Giving love to the Previewer

Very hard work has been done in these days to improve more and more the Previewer. The first thing i focused on was making a good DBus interface. Helped by Fabrizio Montesi (fmontesi on irc) i made some methods to allow a good integration with JOLIE. So these methods came out:

void openFile(QString filename)

void goToPage(uint page)

QString currentFile()

uint currentPage()

Actually goToPage and currentPage only work when an Okular part is loaded. They allow the client/server communication provided by JOLIE. You can have a look at this screencast made by Fabrizio to show JOLIE+Previewer working together =). http://jolie.sf.net/videos/vision-previewer.ogv

This works for most of you (Thank you Fabrizio): http://jolie.sf.net/videos/vision-previewer.avi

Btw there are also some graphical improvements to talk about =). First of all Nuno Pinheiro made a really nice icon for the Previewer. Currently it looks this way, enjoy:

the Previewer Icon

the Previewer Icon

Now let’s have a look to multiple previews handling. Previewer stores recently opened files in the context menu. Now we have a nicer and faster way to retrieve recently previewed files just by clicking on the left side of the dialog, where a list of recent files is shown. Pictures will talk in place of me =)

multiple previews

multiple previews

I made the list as “Plasmy” (awful term) as possible so that it looks not so alien as other widgets do. It reacts well to theme changing:

previewer glassified

previewer glassified

Nice huh? =)

Now, as you (ok, some of you =) ) noticed, there are two more icons near the close button. We got a trash:

the trash icon

the trash icon

As suggested by friedrich| on irc, some of you would need to delete some recently opened files from the history. So here comes that trash: click on it to remove the currently opened file both from the Previewer and from its history. Simple! =)

The second added icon is the resize one =). Since scrolling the wheel to resize the previewer was getting hateful for me i decided to make something different (more like is done for your applets on the desktop).

resize icon

resize icon

So, as the tooltip suggests, just drag that icon to resize your dialog. =)

Oh! Forgetting.. Some of you asked for an integration with Dolphin/Konqueror. Currently Previewer provides a service menu:

previewer and service menu

previewer and service menu

“Preview this file” sends the file to Previewer and shows it.. This isn’t a real Dolphin integration. Btw I’m keeping in touch with Peter Penz to integrate this behavior in Dolphin natively. It doesn’t seem so easy to implement but i’m sure that Peter will do a great job for this!! =)

That’s it guys. Of course comments are always welcome!

Cheers

Alessandro.

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33 Responses to “Giving love to the Previewer”


  1. 1 alterego July 23, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    This looks absolutely awesome!

  2. 2 tapichu July 23, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    bello, grazie!!
    I want to try it!

  3. 3 KarPer July 23, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    The trash icon should delete the file from the computer – the icon is used elsewhere (eg. Dolphin) and the user would expect it to trash the file. Plus, it will be handy to preview and trash a downloaded file quickly…

    Or, it could offer a dialog asking the user whether to delete file from history or computer.

    Eitherway, this plasmoid looks interesting. 🙂 Good job!

  4. 4 Francesco July 23, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Great! But to be completely honest, I would like something like “QuickLook” on MacOS X much more than a separate plasmoid… Pressing the space bar in the Finder/Dolphin is as easy as it gets.

  5. 5 mutlu July 23, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Hey Alessandro, this looks great! I am looking forward to my next checkout to play with it.

    I think you should reduce the size of the main applet’s borders, though. There is a lot of space wasted. People with small screen will be thankful.

    On, btw., the video crashes mplayer and vlc. Kplayer believes its play time is 2:25 hours and shows only black.

  6. 6 parena July 23, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    That really looks great. No idea if I would use it, but I’d just put it on my desktop for the fun of it! Great job. 🙂

  7. 7 Carlos Licea July 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Nice job, not sure If I’ll use it though, Konqueror is amazingly integrated, so, I fail to see the point. Good job anyway 😀

  8. 8 DimitrJye July 23, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    How beautiful. The last version was great. This version is just breathtaking. I think this will become a “must have” for me.

    DimitrJye

  9. 9 KDE Fan July 23, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    A wish finally comes true, if this is in dolphin as well you could beat mac osX’s quicklook.

  10. 10 Fri13 July 23, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    I dont get it 🙂
    If I want to look photo or a PDF file, I open it to okular or gwenview. If I want to browse photos or PDF files, I use digiKam for photos and Dolphin for PDF’s.

    I’m glad that some of you this is great thing, I dont get it but reason might be that I have not used that, so when I try it, I might get it and start liking it 😉

  11. 11 Luciano July 23, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    It looks quite nice 🙂
    However, I fail to see the point of this. Why would I drag a file to a plasmoid or use a context menu when i can simple click and open the file? Okular and Gwenview are fast and nice also for a simple preview.
    If the previewer it’s integrated with dolphin then that’s another story, because instead of having to open the file i can simple hover or click and preview multiple files in a comfortable way (like other desktop environments do).
    Nonetheless, good job 🙂

  12. 12 Kevin Krammer July 23, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    While watching the video I thought about another use case:
    what if the previewer could show the next page of the PDF instead of the current one, e.g. for example when doing a talk, the PDF viewer would be displayed on the projector and the previewer on the computer’s main monitor, allowing the speaker to see what is coming up next.

  13. 13 Alessandro Diaferia July 23, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Fri13, Luciano a use case: try thinking of having that plasmoid in your panel with a keyshortcut (maybe spacebar) integrated in dolphin. Your desktop is covered by many windows and you have just downloaded a huge amount of files (e.g. 3 text files and 2 PDFs). Now you have 3 + 2 = 5 files you want to check. You can open then one by one: so you open the first text file, quickly read its content, then close it, open the second and the third (2 more windows on the desktop) and look for something in both. Then you remember something missing in the first text file, so you open it again (now 3 windows on your desktop). Ok, you understand that the third file is unuseful so you delete it. You don’t need anymore the text files so you close 3 windows. Now the same happens for the 2 PDFs. One window each, compare, chose, close. Ok, now imagine you have previewer loaded in your panel: just drag your files on it. They are quickly all available for reading: check them, browse them with the on-left list and then close 5 files in one click! I think it is useful =) Btw thanks for your opinion, i think your doubts are common for this brand new plasmoid =)

    Have a look at this also, it is fun =) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqjH0_E4pxQ

    Cheers

  14. 14 miro July 23, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I wonder wheter you have seen this
    http://www.gnome.org/~federico/docs/2008-GUADEC/html/index.html

    In a nutshell, provide a nice timeline widget for displaying your “recent” documents.

    Somehow I feel like this would be a nice addition (or maybe a nice idea for another plasmoid?).

    Keep up the great work, cheers.

  15. 15 Luciano July 23, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    @Alessandro: I didn’t thought on the possibility of dragging multiple files at ones, now that makes more sense 🙂

    About the video, i think it’s pretty cool and useful. If we can have that functionality and eye-candy it would be awesome 😀

  16. 16 Alessandro Diaferia July 23, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Someone suggested another use case (thanks friedrich| ): you install some software you’ve never used before. It gives you Readme/Documentation and installs instructions in three different files while you need to config/setup your app on the terminal: just open the files with previewer and switch among them. Then close them when you finish =)

  17. 17 Robert Knight July 23, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    As other commenters have said, you need to offer an improvement over just opening the file by clicking on it. I have some thoughts on limitations of Dolphin that I encounter:

    1) The current ‘preview’ function in Dolphin/Nautilus etc. only shows one frame or page from multi-page documents/videos etc. This might make it hard to find the right document if they all look alike on the first page.

    For example, there is a photo program (one of Apple’s I think) which allows you to flip through photo album’s by moving the mouse from left-to-right over the album’s icon – as though there was an invisible slider. The same approach could work

    2) There is no way to quickly ‘zoom in’ on a preview of one or more icons in Dolphin and see more detail – ideally up to a readable version of the page.

    For zooming in, it would be useful perhaps to have a ‘zoom slider’ (like that found in KOffice 2 apps) to easily resize all icons in the view.

    I realize that both of these are focused more around Dolphin than desktop widgets (with Plasma) but I think that would be more useful to focus on.

    Finally, the other thing is that the KParts which are themed using the grey Oxygen style + white background do not look right on the black background that comes with the Plasma theme. This might require changes in the KParts to get rid of the white background and show the background behind.

  18. 18 Robert Knight July 23, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    > For example, there is a photo program (one of Apple’s I think)
    > which allows you to flip through photo album’s by moving the mouse
    >from left-to-right over the album’s icon – as though there was an
    > invisible slider. The same approach could work

    Sorry, I’m having a slow day. That should read:

    For example, there is a photo program (one of Apple’s I think) which allows you to flip through photo albums by moving the mouse from left-to-right over the album’s icon – as though there was an invisible slider. The same approach could work for folders/documents/multimedia in Dolphin.

  19. 19 claes July 24, 2008 at 1:05 am

    It is really good that you and Peter cooperate about this. Dolphin would be a lot better if it could show better previews. A common use case: From time to time I tidy up my home directory and I need to have a quick look at files to determined if they should be moved, removed or kept. For this to work well, I want to quickly get an idea what the file is about. For text files, I must be able to read the text.
    Dolhins current preview is not working well with text files – I can’t read that preview because it is too small. I hope you can improve this situation!

  20. 20 kwilliam July 24, 2008 at 2:26 am

    This is pretty cool! However, I like the Quicklook video, where the previewer has no border. Maybe you could make the border thinner, with the thumbnails, forward/back, resize, and trash buttons at the bottom. Also, does plasmoid really need a close button? I would intuit that the previewer disappears when it loses focus, since it’s meant just to temporarily glance at files, rather than open them like Gwenview or Okular.

    Assuming it gets integrated and works nicely, this would be a great feature for Dolphin! I’m assuming you launch it with a shortcut key, or maybe just hovering over the file for a few seconds.

    p.s. I also could not open the .ogv file. It crashed VLC and Dragon player, and was a silent, black video in Kaffeine.

  21. 21 mike wyatt July 24, 2008 at 5:00 am

    in reply to comment #40 (https://alediaferia.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/giving-love-to-the-previewer/#comment-40):

    “try thinking of having that plasmoid in your panel with a keyshortcut (maybe spacebar) integrated in dolphin”

    that would be great. but wouldn’t the plasmoid shortcut need to be a global one? so each time the space bar is pressed the preview applet is activated. whether it be intentional or not

    ” Your desktop is covered by many windows and you have just downloaded a huge amount of files (e.g. 3 text files and 2 PDFs) … ”

    I’m not sure if your aim is to compete with leopard’s quicklook, but it still has you beat here. with quicklook you can select and arbitrary number of documents, hit space, easily flick back and forth through them, full screen, create a slideshow, view all. maybe more but I think that’s the most of it

    don’t get me wrong I think this plasmoid is a great idea, just the usefulness of it isn’t very obvious. like if it’s hidden under a window on your desktop there’s not even a way for KDE to hide windows and show the desktop using a hotcorner

  22. 22 Fri13 July 24, 2008 at 9:15 am

    I still dont get it. But the reason is not the plasmoid, but on me. Because I’m slave of my habits, I cant (yet) understand the idea, even that I have seen before that Apple’s quicklook on leopard.
    I dont bash the idea, I think it will be great for new users who does not yet have same basic habits what they do everytime. New users do not have to learn away the old habits and old way of thinking how to do preview.

    I hope that quickpreview can be set to own shortcut, example of middleclick when using a filemanager (dolphin, konqueror or folderview) so when you middle click file, you get it opened for there.

    It has potential but I cant just understand it yet, I need more information about it, I need to use it 😉

  23. 23 mike wyatt July 24, 2008 at 10:16 am

    “I cant (yet) understand the idea, even that I have seen before that Apple’s quicklook on leopard”

    it’s meant to quite literally be a “quick look”. saying you don’t see a point to it is like saying you don’t see a point to thumbnails

    example: opening photoshop can take longer than you’d like when you’re just trying to review some work. pressing space and having a high-quality thumbnail come up is much faster than loading the program

    also, mimetypes can be associated with quicklook generators. a couple of useful ones are folders (hit space on a folder to view it’s size and contents. hitting space then right, right, right, … is faster for reviewing compared to entering the folder, reviewing, going up one level, right, … ) and compressed files. you also don’t have to leave the finder or have your desktop cluttered with windows

  24. 24 Alessandro Diaferia July 24, 2008 at 10:22 am

    @mike wyatt:

    “but wouldn’t the plasmoid shortcut need to be a global one? so each time the space bar is pressed the preview applet is activated. whether it be intentional or not”

    the shortcut should be active only in a file view.. no need for a global shortcut i think..

    “I’m not sure if your aim is to compete with leopard’s quicklook, but it still has you beat here. with quicklook you can select and arbitrary number of documents, hit space, easily flick back and forth through them, full screen, create a slideshow, view all. maybe more but I think that’s the most of it”

    my aim is to create something useful. When i started Previewer just for fun i didn’t know about Quicklook =) Btw i like so many features of it that i’ll try to reproduce some.. My previewer is still very young =)

    “like if it’s hidden under a window on your desktop there’s not even a way for KDE to hide windows and show the desktop using a hotcorner”

    i can’t get what you mean. Previewer’s dialog can stay on top of other windows always visible so that you can continue checking a text file while copying its content on a konsole maybe..

    Thanks a lot for your comment mike 😉

  25. 25 Smarter July 25, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    It looks cool, but I think the trash-icon-to-remove-from-history is not very useful, instead you could add an entry “clean the history” in the context menu.
    Anyway, nice job 😉

  26. 26 Smarter July 25, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    I think I’ve found a way to crash plasma with it:
    1) drag’n’drop a folder on the plasmoid
    2) drag’n’drop something from the folder preview on the previewer
    3) Boom.
    Can you reproduce this?

  27. 27 Vide July 25, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    To all those who donn’t understand why use preview in dolphin (more than in a plasmoid, where actually it doesn’t have a lot of sense), when there are dedicated program to actually view the file, the answer is simple: in a perfect, ideal world, the ONLY way to view documents should be the “preview” way, with an “edit” button to modify the document, if needed, This, for every kind of document (and I’m talking about simple changes). If you need to accomplish more complex tasks, then a full blown program will be your option.
    But viewer like okular IMO, in the long run, should die.

    Yes, I know it sounds like Konqueror 😛 but done right this time 🙂

  28. 28 Alessandro Diaferia July 25, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    @Smarter: Previewer’s behavior with folders has changed in the last commits, try it =)

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