Welcome to the third issue of the Kontact suit series. Today we'll give a look at the Calendar kpart (KOrganizer):

By default, it shares many interface problems with Contacts, they both show non-sense information by default, take a look:


Critics to the main interface first

The toolbar, I mean, come on, how many icons are there? Remember, for a sane interface try to never pass 7 toolbar icons, some application need to, but 99% of them don't. That your application supports copy, cut and paste doesn't mean it deserves a place on the toolbar!:


You see the arrow at the left? There's still one more:

The toobar could easily be reduced to seven icons, the most used seven icons, the rest of the views are still on the"view" menu, also, forward and backward button are useless, since there's a calendar:


The sidebar, is amazingly crowdy, full of non-sense, Akonadi resource is the first thing we should get rid of:

And, to be fair, we should get rid of the to-do viewer, since it's functionality is much better presented on the to-do list section of Kontact:

It's looking much better, isn't it? And it looks even better by reducing the size of the calendar, and increasing the size of the "content view":

A lot less cluttered, and we didn't lose anything per se.

End of critics

It has plenty of features, adding items is quite easy, you can either select a specific time using the mouse and then right clicking, or using the "New" dropdown menu of the toolbar, the dialog itself looks differently depending of what you select, for example, New to-do will confuse, and scare newbies, but then again, features are there, on the other hand, the new "event", even if it's very similar, doesn't look too cluttered :-)

New to-do dialog: As you can see it offers many features, priority and percentage of completeness, however, it isn't really showing much information, but it's using plenty of space to do it:

The recurrence dialog seems perfect to me, it doesn't look cluttered, and it's very well organized :-) You can select the recurrence type and rules to show them, the range of recurrence and the exception to the rules, all very well presented:

On truly good feature, around all Kontact, but which, for some reason I didn't show before, is that when you click any date, you get a calendar, so adding exceptions, dates, birthdays, events, etc. it's very easy and straight forward:

And you can easily add, and review, other members of the to-do:

You can also create templates if you usually work with certain groups of people :-). This way, you don't have to add them manually every single time, you just select the group (or template) and you're done:


New Event: Looks similar, less cluttered, yet still seems like using much space to show few things, but it's quite acceptable, it also has the "attendees" tab.

KOrganizer is quite powerful, you can easily create filters to make your search/review easier, you can select "filters" from the view menu entry:



Management of categories is a breeze too:

It also supports many other things, like sending as an iCalendar, vCalendar or as web page file, send an invitation to all the attendees of the selected event/to-do, as well as canceling the invitation, Mail free busy information, you can even import dates from the "Get How New Stuff" service:

Now, as always, to close, let's have a look at the configuration dialogs, and... I gotta say it, they're amazingly well done. Very well organized, uncluttered (except the colors in colors & fonts), easy to follow and understand, mostly 100% self-explanatory (congratulations to the KOrganizer devs, in this application it doesn't seem like an easy thing to do):


One thing I'm still wondering, is it wouldn't be better to just show the calendar (like iCal), in this, of course, this will mean we have to add the forward and backward button again, yet, it could work better (on the other hand, I like to preview things without opening the editor):


Probably this, even if less cluttered, would not be better even if the main editor is changed, and gives more priority to the content (that's reason I don't like to click in order to see the content).

Well, this is it for today. I hope you like it.
See you next time


Coming up next: Kontact: To-do List

25 comments:

Paulo Cesar said...

One problems that makes impossible to use it: adding a event on a small screen (aka eee701)

Just compare it with Google Calendar, it's ridiculous.. White on GCal you can just type "lunch with Megan Fox at 18:00", on Kontact you will have to open a window with a insane amount of unnecessary inputs and gui controls, that can't even fit on a 800x480 screen!

Luis Augusto said...

Well, maybe a one liner add event could be good, but the true editor of GCal offers many options too, however, I did say that it seems to use too much space to show little (the new event, and new to-do).

On the other hand, the rest isn't bad (default main interface aside).

ComputerDruid said...

Hey, I really like your Kontact series, and like the stuff you've done here. One of the things about korganizer that you DIDN'T show was the Month view. I'm guessing you don't use it much, but i find it very helpful, and it's my default view. I think it deserves some special consideration, as the left pane in this view is much less useful, since it serves as a nice overview. (There's an option to disable it)

Just thought it has a slightly different usability perspective that you missed.

Luis Augusto said...

Hahaha you got me ther, I also find the month view to be great, but it made KOrganizer crash XD. So I left it aside (I'm using KDE trunk), I will update the article as soon as it starts working again.

Thank you very much for the compliment, I'm glad you like the articles.

Jonas said...

One thing about Kontact I find kinda odd...

Say you're in say To-Do component. Open up the left-most menu and you find an entry that says "New To do...". Why is that entry opening up a submenu with "New message", "New contact", and so on? As I'm already in the to-do component, I think it's quite likely that it's a new to-do entry I want to create.

And if it's just a convenient way of letting the user add "New anything", it shouldn't say "New to do..." in the first place. It should say "New..." and then the submenu.

Luis Augusto said...

Actually, if you don't click on the drop-down arrow, Kontact will asume (while on KOrganizer) you want to add a "New Event". In "To-Do" a new "To-do". In contacts a "contact" and so on.

Anonymous said...

What do you use? Oxygen, Ozone. YOu screenshots look nice and it made me wonder what windows decoration and theme oyu use.

Anonymous said...

It is Bespin:
http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php/Bespin?content=63928
http://cloudcity.sourceforge.net/

mikmach said...

Good points about resources and to-do panels but don't agree with reducing number of months. Two is perfect to see things in context. If spacing of widgets would be more tight I'd like even to use there three months.

Problem with to-do and journal elements of Kontact is: there are technically part of Korganizer, not standalone apps. And very often functionality there is almost literally copied from main Korganizer without change of POV.

wilq said...

I love one thing... the "to-do due today"(yellow color) no longer exists in Agenda View :)... its possible to use colors of tasks as action marks again (call,mail,post,memo etc.)

Luis Augusto said...

@mikmach: To be fair, I didn't reduce the months view to just 1. By default is just 1. However, I don't agree, since the "context view" is pretty much useless without enough space.

"Problem with to-do and journal elements of Kontact is: there are technically part of Korganizer, not standalone apps. And very often functionality there is almost literally copied from main Korganizer without change of POV."

Yep, but Akonadi resources and to-do viewer inside to-do (this is the greatest non-sense ever) are useless in all of them, so I think it doesn't really matter.

@wilq: Mmm... I'm haven't seen the option, however, if you create categories with those actions you can workaround it.

@Anonymous: Yes, as they already told you, it's bespin with a custom scheme.

Alexander, .rs said...

Somae off-topic about the first screenshot: I remebber seeing about those wonderfuls shots somewhere at RSS, but never managed to find the article again :C. Was it an application? A script? Give as a clue, please!

Alek

Luis Augusto said...

It's a small application called screenie.

http://code.google.com/p/screenie/

You don't need to compile it, you just need Qt 4.4 or .5.

It's pretty easy to use and simple.

kobzeci said...

And what about the the journal/blog stuff, there is no blogging app in kde4 , and the journal in korganizer is not working for wordpress now, it is broken i think , it gives the error invalid post number etc... And Kblogger is stucked in kde3, maybe a plasma applet will be nice

Jonas said...

@kobzeci,

There is a KDE4 version of Kblogger, but I would recommend Bilbo instead. Neither integreates into Kontact (yet?) though.

kobzeci said...

@jonas:
i am just trying Bilbo on Pardus, and it seems nice :)

i figured that korganizer's blogging problem is: custom title's. Ehen i want to write my custom title for a journal entry, it could not post it to my blog the error is "invalid post number", but when i leave the default title ex: "Journal for 09.04.2009" it is ok, and it post to my blog. Interesting bug.

Luis Augusto said...

None of them have ever work for me. They fail to detect my internet connection XD.

Anonymous said...

Really cool, thanks. Don't know if it's the right place to ask, but: Is there a reason why the icon sidebar on the left wouldn't show me whether there are new messages or feed-entries like in the system tray?

Luis Augusto said...

It isn't implemented as far as I know (it would look too cluttered).

You should open a bug report (wish), as an option it would be good:

bugs.kde.org

However, in the Summary you can look at your emails.

Stefan T. said...

"The sidebar, is amazingly crowdy, full of non-sense, Akonadi resource is the first thing we should get rid of:"

I do not agree. Maybe, I don't understand. Why would you remove it? How would you chouse what calendar to use or how to crate new calendar ease as it is now?

"And, to be fair, we should get rid of the to-do viewer, since it's functionality is much better presented on the to-do list section of Kontact:"

Again, I do not agree. Just put to-do viewer at bottom of calendar and add button "toggle on/off to-do viewer".

To-do viewer is something that you want to see quickly sometimes and it has more information to display (from left to right).

P.s.
Developers could add zoom slider at bottom.
And it would look like this:
http://muycomputer.com/files/264-9260-FOTO/Office14-8.jpg

Luis Augusto said...

"I do not agree. Maybe, I don't understand. Why would you remove it? How would you chouse what calendar to use or how to crate new calendar ease as it is now?"

Most people use one calendar. If you use 2 (or more), feel free to add it, but don't crowd the interface with mostly useless elements.

"Again, I do not agree. Just put to-do viewer at bottom of calendar and add button "toggle on/off to-do viewer"."

Wasting space again, if you're offering a "To-do section" on Kontact, be logical with yourself and present the information there, presenting the information twice is just stupid, it's like putting Copy/Paste/Cut in the toolbar just because the application supports it, if you think that having an unreadable to-do viewer on the Calendar is important, feel free to add it, then again, don't crowd the interface with it (specially, since by showing it on the Calendar section it will appear to on the To-Do section, which results on a mini-useless to-do list just at the side of big-useful-to-do list).

On/off button just on the sidebar are incredible stupid, if you're going to waste space and least show something, showing those kind of button just wastes space, also, it wastes space when you're, in fact, showing the to-do. You can easily activated by going to the menubar Don't crowd application with options, just because the app can, doesn't mean it deserves a bug place on the main interface."To-do viewer is something that you want to see quickly sometimes and it has more information to display (from left to right)."

Just click on the To-Do section, or look at the Summary of kontact. You're a normal user, where are you going to go to find your to-dos? On... Calendar... or on the "To-do". I thought so.

"http://muycomputer.com/files/264-9260-FOTO/Office14-8.jpg"

It would be good, it is possible to zoom tough.

Stefan T. said...

When I saw Kontact (and KOrganizer) for the first I thought it was ugly, crowded... Than I removed some buttons: Cut, Copy... :)

"Most people use one calendar. If you use 2 (or more), feel free to add it, but don't crowd the interface with mostly useless elements."

Ok. Maybe it should be hidden by default. I use more than one calendar and I think this option is useful.

I used Outlook before this. Outlook has this, and that is reason why I said:

Just put to-do viewer at bottom of calendar and add button "toggle on/off to-do viewer"

I never said to put on/off button in sidebar.

What I meant was that if you want to be able to see both calendar and to-do list at same time, than you should put it below calendar (as in MS Outlook), and not as it is now, but only when you are using 'Day' and 'Week' view. Maybe this is not what you would use everyday so it should be hidden by default... or removed?

I, like you, also don't like current solution and I think they should do something about it.

Idea comes from Microsoft, and they call it Daily Task List I
think.

Yes, I know you can zoom, but you have to use menus or you have to add more buttons on toolbar. Not so good.

Luis Augusto said...

"Ok. Maybe it should be hidden by default. I use more than one calendar and I think this option is useful."

Yes, it should. I never said remove the feature.

"I used Outlook before this. Outlook has this, and that is reason why I said:

Just put to-do viewer at bottom of calendar and add button "toggle on/off to-do viewer"

I never said to put on/off button in sidebar.

What I meant was that if you want to be able to see both calendar and to-do list at same time, than you should put it below calendar (as in MS Outlook), and not as it is now, but only when you are using 'Day' and 'Week' view. Maybe this is not what you would use everyday so it should be hidden by default... or removed?"

A split view will be, indeed, cool, however, the little to-do is absolutely useless (you can't read it).

"I, like you, also don't like current solution and I think they should do something about it."

Agreed.

"Idea comes from Microsoft, and they call it Daily Task List I
think."

The latest Outlook seems to have a pretty decent interface, so I can understand why you recommend things coming from it.

"Yes, I know you can zoom, but you have to use menus or you have to add more buttons on toolbar. Not so good."

No, you can use the mouse.

Anonymous said...

ooops...

I have been using KMail for more than decade! Yep. I now run 4.3. But, I didn't know of Kontact until today, when I stumbled upon this article. I have been longing for an integration with a calendar like this since, hold on, 2002... No, and I haven't checked very well either until I saw an easy-to-read description of kOrganizer, and, saw a comparison and a mention of Kontact and realized... Hey! I have that already installed...

I am sure I am not the only one who cannot identify the function of a large number of names, whether in KDE or Gnome.

The very second you know the function, the name "Kontact" immediately becomes obvious. But before that, believe it or not, it is NOT obvious.

I wonder what else I miss? :)

Thanks for the very fine article!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm..

There MUST be some feedback from kOrganizer when you have accepted an invitation/task/event etc. from another person.

I have received dozens of "accepts" from some users, for the same event...

We use KDE 4.3