On Tue, 12 Mar 2002, Branko Collin wrote:

> On 12 Mar 2002, at 1:08, Steinar H. Gunderson wrote:
> > On Tue, Mar 12, 2002 at 01:07:47AM +0100, Branko Collin wrote:
> > >So, if you have not answered this before, why is Xtns called Xtns? 
> > 
> > Shorthand of "extensions"?
> That was my guess too.
> However, that does not explain why it was chosen in the first place.

"Extensions" was a new feature that was supposed to be really something in 
0.99. Now no one talks about the diffence between true extensions and 
plug-ins, and plug-ins have pretty much stolen all the thunder. The "Xtns" 
menu, on the other hand, has come to resemble the "junk drawer" found in 
many houses where all the stuff that fits in no where else but can't be 
thrown away goes. Any thing that doesn't fit under the other categories is 
stuck in the Xtns menu, with the result being that less than a third of 
the things in the Xtns menu are actually implented as extensions.

This is an example of what the User Interface Hall of Shame would call the 
"Available Space Metaphor" (see http://www.iarchitect.com/metaphor.htm#METAPHOR5
, c.f. http://www.iarchitect.com/tabs.htm#TAB8 )

> I feel that using abbreviations in menus (especially top-level menus) 
> is not a sign of good interface design. I realize that once the 
> decision was made to embed menus into the toolbox, the next problem 
> was how to keep the menu names short enough to fit the most commonly 
> used toolbox window width.

This seems to be exactly the problem.  While the Xtns menu once was used
just for extensions, it quickly evolved to be the "everything else" menu
(I'm greybeard enough around here to remember when "Script-fu" was the
only item in the Xtns menu.  Script-fu is implemented as an extension)

> Unfortunately, I am not familiar enough how the X windowing system 
> deals with the lack of wide top level menu bars that using MDI or a 
> Mac like menu bar at the top of the screen provide.

X? Standards? <muffled laughter>
> The larger X apps I know either open a document window right away 
> (GhostView, some text editors) or open some initial window (xv). I am 
> not sure both 'solutions' are desirable for the GIMP either. 
Well, the other option is to make the toolbox wide and short or square 
instead of skinny and tall. Unfortunately, because of the toolbox design, 
this isn't very space efficient.

"Extras" is a little better than "Xtns," which probably doesn't mean
anything to anyone. But I doubt that anyone would have much of an idea 
what would be under an "extras" menu either.


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