"They can take away our lives.... But they'll never take...OUR FREEDOM..."--Braveheart
Oh boy Oh boy, I see all the keyboard loyalists have taken up positions along the front of this new forum, let us argue
In the blender universe we have two armies:
One is the anti-gui 4,000+ cps "efficiency keyboard loyalists" which I applaud and think a special skunkworks in IBM should be built to contain. LOL!!!
The other army is the visual army, ya know the guys over at Blur studio's, ILM, Digital Domain, etc etc.
Now they've found a special weapon called "middle management" that commands an army of programmers to allow them to use tailored GUI's and commands to thier every whim on any platform. Thier programmers are also on hand to help and document all these features.
They're artists, but sit like the proverbial windows user, totally anaware of thier platform's complexity, but they get the job done because 1.) They're artist's and 2.) They don't have to worry about learning something that makes them go out of thier specific workflow, they just snap thier fingers and the "middle management" fairy appears with a gang of coders to iron out the ineffiency. Well thats a very stylised exxageration but the sticking points are:
Workflow is everything, different people have a different workflow, thus the hugely sutomizable nature of the top two 3d apps Max and Maya, "You want a keyboard shortcut? you got it!" OR "You want a MAC interface? Wammo! There you go!"
This eradicates the two armies of yore. I'm surprised this topic has generated such discussion.
I think what the two groups really want are 12th century weaponry, and a scene from braveheart where they get to unleash the whoop ass on one another....
"You stinkan Windows noob! Eat steel!, You'll be crashin soon!"
"We've got millions of different types of swords, one of them will slay you!"
Mac User (sitting on a color coordinated, translucent horse, on a distant ridge watching all this):
"We get to design the furniture, drapes, and ye olde flyers when the winner comes out!"
Now, me personally, I'm a visual type of guy, I like to explore an application without ever resorting to the manual, (This is my off time I'm trying to have fun in 3D not earn a degree in a technical field.) It seems to me, that when the stress is lower, people are more creative. And the apps that lend themselves to exploration are much more successfull when it comes to expanding and keeping thier user bases. Things should be logically laid out, not intermixed for the sake of productivity, I think customizability should be employed for that purpose. I mean I'm a linux user, I use Gnome, and there are over 30 themes installed on my system, they came with my RH 7.3 install, I setup one for root, one for me, and possibly another one for another user, this works out great, I get to choose what my computer looks and behaves like when I log in. I have a Sun GUI for root which happens to look cool, I haven't textured my user GUI yet, I've made all sorts of custom launchers or shortcuts for the windows folks. Funny thing is I have just as many apps installed yet my desktop has only 4 main icons, one of which is blender (I dare you to find another free 3D app of this quality for linux! Thats why its there!) I use blender a lot, so I figured instead of typing the path and execution commands at my feeble 50wpm, which is beginning to sound like automatic machinegun fire. I'll just rig a button on the desktop and now blender opens up with the slightest of ease. I still prefer "cd" and "ls" in a terminal window when directory surfing, (who wants to wait for the redraw of a filemanager!?)
So I think the best solution is cusomizability, and not just "slap-on-a-skin-that-no-one-can-create-themselves" but a really well thought out, and EASY TO USE skinning system so that ANYONE can create thier mood, it actually would be nice to select a user type login or name to tie to the setup, so you can have:
1.)"Standard GNU GPL Blender interface version #.##"
2.)"Mac Boy's Glass Pony Interface"
3.)"It types, it wears thick black rimmed glasses, it does differential equations in a single bound? Linux SuperGeek Interface"
4.)"Normal Linux user that actually likes visual interfaces, Interface"
They could have up to 64 characters for brevity and descriptive scope.
Names like "Translucent Dream", "Cloudscape" or "IBM Skunkworks Jail Break"
Things like drag-and-drop or click-and-link, ways to link a function of the program to a visual element.
I think this is the only way we can avert a major UI war among the warring tribes.
I mean look at linux, we've managed to "have it our own way" and we distribute code easily, check out system's for compatibility with "./configure" compile it with "make" (hope you never ever ever have to write a configure script!)
and we're off. I'm sure some guy/gal is reading this with enlightenment (The interface/window manager) or some other person with KDE 2 or 3. We get along!
I can see different linux users uniting to rush the windows enemy on the battle lines of 12th century scotland!
As for me, I'll stick with a mostly visual "all functions are there in the form of a visual element that I can eventually find and tinker with!"
Just the other day I was cursing blender because I saw no mirror function anywhere on the gui. So I assumed there was no mirror function, here I am writing a wish list for a mirror function and searching to web for python scripts, when a guy on irc tells me the key combination, I feel like an ass right away. I forgot the copy command several times which caused needless irc visits. I'm pretty sure human beings are better at using visual cues than we are at remembereing myraid functions. I never had to ask questions of this level which is born-yesterday-noob with Max, I mean I'de never ever ever ask such questions with max, because the mirror button is right there in front of me all the time. or whaever I need is neatly tucked into a drop down heirchial (spelling?) menu like the Gnome foot, or the windows start button.
I would suggest a paradigm like max, select a button for something and all of its propoerties will appear in a special are that's always there reserved for nothing else but displaying and working with fuctnions of the program, slap a scroll bar on it and make it move, that take care of the sapce dilemma. The program's size shouldn't even be debated as an impediment to adding features, since size isn't a limiting factor in distribution.
I don't work at ILM I don't need dealdine optimized key stroke to feature functionality.
Thats my story, and I'm stickin to it!
I hope this GUI war doesn't turn out like the elysiun one with 17 pages of replies...