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Sensible Download Manager Discussion

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IGAU
 
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:07 am

Since most of the posts about the new Download Manager (DM) are filled with people throwing their opinions and ideas around in a vaguely angry and random fashion, I figured it'd probably be better (if we want to be seriously listened to) to start a nice, clean, fresh post, trying to follow on in the way described in this post.

Thinking objectively, there are some concerns/issues that I can see with the new system (cross-session functionality aside, as that is to come), and they should be fairly simple to overcome. I was an advocate of returning back to the old system, but I think Ben is right not to relent and go back... instead we should push on and improve the new DM, as it has potential to be much better, and IMO, let's get some ideas and concepts out in the open for consideration and discussion.

1) DM pops up over whatever I'm doing when I click a download link, either in another application or within Firefox. This only happens if there is no download running already. I think this is possibly intended behavior so that users realise that something is actually happening.

Possible solution: GUI checkbox to start the DM minimised for those that would prefer it.

2) It's not easy to check the individual status of a download when you have multiple downloads running, whereas with the old system you could just look in the taskbar. If Firefox is open, then you could use something like the download statusbar extension, but if you've closed it / have other windows open on top, it's not as easy.

Possible solutions: Tooltip display of downloads when hovering over DM in the taskbar.
Context menu display on right click on DM in the taskbar.
Systray (& cross-platform equivilent?) icon with either of the two methods mentioned above.
This is really not an easy one... but possibly the most important / talked about that I've seen.

3) When you exit Firefox and have the download manager hidden, it prompts you that proceeding will cancel current downloads. Whether cross-session support will solve this or not, I dont know. Obviously the intention is to prevent the user screwing up their downloads by closing Firefox.

Possible solution: Cross-session support will possibly remove the requirement for this, possibly not, depending on implementation. I'd say that if you close Firefox with downloads running and the DM window hidden, then the DM window should automatically be launched and Firefox closed. Coupled with a "pause all" (again, cross session support required), this would prevent people from screwing up their downloads by thinking that they'd carry on, but would remove the prompt.

Problem with the prompt? It tells you that you have downloads running. You have to click to get rid of the prompt, then bring up the DM window, take the appropriate action, then try to close Firefox again. That's fine at this stage, but possibly not in the future.

4) Cleaning up the download history. I think there should be an added option to wipe the download history when a user closes the DM... I have no use for a download history, and I've heard similar comments. While it can be achieved on closing Firefox, I dont tend to close it a lot.

Anyway, that's my opinion and set of ideas. Let's get some sensible discussion going.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:10 am

Systray (& cross-platform equivilent?) icon with either of the two methods mentioned above.

Seems like it would work. If it supports both KDE and GNOME systrays, I'm all for it, since at least one of them is bound to work with any WM. :p
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djst
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:28 am

Then let me add a suggestion: When all downloads are completed and the little notification window at the bottom right corner appears, you should be able to click it to show the download manager. (If only one file was downloaded, perhaps clicking on the window could allow you to show that file in the file manager instead? However, that may lead to inconsistent behavior, so it's probably easier to always show the manager.)

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:32 am

I think the biggest feature that should be added is the ability to open the XUL for the Download Manager in another tab, in the same way that Live HTTP Headers can do. Adding that feature to the core would probably address many of the complaints about having another window appear for no good reason.
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IGAU
 
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:33 am

When all downloads are completed and the little notification window at the bottom right corner appears, you should be able to click it to show the download manager.


I agree with that. Always showing the manager would be best. It's similar to the behavior you get with MSN Messenger, there the alerts appear in the bottom right, clicking them shows the IM window.
It's also consistent with other Windows apps (not sure about other OS) that do auto-updates. Realplayer/others are a perfect example... you're notified in almost exactly the same way that an update is needed.. clicking the message brings up more info.

Also, some people have mentioned that the animation slows their computer down / increases CPU load... perhaps there should be a *hidden* pref to disable the animation, and just have it appear.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:36 am

IGAU wrote:I agree with that. Always showing the manager would be best. It's similar to the behavior you get with MSN Messenger, there the alerts appear in the bottom right, clicking them shows the IM window. Also, some people have mentioned that the animation slows their computer down / increases CPU load... perhaps there should be a *hidden* pref to disable the animation, and just have it appear.


I disagree - if such functionality is to be added it should be a visible pref. Something like "Animate downloads in download manager/" If it's checked, current behavior. If it's not, then all the code will do is fill up the bar by quarters, i.e. when the download is 25% finished the bar jumps to 25%, etc etc etc.
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mozBirdLuva
 
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:41 am

My key concerns are not only with the way the download manager provides feedback to the user but with the window itself. Some key issues are:

- it is not consistent with any other Windows UI element
- it's functions are not clear (what is 'show', what is 'clean up', what is 'remove') and are limited

If anyone wants, I can elaborate on these issues but right now it's 2am my time - got to go to bed!

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:44 am

mozBirdLuva wrote:My key concerns are not only with the way the download manager provides feedback to the user but with the window itself. Some key issues are:

- it is not consistent with any other Windows UI element
- it's functions are not clear (what is 'show', what is 'clean up', what is 'remove') and are limited

If anyone wants, I can elaborate on these issues but right now it's 2am my time - got to go to bed!


The Show link doesn't even make any sense on Linux, because there's no sane way for Firefox to pop up a file manager to display the downloaded file (unless a pref was added to the DL UI to allow you to select the file manager used to display the folder containing the file).*

"Clean Up" should probably be renamed to "Remove All" as well, to agree with the Remove link that wipes the download entry.


* - I'm actually going to file an enhancement bug for this. BRB.

EDIT: http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=233855
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mommajoan
 
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 8:02 am

Please reference this thread:

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic ... highlight=

It would be nice if the download button behavior was consistent with the history and bookmark button behavior and closed the download box when it was clicked.

Just a minor annoyance and hopefully not too hard to correct.

Thanks

TheOneKEA

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 8:08 am

mommajoan wrote:Please reference this thread:

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic ... highlight=

It would be nice if the download button behavior was consistent with the history and bookmark button behavior and closed the download box when it was clicked.

Just a minor annoyance and hopefully not too hard to correct.

Thanks


That's a separate bug and not really related to mine. You should go see if someone has already filed a bug in Bugzilla.
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rmjb

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 8:23 am

Some of these issues can be fixed with an extension and some should be implemented in the core to "complete" the new download manager. Perhaps a distinction should be made. For example I think the loading of the DM XUL in a tab can be done via an extension.

- rmjb

TheOneKEA

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 8:28 am

rmjb wrote:Some of these issues can be fixed with an extension and some should be implemented in the core to "complete" the new download manager. Perhaps a distinction should be made. For example I think the loading of the DM XUL in a tab can be done via an extension.

- rmjb


It can be done already, just by referencing the XUL for the Download Manager via the chrome: protocol, IIRC.
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ehume

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:25 am

I've been using the DM for a while. OK, it's pretty. But I don't see what it adds. The old version worked fine in my Windows system. There is no value added for me with this new feature. OTOH, I have no real complaints. It just looks like a lot of wasted effort.
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rmjb

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:31 am

ehume wrote:I've been using the DM for a while. OK, it's pretty. But I don't see what it adds. The old version worked fine in my Windows system. There is no value added for me with this new feature. OTOH, I have no real complaints. It just looks like a lot of wasted effort.
This one reduces clutter (much as tabbed browsing does) and it can pause the download for a little while. Out of the box I don't think the last downloading mechanism could have done that. Tho someone did say the pause feature was there...

- rmjb

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:34 am

TheOneKEA wrote:I disagree - if such functionality is to be added it should be a visible pref. Something like "Animate downloads in download manager/" If it's checked, current behavior. If it's not, then all the code will do is fill up the bar by quarters, i.e. when the download is 25% finished the bar jumps to 25%, etc etc etc.


That goes against the very basic design principles of firefox.

Not adding this kind of UI is the primary distinguishing factor between seamonkey and firefox.
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