Friday, February 26, 2021

Sometimes It's The Little Things

Big, new things are always a blast to work on, but sometimes polishing is also an enormously important part of software development which we often find ourselves just kind of pushing ahead of us on the todo list, because there's more fun things to be working on. However, those rough edges and lacklustre surfaces also need attention.

Just One Word

Occasionally you come across something where there's just that one word that looks out of place. You end up assuming that there must be some huge, complex underlying reason for why it's like that. And then, when you finally decide to go and look at it, you discover that it really is just a small wording error, either a copy/paste error, or just outright mis-wording something and then not catching it before rolling it out.
For example, when performing a system update in Discover, the Tasks view showed the string "View Updates - Installing". It turned out that, rather than being some scary thing due to a high level of abstraction and reuse of strings in various places, requiring decoupling and things like that, this was one of those situations where it was just worded incorrectly, and that's been fixed now.

Down In Front

A super specific one here. Sometimes in Kirigami applications, the handles for the drawers (global and context) will be covering bits of the UI. This happens when something is put at the bottom of a page, specifically on the very left or right most side of the page. The fix is extremely simple, so if you come across something like that, sorting it out just takes a single line.

Don't Get Cut Off

You're going through your day to day, maybe playing around with the layout of your desktop, or actually working on some important work type thing, or an even more important hobby task, and you come across a bit of the user interface that looks like it's been chopped off.
Sometimes these turn into something a bit more involved, but even then you can start out with something that maybe isn't exactly perfect, or even particularly good at all. Other members of our little community will be able to guide you in a direction that actually works more properly, and perhaps even helps fix an issue found in other, sometimes surprising places.
Sometimes they are outright simple, however. Indeed, this second one (unmerged as i'm writing these words) was what made me write this entry, because...

Now Over To You

My hope in writing this short update of semi-randomly selected things is that i might convince you that when you spot things like that, you are more than welcome hop over to KDE's Invent and take a look at the code yourself. Maybe it is one of the big, scary things, and that's where comes in - tell us it's wrong, because while it might be super obvious to you, maybe the rest of us just haven't noticed, and that makes your observation great in itself.
But if it's not, well... why not grab yourself a clone and put up a merge request or two? Remember, those merge requests exist to specifically make sure that if you've missed something, others will catch it during the review, so you don't have to be scared. Give it a shot, the worst that can happen is you'll learn something about a codebase you've not looked at before :)

The word of the day is: Shiny, because that's what things become when you polish them

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