Feedback new UI

Just noticed a new UI for meld. So I want to give a short feedback.

I noticed no Save-button - the one I need most
no menu but that right side gnome thing.
refresh now is a button which, if you not search for, not see.

as a long term Meld user, please, at least optionally give us back a normal menue and normal toolbar,… just the old user friendly UI.

I noticed with the new UI longer mouse-ways + ~50% more clicks to do the same job.

For me, meld is a every day productivity tool, and it used to be my favourite even if kdiff3 merges way better, but meld always had the better UI. Its a tool for developers - that must not look like a childish smartphone app. The old UI was totally fine! the new one is not.

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As a person who is using new UI for many months I confirm that even now the update button is very unobvious to find for me.

My suggestion is convert all 3 buttons inside “Hamburger menu” either to hamburger text entries or to toolbar buttons.

From my experience searching a feature in 3 places (toolbar, text enries in hamburger menu, buttons in a hamburger menu) is less intuitive than 2 entries (toolbar, text enries in hamburger menu).

Since hamburger menu is popup - I don’t think that replacing buttons with text consuming space would be a problem.

Also a logically grouping note. In other applications (nautilus, chromium) buttons placed inside one row in hamburger menu are logically grouped: “cut/copy/paste”, “zoom+/zoom reset/zoom -”, “new window/new tab/new folder” (the last is so-so…). But in meld it is “Refresh/Stop/Fullscreen”.
“Refresh” and “Stop” are related, but Fullscreen near them looks “alien”.

Thx, good points also. That 3 types of interaction elements, where two would easy full fill the requirements, is annoying, yes

whats also on my list, I am not a Gnome user - dropped it long ago for reasons. But my desktop is gtk driven (so 75% of my apps are gtk or gnome). So I am more in the traditional UI style, and here Gnome programs disturb the flow of usage e.g. normally the main menue is on the left - with gnomish programs on the right (which is OK with the PDF viewer with almost no functions beside printing…) (would be nice if a program would follow common desktop rules instead of advertising the rules of a different desktop), no Window decorations but the upper bar with the window title and the next level bar below take up almost the same amount of pixels as other programs with window decorations, menu bar + toolbar. this locks very broad, which disturbs me and its wasting a lot of vertical space… if I just add the height of clickable buttons / areas and the displayed text, at least 1/3 vertical space is just equal coloured area with no further use. Especially on notebooks this is bad. So again, at least optionally I would prefer if the program just uses the desktop defaults or lead to some parameters where I am able to change behaviour to my needs.

Exactly my opinion (and my problem)! I’m using xfce, which is gtk-3 based, with a “traditional” UI. Installing (on Debian) gtk3-nocsd helps, but unfortunately not completely. It would be great if Gnome applications would support an option (e.g. using an environment variable, as I implemented in the MUA Balsa) to completely switch to a UI style which is xfce (and kde, etc.) compliant. Just my € 0.01…

As a person who is using new UI for many months I confirm that even now the update button is very unobvious to find for me.

My suggestion is convert all 3 buttons inside “Hamburger menu” either to hamburger text entries or to toolbar buttons.

The problem with converting them to hamburger text entries is that this would really push the hamburger menu entry count over the top, IMO. I’d be inclined to move these all to the View menu, and I don’t think that would make anyone in this thread happier.

Specifically these three actions are where they are because they shouldn’t really be commonly needed. I appreciate that Refresh and Stop are sometimes required, but I consider cases where they’re needed to be mostly bugs. Fullscreen is a common affordance, but could most easily sit under the View menu.

Also a logically grouping note. In other applications (nautilus, chromium) buttons placed inside one row in hamburger menu are logically grouped: “cut/copy/paste”, “zoom+/zoom reset/zoom -”, “new window/new tab/new folder” (the last is so-so…). But in meld it is “Refresh/Stop/Fullscreen”.
“Refresh” and “Stop” are related, but Fullscreen near them looks “alien”.

While I kind of agree, this was cribbed fairly directly from gedit, which has Refresh/Print/Fullscreen.

Anyway, I’m somewhat open to the idea of moving these buttons elsewhere, but I would probably look at moving all three (because one or two buttons in that style does not look right) and the only one I would consider moving to the toolbar is Refresh. I don’t really appreciate why people need this so often (and don’t just use the standard keyboard shortcut), but it’s a somewhat common request so apparently it’s used.

I noticed no Save-button - the one I need most

There are Save buttons on every file in the per-file toolbar location.

as a long term Meld user, please, at least optionally give us back a normal menue and normal toolbar,… just the old user friendly UI.

I understand that some people prefer the old menu + toolbar style of UI, but GNOME applications moved away from this a long time ago. Meld is just somewhat slow to catch up (mostly because the UI framework that we used to do this was deprecated). Maintaining a dual UI layout is not simply not practical from a maintenance point-of-view.

Well, I need refresh at least every third or second use of meld, as when you copy large blocks around it does not refresh by itself…

so save and refresh are my two most used functions in meld

but GNOME applications moved away from this a long time ago

Thats the problem: most people using gnome programs (which are often good) do not use Gnome, so a more flexible approach would be welcome… we even use meld at work with Windows!

speaking of 3way diff, the ui of kdiff3 is horrible, but its the best tool when it comes to auto merges. meld is 2nd best with that awesome good ui in the past (easy and efficient). diffuse is the third… usable but meld was better.
so to me, there is no non gnome alternative to meld, but the new UI is not a improvement in any way. to me.

Just to say “we need to make it gnomish” by no reason other than gnome desktop rules, does not sound reasonable to me in first place, if it improves nothing.

Sometimes tools need to be different because of the task they solve.

A separation of front and back-end logic at least would help, maybe someone can the recreate an usable UI… I unfortunate are not in developing UI’s

If the UI is efficient to use (short mouse ways) I do not search and learn keyboard shortcuts in first place. I already know to much applications and different keybord shortcuts / windows and linux. to me keyboard shortcuts are the last thing I try before dropping an program as “unuseable” [exception: text editors like emacs…]

Some random notes about Refresh button from user point of view. Those are subjective, just sharing thoughts based on personal experience.

  • I’m using gedit but didn’t know that it has Refresh button, since auto-refresh suggestion based on external file change works fine in 99% cases
    • Similar autosuggestion to reload files works fine in 99% of cases in meld too
    • But main use of “refresh” button in meld - is for updating comparison status after complex editing; so it is different from gedit use case.
  • The button I personally never use in meld is “Open externally”. Since melds file are text - the “default association” just don’t know in which editor I want to open file this time. Also, the builtin editor is quite powerful and wanting to edit externally after viewing diff is a rare situation for me.
    • More common scenario is “open meld while file is already edited”, so instead of open externally I just return to the editor window.

Based on those notes - I’d suggest to swap them: put “open externally” button to the 3-icon-bar and refresh button in the menu, and renaming “Refresh” to “Refresh comparison”. However, if somebody uses “open externally” more ofthen that “refresh” such change would be inconvenient.

can support this statement by 99,9% :slight_smile:

As far as I’m concerned, this is just a bug. Please feel free to file an issue at https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/meld/-/issues with some reproduction cases and I’ll try to find some time to look at it.

I can tell you from reading far too many issue requests that Open Externally is widely used.

However, if we got rid of the horizontal-triple-button section at the top of the menu and moved Stop/Fullscreen to the View submenu, having Refresh at the top level doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

while using meld lately I also found that it constantly “leaves” the maximized state, and sometimes refuses to maximize again - weather with double click to the head-bar [whatever you call it]? nor the maximize button.

Also to come back to the refresh button, one of my use cases is mount another computer via network and sync two folders. Here, I often use refresh if files changed in the back due editing…

Also I really would love to see a feature to select hg/git branch/commit/tag on each side for comparison.
Also I would love to see more clearly if a file is under Version control, which version it is and so on… or just where it is stored.

Also I often found meld to detect blocks like (Comments A+B just for marking lines here…)

fct1(){

}//A

fct2(){

}//B

that the detected block is from Lines A to B. Sometimes it even includes some similar lines from fct1 and leaves out some of fct2. I really would love blocks to be more “language” aware, so only selecting complete functions and not span blocks over 2 or more functions

Another thing is (gitkraken has that feature), to click on a small + or - next to each line, to select / deselect copy of a single line. Great feature! Often very helpful

Another thing I miss, is, I normally do not compare whitespace other than at beginning of line. But I would love if e.g. missing empty lines would be highlighted. Currently I use the generate Patch Window to find the remaining differences (if in File A a new block is detected, and I sync it, In 99,99 of 100 cases I want to sync following empty lines as well - here the mentioned ± feature would help, more automation is appreciated like, after the block is synced, surrounding mismatches in empty lines are also made to sync able differences)

I use Ubuntu 20.04, meld 3.20 (which looks like the latest) and I have no preferences menu – not in the gnome top bar and not in the app window menu. I had to hack the source code to get it.

Also, I do not have a hambuger menu that I see mentioned in the posts above. Is that correct?

–BobG

3.20 may be the latest version available on a 2 year old OS, but the latest upstream version (which this discussion is about) is 3.21.1.

here on Arch I see 3.21.2

at least 50% of the upper bars is just empty space without any use… just for “design” - or whatever

and yes other programs need more vertical space, but it is tightly filled with buttons + the menue bar, which improves usability, so the space used is OK. trading space for less mouse movements is OK.