the work email, a call from a work contact, etc.).
    Of course, it's just about presets: if I enter the contacts of the Universe FRIENDS, I can still manually select the display of the other contacts.
    It is not about using the multi-user typical of Linux systems. This, in fact, is designed to make use of the same device by multiple users. I think, instead, of a system that optimizes the device for the same person but for different uses.
    I hope I've been sufficiently clear.

  • I like the options that Sprint brings in terms of allowing a more standard Android-style app launch - although it would be nice if apps could be locked and unlocked on the grid more easily so they could be rearranged easier at will. But I definitely think besides the left-edge swipe favorite app launcher which I think needs to be kept - I would also like an option for a category based app browser too - something along the lines of say the Arc Menu extentsion for Gnome3 - with an "Alacarte" style menu editor so categories could be customized and icon choice customized as well.

    Best regards,
    Steve Berson

  • @giemme

    You're discussing context-based computing, in a way. Maybe you'd like to expand your thoughts in the Design section?

  • Thank you all for the great feedback! Some really great discussions coming out of this and hopefully we can continue this and turn out a great operating system!

    One thing that Sprint really suffers from right now is that its very rough and very early. It's not very well integrated with the rest of unity. I kinda ignored the launcher when making Sprint. That's probably something that we want to keep since it's uniquely Ubuntu. So rather than the current design in Sprint it might make sense to do away with the bottom "favorites" section and make sure the launcher is better suited for the most frequently used apps. At this point the app draw in the next big unity 8 release is a bit of an unknown. But once that's a reality then we should definitely look at how that will interact with Dash/Sprint.

    One thing that came up several times is how this has an Android-like feel too it. And I did borrow some ideas for other OSs. This is similar to how on my computer I'm running a "traditional" desktop environment that you could say has a Windows-like feel. But that doesn't mean that its bad. Being different for the sake of being different isn't always a good thing. I think we should take a look at what we want to focus on for Ubuntu Touch that makes it stand out when compared to other OSs. Things like privacy, security, openness, and convergence come to mind. Yes we should most certainly have our own style, we want people to know when they are running an Ubuntu Touch device. But right now the app scope doesn't really do us any favors as its very rigid and lacks any customization. Another thing to consider is onboarding new users. Borrowing ideas from other OSs can help ease users into using Ubuntu Touch.

    Due to the range of responses, I think it makes sense to include more customizations in the final solutions as people want different things out if their Ubuntu Touch. And the other take away (as mentioned above), is that we should come up with a few key features/points that we want to define Ubuntu Touch.

    Again thank you all for the feedback!

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