As far as I can see, in GTK2 spin buttons had two little arrows for changing the value whereas in GTK3 it has - & + buttons beside each other. I prefer the GTK2 look. Is there any way that GTK3 can be configured so that it has the arrows?
No, there’s no option to do that. The plus/minus buttons were introduced for better readability and because they offer more affordances for users with disabilities and users on touch devices.
I understand the need for easier access for some people. I also understand, for example, the need for ramps instead of steps for wheel-bound people or subtitles for the hard of hearing, but these do not preclude the use of stairs or sound for others. Therefore, can I request that the smaller vertically-aligned buttons be made an option via the theme - such a change would only be visible on the devices of those who set it up as such.
You can ask, but the answer is going to be “no”, I’m afraid.
GTK3 is API and feature frozen—which also includes theme properties. GTK4 doesn’t use theme properties any more, and only allows pure CSS ones. Additionally, we don’t allow themes to control the layout of the internal details of widgets. Finally, adding “options” that radically alter the state, interaction, and layout of widgets is not really scalable from the perspective of maintaining a toolkit.
If you want an “old school” spin button you will have to write your own widget, for your own application.
The “new” (in reality: almost 10 years old) layout of the spin button does not in any way preclude the use of the widget, so your simile really breaks down pretty much immediately. The new layout is better on any metric we care about; it is “different”, but not in a way that prevents people from using it effectively, and it opens up more use cases than the “old” layout did.
The new layout is better on any metric we care about;
Except compactness and consistgency with other platforms
“Compactness” is not a useful metric, and it conflicts with the ability to use GTK with input devices like a touchscreen on a hybrid laptop/mobile platform.
“Consistency with other platforms” is equally not useful, considering that we’re shipping the same theme by default everywhere. We care more about internal consistency and about our goals when it comes to providing a useful UI. GTK will never have the resources, or the inclination, to create a toolkit that mimics other platforms. It simply does not work that way.
If you want to completely and fully integrate on other platforms, my personal recommendation is to decouple your UI logic from your business logic to the point where you can make a specific UI for each targeted platform—Linux (GTK), Windows, and macOS—using the native toolkits of each platform.
Personally I also preferred the gtk2 approach over the gtk3 approach. I don’t have that strong
of an opinion on the changed gtk3 approach though, so the spinbutton situation is so trivial
that I don’t really care either way.
Using CSS is a very good decision. I have not used that much CSS in ruby-gtk3 yet, but what I
used so far was really nice to work with. I like CSS actually. (Not all of CSS, mind you; I try to
stick to simplicity and not over-do or over-use CSS).
There is perhaps one thing to add to the comment above. EMOJIs can be used quite a lot;
for example I use the arrow-emojis as gtk_label quite a bit. I like emojis too - many of
them are quite useless, but I see them as “free simple-GUI enhancements”. They are not
necessarily meant as that, I understand this, but I like that we can pick from so many
unicode-characters. I use the “double bars” for commandline applications, for
example, when I have to present a lot of information to the user, and want to colourize
that, and present that in a nice-to-read and simple-to-read manner.
There are often work arounds such as using images anyway, but with emojis it actually
becomes soooo simple really.
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