A developer asks: What should the Notes desktop really look like?

by Volker Weber

Are you still using the same desktop workspace in Notes that you were 10 years ago? Truth be told, it is a desktop paradigm that even looks ugly when compared to the Mac Finder interface in 1991. Although there have been attempts a replacement, most of us still use this dog of a UI with 32x32 pixel 16 color icons set into square blocks about 3 times that size. We can even organize these application icons any way we like - as long as we like gray on gray in a grid pattern. We can even have folder tabs to group your little square into families.

Why do we keep using this? Because the alternatives have been worse. Instead of focusing on what desktop users want out of an interface, IBM has for years combined mistaken approaches together into a huge waste of opportunity.

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Bullocks (love that word ;-)) - he want's to integrate everything into the operating system or even worse the folder system - that's so 1990. The bookmarks got way better with Notes 8 however I don't use them and I don't want to use them, because I have my dear workspace.

The workspace still exists because the users asked for it. It's easy to use, that's it.

Anyway you can make it prettier if you want - you linked to the tool few weeks ago. I did it and like it even more now.

Martin Hiegl, 2008-05-08

I hardly ever agree on anything with Andrew. :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-05-08

Martin, it’s “bollocks” :o)

Ben Poole, 2008-05-09

Would this task be assigned to Ray O, then? He holds right the position now to integrate his legacy directly into the Windows kernel. Uhh - don't mind.

Roland Leißl, 2008-05-09

@Martin -Help me understand what you're saying. Bookmarks are fine. In fact they're much better in R8. Oh, but you don't use them. You use a workspace file (as do I) that has remained largely unchanged since version 4, is totally closed (there is no non-api programmatic way to work with it), and has less flexibility than commonly used icon & folder systems from 1991, doesn't support ANY modern icon formats, image formats, or even custom colors. (sure, third party api tools exist, but we're talking product).

I want a modern icon/folder gui. I think he one built into the OS is the best pick, but that's not a show stopper for me.

Andrew Pollack, 2008-05-09

What if the fat notes client would disappear and you had only the applications/databases that are behind the tiles in workspace as icons on your desktop? Is that not the question that Andrew really asks?

Armin Auth, 2008-05-09

Andrew - and why?
Do you want eye candy? Fine, use the third party tools. The workspace does what it needs to do and looks how it have to look. Anything else regarding the looks maybe nice to have, but is nothing that would make it "better". It just works fine (- fine is the swabian great). I don't need to have a dashboardy thing there that sparkles and is transparent and where I can work the whole day on making my own icons and themes and whatever. For fun I used the third party tool but it doesn't change anything of the value.

Martin Hiegl, 2008-05-09


"Bookmarks are fine. In fact they're much better in R8."

Are they? I disagree. The Open button is an unnecessary click more and when you dock the list you lose the titles. Which makes the user to have to remember the order of folders since you can't use individual icons any more.

And to make things even worse, they removed the possibility to display bookmark folders as workspace which worked very fine for me.

Oliver Regelmann, 2008-05-10

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