According to [AIS], the main dev of KDE, introduce system notification for KDE 4 series. This feature is introduced in KDE 4.3 and will be stable in KDE 4.4. That means, at least at the end of 2009 we will be having another breakthrough in desktop innovation.

What is a notification?

To be sort and humble, notification can be described as informative message spotted to inform the user about something that happen. It is that bubble that popped out informing/alerting the user.

Some of the implementation: a) in Mac, there is a Growl project that unified all application bubble; b) in Windows, Microsoft have their MFC library; c) in Linux, freedesktop notification in libnotification.

All of them have the implementation, but only Macintosh that have consistent look. [GROWL] I don’t care about Windows world because it only copy others. In Linux, however, there is a scattered implementation of notification that needs to be unified.

I believe when you are talking about GNU/Linux operating system, you would see that it talks not only about the library that follows, nor the desktop systems, it also talks about variety of machine. It could be your smartphone, USB video gadget, desktop computer, [ENTER ANY EXOTIC DEVICE HERE], etc. Variety devices comes with many requirement which may applied differ from each other. Thus, each of them may have unique look.

However, for desktop users, there is an urge to have visual notification that optimally used. According to [MARK], the notification should follow these:

  1. They should stay unobstrusive and need no handling from user. They can be queued to stay unobstrusive.
  2. They should be trackable even if the notification is gone.
  3. Any action required must involve the application part, i.e. the application window/dialog box popped or come forth.

Because of this proposal, the Ubuntu product starting 9.04 version have their own notification system that divided into two parts, the notification bubble called notify-osd and notification tracker applet that tracks notification.

However, there is a disagreement between their proposed idea and other developer perspective. One notable disagreement is about the actionless notification. On [MARK] comment, Gregg, also pointed out that there are cases when it is natural for us to click on the notification whenever those particular events occur. For instance, if an email comes in, the application would popping the notification to the user. It will makes the user click the notification bubble, making the application focused and displaying the message. Another example is chat client application that bubbling the message whenever a friend type something.

Because of that, the proposal that [AIS] propose is the good will of KDE people to have notification free from any desktop library is a way to go. That is by using D-BUS. DBUS is a inter-application communication system that being defined by Freedesktop. It was first implemented by GNOME people and later by KDE people. It will have the Ubuntu proposal, yet have the ability to express their ways of user usability. Eventually, it will bring goodness to both desktop world and others.

What can be said about this lengthy post?

The world is on the usability study that much, but our, Indonesian, IT are lacking of it. Well, I can really assure you, at least the application I participated to develop, will have user usabilty goodness in it.

REFERENCE: [AIS] Aseigo. [GROWL] Growl. [MARK] Shuttleworth, Mark. 2008.