Share, Like and Connect
An important part of the Plasma Active Contour user interface is the connection between the objects that i can view with my tablet, like images, webpages, and documents with the current activity, to help to organize your work and fun.
I already wrote here about the activity screen: the main Contour workspace will show everything that is related to the activity and is the natural evolution of the Plasma Desktop activities (that will evolve in this direction as well as the integration with applications becomes deeper;)
The screencast below shows the usage in practiche of the concept I'm going to explain in the next paragraphs: Share Like Connect (SLC).
It also shows towards the end the progress of the Active image viewer application, a touch friendly image viewer that deeply integrates with the Contour UI in terms of Look&feel and technology, since uses Nepomuk as metadata storage backend and supports SLC
So we have an interesting UI problem: easily buildthis relationship between objects and activities with just one click (or so;) without having to navigate trough an over complicated user interface.
So, we have a simply search interface right into the workspace, it works well for many use cases and is really simple, but what if I'm browsing a website and want to add exactly that website in my activity? (or a photo I'm viewing, or a document I'm working on Calligra...)
Copy the url of the website, go to the workspace and paste it somewhere? a bit overkill, isn't it?
Have some UI in the web browser that lets me add the current site to the activity? Definitely better, but we would end up with a different implementation, and a slightly different UI for each application.. can we avoid that?
We also noticed how similar this problem was to another one: is very common that while I'm viewing something i want to share it with someone in some way: I could want to upload on flickr a photo that I've just taken, or I may want to send via email to someone a PDF that I'm reading right now.
On the desktop the current workflow is to leave your current application, go to the web broser or email client, search the file again and upload/send it.
On mobile platforms things looks a bit more convenient: many applications have built in the possibility to share the currently open file to some services, but each application has its own implementation, often having a slightly different ui to do the same thing, or support to different web services, maybe because the developers of the application wanted to push their own services (a random example starting with G comes to mind ;)
So, get back to the problem of connecting the current open "thing" to the current activity (avoiding "file" by purpose, since could be something that is not a file at all, like an URL) is similar to wanting to share this same thing with someone, or rate it, or add a tag, tweet it, like on Facebook...
Since we already log what is the currently open object (for how long, how often etc..) to be able to log history and construct recommendations, the external workspace knows this information.
We can provide actions in a global menu in the top panel to perform those tasks, divided under 3 menus: Share (upload on web services, send by email), Like, (rating, bookmarks, "like" on web services), Connect (connect to the current activity, to an event in the calendar, etc).
A first version of this global menu will be available with the first release of Plasma Active, and will eventually make its way to Plasma Desktop as well.