I would like to discuss a topic that may be a little outside the subject of Haiku coding but is very important to Haiku success overall and certainly important to Alpha R2. The subject is Haiku New User Experience.
When a new user installs Haiku for the first time they will give Haiku a test drive for 10 – 15 minutes and then begin to ask critical questions: What can I do with Haiku that is fun, entertaining, or productive? What makes Haiku different from Windows, Mac, Linux? Why should I switch to Haiku? Unfortunately if someone just installs the Alpha release they will not get answers to these questions, they may even become frustrated and abandon their new installation.
The answer to an excellent Haiku New User Experience is in the applications. There are dozens of new Haiku applications. There are many hundreds of legacy BeOS applications. Most are archived by Karl on haikuware.com but many other great applications are scattered on various web sites. In theory Haikuware has a rating system to help differentiate good from bad apps. But the rating system is seldom filled out by people so it is of little use.
So we have many hundreds of applications and we need to sort out the really good ones so users can have excellent applications. I would like to propose 3 phases to collect the best Haiku/BeOS applications:
- Everyone nominates their favorite applications
- Applications are tested for usability, stability, support, coolness, and Haiku-ness
- We create a guide for the Haiku New User Experience outlining recommended applications and how best to experience Haiku
There are several serious benefits to this plan:
- We create a list of tested, recommended Haiku applications
- People who are non-technical can get involved in testing and rating
- Testing important applications can generate a focused and prioritized bug list to fix things sooner rather than later
- People who are reviewing Haiku for publications will have a good list to start with
- We can rediscover old BeOS applications that are mostly forgotten
- The final list of applications can be put onto Alpha R3 or the Beta disc
- To do this does not take a lot of effort and does not slow down R2 development
I have discussed this project with a number of developers and everyone agrees it is not a bad idea. OK, how do we start? We start by signing up on haikuware.com if you have not already done so, and go to the Applications Review forum at http://haikuware.com/forum/application-reviews . Once there, list as many applications as you would recommend, and include reasons why you recommend each application. Categories for recommendation are usability, stability, support, coolness, and Haiku-ness or something else you want to add. Once we get enough submissions we can put out a call for testing volunteers and start usability testing.
Please join us on haikuware and contribute your list of recommended apps. Discussion is welcome!