On 5 Jun 2001, at 16:10, Ralf Engels wrote:

[discussion so far]
> 1. Most of the user use the magic wand to select and either <control>,
> or drag and drop or the bucket tool to fill a region. They normaly
> don't use the threshold.

The Magic Wand is not the only way to make a selection. I agree it 
sounds logical that one would want to stroke or fill a wand selection 
completely, but I can think of uses for a threshold fill with a 
rectangular or elliptical selection.

Why, BTW, is the Bucket Fill called Bucket Fill, why not just Fill? I 
would like to know this both to be able to participate better in this 
discussion, and because it would help me better my Dutch translation 
of the GIMP.

> 2. The user interface is not clear. I didn't know that you can drag
> and drop to a selection (could someone add this to the "did you know"
> file?). 

What is the Did you know file?

The Tips file (gimp_tips.txt) has the following to say:
: You can drag and drop many things in the GIMP.  For 
: example, dragging a color from the toolbox or from a 
: color palette and dropping it into an image will fill the 
: current image or selection with that color.

The use of 'many' rather than listing all the possibilities would 
suggest to me that I am encouraged here to experiment with this 
feature (which I have tried, BTW, but it does not seem to work under 
Windows 98). If anywhere, a comprehensive list of all that can be 
dragged and all the things it can be dropped in should be in the 

> A threshold with a selection does not make sense. That you can
> fill everything by setting the threshold to 255 is only for advanced
> users.

Well, I contend that if the UI tells you that you are using a 
threshold, sense is pretty much out of the window. This is because 
even if you never thought of using a threshold within a selection 
yourself, you can imagine that that would be possible.

BTW, I checked out how my GIMP (Win32) deals with changing the 
content of dialogs: when having two image windows open plus the 
layers dialog ("Layers, Channels & Paths"), and then switch between 
image windows, the contents of the latter does not change until I 
click in the new image window. Would it be possible to make it so 
that the contents of such dialogs change when you only activate the 
new image window? Or is this just a Windows GTK+ thing? 

> 3. The bucket fill does not behave like expected. With an active
> selection the fill should fill a region (as determined by the
> threshold) but limited to the selection.

This sounds to be contrary to what you sum up under 1.

> 4. Too many tools only confuse the user.

Too many anything confuse the user. However, if I had to choose 
between a second fill tool or an extra option in the Fill dialog, I 
(intuitively) would choose for the latter.

[Ralf's conclusions]
> Drag and drop is a good thing. If we could only use it more often.
> (How about a file icon where you can draw pictures in and out).

This is useful, and I already use it, of course. You can drop icons 
of image files from any standard Windows application onto the GIMP, 
and it will open automatically. After the list of recently opened 
documents this is probably my second favorite way of opening image 

> We don't want to sacrifice a tool (either the gradient fill or the
> bucket fill) because other users (from photoshop) know them and would
> miss them. But how about sacrificing the menu entries "fill with
> foreground color".


> We need to give more clues to the user how to use the features.
> How about this threshold fill bar:
>  1            255
>  |=====+=======|
>            (fill all)

I think there are two issues to be looked at here (if I may digress a 
little further).

1) Do we need the numbering?

2) If we use words to indicates the threshold leverl, what words do 
we use?

strict         all

could work too.

> The most important point:
> We have no one to solve such problems.
> If there is a bug, or any other programming issue, everyone could say
> wrong or right and most of the people will agree. With the UI there is
> no such simple solution. We need someone to solve such problems. We
> need a consistent UI . Should we elect such a person? Should we let a
> poll on the web-page solve the UI problems?

The thing with UIs is that there are only very few people who really 
understand how humans interact with computers. And I hate to say it, 
but when it comes to graphical UIs, these people do not seem to work 
in the free software world. (Textual UIs are a different thing of 
course: it would be hard to contend that Unixes have by far the best 
text-based UIs around.)

> If you should elect me (I hope not), my opinion is that a UI should be
> fast and small. Things you do often should be fast to do, things you
> do seldom should be possible. Why do we need two or three tools to
> fill a region? Only because other programs have that much tools? I say
> no. One tool should be sufficient.

I would like to add something, not as a reply, but as an elaboration 
of something I wrote in an earlier message.

It is not hard to imagine that in some or most cases, filling a 
selection completely is the most intuitive way. However, I do think 
that the user should have feedback. To the very least, if somebody 
decides to fill a selection, the Bucket Fill dialog should gray out 
the possibility to set the threshold. Second, the status bar should 
indicate something like 'Fill Entire Selection'. And, something I 
hope _somebody_ is working on, the documentation should be complete. 
If a user expects to fill part of a selection using the threshold, 
(s)he is going to be in for a surprise. Having multiple undo, that 
surprise will not be a nasty. However, the user should be able to 
look up why the fill tool did not function as expected. At the 
moment, my documentation reads 'Sorry, but the help page for "Bucket 
Fill" is not written yet'. Unfortunately, I have got other stuff to 
do, otherwise I would offer to help myself.  

However, being able to use threshold in all types of selections might 
be handy too. Certainly it would be strange to block off a function 
just on the assumption that nobody is going to use it, but now I am 
assuming that this 'plug' is built in. I am not a programmer. Would 
it be that hard to fill a selection using the threshold? I always 
assumed that deep down, everything is treated like a selection, but I 
guess that is only one way to do things. 

Anyhow, if using the Fill tool within a selection and with a 
threshold were enabled, not much will have to be changed interface-
wise. The only thing I can think of is that when a selection is made, 
the threshold is automatically set to 'fill all' or '255', whichever 
you like best.

I send this off without re-reading it, because my brain is getting 
mushy at this point, plus I have still got work to do.

branko collin
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