Okay, that provoked a lot of controversy on #gimp. Let me follow
up here because it's easier to say things in a coherent way.
> 1) Changed the menu entry from "Edge" to "Sharp Edges". Having
> an entry called "Edge" in the "Edge-detect" category is silly, and
> the thing that distinguishes this plugin is that it detects edges
> between neighboring pixels, that is, sharp edges.
It's a basic principle of organization that the name of an item
should not be the same as the name of a category. I don't care
whether this plug-in is "Simple Edge" or "Basic Edge" or "Classic Edge",
but it's wrong to have a plug-in called "Edge" in the "Edge-detect"
2) Added an "invert" control [...]
This seems to have been uncontroversial.
> 3) Changed the default method to Prewitt, which I believe gives the
> closest match to what users are hoping for. I renamed the
> method-selector menu from "Algorithm" to "Method", and
> renamed the Prewitt entry to "Default", also putting it at the top.
This was very controversial -- people feel that it is "dumbing down"
the interface. I don't think so, and I would like to explain why. One
of the principles of interface design is to show users the information
they need to know, and *not* show them things that they don't need
to know. Now, GIMP violates the second part of this in dozens of
ways, so users quickly get in the habit of ignoring things they don't
understand, but there is a price for this: users are never really sure
what they must pay attention to and what they can safely ignore. (There
has been a lot of improvement, but there is still a long way to go.)
Okay, let's apply this to the "Algorithm" setting. Do users need to
know this? No, because (1) all of the methods give pretty similar
results in most cases, with only subtle differences between them,
and (2) even the majority of technically-oriented users don't know
the meaning of terms like "Sobel", "Prewitt", "Gradient", etc.
If we pop up the dialog showing a menu with "Algorithm: Prewitt"
displayed, then the message this conveys is, "You need to know
that the Prewitt algorithm is being used". On the other hand, if we
pop up a dialog showing "Method: default", then the message is,
"you don't need to know what method is being used, but you can
change it if you want to". I believe that the second message is
the correct one, even for the great majority of technically-oriented
4) Removed the "wrap-style" radio buttons from the interface [...]
This was a little bit controversial. Let me add that as far as I can
see, it was a mistake to create these options in the first place. The
idea behind the Wrap option was to let a user make tileable patterns,
but it will actually have the opposite effect, by almost always drawing
an edge at the border of the selection. I don't believe that anything
except Smear is actually useful. Certainly showing users a set of
choices labeled "Wrap", "Smear", and "Black" must be a bad thing
to do -- even for sophisticated users.
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