Saturday, 21 December 2013

GNOME Web hacks

After the Pocket integration earlier this week, I've cooked up or landed a couple more patches.

Mailman passwords

Those darn mailman administrator passwords. There's no "forgot password" button and the password is shared amongst all the administrators of a mailing-list. Now Epiphany remembers them and I don't need to go through my inbox trying to recover them.

Glow button fixes

Epiphany was using Totem's glow button, a button which glows a couple of times to bring your attention to it. It's used in Totem's browser plugin, to show that it's ready to play, and Epiphany to show finished downloads. It broke due to GTK+ changes, and it's now reimplemented using CSS animations instead of horrible hacks.

Analytics removal

A little privacy hack, inspired by the PureURL Firefox extension. This removes tracking information from URLs when tracking is disabled in the preferences.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

On the beauty of libarchive

In your applications, you might have to deal with compressed files: ISO images of installers, e-book or e-comic types based on ZIP files, video DVD images.

libarchive makes things easier by allowing you not to have to deal with external commands to extract those few files you care about.

The API feels a bit antiquated, compared to using GLib/GIO for files handling, but it's generally easier than dealing with potential security issues launching external tools, or even dealing with shell argv quoting.


totem-pl-parser uses libarchive to determine what type of video disc image are hidden inside an ISO image.

gnome-epub-thumbnailer (as well as its siblings, the Krita and OpenRaster thumbnailers I talked about more recently) uses the ZIP handling to extract particular files, and figure out which file is the cover image.

Other uses and limitations

Boxes could use libarchive to extract files from ISO images for its auto-installer, evince could use it to handle CBZ e-comics.

There's a couple of limitations though. ISO support doesn't handle UDF images (which just means weird filenames, not inaccessible files), and RAR support is still quite young.

I hope that this post can spur on bug fixes for the RAR support, new UDF support, or even a GIO-style wrapper around the library.

The upstream authors have been particularly good at fixing bugs that only showed themselves with broken files, and I'd like to thank them for their very useful work.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Send to Pocket using GNOME

I'm a big fan of Pocket, the "Read Later" service.

I regularly save blog posts, videos, tweets and articles to read later, and then consume them on my iPad 1 (I hope they don't cut off the old app yet), my phone, or using the Kobo e-book reader.

So it's only normal that I'd try to make my experience of using it with GNOME, a bit more integrated than a simple Javascript bookmarklet in my browser.

Online Accounts support

The first step was writing the GNOME Online Accounts support for Pocket accounts. This isn't quite finished, and there was some ugliness due to the way Pocket's authentication works. It's not complicated, but it's neither OAuth 1, nor OAuth 2.

The patch also adds a new type of service that you can toggle on/off in the settings, see about that below.

Browser support

I don't really read articles on my laptop, and I'm Linux-tablet-less (the WeTab you might remember is now with gnome-shell developer Florian Müllner). So my main concern was saving articles to the service.

The UI is still a bit in flux, but this is what it looks like on my machine right now. In the future, we might want to try and show the status of the page (has it already been saved?) or a way to edit tags after having added the page.

Other services

There are other services similar to Pocket, such as Instapaper, or even the free and open source Poche.

The good news is that adding support for those services should be easier, as you'd only need to add a new gnome-online-accounts backend, and write a little bit of backend code in Epiphany (eg. 2 out of the 4 steps in adding support for Pocket).

The infrastructure is, or more accurately, will soon be there.

Update: The Epiphany/Web bug for the browser integration is here. Doh!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Week-end hacks #3

Mo' thumbnailers

Simple enough, but I still managed to make 2 broken releases ;)

There's now a Krita and OpenRaster/MyPaint thumbnailer in GNOME git, and as tarball releases.

Freebox TV streaming

My ISP, Free, gives its customers an access point and TV set-top box. The access point is also a UPnP, Samba, AFP server and Bittorrent client amongst other things.

It's also responsible for handling IPTV, streaming to the TV set-top box. You can also watch TV on your laptop streaming RTSP to local clients.

This Grilo plugin, once all the issues are fixed, should allow us to show the TV channels in Totem.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Bluetooth panel redesign

Another week, another panel refresh.

Rather than the 2-pane approach, and a separate setup interface we used to have, we've gone for a single pane device list, as you've probably seen on your smartphone.

We also do away with the "Discoverable" switch (your computer will be visible when this panel is opened, invisible if not), and nearby devices will show up at the bottom of the list. Simply click on one to set it up.

Clicking on an already setup device will bring up the properties, allowing you to connect to the device if necessary, or link to related preferences.

Finally, the biggest part of the work was making sure that the new setup mechanism worked at least as well as the stand-alone wizard. This means that I got 17 of my most representative devices out, and set up every single one of them. Edge case.

There's a good chance that we'll make some additional, minor, adjustments to the wording, spacing and behaviour of this panel before the GNOME 3.12 release. I'd particularly like to make clicking on a device connect to it if already setup and offer some other way of accessing properties.