I posted a while back to epp-dev about a new look for the Eclipse Welcome/Intro based on the Eclipse Solstice theme used on the website. This new theme also allows showing useful actions on the opening page, called ‘quicklinks’, to help newcomers get started. That theme is now available in the 4.6M6 and I’ve started putting together change requests to adopt it for the various EPP packages.
Gunnar asked some good questions about the work required from package maintainers. This new theme is entirely opt-in: you can refuse these changes and continue with the slate theme. And you can also choose to only partially adopt the theme and decline to use quicklinks. Let me outline the changes and the expectations:
- Adopt the Solstice theme:
- Add a new black-and-white Eclipse logo as ‘intro-eclipse-bw.png’; the packages already include an purple-and-orange ’intro-eclipse.png’.
- Change the default intro theme from ’org.eclipse.ui.intro.universal.slate’ to ’org.eclipse.ui.intro.universal.solstice’
- Adopt Quicklinks [Optional]:
- Change the intro start page and home page to a new ‘qroot’ page that includes a new ‘quicklinks’ section.
- ❗️Review the set of quicklinks for your package. I’ll include a set that I hope make sense for your package. But the language used here is very important.
- Review the organization of current pages
- I noticed a number of packages haven’t changed the default organizations of the other intro pages, and so PDE and JDT are given higher priority over other plugins. I may include some changes related to this.
Q: Why do the quicklinks include more text? The quicklinks leverage the Eclipse Commands framework (i.e., the org.eclipse.ui.commands extension point). Although these commands include labels and descriptions, and sometimes icons, the labels and descriptions are rarely couched in newcomer-friendly terms, and the icons are generally 16x16 and aren’t in keeping with the Solstice theme. For example, any references to the New wizard (org.eclipse.ui.newWizard) shows label ‘New’ and description ’New’; the Import wizard (org.eclipse.ui.file.import) shows label ‘Import’ and description ‘Import’. As the Welcome screen is the first port-of-call for almost all newcomers to Eclipse, using these default labels and descriptions presents a poor experience. As both the New and Import wizards have lots of different wizards, it’s best if we can drive them to the right wizard. The Solstice theme also provide some icons based on Font Awesome that should be suitable for most uses, and we can generate others if needed.
Q: Can’t you just define the quicklink texts in one place? Our packages cover a lot of different areas, including non-developers and non-Java developers, and it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to come up with language that is universally understandable. We want the text to be tailored for each domain.
Q: Why are we including a new image in each package? Each package already includes the purple-and-orange Eclipse logo as intro-eclipse.png. We're adding the black-and-white version. The Intro component doesn’t support specifying inter bundle image references. The existing image may be referenced by other pages that expect an image that looks suitable on white backgrounds.
Q: Why do we have to specify a new start and home page? As the Intro/Welcome component is used in hundreds of products far beyond just Eclipse, we can’t change the default root pages.
Q: Do I have to provide quicklinks? No. The Solstice theme works against the standard root page too. If you want to just use the Solstice theme, you can do a one-line change to change:
> org.eclipse.ui.intro/INTRO_THEME = org.eclipse.ui.intro.universal.solstice
and specify the updated introBrandingImage (intro-eclipse-bw.png)
I’m a committer on the Platform and was asked to work on the reimagined Welcome/Intro described in bug 466370
. The work is in two parts:
- It introduces a new Solstice-based theme for the Welcome/Intro pages, similar to what’s used in the eclipse.org pages.
- It also re-imagines the ‘home’ start page to provide a set of useful starting actions for new (and possibly grizzled) developers; I’ve called these “quicklinks”.
I’ve included a small snapshot it below.
Three things to notice:
- We’ve moved the page references (Overview, Tutorials, Samples, What’s New) to the right side
- We’ve added a set of ‘quicklinks’ for commonly-used commands (left side)
- We’ve brought in the always-show component (lower right), which defaults to “always show on restart”
The work is currently pending on CQ 10824
against platform.ui (gerrit
) and we’ll need a similar CQ for use of the icons for EPP. This needs PMC sign-off before it can proceed further.
This work is opt-in. The goal is for the EPP packages to use it, once approved.
I’ve put up a changeset on Gerrit
to implement the change above for the Java package as an example. What you need to do:
- Include the org.eclipse.intro.theme.solstice feature: it includes two bundles, org.eclipse.ui.intro.solstice and org.eclipse.ui.intro.quicklinks, that implement the theme and the quicklinks component, respectively.
- Change your plugin_customization.ini to point org.eclipse.ui.intro/INTRO_THEME = org.eclipse.ui.intro.universal.solstice
- Configure your desired quicklinks using the org.eclipse.ui.intro.quicklinks extension point. These leverage the existing Eclipse Core Commands (e.g., the org.eclipse.ui.newWizard command).