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[desktop] Proposal for menu layout and package sections


I've tried to post this proposal some months ago, but maybe the middle
of August wasn't the proper period to get some attention. :)

The work I did was oriented in finding a better organization for a
collection of many cathegorized items.  Cathegorized items, before you
skip this message, can very well be Debian/Gnome/KDE menus, packages
shown in dselect or browser bookmarks.

The work I did is collected in a short paper I wrote:


and in an experimental application to manage Galeon bookmarks and other
bookmarks saved in the XBEL format:


The bookmark problem was chosen because I had far more bookmars in the
browser than packages in the system, and so I had the occasion to work
with bigger numbers.  However, the problem remains the same in case of
application menus or package cathegories.

Short presentation of what is in the paper:

There is a problem with hierarchies: Freshmeat and others have realized
that just one cathegory per item is not sufficient, and people who
collect browser bookmarks organized as a statical hierarchy are likely
to have a hard time finding them as their number grows.  Because of
this, I advocate the use of multiple cathegories per item (or multiple
sections per package).

Then I recognize that hierarchies are the established practice to
present the collection to the user.  To respect the established
practice, I've designed an algorithm to automatically build a cathegory
tree from it, while respecting well defined properties on the resulting

These properties guarantee that the user can always have some clue about
what branches to follow to reach a given item, resulting in better
organized menus.  In this way, the user can easily find out what he

I hope this can be a useful contribution to the debian desktop project,
and I'm here to help should this proposal fit some part of the
distribution or desktop efforts.

Bye, Enrico

GPG key: 1024D/797EBFAB 2000-12-05 Enrico Zini <enrico@debian.org>

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