Main menu: a new structure?

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admin
Gephi Community Manager
Posts: 964
Joined: 09 Dec 2009 14:41

Main menu: a new structure?

Post by admin » 26 Jan 2011 22:41

Hi,

I propose a new structure for the Gephi main menu, which is sometime ambiguous. In italic are actions that could exist in the future.

Project
-- New
-- Open
-- Save
-- Save As
-- Close
-- Exit


Graph
-- Open
-- Open Recent
-- Import from Spreadsheet
-- Import from Spigot
-- Import from Database
-- Generate
-- Export
-- Export to Database


Workspace
-- New
-- Clean
-- Delete
-- Rename
-- Duplicate


View
-- Guided
-- Expert
-- Full Screen


Window, Plugins and Help remains the same but Tools which should be renamed because of a confusion with graph tools. What about "Platform"?

The Guided or Expert view would just show a simplified UI of the full one.

An alternative is to merge the menus of Project and Graph like Photoshop do with PSD files: they contain more information than all other formats for Photoshop edition, but they only appear on loading and saving an image. Then the "Save" or "Save As" buttons would save only the current workspace if the output format is not ".GEPHI".

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rotten
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Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by rotten » 26 Jan 2011 23:17

I agree, the current menu configuration is confusing.

add to Workspace
tile
minimize
choose

Options
Language
System (Info (Heap Footprint), OpenGL, Network (proxy servers), KeyMap)
Defaults (colors, fonts, background)
Manage Plugins
Check for Updates (Why is "check for updates" under 'Help'?)


It took me a long time to even realize there was such a thing as "Workspace". Unfortunately most of my graphs are too big to use that feature anyhow.

I've never understood the difference between "Plugins" and "Tools/Plugins", except that "Plugins" is always empty.

Would a print button be someday rendered on the preview or graph pane, or should it be something that is menu accessible? ('print graph', 'print data')

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jacomyma
Gephi Core Developer
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Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by jacomyma » 27 Jan 2011 09:33

I agree on the diagnostic, not on the solution.
New users I know told me several times that it would be more logical to have only one "open" menu item. So the straightforward solution is to fuse "open" and "import" processes in a single function "open". Your solution brings more separation, which is the contrary.

Straightforward solutions are not necessary the best, but I think this one is a good one, for these reasons:

- Import / open is technical distinction. The difference is not very clear to the user.

- If you know the difference between a project and a graph, then the difference between opening a project and opening a graph is clear. The fusion is good for advanced users.

- Users that do not know the difference between a project and a graph always work with a single graph. In this case Open and Import do the same thing essentially. The fusion is also good for beginners.

- Some softwares, like OpenOffice Calc, use this solution, and it works well. (.CSV is like our graphs, and .ODS is like our projects, containing several spreadsheets and settings).

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seinecle
Gephi Community Support
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Location: Lyon, France
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Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by seinecle » 27 Jan 2011 22:20

"Yes" to what Mathieu just said.

admin
Gephi Community Manager
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Joined: 09 Dec 2009 14:41

Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by admin » 02 Feb 2011 22:16

OK, so here is what we would get:


File
-- New
-- Open Graph File
-- Open Recent File
-- Open Spreadsheet
-- Open from Social Network
-- Open from Database
-- Generate
-- Save
-- Save As
------------- Graph File
------------- Spreadsheet
------------- SVG/PDF File
------------- Database
-- Properties
-- Close
-- Exit


Workspace
-- Select
-- New
-- Clean
-- Delete
-- Rename
-- Duplicate


View
-- Guided
-- Expert
-- Full Screen


Options
-- Options
-- Language
-- Manage Plugins


Help
-- Online doc and support
-- Check for Updates
-- About

Notes:
A projet .gephi is considered as a graph file.
There are many items for open/import data. It may be a problem, but as Gephi choose the right importer based on the file extension, we can't merge the spreasheet import (csv) because csv is already defined for matrix import.
Workspace > Select shows a workspace list as menu items


@rotten
Workspaces can't be minimized, the UI is not made for.

The System and Defaults items in Options are good ideas, however I don't know if NetBeans allows to split options like this. We'll see.

Tools and Help menu are provided by Netbeans platform. The Tools menu is a problem because the tools in Gephi are related to something particular. I don't know to what extend we can change this, but we'll investigate. The Plugins menu is available for plugins adding menu actions; Maybe we can hide it to avoid confusion of most users.

Print data or preview rendering is not coded. But raw data can be exported as CSV from the Data Lab, and PDF are printable, so it is not a priority.


Btw, I'd like to propose something non conventional, tell me what you think about that:

Gephi
-- Start (welcome window)
-- Options
-- Language
-- Manage Plugins
-- Check for Updates
-- Online doc and support
-- About
-- Exit


Data
-- New
-- Open Graph File
-- Open Recent File
-- Open Spreadsheet
-- Open from Social Network
-- Open from Database
-- Generate
-- Save
-- Save As
------------- Graph File
------------- Spreadsheet
------------- SVG/PDF File
------------- Database
-- Properties
-- Close


Workspace
-- Select
-- New
-- Clean
-- Delete
-- Rename
-- Duplicate


View
-- Guided
-- Expert
-- Full Screen

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jacomyma
Gephi Core Developer
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Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by jacomyma » 03 Feb 2011 15:09

Your two suggestions are better to me! By the way I still have several comments and finally I'll make my own suggestion, based on yours.

- "Social Network" should be an "Import" and not "Open". Every source impossible to write should be "import", like web 2.0 APIs etc.

- "File" and "Edit" menu items are such essential landmarks that we shouldn't get rid of them. Basically, File is hosting "open" and Edit is hosting "copy/paste". Even Google Chrome (that has such a non-conventional menu) keeps an "Edit" section for copy/paste. We do not have copy/paste for the moment, but I guess when we will have it, we will need this menu.

- In your non conventional suggestion, the "Data" menu is actually a "File" menu, except that it is named "Data"...

- Your non-conventional menu is more compact, that is a very good point. I want more!

- The "Gephi" menu is a good idea, quite modern. A complementary improvement might be to use menu subsections (we find it typically in Firefox 4). I'm thinking of "file" and "edit" subsections in the "Gephi" menu.

- It is also common to have a menu dedicated to obvious objects you manipulate. It might be a good idea to keep a "Graph" menu, but only for functions specific to graphs (not a "file"-like menu like in your first suggestion). One may find that everything is related to graphs in Gephi, but I remind that Photoshop as well has an "Image" menu... If we have a Graph menu, it will take many options from your "Data"/"File" menu, and then the remaining "File" options might go inside the "Gephi" menu ("File" will become an unnamed subsection, like in Chrome and Firefox 4).

- And also... I would put "language" in options (you'll go in options to find it, so nobody will miss it). I think your idea to give a good place to doc & help is interesting. Putting it just below the "start" panel creates an interesting association (and a bit provocative). The same way I would replace "rename workspace" by "properties" (of the workspace) because it might gather other similar function later (such as a color, a description...).

So, this a proposition following these guidelines :

Gephi
-- Start (welcome window)
-- Online doc and support
---
-- Open
-- Open recent...
-- Save
---
Edit (just a label)
-- Copy
-- Cut
-- Paste
---
-- View
------------- Guided
------------- Expert
-- Full Screen
---
-- Options
-- Manage Plugins
-- Check for Updates
-- About
---
-- Quit


Workspace
-- New (workspace)
-- Select
---
-- Duplicate
-- Clean
-- Delete
--
-- Properties


Graph
-- New (graph)
-- Generate
---
-- Import
-- Export
------------- Graph File
------------- Spreadsheet
------------- SVG/PDF File
------------- Database
---
-- Properties

admin
Gephi Community Manager
Posts: 964
Joined: 09 Dec 2009 14:41

Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by admin » 08 Feb 2011 23:39

I agree with your proposal!

In the same effort to improve the semantic, I wonder how the modes/tabs could be renamed here. Overview and Preview are too generic, it is never crystal clear when I have to talk about this separation.

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jacomyma
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Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by jacomyma » 09 Feb 2011 08:36

I'm glad I can still contribute to Gephi at some level ^^ !

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mbastian
Gephi Architect
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Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by mbastian » 13 Feb 2011 05:47

Some remarks about your proposals. I agree with many of your points, but I would try to make it a little simpler and with a smoother transition. As far as I understand the major point is the merge of the two "opens" anyway :-)

- I'm not convinced a Gephi menu make more sense than the traditional 'File'. Moreover, on Mac there is already a Gephi menu created by the OS.

- A Graph menu is too confusing, as graph means too much things. We often like to say Networks instead of graphs also.

My attempt to include everyone's main point:

File
-- New
-- Open
-- Open Recent
-- Close
-- Properties
-- Import from Spigot
-- Import from Database
-- Generate
-- Save
-- Save As
-- Export
-- Export to Database
-- Exit

Workspace
-- New
-- Clean
-- Delete
-- Properties
-- Duplicate

Options
-- Preferences
-- Language
-- Plugins

View
-- Full Screen

Windows
- …

Help
- Online doc and support
- Check for updates

Compared to the existing versions, I think we fix ambiguous things. It's less innovating that some of your ideas, but as far as I know the menu structure is not a major complain from our users, except the open! ;)

admin
Gephi Community Manager
Posts: 964
Joined: 09 Dec 2009 14:41

Re: Main menu: a new structure?

Post by admin » 13 Feb 2011 10:06

"If I asked my customers what they want, they simply would have said a faster horse" H. Ford :D

The main issue is about MacOS X now...I really would love the new menu. Maybe we can have an try on a dedicated branch?

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