Feb 19, 2007

Another Introductory Post

Hey Planet GNOME'rs

Thanks Jeff for putting me on Planet GNOME. My name is John Stowers and i'm currently splitting my time between a few things that might be of interest to people here.

  1. Synchronization and the GNOME Desktop I probably spend most of my free time hacking on Conduit, which is a synchronization application for GNOME. I hope to provide a (DBus) service where application authors can use Conduit for their individual sync and export capabilities, and don't have to keep reimplementing them in their own applications. Furthermore as a stand alone application I aspire to the ease of use of Apple's .Mac while supporting core GNOME technologies. Conduit pre 0.3.0 More information

    1. Conduit Website

    2. Slides and Video from a talk at Linux.conf.au

    3. The next release is scheduled for around the same time as the release of GNOME 2.18 and will support that favorite requested feature coughtomboy synchronizationcough. Thanks Boyd.

  2. A Metadata Enabled GNOME Im pretty excited about Tracker and the ability to move away from a folder centric GNOME. By embracing metadata, tagging, and a desktop indexer I think that we will leap past our competitors in terms of integration between applications. To this end I am hacking on;

    1. Nautilus + Tracker integration Injecting some love into the nautilus emblem functionality. Support tagging and attaching emblems (emblem = a tag with an image) from either nautilus or Tracker.

    2. Nautilus metadata integration Working with neilj on a nautilus-on-steroids + libtracker-gtk. Lets make metadata visible (in nautilus) and easy for application authors to add to their apps (libtracker-gtk)

    3. GtkFileChooser + Tracker Attach tags and notes at save time (whats the state of the filechooser extension spec?)

Other than that Im 23 years old, just finished a masters and electrical engineering at the University of Canterbury. Im really an electronics nerd so im also hacking on Albatross Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle. Im doing some traveling around Europe for the next few months and then probably starting a phD.

Feb 6, 2007

A Metadata Enabled GNOME

When Tracker was proposed for GNOME 2.18 I was one of its staunchest supporters, arguing that a GNOME wide unified metadata storage system would enable a richer desktop experience, and take GNOME beyond its competition. Tracker did not make the cut for GNOME 2.18, and will no doubt be proposed again for GNOME 2.20.

To help people see the potential of a GNOME desktop using Tracker I have been working on two projects for the past little while. Both of these are components of my larger vision of a metadata rich GNOME desktop. These initial attempts just focus on making tagging [1] a more consistent experience for all GNOME apps. Consider the examples and screenshots (for a file called nice) below;

  • Freedesktop emblem spec Allows desktop file managers and indexers to present a list of predefined emblems and tags to the user, and allows these predefined emblems/tags to be installed by third party developers in a consistent manner.

  • Tracker Nautilus Integration Nautilus using tracker for storage of all tags and emblems.

  • libtracker-gtk A bunch of gtk widgets that application authors can use to add tracker functionalit to their application.

Nautilus Tracker Intergration A Tracker connected GtkListStore A GtkEntryCompletion widget

Industrious individuals could probably find the bzr repositories for the above work, but at the moment it is not quite ready for prime time consumption. Stay tuned for more news.

[1] Terminology:

  • Tag: A descriptive keyword the user has associated with a file

  • Emblem: A tag with an associated image