Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dec 15: Language Selector

Chromium OS now has a language selector for changing the user's IME (input method). As seen in the screenshot, clicking the "US" text displays a menu that will change the user's keyboard locale. Clicking "Configure IME..." opens the Chromium OS control panel (the first tab of the options dialog), but there have been no changes to it recently. Linked from the commit message is a page with two flash animations showing text input from different languages with non-Latin characters.

The status area seems to be a viable and common place for new widgets displaying system information. I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes expandable and adds options for more advanced things, like CPU, RAM, and network bandwidth usage, for "power users."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dec 11: Views, Menus, Picasa Web Integration

Chromium OS has switched to the Views toolkit, which I understand to be a wxWidgets-like library specific to Chromium. The underlying code still uses Gtk (or whatever the specific platform uses), but the Chromium OS-specific code does not interface directly with Gtk. This makes the code much more portable for other platforms. From what I can tell, Windows uses Views as its main widget library, but Chromium OS has the flag TOOLKIT_VIEWS defined, while Windows does not. Also, relatively recently, the style of bookmark menus has changed. I don't know when the change happened, but they don't seem to be using traditional Gtk drawing.

The "&" before "Bookmark manager" is Windows' system of making the next character underlined and a shortcut if the menu is open. (The Gtk equivalent is the _ character.) This seems like it's directly using Views instead of Gtk. The other numerous menus, such as the status area, page, wrench, and tab menus still use Gtk.

Also, the "Create application shortcuts..." dialog has changed to be like the about and external protocol dialogs; it's directly using Views.

I'm guessing that the code is shared with the Windows code, because I doubt that they'd rewrite it and include 'Desktop' since Chromium OS does not have a traditional desktop. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Applications menu' stays and actually adds it to the main menu currently hosted on Google's servers. Personally, I quite like the appearance, if the X button were to be positioned a bit lower.

Also, the Chromium OS file browser added an option and an icon for uploading pictures to Google's Picasa Web Albums. (I couldn't find it in the interface.) Chromium OS' platform is the web, so tight integration with it is essential. If more additions like this one to the file browser come, we could essentially have the famous "Google Drive."