Bubli (hedgehogpainter) wrote,

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Finding a cosy place for YaST webpin client

Recently Stano blogged about YaST interface to webpin package search, which is a joint work of me and Kobliha. Most of the responses and comments he got were something around these lines: "Wow, this is really cool feature, where can I find it? How comes it is so hidden?".

Well, yes, the webpin client is hidden - 'yast -l' does not show it and there is neither an icon in control centre, nor a menu or a button in other YaST module one could simply click and search the packages using webpin service from within YaST. You simply have to know the command (yast2 webpin_package_search) and type it in the shell. One of the reasons we did not make it more visible in openSUSE 11.1 was that the tool was not in the state we could be exactly proud of :) (due to lack of time to polish it in SLE11 bug typhoon :) ) There were two major flaws of yast2-webpin:
  1. It did not remember selected packages in multiple queries - the user could do many searches and select several packages in each of them, but only packages selected in the last query were forwarded to OneClickInstall wizard at the end
  2. "All Selected Packages" tab (intended to be used for viewing all packages selected so far) did not do anything bad, but did not work either. It always showed a blank list.

Making it all work

Good news: none of the above will be true anymore with pending yast2-packager check-in into Factory. How does it all work then? Suppose I want install some additional games into my openSUSE system. I'm a devout chess player and playing with computer is fun (especially when there are no human players around), so let's search for "chess" expression and pick something then - brutalchess will do. Fish Fillets is another of my favourite games and after hitting Search button for the second time, I'm voting for fillets-ng and fillets-ng-data packages:

Now let's check if webpin client really remembers user's selection from both queries and switch to "All Selected Packages" tab. Yes, all three are there and they're succesfully forwarded to OneClickInstall Wizard later (after clicking on Next):

Where to place it?

Bad news: I still did not find, what I was looking for - a decent shelter for webpin_package_search client :-( Now it all works so well ;-) it would be really nice to let all users (not only those who waste^Wspend their evenings reading PlanetSUSE blogs :-)) know the functionality is there and they can use it. There are three options I can (and certainly many more I can't) think of so far. But the thing is, I don't particularly like any of them as they all have certain drawbacks. Here they are:
  1. Place a new icon into YaST Control Centre, Software section. Drawback: there is already too many icons in Software section, which is certainly very confusing for the users, so we're trying to reduce number of them as much as possible. Adding a new webpin icon would contradict this effort.
  2. Make search using webpin accesible from package manager's menu (I'm using ncurses PM as an example here as Qt packager is being rewritten atm). Drawback: it is just a little bit less hidden than now - you have to know the menu item is there so you can use it:

  3. Add a new button to package manager's search screen. Drawback: in my H.O., it looks ugly :)

Feedback wanted

To solve this problem, I need your feedback and your ideas. What is, in your opinion, the best place for YaST webpin client? Do you like any of ideas I presented? Or do you have your own idea from where would you like to access webpin client? If yes, don't hesitate to drop me a comment.
Tags: development, opensuse, software management, yast

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