Rethinking the UI of HaikuDepot

Personally, I love Haikudepot. I find it much easier to use than similar things in Windows or Linux.

Where I have problems is knowing which software is best for a particular purpose. Most people know Libreoffice, so that is easy, but as was mentioned in another thread there is not a lot of easily-found information on less commonly-used applications. Here I suspect that a webpage, or website, even a blog, would work well. It would be possible to read reviews and comments by experienced users, and then, having chosen an app, you would go to the depot and download it.


It’s basically states how “easy” it is to reach buttons, control elements, etc. in a user interface, if the distance is greater the buttons are harder to reach, and it is harder if the difference differs a lot.

I still see nothing wrong with that App Store screenshot. Everything is padded properly, and it’s easy to browse the particular category in a nice carousel.

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It is a list that extends to the right, which is /nowhere/ in haiku, the HIG assumes some a priori knowledge of users, and this isn’t included afaik, i see very little justification to add it here, it’s not easy to use and it goes against the rest of the UI style harshly. What is wrong with a nomral list style?

Various App Store interfaces are not usually replicated in other parts of the OS, this is true for Win, macOS, and some Linux distributions that I’ve tried. App Stores have a different UI, which is understandable because they have a different purpose.

This particular widget has a clear right arrow, that indicates a carousel. It is definitely understandable.

There is nothing wrong with a normal list style, it just doesn’t suit for a more visual App Store approach.

I couldn`t agree more with that :+1:


All packages view allows to see packages that don’t belong in any category.
It can be the case for something you packaged yourself. i.e you made a package for wallpapers and few documents that you have to allow quick reinstall.
I think that as long as we don’t have gazillions of categories they could fit as a bar of icons (with a size similar to user icon here?) on the left of the list. And, I would reduce size of featured packages to allow to display a bit more.

There is nothing wrong with new widgets as long as they are within the Haiku look and feel.

Anyway, too much off-topic.

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The “scroll to the right” thing seems a bad idea to me. It is used elsewhere because they expect people to swipe through it with touchscreens. We have mousewheels instead, so the natural scroll direction is in the other direction.

The basic idea is fine (having staff picks, categories, etc), but the realization should use our usual widgets and conventions. Not just blindly copy how it was done in other OS which have different choices and constraints.


I’m not saying scroll to the right is the best in Haiku context, but it’s still a UI convention.

All showcase related applications (application stores, online streaming services) have it, because it is useful, and allows high content density in a relatively short screen area.

Although it has been first used in touch based interfaces, now nearly all modern touch pads on laptops have gestures, and they are incredibly useful. It makes the hand feel like an extension to the computer, and once you get used to it, it’s hard to go back to mouse-only navigation (for disclaimer, I use a trackball and my laptop’s touchpad interchangeably).

I like to think that Haiku folks are cautious about it because they are not accustomed to it yet, due to lack of proper touchpad drivers. Correct me if I’m wrong.

None of my computers have a touchpad:

  • My desktop does not have a touchpad
  • My laptop touchpad is disabled (but drivers are working fine, thanks). I use the trackpoint instead

You can’t assume a touchpad is available for Haiku users. And the HIG explicitly says tyo not use gestures as the main way to interact with something. They are nice as shortcuts, but not as the main way to do something. Hey, we even support 1-button mouses!


Gestures are never used as main interaction, that seems somehow obvious. They are always complementary, so I do not see a problem here. As seen on the screenshot I posted, it’s possible to navigate the carousel with a click on the right arrow (that seems obvious too).

In that case, the main expected way to interact is with the gesture, and the arrow is there as a backup. It is a similar situation to scrollbars in modern OS (that only show up when you hover the mouse at the right place and are inconvenient to grab). The scrollbar is still there, but it’s very annoying to use, and if you complain about it, the developer will tell you “why are you doing that? use your scrollwheel”


I never have a touchpad on my PCs. I use mainly the mouse to interact with them and only use keyboard when necessary. I read the menu then pick my choice. It’s slower but works in every conditions even when you discover new things.
At the opposite, devs have frequently hands on keyboard and will tend to use it. As they spend hours using same editors, they will learn keyboard shortcuts and use the pointing device only if necessary.
IMHO, horizontal scroll isn’t intuitive, exception of both ends, you never know where you are on the list. If you make pics too big it takes hours scrolling to find what you are looking for and, if they are too small the mess is bigger than with vertical scroll

In Haiku context, it is possible to solve this problem by using a prominent button shape (like all Haiku buttons are), or use a standard horizontal in-window scrollbar.

It does not seem like a HIG-fundamental issue to me, it’s just displaying content in a different layout.

Very true. It’s a real nuisance.

There’s some interesting perspectives ^.

I’m focusing now on getting to a state of compiling with no scary warnings + getting HPKG parsing in HDS working for various reasons. Then as time permits I might bookmark this thread, pause and draw together some of these ideas.


I also agree with @PulkoMandy and @Starcrasher on this. Horizontal scrolling seems a bad idea to me. I also have serious problem on other OS GUIs where they now use scrollbars as second class citizens and you need to search to find it and it’s not always easy to grab it. We certainly need to improve the layout of “Featured packages” list (which displays an annoyingly small amount of items) but this is not the way.

And since I am on this, this is what I think of HaikuDepot:

  1. Name is totally fine
  2. Featured packages area, already commented, needs improvement to display more information
  3. I think categories work well
  4. I always had a confusion on where the search exactly applies. Now I just realized that it applies to the tab that is active on screen, which I find consistent. Don’t know if my confusion means something or not.

In general, for my needs, I think HaikuDepot works well enough and we need to be very cautious when doing changes to its UI. It’s simple, fast and good in user feedback.

I have used various software stores on Linux for many years now and they are not better. My main problem, most of the times, was some weird lag and lack of on time feedback on whether something was actually installed or not. Things have improved and bugs have been eliminated for the most part. But I never had such a problem with HaikuDepot’s feedback on application installation.

Concluding, I agree with the general approach of welcoming a newcomer with a tour on the desktop, maybe showing WebPositive with the user guide and even putting a HaikuDepot link on the desktop.


I wish HaikuDepot were more tracker like. It shouldn’t be another app to learn. I’d like if it were a seamless part of the Haiku UI.

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The best rated software should make its way to the featured list.
And so it should be possible to move the low rated ones out of the featured list.
It looks strange if there is a 2 star rated software in the featured list.
Featured = Recommended? Is it not the same?

Btw.: I still waiting for the “date added” column

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