Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another awesome release of Boxes

Yesterday we rolled out the second release of Boxes for upcoming GNOME 3.3.3. There are many fixes/improvements in this release to list them all here but the most significant ones in my opinion are:

  • A nicer UI for deletion of Boxes designed for protecting the user from accidental deletion of boxes. Here is a video demo of it in action.
  • Special handling of 'live' and unknown media: Quick launch of a temporary box for it, which is made permanent automatically (only) if anything is installed on the box by the media. Here is a video demo of this behaviour in action.
  • Express installation for Windows XP now works, thanks to important clues provided by Lucas Meneghel Rodrigues. Don't believe me? I have video footage that proves it.
  • UI for setting user and administrator password and in case of older Windows, ability to set product key as part preparation for express installation. Please check out the videos above for demo of this feature in action.
Apart from changes in Boxes itself, there were some note-worthy changes in our dependencies that helps us directly.
  • Christophe Fergeau added a big bunch of new APIs to libvirt-glib (libvirt-gconfig to be precise) for dealing with libvirt's configuration XML. Now Boxes uses that instead of manually writing/editing XML strings.
  • A Google Code-In participant, Mateusz Kaplon added a lot of data about various different operating systems to libosinfo. For Boxes that means more complete and reliable detection and default resource allocation for various operating systems.

For a detailed list of changes in Boxes 3.3.3, please refer to the release notes.


Anonymous said...

I have some issues with the UI:
1) When you select items, why don't actions for those items appear in the toolbar instead of a floating toolbar at the bottom of the app? The floating toolbar could obscure some boxes, making it impossible to select them. It's also against GUI standards to use a toolbar only as a status bar and relegate actions elsewhere.
Couldn't you fit those two buttons in the toolbar, similarly to this mockup of the Music app: https://github.com/gnome-design-team/gnome-mockups/raw/master/music/music-list-actions.png ?

2) The "Check" symbol is harder to distinguish when it's inside a circle... Could you use the "Check" icon that was originally in your mockups?

3) It's hard to get used to the new "Continue" and "Back" buttons up at the top. I hope at least you're transforming every app that uses these buttons to have them at the top. Otherwise, it's going to be as uncomfortable and messy as the new "Back" and "Forward" buttons in Nautilus (still can't get used to those, despite using Nautilus for several months now; I'm used to having them on the left from every other app with these buttons).

4) Since you don't use any text labels or tooltips for the delete icon, could you at least use a better symbol -- a trashcan, for example? I associate the "X" icon with "Cancel", "Close", or "Hide", rather than "Delete".

Jeff Fortin said...

This looks like a fabulous user experience. Great work you're doing there. Looking forward to try it out as a replacement for VirtualBox (I presume it should be neatly packaged for Fedora 17).

Oh and thanks for the kind words on pitivi at the end of your videos, that's encouraging :)

Olav Vitters said...

available in the development version of Mageia. Took a while to package the dependencies (build problems).