Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hotkeys may be hotter than I thought

write 'em all, and you'll be fine!
Since my work on "Icaros Settings" (the applet that inherits old preferences scripts like "services" and "AmiBridge") is almost finished, I turned my attention back on another side of user experience: the GUI. Magellan is now in a good shape, with toolbars and menus including the most common options users are expected to... well... use, but now that they are almost OK, it's time to set keyboard shortcuts. Well, this is exactly the kind of tasks that I've always underextimated. Setting two or three cutom keystrokes for a few options in a program is a fair easy task, just choose cosy ones and you're OK. Taking a decision for about 50 different operations, however, is a completely different matter. First of all, you have different modifier keys you can use: lAros, rAros, lalt, ralt, shift and ctrl. Then, your options will act on different targets: there will be options that just open or modify listers, others that will make modifications to files, other again that will work on folders, and you immediately realize that some sort of coherence about keys is needed. First of all, there are Wanderer shortcuts what must be replicated, and they are a good starting point. Then, there are Windows, Mac or Linux common hotkeys that new users simply expect to work on Icaros too. In the end, there are a few default Magellan ones some people (actually a few people) might be accustomed to, but - sorry - these are the one I immediately sacrified. In the end, there are new ones I chose to make all hotkeys somehow coherent and consistent. Just look at the photo, and you'll figure out the work I'm doing. Some of them will be defined for listers, others for toolbars, other again will be global hotkeys, but in the end the most difficult part is... not using the same hotkeys for more options, and deal with FKey and AmiStart ones as well!