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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > damn ! now that's functionality !

damn ! now that's functionality !
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Sarc
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:18 AM
 
not that I would have my desktop exactly like this but it's quite impressive anyway:

http://active.mdsalih.com/active_mdsalih-v2.jpg

get's you to think what could be of OS X if the Gecko engine was built into the core of the OS.

that pic there is possible only thanks to Windows' integration of IE. However it doesn't go with a bad thing: viruses + security ... we all know how secure windows is.
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MickS
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:24 AM
 
Why would I want all of that stuff on my desktop?

It would be hidden by what I was doing. I'd have to hide everything else to be able to read it.

I guess if you don't work on your computer or have a very large monitor (dual monitors ....) then you could use it. Not very practical though.
     
Sarc  (op)
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:28 AM
 
more than the actual layout, wich I agree is quite blaoted, I was impressed with the flexibility that the integration of a web rendering engine into the OS can achieve.

For instance I would like a lot to have the news reader (for NTFS.org in that case), or a simpler version of the 'Organizer' shown in the pict, or a google search bar.

What impresses me the most it's that it is plain PHP/MySQL, publishing your schedule in an efficient way cannot be easier with that.
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Mac_Nacho
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:33 AM
 
sorry about my ignorance, but that's an app? It's for X?
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resImadA
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:37 AM
 
There's no need to integrate a web browser into the system for something like this.

The same thing could be achieved in X by a 3rd party app - simply by placing a window at the desktop level.
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:42 AM
 
damn ! now that's functionality !
Using underlined text as buttons isn't functionality, it's a hack used for the lack of better alternatives in HTML.
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:46 AM
 
.
     
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:47 AM
 
is that a program? werid ...
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Millennium
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:57 AM
 
Originally posted by Sarc:
not that I would have my desktop exactly like this but it's quite impressive anyway:

http://active.mdsalih.com/active_mdsalih-v2.jpg

get's you to think what could be of OS X if the Gecko engine was built into the core of the OS.

that pic there is possible only thanks to Windows' integration of IE. However it doesn't go with a bad thing: viruses + security ... we all know how secure windows is.
Well, it's certainly... interesting. Bloat in the extreme, but interesting.

There is, however, no need to integrate Gecko into the OS, just to create something like this. It should be possible to create a program which sits on the Desktop, behind other applications, and uses Gecko (or another HTML rendering engine) to display a preset URL. A minor tweak to run OSA scripts -remember that there's an OSA component for JavaScript, so pages could still use that- would take care of most of the rest.

Note that actually creating a page like this is not for the squeamish. This would take some very heavy work with HTML and some OSA language or another. The HTML would probably have to be hand-coded, just to keep it as lightweight as possible (you don't want it hogging RAM), and CSS would also be a must, to make it more easily themeable.

But, let's take a quick look at this. What could be done with just a bare Gecko-engine program? Let's assume someone can whip up a CGI program (Perl, Python, PHP, AppleScript... heck, you could even use Cocoa for this) to generate the page.

The six "menus" of programs and such: Very simple. Just walk the necessary folders, remembering to add in the main hard drive after doing /Volumes for the disks.

Music Player: Similarly easy, at least for the level of functionality presented in this page; walk ~/Music and you're done.

Organizer: This could be integrated with iCal without much trouble; the big thing is that you'd need something to parse out vCal files. Not a terribly huge problem; there are code libraries to do this.

Active.MdSalih Information: So easy it's almost insulting; just a plain block of text. However, this isn't something which one is likely to want to put on a desktop anyway; more likely, it was added to this screenshot to provide an explanation of what was going on.

Date and Time: Here's where things get a tad trickier, but only because we'd need a JavaScript-based clock. However, given that there is already a clock in the menubar, it might be wiser to replace a current date/time in this page with a last updated date/time, and that would be very easy.

Server Administration: Simple HTML form. Nothing fancy.

Mail.mdsalih: This is a bit trickier; I don't know if there's an easy way to do IMAP in AppleScript (though there are certainly plenty of other alternative languages one could use to generate the code for this). But it's certainly doable.

NTFS.org: Parsing out an RSS feed is nothing out of the realm of possibility.

System Stats: If you don't want real-time stats, then this is very easy; just pipe system commands in. To get realtime statistics, you'd need to embed something. It appears that MdSalih did not do this for his page.

Quick Notes: Another simple form. Nothing major.

Misc: Again, just a quick form.

Shut Down, Logout, and Reboot: OK, now we get into something trickier. This would require another program, which could receive these commands and process them accordingly. Doing this cleanly (i.e. in a way which supports the usual OSX look and feel for such things) would probably be difficult; I don't know if the Finder supports Shut Down, Reboot, and Log Out events but I would guess that it does not (security issues). However, given that we've already got these in the menubar, the need for this is pretty much nil.

Oh, and for that last detail of hiding the "normal" Desktop while keeping the Finder active (so that you can use its windows): this is possible. Back in the earliest days of 4K78 (Cheetah, aka 10.0), several people on these boards worked to discover Terminal hacks. I discovered one -I believe it was called "ShowDesktop"- which would hide both the Desktop icons and the Desktop background when set to 0. I haven't tried it in a long time, so I don't know if it works anymore, but something analogous to it may yet exist.

My point? This could be done on an existing Mac system. All it would take would be for someone to write the code. In fact, now you've got me intrigued. I'm starting to work on a design for this. But as an added advantage: what if this could be Rendezvous-enabled, so that the page could be managed for an entire local network from a single machine, allowing the networked machines' pages to share certain elements?

And as one final note: this could be done without MySQL or any other database. The only thing MdSalih uses MySQL for is the organizer, and what functionality his organizer has, iCal already provides. In other words, this could be done on a stock Jaguar system, adding only the program itself.

[EDIT: Added information about mail.mdsalih and the bit about how MySQL isn't necessary for this]
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ShotgunEd
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Jan 2, 2003, 09:57 AM
 
Originally posted by PeterClark2002:
is that a program? werid ...
its all just active desktop on windows
     
MasonMcD
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Jan 2, 2003, 11:46 AM
 
No, that's not impressive. As soon as you have a program open, like PhotoShop, that desktop is unavailable to you. I like the dock better.

Now something *really* impressive is Zoe . Now *that's* some functionality: an xml parser that completely organizes your mail. Every little piece of your mail. It's brilliant, and should be built into something so I don't have to rebuild or start the .jar.
     
Thinine
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Jan 2, 2003, 03:08 PM
 
Its useless since every Windows user I've ever met insists on running every app full screen. Even IE, not to mention the fact that Word and Photoshop both run full screen by default in Windows. :shudder:
     
KidRed
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Jan 2, 2003, 03:15 PM
 
Looks like a boring website.
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Nonsuch
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Jan 2, 2003, 03:28 PM
 
Looks very much like a prototype Windows.Net screenie I saw a while back (though that was uglier).
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Sarc  (op)
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Jan 3, 2003, 03:43 AM
 
I agree ... it's blaoted.
I agree, you puta a window on top of it and it's useless.

However I would like to be able to play with a custo desktop without using third party apps.


What I would probably use would be a google bar, a forum reader with the latests topics, and a mail ticker.
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virusb23
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Jan 3, 2003, 06:50 AM
 
Check out this program thown together by one of the developers at panic:

WebDesktop

it doesn't incorporate gecko (yet) but it's a start.
     
Sven G
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Jan 3, 2003, 07:27 AM
 
Here's a (supposedly real) Windows Longhorn screenshot, with some of the above described functionality - but positively accessible from all apps, due to its (system-wide! ) Mozilla-like "sidebar" pane nature. Looks rather interesting, IMO: especially, for OS X, if something like this could be implemented as a "vertical menu bar" pane (i.e., the OS X menu bar draggable and droppable to a vertical position, also, like the Dock, or as in the LightWave app's vertical menus, etc.)...



Edit: Replaced "old" screenshot (broken link) with another similar and more explicative one from the (in)famous WinSuperSite.
( Last edited by Sven G; Jan 3, 2003 at 10:19 AM. )

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rytc
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Jan 3, 2003, 07:49 AM
 
Originally posted by Sarc:
I agree ... it's blaoted.
I agree, you puta a window on top of it and it's useless.

However I would like to be able to play with a custo desktop without using third party apps.


What I would probably use would be a google bar, a forum reader with the latests topics, and a mail ticker.
There are apps which put a small floating google search bar on the desktop and others that have a news ticker and why a mail ticker? Just look at the dock.
     
curmi
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Jan 3, 2003, 09:53 AM
 
About the Longhorn shot - that side thingy looks almost identical to this thing Stardock had in Object Desktop (I suppose they still have it in Object Desktop for Windows). Not really a surprise that, once again, Windows copied something from another company.

I used it on OS/2 many years ago. Generally I found it took up too much space so you ended up hiding it. Looking back on it now, the dock in OS X seems much nicer.
     
Millennium
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Jan 3, 2003, 09:58 AM
 
Originally posted by Sarc:
However I would like to be able to play with a custo desktop without using third party apps.
There's no need for Apple to integrate this, if a third-party app can do the job. The whole point of the Mac is small tools which do their job well and integrate with other tools, rather than Microsoft's monolithic, The-App-That-Does-Everything approach.
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Millennium
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Jan 3, 2003, 10:04 AM
 
Originally posted by virusb23:
Check out this program thown together by one of the developers at panic:

WebDesktop

it doesn't incorporate gecko (yet) but it's a start.
While this is interesting, I'm not sure it's quite what people are looking for.

Personally, I'd prefer to see something Gecko-based myself, but more because I think it would be better to base an ActiveDesktop-like app on XUL, rather than HTML. There's more power to be had in that approach; for example, the IRC client in mdsalih's screenshot (which he had not gotten to work yet) could be achieved much more easily, using code from ChatZilla. An HTML view would also be easy enough to embed using XUL, thus allowing for that to still be a very real possibility.

Yeah, not as many people know XUL as HTML, but how many would have to? This is a Mac; surely people would want a GUI-based "desktop builder" rather than coding the XUL out by hand.
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MdSalih
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Jan 3, 2003, 01:05 PM
 
Hello all,
impressed by the comments here, got quite a different attitude off various windows sites for my active desktop

I myself am not a mac user, althought am intrigued by Macs (but you'll never see me switch ). Windows/unix guy mainly. I'm surprised there isn;t such an option or easily integrateable system to enable you to have plain code, or a website to be displayed on your desktop, on a mac.

Did some searches on google about gecko after reading it here, found its something to do with mozilla. Anyway unsure about that, any websites which i could more details on it would be nice

Just to combat the ideas thrown up in this thread , firstly the practicality of it. Well I find it quite practicle myself, as all I need to do is hit a single buttom on my keyboard and it minimizes all programs and brings me to the desktop. Quite good, you would have to do the same to get to other alternatives on a desktop like program icons, or to get to a start bar.

Is it bloated, well yer I agree, it is quite but it is V. practicle for the main things I need to do. Most of the things I put on their are just there for show. For example the Organizer, I coded that in about 30 mins, mainly because I couldn't find anything to fill the space. Same with the IRC monitor, which I have now got working, just pulls info from a log file mIRC creates automatically, have a variety of channels which can be montitored quite easily.

Pretty much the bottom line is, its your desktop, you want to show it off as much as possible, which i've managed to do quite well , and I quite like these type of comments. Helps me get new ideas and such. I just plainly decided to venture into something new and unique - which normally does the trick.

MdSalih

P.S. A page like that is quite easy to code for the average coder, who knows php and mySQL... that whole project took me about 5 to 7 hours to do, all on New Years morning
     
sushiism
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Jan 3, 2003, 02:14 PM
 
personally i prefer how you can have pdf's as backdrops than html. mm vectors
     
Sarc  (op)
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Jan 3, 2003, 03:13 PM
 
Originally posted by Millennium:

There's no need for Apple to integrate this, if a third-party app can do the job. The whole point of the Mac is small tools which do their job well and integrate with other tools, rather than Microsoft's monolithic, The-App-That-Does-Everything approach.
I don't quite agree, in Win you can get all sorts of 3rd party apps. to do just about everything we do with 3rd party apps. ie. equivalents to aquamon, netmon, etc.


Originally posted by MdSalih:

Did some searches on google about gecko after reading it here, found its something to do with mozilla. Anyway unsure about that, any websites which i could more details on it would be nice
Gecko is the open source HTML render engine that powers Mozilla, Netscape 7, Chimera, Phoenix, etc ...


Re:The Windows "Longhorn" Screenie


IMHO the 'Bookshelf' (as I knew it was called) uses way too much screen real estate. In the video footage I have seen of Windows longhorn it is used basically as a sort of quick launch place (ala DragThing ?).
For instance if you click in Internet Explorer it only displays the Address Bar, you type the address and then a full IE window opens with the address you specified, stuff like that.
( Last edited by Sarc; Jan 3, 2003 at 03:20 PM. )
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Millennium
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Jan 3, 2003, 03:42 PM
 
Welcome aboard!
Originally posted by MdSalih:
I myself am not a mac user, althought am intrigued by Macs (but you'll never see me switch ). Windows/unix guy mainly. I'm surprised there isn;t such an option or easily integrateable system to enable you to have plain code, or a website to be displayed on your desktop, on a mac.
Most Mac users haven't seen too much of a need for it, at this point. It's projects like yours which really start to show the practical side.
Did some searches on google about gecko after reading it here, found its something to do with mozilla. Anyway unsure about that, any websites which i could more details on it would be nice
As some others have mentioned, Gecko is an Open-Source render for HTML and XML, with support for CSS, XSLT, and a bunch of other neat stuff that they made up. It basically is Mozilla, Netscape, and Phoenix (the entire interfaces for these programs are all coded in XUL and JavaScript; they're essentially one insanely complex Web page). It's also been embedded in several other browsers; Linux has Galeon and SkipStone, and the Mac has Chimera. There's also one for Windows called K-meleon, if you want to check out Gecko but don't want to download all of Mozilla. AOL's recent client for Mac OS X also uses it, and it's rumored that their next version for Windows will too.

NOTE: If you do browser sniffing on your site, it's best to search for "Gecko" in the UA string than specific Mozilla/Netscape versions; this will net you all Gecko-based browsers in one fell swoop, and since they all use the same engine you know that if one works, they all will. The User-Agent string also includes a build number for the Gecko engine if you want to check its version.

If you want a comparison to IE, you might say that Mozilla is a browser like IE, and Gecko is an engine like the COM object which sits behind IE and many other parts of Windows and does the actual rendering. There's actually a similar COM control for Gecko; they made it as similar as possible to the IE control so that it might theoretically be used as a replacement someday. Someone actually used this to embed Gecko inside IE once, but I don't have a link for it, unfortunately.
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resImadA
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Jan 3, 2003, 06:22 PM
 
Originally posted by MdSalih:
I'm surprised there isn;t such an option or easily integrateable system to enable you to have plain code, or a website to be displayed on your desktop, on a mac.
There is one. Applications can place a window above the desktop picture, but below the finder icons.

There are applications out there that already do this to put content "on" the desktop.
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Jan 3, 2003, 06:51 PM
 
Originally posted by MdSalih:
I myself am not a mac user, althought am intrigued by Macs (but you'll never see me switch ). Windows/unix guy mainly. I'm surprised there isn;t such an option or easily integrateable system to enable you to have plain code, or a website to be displayed on your desktop, on a mac.
What I find funny is how you contradict yourself when you have to find out what gecko is.

How come I have a feeling you're using IE?

How dare you call yourself a unix guy.

I'm a mac/unix guy and find mac to be more like unix than windows will ever be
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MdSalih
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Jan 3, 2003, 08:36 PM
 
Originally posted by Mac Zealot:
What I find funny is how you contradict yourself when you have to find out what gecko is.

How come I have a feeling you're using IE?

How dare you call yourself a unix guy.

I'm a mac/unix guy and find mac to be more like unix than windows will ever be
heh, you misunderstand me m8. What i ment is i use Windows and Unix usually, windows more then Unix, not saying that windows is anything like unix, hell no , windows is much more n00bish then unix.
And yer I do use IE, use Mozilaa on unix, but never knew about gecko.

Millennium - thanx for yer explantion. Understand what it is now, even helped with a small XHTML transition problem I had today

MdSakih
     
undotwa
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Jan 4, 2003, 12:53 AM
 
I want none of this on my desktop.

All this functionality can be achieved simply by adding menu extras and using the dock. Much simpler, much less intrusive. And I still have a desktop for clippings and folder aliases.
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Socially Awkward Solo
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Jan 4, 2003, 12:59 AM
 
Damn, that longhorn sidebar takes up a ton of space!

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ARENA
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Jan 4, 2003, 01:11 AM
 
Originally posted by sushiism:
personally i prefer how you can have pdf's as backdrops than html. mm vectors
Yeah, vectors are cool but i believe that sort of interface in PDF would be painfully slow. Gecko is the way to go for that "active desktop" approach.
     
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Jan 4, 2003, 08:05 PM
 
Originally posted by KidRed:
Looks like a boring website.
Looks like a website a PC user would make... with a bunch of useless crap noboy cares about.
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