More Help App design ponderings

Daniel McGuire is unstoppable. The work I mentioned yesterday was great, here’s some more, showing what would happen when the user selects “Playing Music”.

help app - playing music

 

More feedback we received so far:

  • Kevin Feyder suggested using a different icon for the app.
  • Michał Prędotka asked if we were planning to add more icons/pictures and the answer is “yes, we’d love to if it doesn’t clutter up the interface too much”. We are going to start a call for help with the content soon.
  • Robin of ubuntufun.de asked the same thing as Michał and wondered where the translations were. We are going to look into that. He generally like the Ubuntu-like style.

Do you have any more feedback? Anything you’d like to look or work differently? Anything you’d like to help with?

RFC: Help app design

Some of you might have noticed the Help app in the store, which has been around for a couple of weeks now. We are trying to make it friendlier and easier to use. Maybe you can comment and share your ideas/thoughts.

Apart from actual bugs and adding more and more useful content, we also wanted the app to look friendlier and be more intuitive and useful.

The latest trunk lp:help-app can be seen as version 0.3 in the store or if you run

bzr branch lp:help-app
less help-app/HACKING

you can run and check it out locally.

Here’s the design Daniel McGuire suggested going forward.

help-mockup

What are your thoughts? If you look at the content we currently have, how else would you expect the app to look like or work?

Thanks a lot Daniel for your work on this! 🙂

The Snappy Online Summit is in full swing!

snappyIt’d be a bit of a stretch to call UOS Snappy Online Summit, but Snappy definitely was talk of the town this time around. It was also picked up by tech news sites, who not always depicted Ubuntu’s plans accurately. 🙂

Anyway… if you missed some of the sessions, you can always go back, watch the videos of the sessions and check the notes. Here’s the links to the sessions which already happened:

Which leaves us with today, 7th May 2015! You can still join these sessions today – we’ll be glad to hear your input and ideas! 🙂

  • 14:00 UTC: Ubuntu Core Brainstorm – Calling all Snappy pioneers
    Snappy and Ubuntu Core are still hot off the press, but it’s already clear that they’re going to bring a lot of opportunities and will make the lives of developers a lot easier. Let’s get together, brainstorm and find out where Snappy can be used in the future, which communities/tools/frameworks can be joined by it, which software should be ported to it and which crazy nice tutorials/demos can be easily put together. Anything goes, join us, no matter if on IRC or in the hangout!
  • 16:00 UTC: Snappy Q&A
    Everything you always wanted to know about Snappy and Ubuntu Core. Bring your questions here! Bring your friends as well. We’ll make sure to have all the relevant experts here.
  • 18:00 UTC: Replace ifupdown with networkd on snappy / cloud / server for 16.04
    What the title says. Networkers, we’ll need you here. 🙂

The above are just my suggestions, obviously there’s loads of other good stuff on the schedule today! See you later!

Shaping Ubuntu Snappy

Next week we are going to have another Ubuntu Online Summit (5-7 May 2015). This is (among many other things) a great time for you to get involved with, learn about and help shape Ubuntu Snappy.

As I said in my last blog post I’m very impressed to see the general level of interest in Ubuntu Snappy given how new it is. It’ll be great to see who is joining the sessions and who is going to get involved.

For those of you who are new to it: Ubuntu Online Summit is an open event, where we’ll plan in hangouts and IRC the next Ubuntu release. You can

  • tune in
  • ask questions
  • bring up ideas
  • get to know the team
  • help out 🙂

This is the preliminary schedule. Sessions might still move around a bit, but be sure to register for the event and subscribe to the blueprint/session – that way you are going to be notified of ongoing work and discussion.

Tuesday, 5th May 2015

Wednesday, 6th May 2015

Thursday, 7th May 2015

Please note that we are likely going to add more sessions, so you should definitely keep your eyes open and check the schedule every now and then.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all and seeing us shape what Snappy is going to be! See you next week!

Ubuntu 15.04 is changing the game

15.04 is out!

ubuntu.com

 

And another Ubuntu release went out the the door. I can’t believe that it’s the 22nd Ubuntu release already.

There’s a lot to be excited about in 15.04. The first phone powered by Ubuntu went out to customers and new devices are in the pipeline. The underpinnings of the various variants of Ubuntu are slowly converging, new Ubuntu flavours saw the light of day (MATE and Desktop next), new features landed, new apps added, more automated tests were added, etc. The future of Ubuntu is looking very bright.

What’s Ubuntu Core?

One thing I’m super happy about is a very very new addition: Ubuntu Core and snappy. What does it offer? It gives you a minimal Ubuntu system, automatic and bulletproof updates with rollback, an app store and very straight-forward enablement and packaging practices.

It has been brilliant to watch the snappy-devel@ and snappy-app-devel@ mailing lists in recent weeks and notice how much interest from enthusiasts, hobbyists, hardware manufacturers, porters and others get interested and get started. If you have a look at Dustin’s blog post, you get a good idea of what’s happening. It also features a video of Mark, who explains how Ubuntu has adapted to the demands of a changing IT world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfFRsDc-IgU

One fantastic example of how Ubuntu Snappy is already powering devices you had never thought of is the Erle-Copter. (If you can’t see the video, check out this link.)

It’s simply beautiful how product builders and hobbyists can now focus on what they’re interested in: building a tool, appliance, a robot, something crazy, something people will love or something which might change a small art of the world somewhere. What’s taken out of the equation by Ubuntu is: having to maintain a linux distro.

Maintaining a linux distro

Whenever I got a new device in my home I could SSH into, I was happy and proud. I always felt: “wow, they get it – they’re using open source software, they’re using linux”. This  feeling was replaced at some stage, when I realised how rarely my NAS or my router received system updates. When I checked for changelog entries of the updates I found out how only some of the important CVEs of the last year were mentioned, sometimes only “feature updates” were mentioned.

To me it’s clear that not all product builders or hardware companies collaborate with the NSA and create backdoors on purpose, but it’s hard work to maintain a linux stack and to do it responsibly.

That’s why I feel Ubuntu Core is an offering that “has legs” (as Mark Shuttleworth would say): as somebody who wants to focus on building a great product or solving a specific use case, you can do just that. You can ship your business logic in a snap on top of Ubuntu Core and be done with it. Brilliant!

What’s next?

Next week is Ubuntu Online Summit (5-7 May). There we are going to discuss the plans for the next time and that’s where you can get involved, ask questions, bring up your ideas and get to know the folks who are working on it now.

I’ll write a separate blog post in the coming days explaining what’s happening next week, until then feel free to have a look at:

 

On being an Ubuntu member

What does being an Ubuntu member mean to you? Why did you do it back then?

I became an Ubuntu member about 10 years ago. It was part of the process of becoming member of the MOTU team. Before you could apply for upload rights, you had to be an Ubuntu member though.

That wasn’t all of it though. For me it wasn’t the @ubuntu.com mail address or “fulfilling the requirements for upload rights”. As I had helped out and contributed for months already, I felt part of the tribe and luckily many encouraged me to take the next step and apply for membership. I had grown to like the people I worked with and learned from a lot. It was a bit daunting, but being recognised for my contributions was a great experience. Afterwards I would say I did my fair share of encouraging others to apply as well. 🙂

Which brings me to the two calls of action I wanted to get out there.

1) Encourage members of your team who haven’t applied for Ubuntu membership!

There are so many people doing fantastic work on AskUbuntu, the Forums, in Flavour teams, the Docs team, the QA world and all over the place when it comes to phones, desktops, IoT bits, servers, the cloud and more. Many many of them should really be Ubuntu members, but they haven’t heard of it, or don’t know how or are concerned of not “having done enough”.

If you have people like that in a project you are working in, please do encourage them. In an open source project we should aim to do a good job at recognising the great work of others.

2) Join the Ubuntu Membership Boards!

If you are an Ubuntu member, seriously consider joining the Ubuntu Membership Boards. The call for nominations is still open and it’s a great thing to be involved with.

When I joined the Community Council, the CC was still in charge of approving Ubuntu members and I enjoyed the meeting (even if they were quite looooooooooooooooooooong), when we got to talk to many contributors from all parts of the globe and from all parts of the Ubuntu landscape. Welcoming many of them to Ubuntu members team was just beautiful.

Nominate yourself and be quick about it! 🙂

Giving Ubuntu devices users a head-start

In the past weeks Nick, David, a few others and I worked on an app / a website, which could easily collect information which will give users of an Ubuntu device a head-start. All our collective experience and knowledge, easily added and translated.

We achieved quite a bit. We’re now very close to getting a first version of it online (both as an app in the store and as a website). We can quite reliably integrate translations and add new content.

We still have a few TODO items and it would be great if you could help out. If you can write a bit of documentation, translate content or fix some HTML/CSS bits or help out with testability. Any help at all will be appreciated.

Tasks:

  • Add content. Just check out our branch and propose a merge. Read the HACKING doc beforehand.
  • Translate. The content is likely going to change a bit in the next days still, but every edit or translation will be appreciated.
  • Hack! We have a number of things we still want to improve. Read the HACKING doc beforehand. Here’s a list of things:
    • Styling/theming/navigation:
      • Bug 1416385: Fix bullet points in the phone theme
      • Bug 1428671: Remove traces of developer.ubuntu.com
      • Bug 1428669: Clean up required CSS/JS
      • Bug 1425025: Automatically load translated pages according to the user language.
    • Testing
    • and there’s more.

Ping me on IRC, or balloons or dpm if you want to get involved. We look forward to working with you and we’ll post more updates soon.

Sometimes it’s so easy to help out

I already blogged about the help app I was working on a bit in the last time. I wanted to go into a bit more detail now that we reached a new milestone.

What’s the idea behind it?

In a conversation in the Community team we noticed that there’s a lot of knowledge we gathered in the course of having used Ubuntu on a phone for a long time and that it might make sense to share tips and tricks, FAQ, suggestions and lots more with new device users in a simple way.

The idea was to share things like “here’s how to use edge swipes to do X” (maybe an animated GIF?) and “if you want to do Y, install the Z app from the store” in an organised and clever fashion. Obviously we would want this to be easily editable (Markdown) and have easy translations (Launchpad), work well on the phone (Ubuntu HTML5 UI toolkit) and work well on the web (Ubuntu Design Web guidelines) too.

What’s the state of things now?

There’s not much content yet and it doesn’t look perfect, but we have all the infrastructure set up. You can now start contributing! 🙂

screenshot of web edition
screenshot of web edition
screenshot of phone app edition
screenshot of phone app edition

 

What’s still left to be done?

  • We need HTML/CSS gurus who can help beautifying the themes.
  • We need people to share their tips and tricks and favourite bits of their Ubuntu devices experience.
  • We need hackers who can help in a few places.
  • We need translators.

What you need to do? For translations: you can do it in Launchpad easily. For everything else:

$ bzr branch lp:ubuntu-devices-help
$ cd ubuntu-devices-help
$ less HACKING

We’ve come a long way in the last week and with the easy of Markdown text and easy Launchpad translations, we should quickly be in a state where we can offer this in the Ubuntu software store and publish the content on the web as well.

If you want to write some content, translate, beautify or fix a few bugs, your help is going to be appreciated. Just ping myself, Nick Skaggs or David Planella on #ubuntu-app-devel.

Get trained on Ubuntu’s HTML5 story

Did you always want to write an app for Ubuntu and thought that HTML5 might be a good choice? Well picked!

finished

We now have training materials up on developer.ubuntu.com which will get you started in all things related to Ubuntu devices. The great thing is that you just write this app once and it’ll work on the phone, the desktop and whichever device Ubuntu is going to run next on.

The example used in the materials is a RSS reader written by my friend, Adnane Belmadiaf. If you go through the steps one by one you’ll notice how easy it is to get stuff done. 🙂

This is also a good workshop you could give in your LUG or LoCo or elsewhere. Maybe next weekend at Ubuntu Global Jam too? 🙂