Jan Grulich

Final shape of plasma-nm

We are probably in the end of our journey to improve design and usability of plasma-nm and new release is almost behind the door. There are still some small design issues in the current design, but it’s almost impossible to find a designer with spare time and especially now, where everything is about Plasma 2. This is also probably the last major change for KDE 4/Plasma 1 and we should move on and focus to KDE 5/Plasma 2. Currently we are working on a new model, which is going to be same for the applet and the editor, so the editor will be more powerful. I would like to also have a new kcm, but this is for further future.

If you want to try it, you can compile plasma-nm from git (master branch), but you also need a new version of libnm-qt (NM/0.9.8 branch). Or if you are a Fedora user, you can install it from COPR repository. Otherwise you will have to wait for your distro packagers or for new tarballs.

19 thoughts on “Final shape of plasma-nm

  1. Wow, this is looking REALLY nice, easy to use and still powerful.
    Congrats to everyone involved.

  2. Airplane mode is confusing, when it’s enabled it’s not easy for the user to spot that everything else is disabled. One simple way to fix that would to replace the empty connection list with a big airplane icon and the text “Airplane mode activated, click here to enable network connections again.” or something like that. The fact that you have to click two times on the “connect” button to connect is still highly confusing (I predict that most people will click the connect button, enter their password, then not know what to do next).

  3. I’ve been running the git version for a while. It’s really good.

    It’s the one applet I miss when I run Plasma Next. I look forward to an updated version.
    As for new models and new editors I think there is going to be a point soon of diminishing returns; what you’ve made is better than a lot of existing plasmoids, it may be better for KDE to focus on a different pain point of the desktop and doing the same level of awesome job.

  4. It is looking awesome. Especially, the details icon, header row switches all look neat, functional, visually appealing and intuitive. Brilliant work, thanks for your efforts.

    1. I agree, the checkbox should be used instead custom widget looking like a switch. The switches are always problematic, as you don’t know when they are enabled and when not at clange. Checkbox gives directly the information without mistakes (unless the text with the checkbox is written counteractively).

      Even a pressed/unpressed button would be much better than switches, so it would look like on Dolphin when you select one of the three view types, you can see what is pressed down.

  5. Excellent! It s a great improvement over the old widget. I find the ‘airplaine network icon’ confusing. It cuts the connection when it is off? The red cross in the corner of the network symbolizes the disconnect status, but when you press the on switch it connects (to an airplane?) I’m guessing that it s supposed to put the device in airplane mode. In that case all wireless connections would be cut -so to me the symbol with the red cross would make more sense when switched on.

    In general all three network icons are wasting space with the switch symbol. They all would be fine without the switch when they just changed the icon to a symbol with or without the red cross in the corner.

    But despite my confusion, good work!

    1. Airplane mode is already fixed/improved. We are still waiting for ideas from designers, so let’s see how we can improve it.

  6. First: VERY awesome work! That is the inspiring reason for me digging down into the following details that could make it even better 🙂
    Is there a tooltip on mouse hover for the “drawer” symbol next to the active connection? It will make it feel less risky to click first time if you know what it is going to do.
    Should “System name” not be called “Network card” or “network interface”?
    Do we need to see “System name” under the connection?
    There is no need to see “Type” under network connection if it is always possible to see from the icon that it is wired/USB/wireless/modem/bluetooth.
    Why does flight-mode close the wired network? That does not make sense to me. It is a “disable networking” then I think a different icon should be used. Flight-mode is different – in many airplanes it’s even allowed to use wifi as long you don’t use mobile-connection.
    Where do you see the computer’s preferred gateway and dns-server?

    1. 1) There is no tooltip yet and since the only risky is connect/disconnect, I don’t think it’s necessary to have a tooltip here.
      2) That’s a problem with details, there are mixed connection and device details together, we definitely need to improve it.
      3) You can remove it if you want, just go to the applet configuration.
      4) Flight mode is already fixed/improved.
      5) You can add gateway to details in the applet configuration

      1. 1) The user doesn’t know if it’s risky because they don’t know what it does, thus will not feel as comfortable to click it as when knowing what will happen.
        3 and 5) ok, although most users will never realize that. So should it be default?


  7. It looks better and is useful than previous versions, good work, but:

    1. How can I connect to the hidden SSID from the applet?
    2. Could you add tabs, to filter interfaces and connection types?
    – sometihng like | All | Connected | Interfaces (includes Hardware + Virtual) | Wireless | VPNs |
    3. Could you make configurable which information to display about active/available connections in the list view? I’m a network administrator and such information will be uselfull to me..
    – wired (ethernet) – speed, mtu, …
    – wireless – channel(freq)/band, strength, speed, security, BSSID
    4. http://user-prompt.com/connect-to-network-manager-prototype/#comment-3368
    5. Connect/disconect via double-click.
    6. Eliminate the need to mouse moving and scrolling and improve feel when using keyboard.
    7. Display graphs/details with right-click or ctrl+left-click or some keyboard shortcut.
    8. Could you add to the Connection editor button (+ ctrl+left-click or some keyboard shortcut) to Connect/Disconect to the selected connection.
    9. Tooltip with detailed information when mouse over the system tray icon or it could be activated in combination with some key (ctrl, meta).

    Thank you

    1. Numbers 2, 3, and 5 have me wishing for the old applet. As a developer that works with multiple networked devices and on computers with multiple wired and wireless interfaces (and on a laptop that I move from place to place) I need to assign multiple interfaces to different connections. With the old applet in Kubuntu 13.04 this was simple. I could click on an interface and was given a list of connections that would work on that interface. I can’t do that anymore. I now have to wade through a geometrically growing number of connections that are duplicated for each interface. It also isn’t very obvious which interfaces are even available. When viewing active connections, you can’t tell which interface the connection is assigned to if the connection is restricted to, without a number of clicks to drill down. Maybe you could nest the connections under a parent node for each wired interface if there is more than one.

      In another but somewhat related vein, the new applet is far too condensed and crowded for a large monitor. Any chance it could be sizeable? Or perhaps a mode that would make it as large and glorious as the older version that displays the connection information to the side that doesn’t require so many clicks just to figure out what DHCP set the interface’s ip to? I would also prefer to see more connections at a time. I feel like I’m looking through a microscope to find the right connection.

      Dekuju! Dobra prace!

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    likely soon after the holiday season

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