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Author Topic: The official Bitcoin client looks awful  (Read 3797 times)
dan_a
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July 02, 2011, 02:37:26 PM
 #21

There is no argument, just make what you want. If you want a iPhone-like GUI, make a iPhone-like GUI. If you want a better wxWindows-based GUI, make a better wxWindows-based GUI. I really don't understand some of the people here.

You can either work with me or do your own thing. Open source = freedom.

And if you can't make it, offer a BTC bounty for someone else to.
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wumpus
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July 02, 2011, 02:40:56 PM
 #22

No, nothing has changed. Qt is still emulatig the L&F as it has always done and is rendering every single pixel of every control itself rather than using the platform native controls. Just look into the source code to see it for yourself.
Ok just for fun I just checked "src/gui/styles/qgtkpainter.cpp" in Qt 4.7.3.  It really calls gtk to do the drawing (gdk_pixbuf, gtk_icon, GtkWidget). I haven't checked for the other backends, but wouldn't know why this would be different. You can also check by changing the GTK theme. If it drew fake gtk-ish controls it would ignore that.

Edit, for Vista:
Quote
 \class QWindowsVistaStyle
  \brief The QWindowsVistaStyle class provides a look and feel suitable for applications on Microsoft Windows Vista.
  \since 4.3
  \ingroup appearance

  \warning This style is only available on the Windows Vista platform
  because it makes use of Windows Vista's style engine.

Do I need to go on?

And if you can't make it, offer a BTC bounty for someone else to.
+1

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
Nesetalis
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July 02, 2011, 02:47:48 PM
 #23

the information display should be interactive... when i recieve a payment, i should be able to check, right then and there, what address it came from, which address its going to, what tx was paid, and so forth... i should also be able to copy the information with both keyboard shortcuts, and there should be a right click context menu..
the client also has ALOT of wasted space.
screen realestate may not be important for some people, but for me it is. 'send coins' and 'address book' dont need to be on their own line.. it looks like some idiot just threw all the buttons on to the screen in order, and didnt care where they landed.

I should also be able to prune history by a set ammount of time.. transactions over 5000 confirmations are old enough that i probably dont give two shits about them :p the information should be accessable, but it shouldnt be right there on the front of everything hogging resources.

as for comments about Qt.. Qt is awesome, use it :p

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bitplane
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July 02, 2011, 02:56:36 PM
 #24

This is a desktop application and not an iPhone app, so functionality should come way before fancy visuals and useless eyecandy. Also, I dislike desktop applications that try to sport their own oh-so-cool look and do not adhere to the OS's look-and-feel, they always make a rather toy-ish impression on me.

Yeah I agree, but not because they're toy-ish but because they deviate from the standards that users expect. The example you gave is bad because of the background, wasted space, layout, tabs and buttons not looking like what users expect and the general clutter of it. Good design is not achieved when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove.

To paraphrase Donald Norman, as little knowledge of how to use the object as possible should be held in the head, it should exist in the "world" (in this case the UI). A good UI design is split into categories to reduce clutter thus preventing the need to memorize actions and locations (knowledge in the head), each item should use metaphor (icons to represent real-world items, pushables "sticking out", draggables that look like they can be grabbed) and logical mappings (sorting a list is done via its column header, use of colours to signify categories) to draw on knowledge that people already have and make things obvious. When there's no other option, use standards; *most* people know how to operate a drop-down list or combo-box because they've used loads of them before.

The problem with programmers or engineers being designers is that we believe we are normal users when we're not! I may have read Norman's design book and Spolsky's UI book, but I still suck at making user-friendly designs because as soon as I start hacking I my innocence is soiled by the technical knowledge I acquire. This is the greatest challenge of UI design and why most apps look like crap.
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July 02, 2011, 02:59:00 PM
 #25

the information display should be interactive... when i recieve a payment, i should be able to check, right then and there,
This has been implemented, you get a notification when a transaction comes in, with all that info.
Quote
i should also be able to copy the information with both keyboard shortcuts, and there should be a right click context menu..
A right-click context menu on the transaction list? What kind of options would you expect there?
Quote
'send coins' and 'address book' dont need to be on their own line..
A toolbar is pretty standard in any application these days.
Quote
I should also be able to prune history by a set ammount of time.. transactions over 5000 confirmations are old enough that i probably dont give two shits about them :p the information should be accessable, but it shouldnt be right there on the front of everything hogging resources.
Filtering has been implemented, by default it still shows all transactions in the list, but it is possible to only display the transactions of today, this week, this month etc.

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prof7bit
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July 02, 2011, 03:36:49 PM
 #26

Ok just for fun I just checked "src/gui/styles/qgtkpainter.cpp" in Qt 4.7.3.  It really calls gtk to do the drawing (gdk_pixbuf, gtk_icon, GtkWidget). I haven't checked for the other backends, but wouldn't know why this would be different. You can also check by changing the GTK theme. If it drew fake gtk-ish controls it would ignore that.

Look harder. Its drawing its own emulated versions of the controls. It is re-implementing the behavior and it is emulating the look of each control by drawing its own stuff into *generic empty* windows. It is using some native graphics and theming API to draw its own things that look like the original native controls.

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wumpus
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July 02, 2011, 03:52:10 PM
 #27

Look harder. Its drawing its own emulated versions of the controls. It is re-implementing the behavior and it is emulating the look of each control by drawing its own stuff into *generic empty* windows. It is using some native graphics and theming API to draw its own things that look like the original native controls.
I don't really care beyond this, this level of nativeness is good enough for me.

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
bitplane
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July 02, 2011, 04:08:42 PM
 #28

Slightly off-topic, but are there any HTML rendering toolkits that are incredibly lightweight, cross platform and with minimal dependencies? Given all the progress made in the web over the past decade, it may be better to just go ahead and write apps in HTML as they're very flexible and well known by users. A desktop app that looks and feels web 2.0 would be rather nice IMO.
MysteryMiner
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July 02, 2011, 06:47:58 PM
 #29

The official Bitcoin client looks just like it should look.

If for some noob it's too technical (the 3 items on the statusbar, connections, blocks, transaction count), then he must reconsider using Bitcoin and computers in general and return to using showel and axe.

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antares
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July 02, 2011, 07:06:42 PM
 #30

Actually, without offending the developers out there, I still don't think it looks very good.

I think when you fire it up, you should get a (perhaps dark) screen, no itemized listing of transactions, but simply large animated iconic visuals indicating status. The "Send coins" function should be much bigger, and front and center. If you click a tab, you then get an itemized listing of your transactions. There is relatively simple functionality in this application. Make it slick. Make it look like the best iPhone apps out there.

Your balance should not show anywhere on the initial screen. Transactions and balances are only visible when you press the tab. Suppose you wish to open it up with someone behind you to affect a payment to someone (maybe the person standing behind your shoulder)?

Hell beware - imo the client is just right - I can approve to some of the OPs suggestions, but it should still be rather functional than "look like some stupid iphone app". People use the client to do transactions, not to waste their time.
phillipsjk
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July 02, 2011, 07:17:01 PM
 #31

Slightly off-topic, but are there any HTML rendering toolkits that are incredibly lightweight, cross platform and with minimal dependencies? Given all the progress made in the web over the past decade, it may be better to just go ahead and write apps in HTML as they're very flexible and well known by users. A desktop app that looks and feels web 2.0 would be rather nice IMO.

No. HTML is a document mark-up language based on SGML. IMO converting web-browsers into Operating Systems is not progress. HTML and Cascading style sheets were never intended exclusively for gui rendering. My favorite web-browser (lynx) is text-based, but has been stuck at about HTML 3.2 because it does not implement the Document Object Model (also used for stylesheets.) That browser uses external viewers for displaying things like images and video. This is a lot more convenient and secure than running a proprietary video player from the website you are visiting (every website using flash and silvelight video).

One other point: Client-side scripting takes control from the user. Before I can trust the EMCA Script in a web-page not to send my information to parts unknown, I have to review the source-code. Not user-friendly at all; as I have to check every time I load the page.

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bitplane
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July 02, 2011, 07:24:56 PM
 #32

The official Bitcoin client looks just like it should look.

If for some noob it's too technical (the 3 items on the statusbar, connections, blocks, transaction count), then he must reconsider using Bitcoin and computers in general and return to using showel and axe.
This is technological elitism and a very short-sighted, ignorant view of the world. Either we have a GUI client or we don't, if you don't want a user-friendly UI then stick to the command line.
antares
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July 02, 2011, 07:37:55 PM
 #33

@bitplane - I consider people should at least get some knowledge before using bitcoins - it's usually those people thar are even too dumb to google up those said 3 items that get their wallets stolen and then spread the word about some unsafe service, just because they are too dumb and ignorant to admit that it's their own fault. As I said I can feel for some of your suggestions from the first post, however it shouldn't be too easy. I mean, look at the recent mtgox incident - there were people using unsafe passwords. Those were the one who cried out loud. It's not like we've 1995 here, where password security was something "unheard of before" in the internet community. Therefore I consider at least some basic barrier to keep away those who are even too unwilling to read a couple pages before using something. That again implies that a fluffy colourful iPhone-bitcoin is in fact the wrong step - it attracts those dumb people like light attracts flies.

For Definition: A dumb person is (IMHO) someone who does not know something AND is not willing to get at least basic knowledge by researching the missing information, while complaining when that same persons fails because they did not research at least basic information.

Further, being a noob is not something bad(imho). We all started as noobs, but many of us have evolved and learned about the possibilites, risks and precautions using bitcoin
bitplane
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July 02, 2011, 07:40:28 PM
 #34

No. HTML is a document mark-up language based on SGML. IMO converting web-browsers into Operating Systems is not progress.

I know what HTML is, I was just struggling to think of a GUI toolkit that designers find easy to use, that is cross platform, user-friendly, mature and suited to rapid development. HTML ticks all of those boxes, in fact Windows 8 will use HTML and JavaScript for client-side apps.

The Win32 API and Cocoa are reasonably lightweight, but not cross-platform. GTK, .Net, QT and Java have enormous dependencies and are a ball-ache to just jump in and start developing for. WebKit is tiny but has loads of Apple's dependencies, Mozilla have a very ugly build process.

CEGUI and Irrlicht are nice and small, but not very flexible. A small, lightweight, cross-platform HTML4 rendering library with minimal dependencies (zlib, opengl and libpng) would solve a lot of problems in this space. For example we wouldn't need a 10MB download for the Bitcoin client, and the same code could be used across mobile devices with constrained memory.
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July 02, 2011, 07:53:20 PM
 #35

@antares, now I may be drunk and this may be offensive, but you're talking bollocks. I don't want to have to search the web to know how to use a piece of software, it should just work. If the user interface of some software requires searching the web before you can use it, then it quite simply fails at its job of interfacing with the user!

If the key audience is a technical elite like you are suggesting, then there should be compile instructions rather than binaries on the main website. I'd be quite happy with that, but that's not the case.
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July 02, 2011, 07:55:37 PM
 #36

The question is: Are the bitcoin devs aware that the app sucks big time and know how to improve it? I believe they are. If they are, they don't need our input.

To me it looks like the UI can get most needed features in a fulltime-week effort. It is pretty good already but it need 10-20 additional little tweaks, features and tools to be perfect for noobs as well as for nerds at the same time.
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July 02, 2011, 10:52:12 PM
 #37

What should you need to change in Bitcoin client??? You need to bloat the GUI with skinnable themes to attract additional bunch of retarded users who judge software purely from so called "eye candy"? (search youtube for "happy tree friends eye candy") (lol)

You must get rid of the block count in statusbar that most users even did not notice?

The Bitcoin is example of simplicity and functionality. I have said my word.

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July 02, 2011, 10:55:10 PM
 #38

For example you need to be able to do ctrl-c on a bitcoin address or have provider-pluggable cloud-based backup built in. There are a million things still to do.
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July 02, 2011, 11:05:02 PM
 #39

things to put in a context menu: copy recieved address, copy sent address, copy full log, an item to open another window with the transaction log, hide, and pin.

as for the tool bar, a toolbar is fine, but sitting empty like that is pointless waste of space. Stick your bitcoin balance on that as well instead of on its own line... displaying the bitcoin address the way it does doesnt really do anything either by the way, no one cares what the string contains, just so long as it connects to them. More useful would be a tool to choose an address to copy (of your previous addresses) or choosing one of the new ones.

I would really like the information that is acquired through blockexplorer to be accessable, not all of it, just the relevant information to your own transactions.

ZOMG Moo!
MysteryMiner
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July 02, 2011, 11:07:56 PM
 #40

For example you need to be able to do ctrl-c on a bitcoin address or have provider-pluggable cloud-based backup built in. There are a million things still to do.
You can do that! There is button "Copy to Clipboard". You probably missed it because the button is yet not skinnable... Sorry, can't resist being sarcastic.

Cloud based backup is bad idea. Backing up wallet on so called "cloud" gives 2 concerns. First the cloud can be destroyed by adversary or accident more easily than offline backups in your phisical possesion. Second, even if the backup crypto is not broken, the theft of wallet is more easily done becouse all you need is login information than wallet.dat file itself. Login information is a little bit easier to retrieve from remote systems using keyloggers than file.

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