I’ve noticed that all the settings or preferences as they are known in Haiku are all separate apps grouped in a Preferences folder on the Deskbar. Maybe we could consider merging all these apps and creating a unified Preferences app? For starters it would mean users wouldn’t have to open multiple apps to change multiple settings, and with just one app for preferences, it would likely be easier for the developers to maintain. I should also note that on every other operating system all the settings are accessed through one unified settings app.
What does everyone else think? Should we create a unified preferences app or is it not worth the time?
The users would still have to open multiple menus or tabs (or whatever the app would use) to access different settings or you would have all settings on one page, which would probably be not very convenient. I don´t see how that would achieve anything, except adding one more layer of complexity.
That´s not a real reason to do it the same way. That said, under windows the settings applets in control panel are separate (.cpl files). I don´t know if it is the same in the “new” settings app in Windows 10.
As @brunobastardi mentioned, what you described was already done as part of GSOC. It is called SuperPrefs and available in Haikudepot/pkgman. Try it and let us know if you think it is better than the settings menu in Deskbar.
I agree that the unified way helps, even experienced users. And probably prefer the SuperPrefs. It seems that my eyes locate what I search easier in that layout compared to the tree approach. I think I had some small problem last time I used them but don’t remember now.
Having said that, although tried SuperPrefs, I ended up using quicklaunch to invoke directly the preferences I want. Certainly, I use very rarely the menu navigation way to open preferences.
In Linux land, the desktop environments with Gnomish inheritance (GNOME, Mate, Cinnamon and probably other GTK based) use both the centralized settings application and all settings as separate applications.
Maybe putting SuperPrefs in Applications menu and all the rest in Preferences would help.
KDE’s System Settings app looks a lot like the Zeta one, but with some evolutionary changes:
Seems like a potentially good source of inspiration for a unified settings app, especially since each of the different settings segments or modules can also be accessed individually from app menus just like in Haiku.
It’s in HaikuDepot though it would need some love due to input changes. It is still usable but the button for inputs appears in Customs prefs when it should appear in I/O section. There you have buttons for keyboards , mouse and touchpads leading to nowhere…
As for apps section, IMHO, Quicklaunch does a better job.
Another thing is that those flat buttons are custom made and so different depending of the app. The problem is that they are not working well with all themes.
Mail is another app using flat buttons. there, as they are using colours that are not supposed to match together (control text coulour on panel background colour when inactive), it can even be unreadable.
There should be one kind shared by all, looking good and working well.
The Haiku development team is not interested in having a single preference panel where you have to search for the setting you’re after, and get lost in it. Even less so in SuperPrefs, which is just a launcher for the existing preference panels.
Our plan is to simplify the preferences panels a bit, we have started by merging mouse, touchpad, and keyboard into a single “Input” panel (and will somehow integrate keymaps and shortcuts into it as well). We will continue the same approach of selectively merging preference panels with related functionalities (next will probably be merging date and time with Locale).
It is easier to access the preferences from the deskbar menu, and it looks nicer. If you try to put a list of preferences in a list on the side, what you get is a difficult to navigate window where you have a list of preference categories, some of them having a list of items to pick from (eg. media preferences), with each item of the list then having multiple tabs to browse. This is not a good user experience. The alternative is something like Windows 10, with a top level window and then subwindows for each preference category. Then you need to add next/previous buttons to get back to the homescreen. And we do not need such a complex thing just for a few preference items.
What we should do is either eliminate the “blue folders” or complete their support in Tracker so they can show in icon view again. Then you can open the Preferences menu in Tracker and easily open your preferences from there. Simple, no custom code needed, reuse an already known UI.
The BeControlLook API has code for drawing flat buttons (by setting the B_FLAT flag). Apps not using that yet should be fixed.
I usually just map cmd+shift+P to the keyboard to open /boot/system/preferences (iirc, I might have the path wrong) and use type-ahead filtering to get to the preference I’m looking for and press return (or enter). Works just as fast as the search bar in System Preferences or Settings on my stuff – saying this because if something like this was the default, it’d be a lot easier than writing a separate app